While HAL’s Maasdam is the smallest vessel in the Holland America Line fleet, it is nonetheless the largest expedition vessel in the world. Carrying just over 1,250 passengers and 560 crewmembers, Maasdam offers passengers a memorable in-depth excursion program that includes optional tours offering inflatable Zodiac boats.
Accompanying guests on the Zodiac excursions are EXC Guides who are experts in various fields – including marine biology to zoology – who take a maximum of eight passengers on Zodiac tours in various ports.
Highlights for recent South Pacific Islands include tours originating in Sydney, Australia that also include visiting remote islands and atolls in Tonga, Niue, Fiji and New Caledonia. Passengers are escorted by an EXC Guide who serves as the Zodiac driver in visiting remote locations directly from Maasdam. Viewing cones are provided so passengers can lean over the side of the Zodiac and look beneath the surface of the water in order to view coral reefs and tropical fish.
Some of the Zodiac tours allow guests to get off the boat and spend time on both land and ocean. Examples include Dravuni Island in Fiji where guests can ride for 30 minutes out to a remote, uninhabited island.
Other locales, such as Mare, New Caledonia, are available for the EXC Guide to point out local birds, types of coral and marine life in the vicinity.
Simply put, a Zodiac tour from Maasdam can be an exhilarating way to share an adventure in a small group setting.
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Photo Courtesy of Holland America Line