Holland America Line has reached out to guests about a significant itinerary change for one of the sailings for the Zaandam cruise ship.
While the ship will still be sailing the same 14-day Southern Caribbean cruise, the homeport is changing for both embarkation and debarkation, which can leave guests scrambling to adjust their pre- and post-cruise travel plans.
The 14-day Zaandam sailing scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, February 3, 2024, has been switched to depart from Miami instead. Guests booked on the Southern Caribbean sailing have been notified of the change.
“Please be advised that your upcoming Zaandam voyage departing on Saturday, February 3, 2024 will now sail roundtrip from Miami, Florida rather than Fort Lauderdale, Florida as previously scheduled,” the notification letter states.
While the Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) and PortMiami cruise terminals are only 30 miles (48 kilometers) apart by driving distance, South Florida traffic, road construction, and rush hours can make moving between the two ports a more complicated and lengthier process than anticipated.
Holland America Line has adjusted Zaandam‘s arrival and departure times from Miami to help compensate for transfer times. The ship was originally scheduled to depart from Fort Lauderdale at 3 p.m. on February 3 and return at 7 a.m. on February 17.
The ship will now be leaving Miami one hour later at 4 p.m., and arriving back to the homeport two hours earlier, at 5 a.m. This should minimize the need for any travelers to adjust pre-booked airfare, unless their plans were already very tightly scheduled.
Guests who have booked pre- or post-cruise hotels or transfers with Holland America Line will have their plans adjusted accordingly, but travelers with independent arrangements will want to shift their own plans as soon as possible to permit enough travel time as needed.
The impacted 14-day Southern Caribbean cruise will still be visiting amazing destinations like Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, San Juan, Bonaire, Aruba, the Cayman Islands, and more.
There has been no reasoning given for why Zaandam needs to shift to Miami rather than departing from Fort Lauderdale as originally planned.
It is possible that berth schedules may be overcrowded for February 3. At the moment, eight vessels are scheduled for Port Everglades on February 3, 2024 – not only Zaandam, but also two other Holland America Line ships, Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam, as well as two Celebrity Cruises ships and one ship each from Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Viking Cruises.
Of the three Holland America Line ships, the 61,400-gross ton Zaandam, with a capacity of just 1,432 guests, is the smallest vessel. Moving this ship to Miami will inconvenience fewer guests and cause less hassle than if either Nieuw Amsterdam (86,700 gross tons and 2,106 guests) or Eurodam (86,270 gross tons and 2,104 guests) were to be moved instead.
Meanwhile, the same date in Miami shows only four vessels – Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Horizon; MSC Cruises MSC Seascape; and both Icon of the Seas and Independence of the Seas from Royal Caribbean International.
Moving Zaandam to Miami can help alleviate overcrowding at Port Everglades, which can improve traffic flow and provide a better experience for all passengers and travelers, regardless of their cruise line or the ship they’re trying to reach.
It is also possible that planned pier or terminal maintenance or construction may also be a factor in the decision, or local road construction could be a consideration.
Since the impacted cruise does not depart for more than five months, there is still plenty of time for travelers to shift their arrangements accordingly to reach Miami, rather than Fort Lauderdale, in plenty of time to embark Zaandam, or to make post-cruise plans to smoothly debark the ship at the end of the cruise.
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