Tag Archives: South

Uncover Bliss in South America, Australia & New Zealand: New Wellness Tours

Last month, we shared a few of our exciting new Wellness Tours Inspired by Canyon Ranch across Asia. This month our focus turns toward South America, Australia & New Zealand, with rejuvenating and immersive experiences everywhere from a rainforest village outside of Cairns and geothermal mud baths in Tauranga to a serene island hideaway in Argentina.
Below is a look at our top experiences across South America, Australia and New Zealand. Click the tour name to view the complete shore excursion description and availability, and here to explore the full collection.


Buenos Aires, Argentina
El Descanso Island: Labyrinth of Streams


Cruise to an enchanted island and spend the day at a serene hideaway that art collector Claudio Stamato created more than two decades ago to fulfill his passion for nature, art and the wonder of life. Stroll through a botanical wonderland, crossing bridges such as the Angel of Love, where you may see graceful willows, a maze of bamboo, colorful hydrangeas, and perhaps even a ceibo, the national flower of Argentina. Later, relax with an outdoor yoga class then dine on healthy cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients.

Lima (Callao), Peru
Healthy Peruvian Cooking Class

Learn the key to preparing healthy Peruvian dishes with a local chef and enjoy authentic regional dishes. As you explore one of the city’s most popular markets guide by a chef, you’ll uncover an incredible variety of exotic fruit and vegetables, such as lucuma, cherimoya and many others. Discover the subtleties of Peruvian cuisine by preparing several dishes yourself, using ingredients that pre-Columbian people used centuries ago. Delve into Peruvian gastronomy as you gain insight on the country’s superfoods such as quinoa, cacao and maca.

Manta, Ecuador
Beach Yoga and Cooking Class at Las Tanusas Eco-Retreat


Enjoy a relaxing yoga session on an eco-friendly and secluded beach resort, Las Tunusas, while listening to the sounds of the gently lapping waves and tropical birds. Enjoy the healthy, stress-free natural setting, intended to elicit a sense of well-being and a connection with the inner self. In a hands-on cooking class at the BocaValdivia restaurant, learn how to prepare Ecuadorian cuisine, which traces its roots to more than 10,000 years ago. Then savor your dish of organically grown seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs, and seafood that was harvested using ancient fishing techniques.

Santiago de Chile (San Antonio), Chile
Wellness and Mindfulness at Viña Casa Marin

Practice yoga, pranayama breathing and mindful meditation at a picturesque boutique winery, Viña Casa Marin, where you will also learn about its history and micro-terroirs. With the help of a professional instructor, learn about meditation techniques used to calm the mind, revitalize the body and increase positive energy. Later, a chef and sommelier will guide you through their selections of their top dishes and wines for you to savor.


Cairns, Australia
Qigong in Rainforest Village


Practice the Chinese exercise qigong in the picturesque rainforest village of Kuranda, which provides an excellent and spectacularly serene location for practicing the slow tai chi-like workout. The goal of this technique is to “master your energy,” which is how the word “qigong” is sometimes translated. Much like yoga and tai chi, qigong is a mind-body exercise, which is known for encouraging a calm, meditative state of mind. After class, browse the shops in Kuranda, where you can find hand-crafted jewelry, locally produced fashions, colorful artwork and traditional goods such as boomerangs and didgeridoos.

Sydney, Australia
Tai Chi with Harbour Views and Sydney

Practice tai chi on the lawn of the Royal Botanic Garden, a tranquil setting overlooking the Sydney Harbour. This graceful form of exercise, originally developed in China for self-defense, is practiced today to reduce stress and anxiety and to increase flexibility and balance. Often described as “meditation in motion,” the gentle flowing movements of this instructor-led practice can be followed by almost anyone. After class, take in the magnificent views of the Harbour, the iconic Sydney Opera House, the vibrant quarter known as Kings Cross, and The Rocks, the historical city center and birthplace of Sydney.

