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Must See & Do.

1. Stargaze atop Maunakea. For a truly remarkable experience stargaze atop Maunakea, the tallest sea mountain in the world and home to many international observatories.

2. Walk on a volcano. Enjoy dozens of hiking trails and backcountry hikes in Hawai´i Volcanoes National Park. Explore elevations from sea level to just under 10,000ft.

3. Snorkel with manta rays. Swim with one of the largest fish in the ocean, the manta ray. With a wingspan of up to six metres or more, it’s possible to encounter these amazing creatures on an unforgettable night snorkel or dive off the Kona coast or Kohala coasts.

4. Circle the Island. Find out for yourself why the prestigious National Geographic magazine has named the drive around Hawai´i Island among its ‘50 Ultimate Road Trips in the World’. Remarkably you are able to encounter all but four of the worlds sub-climate zones here including desert plains, rainforest and snow-capped mountains.

5 Look into early Hawaiian culture. Step back into a fascinating ancient time in the sacred Pu‘uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Hundreds of years old yet beautifully restored, the park is magical at sunset.

6 Befriend a Hawaiian cowboy. Hawaiian cowboys (paniolo) used to roam the island on horseback, herding cattle across the rolling green pastures. Today, ranches in Kohala provide a variety of opportunities to experience the paniolo lifestyle.

7 Frolick in Kealakekua Bay. Schools of tropical fish swarm Kealakekua Bay on the Kona Coast, an ideal place for snorkelling and swimming with spinner dolphins often seen here.

8 Visit Downtown Hilo. Visit Hilo’s quaint shops and cultural sites including the Pacific Tsunami Museum and ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center. For fresh produce and made-in-Hawai´i crafts don’t miss the Hilo Farmers Market year-round every Wednesday and Saturday.

9 Sample sweet treats. Indulge in malasada (Portuguese doughnuts) and excellent Kona coffee. You’ll discover numerous coffee farms in Kona, with many offering free tours and delicious samples.

10 Golf Hawai´i Island. With its dramatic contours, wide-open spaces and fantastic variations in elevation, Hawai´i Island is unmatched. Most courses face the ocean and many are carved from ancient lava flows.

submitted by -- Tony Terrill

Westerdam - The 1,964-guest ship offers itineraries from 13 to 16 days across the region.

The cosmopolitan cities and rich traditions of the Far East unfold for guests on Holland America Line’s Westerdam when the ship embarks on its 2019-20 season in Asia. From September 2019 through April 2020, Westerdam extensively explores Cambodia, China, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam on cruises ranging from 13 to 16 nights.  

Departing from Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan; Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; and Singapore, the contrasts between the ancient and the modern come to life as cultures steeped in tradition collide with soaring skyscrapers and bustling capitals. Nine different itineraries showcase the magic of each country and celebrate the histories and trendsetting modern cultures that have been thousands of years in the making.  

“For many of our guests, a cruise to Asia is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so we build our itineraries to include multiple countries or in-depth explorations of an area and create meaningful and deep encounters on every voyage,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Having such an extensive season allows us to visit those lesser-explored ports that offer an incredible glimpse into local cultures, along with the must-see larger cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore that are equally as memorable and fulfilling.”  

Westerdam begins the season with a 13-day North Pacific Crossing from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Yokohama (Tokyo). The ship then begins a series of voyages that explore the Far East, from Japan to Singapore. 

The 13-day Japan and China cruises from Yokohama to Shanghai include three ports in Japan; three calls in China, including an overnight at Tianjin (Beijing); and one call in South Korea. Westerdam’s 14-day Taiwan and Japan cruise from Shanghai to Hong Kong starts with an overnight in Shanghai and includes five ports in Japan; Manila, the Philippines; and two ports in Taiwan, with an overnight in Keelung (Taipei).  

Westerdam’s 14-day Far East Discovery cruises between Singapore and Hong Kong call at four ports in Vietnam, including an overnight in Da Nang; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Ko Samui and an overnight at Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand.  

The 14-day East Asia cruise is roundtrip from Hong Kong and includes two calls in China, including an overnight in Shanghai; two calls each in Japan and Taiwan; and a call at Manila. 

