Holland America Line is all about tradition—a tradition of luxury, service, elegance and much more—but one of its most singularly grand traditions is the yearly Grand World Voyage, a cruise that virtually spans the globe and visits many of the world’s most alluring, endearing ports of call.

For the past 50 years, Holland America has taken its guests on a marvelous adventure, offering an opportunity for a lifetime of experiences in the course of slightly more than 110 days. This is a voyage that stirs the imagination and exceeds your greatest expectations. It’s aboard Holland America’s flagship, the ms Amsterdam, an ocean liner recognized for its class, enhancements, sophisticated dining, gracious service, enriching activities and superior accommodations.

On January 4, 2008, the ms Amsterdam will embark on its 50th Golden Anniversary Grand World Voyage from Fort Lauderdale to begin its explorations of 39 ports in 29 countries.

Here are some insights from two veteran AAA World Cruise hosts, Gloria and Jack Meerman.

Q: What is so special about a World Cruise?

Istanbul, Turkey. Photos by Holland America.

A: There is NO other trip one can take that’s more exciting and rewarding than a World Cruise. Picture yourself on a beautiful ocean liner for over 100 days, seeing the world in the most luxurious and comfortable way one can imagine. A World Cruise is the “ultimate” in luxury travel, and the most experienced crew members are chosen to wine, dine and serve you 24 hours a day—nothing is too much to ask.

Q: Can you get bored on such a long cruise?

A: No, there is an abundance of things to do, varied ports of call and opportunities to get to know your fellow travelers.

Q: What about the activities on board?

A: The daily Exploration Lecture Series features very special guests, including ambassadors, astronauts, economists, geologists and more. Shore excursion experts provide lectures and information on upcoming ports of call. Travelers can enjoy dance lessons, bridge, a library fully stocked with books and videos, and movies in the theater. Via satellite, watch great sporting events, including golf, football and soccer. Every night, you’ll receive a schedule for the next day’s activities delivered to your cabin along with the ship’s daily world news bulletin and stock market report.

Q: Tell me something about the dining on board.

A: In addition to the dining alternatives available on a typical one-week cruise, on a World Cruise there are between 25 and 30 formal nights, with the remainder of the evenings divided between informal and casual. There are many highly decorated special theme nights, such as Dutch, French, Turkish, Indonesian, Scandinavian, Chinese, etc., with foods from the corresponding countries.

Q: Entertainment on board?

A: Every night after dinner there is a show in the theater. Musical productions, singers, comedians, professional dancers, folkloric shows, and welcome and farewell shows provide an endless variety of entertainment. The ship also has orchestras, pianists and combos. On the world cruise, many special entertainers join the cruise en route to bring new and fresh entertainment to the voyage.

Q: How do you prepare for such a long cruise?

A: Most importantly, set up Internet banking with your preferred bank so you can pay bills online through the ship’s Internet Café. Also, designate someone to check on your home periodically and leave them a key.

Q: What should one pack for a cruise of this length?

A: Because there are laundry and dry cleaning services available on the ship, we suggest packing as though it’s a three to four week cruise. No one is concerned if you wear an outfit more than once. You also have a great chance to add to your wardrobe with excellent shopping opportunities in the many ports you visit.

Jack and Gloria Meerman have been in the travel industry for over 40 years, owning and operating six travel offices until 1992. Gloria was a AAA travel counselor for 11 years. Jack and Gloria hosted the 105-day world cruise on Holland America’s ms Prinsendam in 2006 for AAA.

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