With no end in sight to the ongoing conflict in the Red Sea region, Holland America Line has opted to change the itinerary for its 2025 world cruise out of an abundance of caution. The cruise line is notifying guests of the change early, which will impact about a third of the voyage, to give them ample time to adjust their travel plans. 

Passengers of Zuiderdam’s grand voyage will still get to see the world, but not in the way they may have been expecting. The 124-night sailing, which will embark from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on January 4, 2025, will no longer call on ports within the Red Sea region of the Middle East. 

While no cruise ships have been targeted during the crisis, many cruise lines have opted to avoid the region while the unrest continues out of an abundance of caution – which is what Holland America Line also chose to do. The unrest primarily stems from the conflict involving Houthi rebels in Yemen. 

“The safety of our guests and crew is of the utmost importance, and we have made the decision to avoid the Red Sea after close consultation with global security experts and government authorities,” said Beth Bodensteiner, chief commercial officer for Holland America Line.

“Making this change now allows us to provide certainty for our guests in preparing for this 124-day trip around the world. The new itinerary was built with guest experience top of mind and maintains exciting European and African destinations with even more ports to explore in the Mediterranean,” added Bodensteiner.

Photo Credit: Gestur Gislason / Shutterstock

Holland America hoped by notifying guests early, they would be able to adjust to the new itinerary more easily and plan accordingly, such as with booking shore excursions. 

This is also not the only cruise line to alter its world cruise itineraries because of the Red Sea conflict. Just to name one example, MSC Cruises had to cancel all three of its grand voyagesaboard MSC Splendida, MSC Opera, and MSC Virtuosa that were scheduled for April 2024. 

Even with the change to the end of the world cruise itinerary, Zuiderdam’s passengers will still be visiting 49 unique ports (one more than originally planned!) across 34 countries and six continents throughout the course of the 124-day journey. 

The change to 1,964-guest ship’s itinerary will impact the final 43 days of the voyage, which equates to roughly a third of the cruise. Instead of sailing through the Red Sea, the cruise will instead call on new ports in Africa and Europe. It will also add a stop at San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday, May 6, 2025.

Holland America Line Cruise Ship (Photo Copyright: VIDEOVISTAVIEW / Shutterstock)

The changes will take effect beginning on Tuesday, March 25, 2025, with an overnight visit to Cape Town, South Africa, and will last until the cruise concludes as planned in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, May 9. 

The 82,318 gross-ton ship will no longer call on destinations like Port Elizabeth, South Africa; Mayotte, Comoros; Zanzibar, Tanzania; Mombasa, Kenya; Safaga, Egypt; Aqaba, Jordan; and the Suez Canal, which the cruise was supposed to visit in late March and early April 2025. 

Read Also: The Impact of Red Sea Tensions on Cruising

Instead, the Vista-class ship will sail to Walvis Bay, Namibia, on March 28 and Praia, Ilha de Santiago, Cape Verde, on April 4 before arriving in Spain on April 7. The ship will then mostly explore Europe for the remainder of the sailing, bopping around between Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Italy. The exceptions are calls to Alexandria (Cario), Egypt, on April 16, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey, on April 18, and Tangier (Tétouan), Morocco, on April 29. 

It’s also worth noting that the new itinerary includes an overnight call to Barcelona, Spain, on April 24-25. While in Barcelona, Zuiderdam will have a once-in-a-life time “Grand Meetup” with Volendam, which will be in the middle of its own 133-night “pole-to-pole” grand voyage. The occasion will be commemorated with a special celebration for guests and crew members aboard both cruise ships.

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