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TravelThis epic new cruise itinerary will hit more destinations than you thought...

This epic new cruise itinerary will hit more destinations than you thought possible

Holland America is going big with its latest around-the-world cruise.

The Seattle-based line on Monday revealed plans for a globe-circling voyage in 2026 lasting 132 days — as many as 19 days longer than other around-the-world sailings it’s offered in recent years.

Kicking off in Fort Lauderdale Jan. 4, 2026, the Grand World Voyage, as the line is calling it, will include visits to all seven continents — a relative rarity for world cruises. It’ll also include extensive time in South America and Northern Europe — which is tough to pull off logistically on an around-the-world cruise.

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“This one is ambitious in the sense that we’re really stretching that line … all the way down the east coast of South America to Antarctica and providing that experience and then working our way kind of diagonally back up to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe,” Paul Grigsby, Holland America vice president for deployment and itinerary planning, told TPG in an exclusive interview in advance of the announcement.

Grigsby noted that an around-the-world cruise the line offered in 2019 included stops in Northern Europe but not an extensive exploration of South America. To get both regions into the 2026 itinerary, Grigsby’s team had to make the sailing considerably longer than the 2019 sailing. The 2019 sailing was just 113 days in length.

“I think we’re more comfortable now with longer cruises,” Grigsby noted.

In the last couple of years, Holland America has been doubling down on longer sailings, something for which the line has long been known. Expanding longer sailings has included a new series of so-called Legendary Voyages that focus on a single region and range from 25 to 59 nights in length.

The newly announced world cruise will feature stops in 47 ports in 39 countries in all — a hefty number for a world cruise offered by any line.

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Around the world from Fort Lauderdale

As is often the case with Holland America’s around-the-world cruises, the just-announced 2026 sailing will be on the line’s 1,432-passenger Volendam, one of the smallest Holland America vessels.

After starting in Fort Lauderdale, Volendam will first head southward to Barbados in the Caribbean before working its way down the east coast of South America toward Antarctica. Stops in South America will include Devil’s Island in French Guiana; Belem, Recife and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil; Punta del Este and Montevideo in Uruguay; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and the Falkland Islands.


From the Falklands, Volendam will continue southward to Antarctica for a multiday visit before cruising along the coast of Chile and into the Chilean fjords. It’ll then cross the Pacific to French Polynesia, New Zealand and Australia on a course that will take it past the rarely visited destinations of Easter Island and Pitcairn Island.

Easter Island and the islands of French Polynesia have ranked high in surveys from Grigsby’s itinerary planning team that asked past passengers where they want to go, according to Grigsby.

In particular, Easter Island is a “bucket list destination” for many Holland America regulars, and the South Pacific is “one of the top-rated regions,” he said.

Australia also is popular with Holland America passengers, which prompted Grigsby’s team to work in stops in the Australian ports of Sydney, Townsville, Cairns and Darwin. Both the Townsville and Cairns stops allow for excursions to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

“I don’t think I would ever not have Australia and New Zealand in a world cruise,” Grigsby said. “It always rates high among our guests.”

From Australia, Volendam will head to Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Maldives before quickly transiting through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal to Europe.

Related: Holland America unveils another epic cruise — this time with a twist

In contrast to many world cruises of the past, stops in the Middle East have been mostly left off the schedule, with the exception of calls in Safaga and Alexandria in Egypt to allow for visits to the ancient Egyptian sites of Luxor along the Nile and the Great Pyramids near Cairo. That’s in part because of waning interest in the region among world travelers due to the recent outbreak of war in Gaza and attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

“I don’t think you’d be surprised to know that the area around Dubai (in the Persian Gulf) and Oman is of less interest to our guests than it has been in the past,” Grigsby noted. “That’s why you find a fairly speedy transit through the Red Sea and Suez Canal.”

Once in Europe, Volendam will stop in a wide range of destinations, including the Mediterranean ports of Piraeus, Greece (the port for Athens); Civitavecchia (the port for Rome) and Naples in Italy; and Alicante, Spain.

More northerly ports will include Oslo, Norway and Copenhagen, Denmark.

Among the more unusual stops in Europe will be Bordeaux, France, which is on the Garonne River in southwestern France. It’s a port that is only accessible to smaller cruise vessels such as Volendam.

The voyage will visit 39 countries in all, with stops at 47 ports.

Related: The 11 best around-the-world cruises

Nine of the calls will be overnight, allowing for more in-depth touring. These overnight calls include stops in Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Safaga, Alexandria and Lisbon.

The longer stays are in places where Holland America’s past passengers have said they wanted longer stays, Grigsby said, citing data from an extensive survey of more than 30,000 past passengers.

Early booking bonus

Fares for the newly announced Grand World Voyage won’t be announced until May, when the sailing goes on sale to the general public. But Holland America on Monday said it would offer an early booking bonus of up to $2,000 per person in onboard credit and a free Wi-Fi Surf package to those who book the sailing early. The company didn’t specify a deadline for getting the bonus.

In addition, passengers who pay for the sailing in full will get a 3% discount on their fares.

Additional perks for passengers who book early will include a $500 per person air credit when booking air through Holland America’s Flight Ease program and complimentary round-trip airport transfers to and from the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

Passengers also will get complimentary luggage delivery service to and from the Fort Lauderdale airport, prepaid gratuities (called “crew appreciation” fees at Holland America) and included laundry and dry cleaning service when booking certain cabin categories.

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