You can now travel from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle — and hit multiple continents in between — without ever stepping foot on an international flight, thanks to Holland America’s new “pole-to-pole” cruise.
This epic 133-day voyage, offered onboard the 1,432-passenger Volendam, is one of the cruise line’s newly announced itineraries for 2025. The ship will depart from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Jan. 25, 2025, which means you’ve got plenty of time to start packing for all the different climates you’ll visit along the route.
After leaving the U.S., the vessel will head south toward the iconic Panama Canal, then slowly make its way down the western coast of South America, with a variety of colorful port stops along the way. It will cross the famed Drake Passage and spend four days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula, where penguins, whales and seals are all common sights.
Then, the ship will point its bow north once again, sailing up the eastern coast of South America before crossing the Atlantic Ocean toward Africa.
From Africa, the Volendam will hug the western coast of Europe before sailing above the Arctic Circle. Its northern terminus will be North Cape, in far northern Norway. Stops in Iceland, Greenland and Canada then round out the journey as the ship makes its way back to Fort Lauderdale by June 7.
In total, the vessel will visit 68 ports in 28 countries, spread across five continents. Another perk: The itinerary includes eight overnight port stops, which means you won’t feel rushed while visiting these fascinating places: Fuerte Amador, Panama; Callao, Peru; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Reykjavik, Iceland.
This route is unique among world cruises: Typically, ships travel horizontally around the Earth. But with this itinerary, Holland America decided to shake things up a bit and try something new, traversing the planet from tip to tip vertically. (If you’d prefer to do the more classic horizontal route, the cruise line also just announced its 2025 Grand World Voyage, which follows that more traditional around-the-world path from east to west.)
“It was fun to really put some creative thought into it,” as Paul Grigsby, the cruise line’s vice president for deployment and itinerary planning, tells The Points Guy in a recent interview.
It may sound like a long to be away from home, but the Volendam is equipped with everything you need to be comfortable and happy for more than four months at sea. It’s got a spa, several fine dining restaurants, a casino, five pools and hot tubs, a movie theater and even pickleball courts for keeping up with your new favorite sport.
The cruise line hasn’t revealed how much the journey will cost, but to give you an idea, fares for its 128-day 2024 world cruise aboard the Zuiderdam start at $23,599.
Intrigued by this once-in-a-lifetime adventure? Booking for the pole-to-pole route opens May 24, so mark your calendars! And if you can’t wait that long, you can call your travel advisor or Holland America directly to make an official deposited future cruise request, which will give you top priority when booking does finally open next month.