Celebrating the first cruise of 2020, Westerdam embarks on a 16-day Far East Discovery voyage Jan. 16 that follows the same itinerary but adds an overnight in Hong Kong. 

A Series of 14-Day Itineraries Continues the Ship’s Asian Exploration

Westerdam’s 14-day Taiwan and Japan cruise between Hong Kong and Shanghai visits the Philippines, South Korea, two ports in Taiwan and four calls in Japan. 

Cruising roundtrip from Shanghai, the China, South Korea and Japan cruise features four calls in China, including overnight calls at Shanghai and Tianjin (Beijing), and two calls each in Japan and South Korea. The China Explorer from Hong Kong to Yokohama includes two ports in Japan and five ports in China, with overnights in Tianjin (Beijing) and Shanghai. 

Westerdam‘s Japan Explorer is a roundtrip Yokohama journey with six additional ports in Japan, including an overnight in Kobe (Osaka), and two calls in Taiwan. Then a Japan and Russia itinerary roundtrip from Yokohama visiting an incredible eight ports in Japan and a northerly exploration up to Vladivostok, Russia. The final cruise of the season is a 16-day North Pacific Crossing on April 25, 2020, from Yokohama to Vancouver.

Collectors’ Voyages Offer Longer Explorations of the Region

Back-to-back cruises can be booked together to form a longer Collectors’ Voyage that provides a more in-depth exploration of the world’s largest continent. Combining two itineraries, the Asia Collectors’ Voyages range from 26 to 30 days and feature few if any repeating ports. 

Asian Culture Comes to Life on Board with EXC Encounters & Shore Excursions

Throughout the cruises, EXC programming brings Asia's local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life on board. Through EXC Encounters, guests can participate in activities like transforming a piece of paper into origami art, perfecting chopstick skills, learning the etiquette of local tea ceremonies, and exploring the poses and postures of the statues of Buddha.  

Guests who want to learn more about the region can attend an EXC Talk by an EXC Guide about the ports of call, or head to an EXC Port to Table cooking demonstration, cooking class or themed mixology class featuring local fare. The Dining Room and Lido Market also will showcase the flavours of Asia. 

Asia cruises feature a diverse selection of shore excursions that allow guests to immersively experience each port of call. Tours focus on culture, history, nature, architecture, adventure, culinary topics and family outings. Exclusive culinary-themed shore excursions in partnership with FOOD & WINE magazine showcase the regions' food scenes from a local perspective. 

Asia cruise fares start at $2119 per person, double occupancy. Several Asia sailings are eligible for Holland America Line’s Oceans of Extras promotion where travellers looking to plan ahead for next year can take advantage of up to a US$600 shipboard credit depending on the stateroom booked. Suite guests also receive a US$100 beverage card and a Signature Dining Package including dinner in the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto. Guests receive these benefits when booking a stateroom on an eligible cruise from May 16 to June 30, 2019.

Call your local Mondo Travel Specialist for more details - 0800 110108.

Source: Francis Travel Marketing      

submitted by -- Tony Terrill

TOP 5 REASONS TO BOOK HAWAI`I

1. SAILINGS ALL YEAR-ROUND - We're the only cruise company to sail Hawai'`i every Saturday, giving your clients the flexibility to sail whenever they want.

2. CRUISE 4 ISLANDS IN 7 DAYS - Our unique itinerary visits four islands in seven days with overnight stays in Maui and Kaua'i so your clients are on a different island each and every day. 

3. UNPARALLELED ACCOMMODATION - More than half of our staterooms have balconies, giving your clients the best view of the Hawaiian islands from the comfort of their room. We also have a wide range of accommodation options - from Studios for solo travellers to Family Suites.

4. EXTRAORDINARY DINING OPTIONS - With 15 dining options, your clients will have more cuisines to try than days at sea.

5. AUTHENTIC HAWAIIAN ACTIVITIES - Our Hawaiian Ambassadors will teach your clients something new every day - from Hula dances to learning the Hawaiian language. There's also over 90 shore excursions to choose from so they can experience the very best that Hawai'i has to offer.

Call your local Mondo Travel Specialist for more details on Hawaii Cruising with Pride of America - call 0800 110 108 

submitted by -- Tony Terrill