Rotorua (Tauranga), New Zealand
Hells Gate Mud Bath Retreat


Relax in a revitalizing mud bath at Hells Gate thermal park, a place of healing and revitalization where the native Maori have lived for centuries. Emerge from the heated, nutrient-rich mud with your skin feeling silky smooth and rejuvenated as the mud naturally exfoliates, detoxifies and polishes your skin. Try the several different types of geothermal mud, which have been used to treat arthritis, rheumatism and burns. You’ll also enjoy a unique lunch cooked in a mud pool, a variation of cooking in a “hangi” or earth oven, which the Maori traditionally do with heated rocks.

Inspired? Explore our complete collection of Wellness Tours Inspired by Canyon Ranch here by selecting Wellness Tours.

The post Uncover Bliss in South America, Australia & New Zealand: New Wellness Tours appeared first on Oceania Cruises Blog.

Oceania Cruises Blog

Book your next luxury cruise at Luxury.TopCruiseFinder.com.

Discover the Wild Beauty of South America on Prinsendam’s 30-day Amazon Explorer

Some came seeking the fountain of youth, some came looking for gold and some just wanted an adventure, but for whatever reason, South America has always been at the top of every explorer’s list.

Now on Prinsendam, Holland America Line guests can set sail and explore the heart of South America, the Amazon River. During Prinsendam’s 30-day Amazon Explorer departing this November, guests will see the continent’s legendary lands during this unforgettable experience while cruising the world’s largest river.


Clouds and jungle reflected in the Javari River in the Amazon rain forest in Brazil

The voyage begins in tropical Fort Lauderdale where guests will find themselves somewhere between laid-back island time and the fast pace of a thriving city. After enjoying Fort Lauderdale, guests will enjoy two sea days before Caribbean island hopping en route down south.


Enjoy the views of Dominica’s quaint capital, Roseau.

After a sea day, the voyage reaches South America. The first stop is Devil’s Island, French Guiana, infamous for its prisons of the 19th and 20th centuries. One of its most famous prisoners was Henri Charrière, author of the book Papillon, who allegedly succeeded in an escape by filling sacks with coconuts in order to float to the mainland. After re-living history, cruisers will enter the Amazon at the scenic Barra Norte Sea.

The first stop along the Amazon River is Macapá, Brazil. While many people have not heard of this city, it is certainly a check off of a bucket list, as Macapá bills itself as the city of the middle of the earth because the equator runs through it! A visit to Macapá will be filled with tropical warmth and scenic rain forest views.

The next Amazonian stops are Santarem and Boca da Valeria, Brazil, before reaching the largest city along the Amazon River, Manaus, Brazil for two port days. Manaus is the perfect example of a contrast between modernity and nature as high-rises, buzzing restaurants and beaches are minutes away from the watery jungle.


The Victoria Lillies in Manaus, Brazil.

Following a visit to Manaus, the cruise heads to Parintins and Alter do Chao, Brazil. After crossing the equator, the cruise returns to Barra Norte before reaching Belém, Brazil. Founded in 1616 as one of the first settlements along Brazil’s Amazon River, Belém, the capital of the Brazilian state of Pará, once prospered as one of South America’s spotlight playgrounds for the rich and cultured. While visiting Belém, the action-packed Ver-o-Peso market, the largest open-air market in Latin America, is a requisite first stop for any visitor.


A quintessential Tobago sunset.

Following the visit to Belém, the exploration continues with two sea days. Guests will again reach the coasts of the Caribbean, by exploring two ports in Trinidad & Tobago. While at Scarborough, a “must-do” is to try curried crab and dumplings, a staple at most of the island’s many food shacks. The next port of call is the capital of Trinidad & Tobago, Port-of-Spain, best known for its colorful carnival full of steel pan orchestras.


The famous Dutch architecture of Oranjestad, Aruba.

