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Holland America Asia

Holland America Asia

Since the 12th century trading ships have plied oriental waters, but today floating pleasure palaces are appearing with increasing regularity on the eastern horizon. Far East nations all share a history of commerce due to their geographical proximity. Herein lies the magic for latter-day visitors - for the seas that separate these archipelagos and islands are not only vital links in a rich mosaic, they are perfect for a seaborne odyssey. 

During your cruise in Asia, you’ll walk in the footsteps of emperors as you explore the palaces and temples they created, and marvel at engineering feats from grand canals to immense fortifications. When you visit some of the world's most exciting cities, you’ll be immersed in the buzz of cosmopolitan energy. Sample amazing new flavours in the street markets of Bangkok; trace the vestiges of colonial Britain among the modern shopping lanes of Hong Kong; and stroll the serene, otherworldly gardens of Kyoto. Whichever ports you visit across this vast continent, you’ll never cease to be enchanted by the fascinating histories, cultures and landscapes you encounter.  

Small but perfectly formed, Singapore is crammed with superlatives. For an island almost twice the size of the Isle of Wight, it packs a lot in. Hovering under peninsular Malaysia, the city-state is a place of soaring skylines, hi-tech engineering and colonial charm. 

‘Fragrant Harbour’ - the Chinese translation of Hong Kong - couldn’t be more appropriate for cruise passengers getting their first glimpse of such a frenetic, romantic, almost absurdly beautiful port. Indeed life centres on this natural, safe anchorage for the ships of every nation which dock for a share of the trading action. 

A highlight of any cruise in the South China Sea is a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay. Literally meaning ‘Bay of Descending Dragons’, over 3,000 limestone karsts rise from the jade waters of Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin. Remnants of mountains formed 67 million years ago, each appears like an unfinished sculpture hewn by the hand of nature. Lapping water against the stone has carved out a number of vast, striking caverns, as well as tunnel caves, beautiful grottoes and uniquely shaped massifs. 

Pudong puts the high in Shanghai, so it’s worth taking full advantage of the vistas. The Jin Mao Tower in Pudong was featured in the James Bond movie Skyfall. At 88 storeys, it is the third tallest building in mainland China. There is an indoor observatory; while for those who don’t suffer vertigo, there’s an outdoor glass walkway at the top. 

Holland America Line are renowned for their creative itineraries throughout Southeast Asia and a multitude of convenient cruises visit a variety of ports in Japan; Malaysia; South Korea; China; Vietnam; Taiwan; Indonesia; Papua New Guinea; and the Philippines from the embarkation ports of Shanghai; Bangkok; Singapore and Hong Kong.

  • 20th May 2019

Gary Buchanan

Edinburgh-born Gary Buchanan has been a travel writer for over 30 years. He has been a specialist cruise writer for 25 years contributing to leading British publications including national newspapers and consumer magazines. He is the author of five books about cruising and spends over seven months every year at sea sailing the world’s oceans.