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Holland America’s latest epic cruise is an island lover’s delight


Looking for an easy and affordable way to tour Australia, New Zealand and a large number of Pacific islands in a single trip?

Holland America has a new offering that allows for just that.

The Seattle-based line on Tuesday will announce an epic monthlong itinerary that gives travelers the opportunity to visit Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and several of the most notable Pacific island groups without getting on any inter-island flights.

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The “Islands of the South Pacific: Sydney to Auckland” voyage, as Holland America is calling it, will take place on the line’s 1,924-passenger Noordam and kick off Jan. 4, 2026, in Sydney.

As it begins, the sailing will resemble a typical sailing up the east coast of Australia with stops at Queensland’s Moreton Island — a sandy getaway known for sand tobogganing, diving, bird-watching and parasailing — and the Queensland capital, Brisbane.

Additional stops up the Australian coast will include Townsville, a gateway to scuba diving outings at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and the city of Cairns.


After a week of such exploring along Australia’s east coast, Noordam will strike out northeastward for a three-day visit to Papua New Guinea.

Among the stops in Papua New Guinea will be Alotau, a buzzing harbor that was the site of the Battle of Milne Bay — often billed as Japan’s first defeat in the Pacific during World War II. Noordam also will visit Papua New Guinea’s Conflict Islands and Kiriwina, the largest of the country’s Trobriand Islands.

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From Papua New Guinea, Noordam will head eastward toward Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands — the site of another well-known World War II battle. Nowadays, it’s known for its unspoiled beauty, which includes mountain spires, rocky coastlines, dense rainforest and spectacular waterfalls.

Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Holland America ship

Guadalcanal is just the first of a string of Pacific islands on the schedule. Noordam will spend the next 10 days hopping eastward and southward between several major island groups, including the islands of Vanuatu and Fiji — both independent countries made up of large numbers of islands.

Noordam will visit three destinations in each of these two island groups. In Vanuatu, it will spend a full day each in Luganville, Port Vila and Mystery Island. The Fiji visit will bring day visits to Lautoka, Suva and Dravuni Island.

A final Pacific island stop during this stretch of the trip will be the islands of Tonga, another independent country composed of multiple islands. Two stops are planned in Tonga, in Vavau and Nukualofa.

After touring these island groups, Noordam will turn southwestward across the Pacific to New Zealand, where the trip will end Feb. 1, 2026. Stops in New Zealand include Waitangi and Tauranga.

A ‘legendary voyage’ for Holland America

The new South Pacific itinerary is the latest addition to a new series of so-called Legendary Voyages that Holland America unveiled in early 2023. The extra-long sailings, scheduled to take place over the next three years, focus on a single region and range from 25 to 59 nights in length. They also feature special programming.

The initial lineup of Legendary Voyages included both previously offered routings and some all-new routes — the latter including an epic itinerary focused on Japan scheduled for this year that will last more than 50 days.

The voyages generally focus on far-off destinations — including Australia and New Zealand, the Amazon and South America, the South Pacific and Hawaii, Greenland and Iceland, Asia, Alaska and the Arctic Circle. But in a twist, most sailings are designed to begin and end in a North American port. This means that North American passengers can reach distant places without ever getting on an international flight.

Related: Inside Passage to Arctic Circle: Cruise Alaska for a month with this epic new itinerary

The new lineup of long trips is designed to augment Holland America’s celebrated collection of even longer Grand Voyages — far-ranging, often world-circling sailings that typically are 70 nights or longer.

Holland America’s new South Pacific itinerary will include calls in Vanuatu. HOLLAND AMERICA

The initial grouping of Legendary Voyages announced in early 2023 included 17 specific departures between late 2023 and early 2025. Holland America has since been adding additional departures, including the new South Pacific trip.

Holland America has long been known for longer sailings from U.S. ports that brought people to far-flung places around the globe. The new Legendary Voyages and an expanded lineup of other long voyages mark a doubling down by the line on such trips.

Fares for the new South Pacific itinerary — which will be 28 nights long — start at $3,669 per person, not including taxes, fees and port charges. More information can be found on the page for the sailing at Holland America’s website.

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