After another sea day, guests will land on the shores of Aruba’s capital city, Oranjestad. Oranjestad, is a maze of Dutch-colonial architecture painted in a palette of Caribbean pastels. Along with the quaint Dutch architecture and beaches guests will also find a treasure trove of excellent seafood restaurants, lighthouses and untouched nature that reflect the rugged appeal of Aruba. Two more sea days and the 30-day exploration returns to Fort Lauderdale.

Holland America Blog

Find your next cruise at TopCruiseFinder.com.

Journey to the Far East and South Pacific on Amsterdam’s 2018 Grand Voyage

Grand Voyages don’t just get their names from their exceptional length, but from all the magnificent destinations you have the opportunity to experience on just one cruise. On Sept. 30, 2018, Amsterdam will embark on an 82-day Grand Asia & Pacific Voyage roundtrip from Los Angeles, California, that includes 34 ports and six overnights. From the mysterious lands of Asia to the exotic island jewels of the South Pacific, this cruise visits a collection of ports that are high on most travel wish lists. Join us for a peek into this unforgettable journey to see if it’s right for you!

After departing Los Angeles, Amsterdam will spend five leisurely days at sea before making its first call at Dutch Harbor, Unalaska, a port best known for being the famous harbor featured in the Discovery Channel’s hit television series Deadliest Catch. Amsterdam will then spend three more days at sea, crossing the International Dateline before reaching Petropavlovsk, Kamchatskiy, Russia. Spend your time enjoying the spectacular volcano views or take a boat out on Avacha Bay for a day of fishing, whale watching, or just enjoying the scenery. Amsterdam guests will then depart Russia and spend two days at sea before the ship makes its first call in the Far East at Kushiro, Japan.

Journey to Japan

Kobe, Japan.

Kobe, Japan.

Kushiro is famous for the thick fog that creates its mysterious appeal and is home to Kushiro Shitsugen National Park — Japan’s largest undeveloped wetland. Guests can take part in canoe tours through the marshlands or enjoy boardwalk trails while keeping an eye out for Japan’s revered red-crowned crane. Another natural wonder that should not be missed is Akan National Park. Here guests can admire impressive volcanoes and pristine crater lakes where it’s possible to take a dip in one off the area’s natural hot springs. Before heading back to the ship, make sure to stop at Washo market for fresh sushi and sashimi, or head to the fisherman’s wharf for souvenir shopping!

Amsterdam will depart Kushiro and make way for Yokohama, Japan, for the first overnight of the voyage. Having a decidedly different feel from many other Japanese cities, this port continues to be one of the liveliest and most international destinations in Japan, offering microbreweries and restaurants featuring global cuisine. Those looking to explore a bit further can take advantage of the extra time at port and take a quick trip to Kamakura, home to Japan’s second-largest bronze Buddah, Daibutsu, as well as the important Shinto shrine Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. However, the biggest attraction of this port is that it can be accessed through one of our incredible EXC Tours. Select the Hakone National Park & Mt Fuji Views tour for an opportunity to get a close-up view of one of the most recognizable landmarks of Japan — Mt. Fuji! After departing Yokohama, Amsterdam will continue on to call at three additional Japanese ports including Shimizu, Kobe, and Kochi. Following Kochi, guests will enjoy scenic cruising through the Kanmon Strait and a call at Fukuoka (Hakata), Japan, before the ship spends two more days at sea while making its way to China.

Calling at China

The Great Wall of China.

The Great Wall of China.

Following those two relaxing sea days, Amesterdam guests will arrive at Tianjin (Bejing), China, for the second overnight of the voyage. As a major seaport and gateway to Bejing, bucket-list attractions are well within reach, allowing cruisers to take full advantage of their extra time at port. Guests can explore this major city on their own, or take part in an exciting EXC Tour like the Summer Palace & the Great Wall of China, which combines two major attractions in one tour! After spending time in this bustling city, guests will be happy to have two more days at sea to recharge before reaching Shanghai for another overnight stay. With fascinating museums, impressive architecture and over 30,000 restaurants, guests will find their overnight allows them ample time to see a bit of everything.

