HAL puts a second Vista-class ship on Mexico route

Mazatlán - a stop on HAL's Mexican Riviera cruises Mazatlán - a stop on HAL's Mexican Riviera cruises

Holland America Line's Oosterdam is joining Westerdam for the 2017/18 Mexico season on round-trip cruises from San Diego.

From September 2017 through February 2018, the 1,964-passenger ships will sail 11 seven-day cruises calling at Mazatlán, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.

HAL president Orlando Ashford said the line's last Mexico season was very popular so additional capacity was added this year.

To kick off the season, Oosterdam departs on Sept. 30 with two back-to-back seven-day sailings. Westerdam departs Nov. 24 on the first of two seven-day cruises. The ship's other Mexican Riviera sailing departs Dec. 1. Oosterdam follows up with two similar holiday sailings Dec. 20 and 27 and then operates the same Mexican Riviera itinerary Jan. 3 and 10 and Feb. 4, 11 and 25.

Throughout the voyages, Explorations Central programming is designed to bring Mexico's local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life on board. Local cultural ambassadors teach crafts, language and dance lessons throughout the voyage and a mariachi band performs at one of the ports of call.

Travelers can learn more about the country at an EXC talk by an EXC guide, or head to America's Test Kitchen for a cooking demonstration, cooking class or themed mixology class featuring local fare.

The main dining room and Lido Market also will showcase the flavors of Mexico, while bars will offer a variety of Mexican liquors and ingredients. The ships' ambiance will be enhanced by Mexican floral varieties.

The EXC team will provide further customized guidance for the Mexico calls, and online EXC port planners using tips and information from AFAR Media provide exclusive handbooks for each destination. For passengers who want to explore on their own, online and printable EXC maps present a simple view of port highlights.

The in-stateroom EXC Channel will feature a selection of curated films, documentaries and television shows exploring destinations on the itinerary.

Posted 18 May 2017

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review