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From Moose to Marsupials. Two great cruises unite South Pacific and Alaska, with cruise back to Australia

November 11, 2013 Cruise No Comments Email Email

A double cruise aboard two fine Holland America Line cruise ships explores Alaska’s renowned Inside Passage and visits Los Angeles, Hawaii, American Samoa, Fiji and Noumea before sailing back to Australia.

It’s part of a holiday that also ventures into Canada’s Rocky Mountains on a two-day tour – including the famous Rocky Mountaineer Whistler to Vancouver train trip. Another bonus: three nights to explore Vancouver from your central base at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, a downtown landmark known as ‘the castle in the city’. hal-alaska

The holiday that offers all this is called ‘From Moose to Marsupials’. It uses Holland America Line’s elegant, mid-size ships ms Zuiderdam and ms Volendam and it is being sold by Worldwide Cruise Centres (worldwidecruisecentres.com).

‘From Moose to Marsupials’ lasts over five weeks – 38 days, to be precise – and costs from A$6799 twin share per person. Credit offers apply on both ships for bookings received by the end of November 2013 (unless withdrawn earlier by the cruise line).

This fly-double-cruise Canada and Alaska adventure begins on 12 September 2014 with a flight from Sydney to Vancouver. After a night’s hotel stay to freshen up, board ms Zuiderdam for a fabulous seven-night round-trip into the dramatic fjords of Alaska’s Inside Passage, prime habitat for bald eagles, bears, sea lions and whales.

These forested islands include the historic town of Juneau, the Klondike gold-rush settlement of Skagway and the totem poles of Ketchikan. ms Zuiderdam spends a day cruising phenomenal Glacier Bay, where brown and black bears forage and 16 tidewater glaciers plunge into icy fjords.

Aboard ms Zuiderdam, all shipboard main meals (excluding specialty restaurants) and most onboard entertainment are covered. For bookings received by the end of November 2013, a bonus U$150 in free onboard credit is provided for each twin inside/outside cabin, or US$200 per twin balcony/suite cabin.

After the cruise, enjoy a night at the downtown Fairmont Vancouver, with a free upgrade to one of the elegantly furnished Fairmont Gallery rooms, known for their high ceilings and beautiful views of Vancouver Art Gallery. Then set out along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway on a two-day Discover Whistler mini-stay.

The journey to Whistler includes free entry to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, focusing on the culture of two local indigenous nations. Get set now for a classic Canadian combination: a night’s stay at the five-star Fairmont Chateau Whistler, between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, and the Rocky Mountaineer rail trip back from Whistler to Vancouver. It’s one of Canada’s great rail journeys, taking in the magnificent scenery of Howe Sound and British Columbia’s coastal mountains.

Two more nights at the Fairmont Vancouver (again with a free upgrade to one of the Fairmont Gallery rooms) give you time to relax in one of North America’s most desirable cities. Perhaps saunter the cobblestone streets of historic Gastown, full of artists’ studios and boutique designer shops in refurbished heritage buildings.

The main cruise of the holiday is now about to begin – 24 nights from Vancouver to Sydney aboard the luxury ms Volendam, a ship known for flowers, art and fine dining. First port of call is Los Angeles, with time to visit Hollywood, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or hit those famous LA shopping malls. While shopping, remember that you don’t have to worry about airline baggage weight restrictions!

Five days at sea gives time to explore ms Volendam. Artwork aboard runs from pre-Columbian sculptures to Renaissance-era Italian fountains. Dining can involve five-course menus or you can opt for vegetarian or low-carb choices. Take time to explore the lounges, bars, Lido Pool and Frans Hals Show Lounge. Once again, all shipboard main meals (excluding specialty restaurants) and most onboard entertainment are covered in the price. For bookings received by the end of November 2013, a bonus U$300 in free onboard credit is provided for each twin inside/outside cabin, or US$400 per twin balcony/suite cabin aboard ms Volendam.

Next stop Hawaii – first at Hilo on the Big Island, then a full day in Honolulu. Maybe visit Pearl Harbor or stroll Waikiki Beach. Onward to Pago Pago (pronounced pango pango), ringed by forested mountains, capital of American Samoa.

On the other side of the date line lies Fiji. ms Volendam visits two dreamy Fijian islands: sparsely populated Dravuni (perfect beaches on a far-flung archipelago); and gentle Lautoka, with clear turquoise waters and 20 luxuriant hectares of orchids at the late Raymond Burr’s Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Next, Noumea, capital of New Caledonia. Perhaps find a café, sip a Pernod; contemplate practicing your French.

The next stop is super-special. Try to rise early to catch dawn arrival in Sydney, one of the world’s great cruise experiences, ending your holiday on a serene yet exhilarating note.

To find your local Worldwide Cruise Centres agent go to: www.worldwidecruisecentres.com.au                               

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