Amsterdam will depart Shanghai and make three consecutive calls that include Naha and Ishigaki Island in Japan, and Keelung (Taipei), Taiwan. A visit to Naha allows guests to witness Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was originally erected in the late 14th century and served as the residence of the Ryukyu Kings until 1879. While it’s been rebuilt and destroyed many times over the centuries, this site continues to be popular among visitors. At Ishigaki Island, guests can take part in a tranquil glass-bottom boat tour of Kabira Bay as they admire its renowned white sands and turquoise waters. The next port of Keelung gives cruisers the chance to visit Tawain’s only park with volcanic geography and hot springs — Yangmingshan National Park!

Cruisers will have another day at sea before making the last call in China at the glamorous and cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong for another overnight. Upon departing China, Amsterdam spends another day at sea before continuing on to call at two ports in Vietnam, Nha Trang and Phu, followed by another day at sea before reaching Singapore for an overnight call.

Inviting Indonesia

Bali, Indonesia.

Bali, Indonesia, is a jewel in the region.

The Far East portion of the voyage will conclude with three calls to some of the most intriguing destinations in Indonesia: Semerang, Denpasar and Komodo Island. After a day at sea, guests will arrive at Semarang where visitors can take a day trip to Borobudur, the Buddhist temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates to the 8th and 9th centuries. Cruisers will enjoy another sea day before arriving at Denpasar, the capital city of stunning Bali. While Indonesia is made up of more than 13,000 islands, Bali still manages to stand out against the competition. Here you’ll find alluring temples and shrines of all sizes spread across the island, hidden within the jungle or serenely presiding over scenic locations like the dramatic Pura Tanah Lot that sits atop a rock formation just off Bali’s western coast. The very next day, Amsterdam will call at Komodo Island, where guests will discover another UNESCO World Heritage Site — Komodo National Park. A biosphere reserve since 1992, this region is home to approximately 5,800 Komodo dragons and offers gorgeous landscapes that are comprised of white-sand beaches, clear blue water and sheer rugged cliffs.

Australia Awaits!

Sydney, Australia.

Sydney, Australia.

After departing Indonesia, Amsterdam will spend a day at sea before reaching the next impressive destination of the voyage — Australia. Cruisers’ first call in the Land Down Under will be at Darwin. The lifestyle here is tropical, which means a relaxed atmosphere, fabulous fusion food and vibrant outdoor markets. Guests will then call at Cairns and Mooloolaba before arriving at Sydney for an overnight. The idyllic lifestyle, friendly locals and drop-dead natural beauty of this approachable metropolis explain why the country tops so many travelers’ wish lists. The famed harbor is among the top sights and home to two icons: the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In one day you can sail around the harbor, get a behind-the-scenes tour of the opera house and climb the bridge, with time to spare for people-watching over a flat white at a waterfront café.

Sailing the South Pacific


Amsterdam departs Australia and spends two days at sea as it makes way to the South Pacific, where balmy breezes, turquoise waters and tangerine sunsets await. Guests will enjoy three days of back-to-back calls at Nouméa and Easo, New Caledonia; and Mystery Island, Vanuatu. Nouméa is a French city with Polynesian accents, cooled by ocean breezes and set among tropical flowers the size of dinner plates. With one of the healthiest reef systems left on earth, the island’s lagoons are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, holding more than 9,000 species of fish and other marine life. At the island paradise of Easo, guests will be welcomed with traditional tribal dances as well as a colorful local market that pops up to sell food, drinks and crafts. Lounge on the pristine beach or take in the sights on the island’s many walking paths and trails. Mystery Island is an uninhabited island that’s home to crystal-clear waters and stunning coral reefs, making it the ideal spot for snorkeling or swimming.

