The cruise season is heating up for the Australian summer, and Holland America Line has arrived with ms Westerdam, the first of the cruise line’s ships to set sail Down Under in more than two-and-a-half years.
The Vista-class ship will now homeport from Sydney for the season, after completing an epic 37-night repositioning cruise from Seattle after the conclusion of the Alaska season.
Westerdam Arrives in Sydney
Westerdam arrived in Sydney, Australia on Monday, November 7, 2022, the first Holland America Line ship to visit Australia since the industry-wide pandemic shutdown began in March 2019.
The ship left Seattle on October 2, 2022, and followed a lengthy and exotic route to reach Sydney. Along the way, Westerdam visited ports of call in Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, New Guinea, and Queensland, offering guests unparalleled opportunities to enjoy amazing destinations.
“We are excited to be sailing again Down Under to provide an immersive, premium cruise experience for guests from around the world,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “The welcome we have received at our Australian port visits has been wonderful, and we thank our local Australia partners for their support as we resume cruising.”
Now, the ship will begin its very first season in the region, offering a limited series of immersive voyages in southern Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.
These longer cruises range from 13-30 days and visit more ports and more unique destinations than many shorter sailings are able to offer.
In early January, the ship will reposition first to Singapore and then, in late February, to Japan to offer several Asian sailings, very desirable itineraries in a region that has struggled with travel restrictions that have limited cruising for much longer than in other parts of the world.
After spending the remainder of the winter in Asia, Westerdam will reposition once more, arriving in Seattle in May 2023 to offer 7-night roundtrip sailings exploring the Last Frontier, before returning to Asia for a full season in October 2023.
Noordam to Arrive Soon
A second Holland America Line ship, ms Noordam, sister ship to ms Westerdam, will arrive in Brisbane later this week. This will be the first time since 2016 that Holland America Line has positioned two vessels in the Australia region in the same season.
Noordam will offer a range of unique itinerary options, providing even more choice for travelers eager to explore the unique culture, history, and natural beauty of Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, and elsewhere in the South Pacific region.
Of special interest is the ship’s 35-night Australia Circumnavigation cruise, which will be roundtrip from Sydney and departs on Saturday, November 12. During the incredible voyage, Noordam will visit more than a dozen ports of call, including overnight stays in Fremantle and Melbourne.
After finishing the Australia season in April 2023, Noordam will reposition to Vancouver, Canada to offer Alaska sailings from Vancouver and Whittier, Alaska, before returning to Australia in November 2024.
Comparing Sister Ships
While Westerdam and Noordam are both Vista-class sister ships in the Holland America Line fleet, they do have some subtle differences.
Westerdam joined the fleet in 2004, and weighs in at 82,305 gross tons, with a passenger capacity of 1,916 guests. Noordam is the younger sister and youngest of the line’s Vista class, having first set sail in 2006. Noordam is very slightly larger at 82,318 gross tons and with a passenger capacity of 1,924 at double occupancy.
Westerdam and Noordam now join other cruise lines that have recently restarted operations in Australia, including Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Line, both of which have multiple ships sailing Australian itineraries this winter.