The 85,000 gross ton, 1,964-passenger Zuiderdam will depart Cape Town on March 14th, 2023 bound for Amsterdam in The Netherlands.
The 35-night grand voyage will visit 20 ports, the majority of them in Africa, as well as the Canary Islands, off the West African mainland.
Zuiderdam is the first of Holland America Line’s Vista-class ships, boasting classic nautical lines and finishes, modern amenities and a spectacular art and antique collection.
“While on board, explore the world’s wonders through BBC Earth Experiences. Enjoy regional cooking demonstrations and food and wine tastings with EXC Port to Table. Relax with a rejuvenating treatment at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon. Enjoy the wide array of delectable cuisines in our restaurants,” says Holland America Line.
The departure port, Cape Town, is describes by Holland America Line as South Africa’s answer to San Francisco, home to the 1,080-foot Table Mountain, and a rich array of restaurants, galleries, vineyards and countless beaches.
The city stretches for 70 kilometers (43 miles) from downtown to the most southerly point, Cape Point, which is genteel and all about good, healthy living and the outdoors, while The Table Bay side is known for its luxurious seaview properties and bustling nightlife.
False Bay lies behind Table Mountain and is home to quaint, cobblestoned fishing villages like Kalk Bay, as well as the city’s famous penguin colony. The ship will depart from the Cape Town Cruise Terminal near the V&A Waterfront, a major tourism and retail hub.
Although the cruise boards on March 14th, 2023, Zuiderdam wont actually depart until the following day, as she spend the first night of the cruise overnight in port, giving passengers more time to explore Cape Town and the nearby Garden Route.
She’ll then spend two nights at sea en-route for Luderitz, Namibia, an isolated town built on a windswept, rocky hillside beside the bay, founded by Adolf Lüderitz, a tobacco merchant from Germany. The Bavarian architecture here is a popular draw for many passengers.
Zuiderdam will then cruise overnight for Walvis Bay, which sits between the Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean and is home to golden beaches, blue waters and deep-pink flamingos as well as the red-and-tan dunes of the nearby desert and the brightly painted colonial buildings of Swakopmund, just over 40 kilometers, or 24 miles, to the north.
After another two nights at sea, she’ll arrive in Luanda, the capital of Angola, which was founded by the Portuguese in 1576, and has struggled through decades of conflict, primarily a war of independence followed by a civil war. This is reflected in Marginal, a commercial promenade with a jumble of modern high-rises, Soviet-style blocks and colonial houses.
Highlights of Luanda include the 16th-century Fortress of São Miguel, which houses the Museum of the Armed Forces and has panoramic views. Nearby, the pink National Bank of Angola is a beautiful example of Portuguese colonial architecture, and the Agostinho Neto Mausoleum, whose 120-meter (393-foot) height dominates the skyline, contains the remains of the first president of Angola.
Zuiderdam will then spend three days at sea, crossing the equator to reach Takoradi, Ghana, a major port city with a dark colonial past that can be explored with a visit to the ruins of the Dutch Orange Fort. Takoradi also has wonderful restaurants, be sure to sample the local cuisine at any of the beachside resorts.
The following day the ship will call in Abiijian, one of the Côte d’Ivoire’s two capitals, which boasts one of Africa’s liveliest music scenes, as well as picturesque lagoons lined with swaying palm trees. It’s coffee and cocoa plantations are also a poignant reminder of the country’s ongoing struggle to overcome the legacy of colonialism.
After another three nights at sea, Zuiderdam will reach Banjul in Gambia, the smallest African capital in the smallest African country. Sitting on an island where the river enters the ocean, Banjul is decidedly laid-back. Among the popular sights are The Gambia National Museum, which recounts the history of the country as well as daily life for the nation’s residents, and the Abuko Nature Reserve, the country’s first national park.
The next day will find the ship in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, a city with a rich history and a thriving present. The hub is the Place de l’Indépendance, a buzzing square lined with both concrete-block and colonial buildings and from which streets with restaurants, shops and theaters radiate, while the Medina quarter, home to the Grand Mosque and markets, is an explosion of color and commotion. The streets of Île de Gorée, once a depot for the slave trade, meanwhile, are hauntingly quiet, and an hour away, the pink-tinted Lake Retba offers a respite in nature.
Zuiderdam will then head out into the Atlantic for Tenerife and Arrecife in the Canary Islands, before cruising back for the African coast to visit Agadir, Casablanca, and Tangier in Morocco. Casablanca will be a particular draw for movie buffs thanks to the eponymous movie it inspired, but there’s a lot more to this city, which sits on land that has been settled since before the Romans.
It was home to Barbary pirates and Portuguese colonists, as well as the French before Morocco gained independence in the mid-20th century. It’s now a Muslim country and the tremendous Hassan II Mosque puts Moroccan tradition on a distinctly modern trajectory, while its trams whisk you past Art Deco architecture to Dubai-inspired malls and city beaches. Casablanca’s central location on the Atlantic coast also means that day trips to the historic imperial cities of Marrakech and Rabat are an easy option.
After Morocco, Zuiderdam will hit up Malaga, La Coruna and Cadiz in Spain, as well as Lisbon, the historic capital of Portugal, and Brest in France, before calling in Portland, England, home to the Royal Navy and a wealth of maritime history. After the UK, the ship will call in Le Havre (for Paris), France, and Le Havre (for Paris), in France, before ending the cruise on April 18th in Amsterdam, the historic capital of the Netherlands.