Amsterdam guests will then spend a day at sea before calling at two ports in Fiji: Port Denerau (Nadi) and Suva, Viti Levu, where you’ll find some of the world’s best soft coral diving, as well as shimmering green mountains and cultivated gardens. Amsterdam continues the South Pacific adventure with a call at Apia, Upolo, Samoa where guests will find a dramatic volcanic landscape with vibrant green jungles. Explore the Samoan cultural village or visit the To Sua Ocean Trench where you can relax in a natural swimming grotto, filled with sapphire-blue seawater. The fjordlike harbor of Pago Pago, Tutulia, is one of the most stunning in the region! Visitors will find the best views of the harbor from the summit of Mount Alava in the National Park of American Samoa.

Homeward Bound

Hawaiian fire dancer.

After departing American Samoa, Amsterdam will cross the equator and spend four more days at sea before making the last two calls of the voyage at Honolulu and Lahaina, Hawaii. While at Honolulu, guests can learn to surf in the birthplace of modern surfing at gorgeous Waikiki Beach or take a tour to the historic site of Pearl Harbor. At Lahaina, known as the paradise of paradises, guests can journey into the rain forest for a scenic drive full of twists and turns that lead to stunning waterfalls and ponds ideal for cooling off. Following this final call, cruisers will enjoy five luxurious days at sea where the ship becomes the destination as Amsterdam makes its way back to Los Angeles.

Now that you’ve taken a peek into this journey with us, we think you’ll agree when we say this voyage is not just grand, it is epic! With a combination of relaxing days at sea on our elegant ship and calls at exotic cities and picturesque islands, our 82-day Grand Asia & Pacific Voyage makes for one legendary cruise!

ms Amsterdam

ms Amsterdam.

Unable to get away from 82 days? You don’t have to miss out! Holland America Line offers five different segments of this voyage, allowing guests to choose the itinerary that best suits their schedule and interests! On Sept. 30, 2018, cruisers can opt for 57-day segment that begins at Los Angeles and concludes at Sydney, or they can select the 34-day segment that begins at Los Angeles and ends at Hong Kong. On Nov. 4, 2018, an additional two segments are available including a 48-day segment that begins at Hong Kong and concludes at Los Angeles, or a 23-day segment that begins at Hong Kong and concludes at Sydney. Lastly, On Nov. 27, 2018, a 25-day segment is available from Sydney to Los Angeles. Make sure to browse our various itineraries to find the best fit for you!

Which destination would you most look forward to on this itinerary? Tell us in the comments below!

Holland America Blog

Book your next cruise at TopCruiseFinder.com.

Carnival Cruise Line Hosts Seuss-a-Palooza Event Aboard Carnival Fantasy in Mobile For Kids from the YMCA of South Alabama



Carnival Cruise Line celebrated its partnership with the Port of Mobile and greater Mobile community today by hosting a Seuss-a-Palooza event for kids attending the YMCA of South Alabama Summer Camp program. The event aboard Carnival Fantasy, which is homeported year-round in Mobile, was highlighted by a Green Eggs and Ham brunch with The Cat in the Hat and Friends, a Seuss-a-Palooza Story Time and Parade and other Dr. Seuss–inspired activities that are featured on Carnival cruises.

During the event, Carnival made a $ 20,000 donation to the YMCA of South Alabama, reinforcing the cruise line’s commitment to supporting its homeport communities. Carnival Fantasy sails from Mobile on four- to 10-day cruises to destinations across The Bahamas, eastern and western Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. The ship carries approximately 170,000 guests a year from Mobile.

“The event today was a terrific opportunity to celebrate our long-standing relationship with the Port of Mobile and demonstrate that we’re proud to be community partners,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “The partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises is unique to Carnival and we were happy to share this fun experience with such a great group of kids from the Mobile area.”

Today’s festivities are part of Seuss at Sea, Carnival’s exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises that features fleetwide activities like the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends, the Seuss-a-Palooza Parade and Story Time, Dr. Seuss Bookville, a family reading venue on select ships, character interactions, Dr. Seuss toys and games, and popular movies shown on board.

