HAL to boost presence in Mexico with 22 cruises


SEATTLE -- In a boost to Mexico's cruise market, Holland America said it is nearly doubling the number of its Mexico cruises next year from 12 to 22 sailings. The company is expanding its seven-day Mexico cruises aboard the Ryndam, adding nine sailings in fall 2002 plus two holiday cruises.

All of the 11 new cruises will sail roundtrip from San Diego, a popular home port for the line during the past four years. The 1,266-passenger Ryndam also is changing its scheduled seven-day Sea of Cortes cruise on Oct. 10 to a 10-day Mexican Riviera/Sea of Cortes cruise departing Oct. 9.

David Giersdorf, senior vice president of marketing and sales, said Holland America will undertake several efforts to promote its expanded Mexico product, including an advertising campaign, promotional fares and booking incentives for travel agents.

Coronado Island, off the coast of Loreto, will be featured in the Ryndam's Sea of Cortes sailings. The schedule for Holland America's other ship in Mexico next year, the 1,266-passenger Statendam, remains the same, and the ship will offer more 10-day cruises of the Mexican Riviera than any other vessel, Giersdorf said.

In place of its original fall 2002 cruise schedule to South America, the Ryndam will offer a new three-day Pacific Coast cruise Oct. 6 from Vancouver to San Diego and the 10-day Mexican Riviera/Sea of Cortes cruise departing Oct. 9. The two cruises can be combined for a 13-day vacation.

From Oct. 19 to Dec. 28, the ship will depart San Diego on 11 new seven-day cruises, with the last two departures operating as holiday cruises. The ship will offer two alternating itineraries sailing roundtrip from San Diego.

The Sea of Cortes cruises will depart San Diego on Oct. 19; Nov. 2, 16 and 30, and Dec. 14. They will feature stops in Loreto, La Paz and Cabo San Lucas. The Statendam also sails this itinerary on May 2.

The seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises will depart San Diego on Oct. 26, Nov. 9 and 23 and Dec. 7, stopping at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Cruise-only fares start at $819 per person, double, including port charges and an early-booking discount.

The Ryndam's three 10-day cruises feature both the Sea of Cortes and the Mexican Riviera. The cruises will depart San Diego April 24, May 4 and Oct. 9 for Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, then cruise the Sea of Cortes, calling at Pichilingue, Santa Rosalia, Loreto and Cabo San Lucas.

The Ryndam's sister ship, the Statendam, will offer four 10-day cruises in the 2002 winter-spring season (Jan. 7, Feb. 16, March 13 and April 7) and three in the fall (Oct. 21, Nov. 15 and Dec. 10).

All sail the Mexican Riviera, visiting Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Acapulco, Zihuatanejo and Puerto Vallarta. All 10-day, cruise-only fares start at $1,189 per person, double, including port charges and early-booking discounts.

The line said several cruises can be extended by adding another cruise segment. For example, a seven-day Statendam cruise can be extended to 10 days by adding a three-day West Coast cruise segment to Vancouver from San Diego on May 2.

Clients also can extend the Ryndam's 10-day cruise, departing May 4, to 13 days by adding a similar three-day cruise segment to Vancouver on Oct. 6. For more information, call (877) SAIL-HAL or visit www.hollandamerica.com.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI