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Holland America Introduces National Geographic Day Tours on Mediterranean Cruises

Holland America Introduces National Geographic Day Tours on Mediterranean Cruises

HAL’s National Geographic tours in Greece, Türkiye, and Italy will let guests explore historically and culturally significant sites.

Cruise line Holland America has begun offering National Geographic Day Tours that allow cruisers to connect more deeply and sustainably with Mediterranean ports. Exclusive shore excursions have been created in collaboration with National Geographic, a global leader in geography, cartography, and exploration.

Starting this summer, guests aboard Oosterdam and Nieuw Statendam will be able to participate in National Geographic Day Tours in various locations around the Mediterranean.

Beginning in summer 2023, cruisers on Mediterranean itineraries aboard Oosterdam and Nieuw Statendam can choose from four National Geographic Day Tours (image courtesy of Holland America Line)

With the new shore excursions, cruisers can discover powerful female figures in Kusadasi, experience a day in the life of a marine biologist in Naples, tour organic honeybee farms in Rhodes, or meet local families in Santorini. A National Geographic-trained guide will lead each tour.

“We are continually looking for enriching and transformative experiences for our guests and the new National Geographic Day Tours are not only immersive, but provide exclusive access and hands-on experiences,” said Carole Biencourt, the VP overseeing shore tour experience for Holland America.

“We are pleased to offer them to guests across our Mediterranean itineraries that visit these ports and will look to expand the program in the near future,” Biencourt added in a press release.

Related: Holland America Line’s 2025 Europe Season Focuses on Longer Cruises and More Overnight Stays

National Geographic tour options with HAL

Holland America Line has announced four National Geographic Day Tours that will be available starting summer 2023:

“A Day in the Life of a Marine Biologist” in Naples, Italy

In Naples, you’ll visit one of Europe’s oldest aquariums, as well as the Darwin Dohrn Museum (DoDaM), the world’s first marine biodiversity research laboratory, where more than 20 Nobel Laureates have studied and worked on marine biology conservation projects. Participants will also learn about preserving marine turtles and Lampione Island’s grey sharks.

Learn about marine turtle preservation on the “A Day in the Life of a Marine Biologist” shore excursion with National Geographic in Naples

“Meet the Locals in Santorini” in Santorini, Greece

Spend a day in the homes of two Santorini families, hearing their stories about living on the island while sampling area wine, cheese, vegetables, and more. You’ll visit the iconic blue-domed church Panagia Kalamiotissa and Santo Winery to taste and pair Santorini’s unique wines while taking in the caldera views.

My daughter and I visited Santo Winery back in 2017, and I can attest that both the wines and the vantage point are superb—here’s the view of the caldera from our tasting table!

“Influential Women in Turkey: From Past to Present” in Kusadasi, Türkiye

Explore powerful female figures who have influenced Turkish society through the ages—from ancient civilizations to the modern day—while visiting the ruins of the Temple of Artemis and House of the Virgin Mary on the hill above Ephesus. You’ll finish the tour with a culinary journey guided by a local chef during an exclusive pairing menu at Yedi Bilgeler, a winery that has cultivated 2000-year-old vines.

You’ll explore the ruins of the Temple of Artemis while learning about influential women in Türkiye from the port of Kusadasi

“The Fascinating World of Bees” in Rhodes, Greece

Learn why honeybees are one of the most important living organisms on the earth. At the Bee Museum of Rhodes, you’ll learn fascinating ecological facts, sample local honey varieties, and even try your hand at honey extraction.

Discover “The Fascinating World of Bees” in Rhodes, Greece on a National Geographic Day Tour with Holland America

The new National Geographic Day Tours are available on seven- to 14-day itineraries departing from Trieste (Venice), Italy; Piraeus (Athens), Greece and Barcelona, Spain with stops in Rhodes, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Santorini, and Naples.

Guests already booked on select Holland America sailings in the Mediterranean can now purchase National Geographic tours via your online cruise planner.

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What do you think about Holland America’s new National Geographic tours? Would you consider trying one on an upcoming HAL cruise in the Mediterranean? Let me know in the comments below!

Carrie Ann Karstunen


Friday 23rd of June 2023

These tours look so fun! Except for the bee one because I'm allergic! I'm in the beginning planning stage for a Mediterannean cruise for next summer with my entire family. Do you know if Holland America will have these tours next year? Or is it only for 2023.

I have one more question and I hope it's not too off topic. I noticed you spelled Turkey like Turkiye (sorry I don't know how to make the dot accent thing over the u) But the name of the influential women tour still spells it the regular way. Am I missing something here? Do you still say it like turkey the bird? Sorry for all the questions but I want to get it right before I go.

Carrie Ann

Saturday 24th of June 2023

Hi Kathryn, aren't these National Geographic tours fantastic? As long as you avoid that bee tour, of course :) HAL hasn't come right out and said if the partnership will continue in 2024, but they did talk about expanding the program so I'd be very surprised if it didn't return.

No worries about your Türkiye vs Turkey question - it's an excellent one. The country changed its name with the UN in 2021 to reflect the "new" spelling, which is actually how it's spelled in Turkish. There's a really good CNN article that explains it better than I can here. The association with the bird was a big part of the spelling change!

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you and your family have an awesome time on your Med cruise :D