YMCA of South Alabama
The YMCA is a powerful association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life, joined together by shared passions: To strengthen the foundations of community. With a commitment to nurturing the potential of all kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility, the Y ensures that every individual has access to the essentials needed to learn, grow and thrive.

YMCA day camp programs provide a fun and unique experience that gives children and teens the opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet new friends, discover new interests and create memories that last a lifetime. A leading nonprofit committed to nurturing the potential of youth, the Y has been a leader in providing summer camp for over 130 years.

Carnival Fantasy
Carnival Fantasy offers a wide variety of popular features including  Guy’s Burger Joint — a complimentary poolside dining venue serving handcrafted burgers and fries developed in tandem with Food Network star chef Guy Fieri; BlueIguana Cantina, offering authentic handmade burritos and tacos; the poolside Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Rum Bar and Mexican-themed BlueIguana Tequila Bar along with a 12,000-square-foot spa, a WaterWorks aqua park with a 300-foot-long slide and a kiddie splash area; a Serenity adults-only retreat and  fun, supervised programs for kids ages 2 to 17.

For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Carnival Cruise Line News

Book your next cruise at TopCruiseFinder.com.

5 Culinary Experiences Not to Miss in South America

Whether watching gauchos in Buenos Aires preparing an elaborate and savory asado, sampling the local wines near Montevideo or enjoying Peru’s most revered dish in Salaverry – mouthwatering and fresh ceviche – South American cuisine is as diverse as its people. This continent’s dishes are a delight for your senses.



When many think of Argentine cuisine they think of the country’s legendary steak. The country is well-known for its asados, or barbecue, also known as parrilladas. However, asados are not just a meal in Argentina – they are a major social event that brings together family and friends. On our Gaucho Fiesta shore excursion, you can enjoy this classic Argentine experience and watch as the gauchos, or cowboys, prepare your steaks and later share their traditional dancing and horsemanship skills. Don’t forget to add some chimichurri – the green sauce made with finely chopped parsley, oregano, onion, garlic, chili pepper flakes, olive oil and a touch of lemon or vinegar – the country’s go-to condiment.



With its vast stretches of rolling countryside and diverse winegrowing regions, it’s no wonder Uruguay is one of South America’s hidden wine gems. This country, which attracts a wide variety of travelers for its casual atmosphere and laid-back style, is best known for its Tannat wine – a rich, full-bodied red wine with dark fruit and spice aromas and flavors that’s softer and easier on the palate than the original French version. Enjoy a sampling of Uruguay’s prized local wines during our City Sights & Juanico Winery excursion or our City Landmarks, Wine & Dance Performance excursion, both from Montevideo.



Among the most traditional and delicious dishes native to Peru, ceviche tops the list of must-try specialties when visiting this fascinating and history-rich country. Though other countries specialize in ceviche, like Mexico and Ecuador, Peru’s iconic lemon-cured fish recipe is one of the most popular and easiest to make. Watch a local master chef prepare the iconic Peruvian fish dish in Salaverry during our Ceviche Experience shore excursion.



Colombians take their coffee seriously. With no fancy blends or flavors, black coffee can be considered the country’s national drink. The locals are accustomed to having coffee right after a meal, so whatever you happen to be exploring in Colombia, make sure to try this country’s coffee by asking for a tinto, as they call it, and enjoy the pure aroma and taste of one of the world’s best coffees.



Rio de Janeiro, the cultural capital of Brazil, evokes images of samba, sunbathing and an irrepressible exuberance for life. What better to pair this vivacious energy with than the country’s national drink? Meet the refreshing yet potent caipirinha. The cocktail, as difficult as it may be to pronounce (Kai-Pee-Reen-Ya), is a deliciously simple mix of lime, sugar, and cachaça – the perfect accompaniment to a samba performance or a Copacabana beach stroll.

Inspired? Begin planning your South America adventure with us now.

Oceania Cruises Blog

Find your next luxury cruise at Luxury.TopCruiseFinder.com.