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Alitalia -Tirana The Beauty of Frescoes and Islamic Art

Alitalia -Tirana The Beauty of Frescoes and Islamic Art

Tirana is a city defined not by its history, but by how it has grown from it. The brightly colored and brilliantly designed facades of the once-gloomy communist structures are a reflection of the city’s modern vitality and optimism – the legacy of former mayor and artist, Edi Rama. Fly to Tirana aboard one of Alitalia’s comfortable contemporary jetliners and sample the positive energy of Albania’s capital city for yourself.

The buildings in Tirana provide a glimpse into the city’s storied past. The Et’hem Bey Mosque is an excellent example of architecture dating back to the Ottoman occupation, filled with beautiful frescoes and Islamic art. Dëshmorët e Kombit Boulevard is the best place to view the city’s Italian and communist influences. Visit the Ish-Blloku neighborhood. Commonly known as Blloku, the former residential hub for senior communist officials is now the most modern district in the city, booming with trendy boutiques and cafés. It is also the best place to enjoy Tirana’s rapidly-growing nightlife scene.

The best way to fully experience the joy that Tirana can bring is to wander its bohemian neighborhoods and absorb the hopefulness that the city exudes. Book your tickets to Tirana for June or September for balmy, comfortable weather during your visit.


Holland America Line Retains Title as Top Alaska Cruise in the 2020 AFAR Travelers’ Awards

Holland America Line Retains Title as Top Alaska Cruise in the 2020 AFAR Travelers’ Awards

Maintaining its status as the number-one cruise line for explorations to The Last Frontier, Holland America Line was named the top pick for Alaska cruises in the 2020 AFAR Travelers’ Awards. This is the third time the cruise line has won the Alaska category in the award’s five-year existence.

The 2020 AFAR Travelers’ Awards are voted on by AFAR readers who select the cruise lines that capture their imagination and inspire their travel plans. All of the winners are featured online at and in the January/February 2021 print edition of AFAR magazine.

“The readers of AFAR are some of the most discerning travelers in the world, and to be awarded best in Alaska is a tremendous honor that validates all of the expertise that goes into crafting the perfect Alaska experience for our guests,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “We provide an immersive Alaska cruise and overland tour, so guests leave us with memories they will never forget and a desire to return. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this win.”

Why Holland America Line is Number One in Alaska
Holland America Line’s nearly 75 years of Alaska expertise, relationships with the local communities and premier property at the entrance to Denali National Park mean guests will enjoy the most unique and memorable Alaska and Yukon adventures – delivering both the must see highlights along with exclusive seldom seen wonders.Cruises include more visits than other lines to Glacier Bay National Park – Alaska’s “must-see” glacier experience. The premium ships are mid-size and less crowded, perfectly designed for Alaska cruising with wide, open decks for viewing. Alaska is brought to life throughout the journey, with regionally inspired cuisine, Alaska-themed entertainment and activities, and a National Park Service ranger on board in Glacier Bay to point out areas of interest and answer questions about the ecosystem.

Guests venturing inland on a Land+Sea Journey before or after a cruise are headed to Denali National Park for premium wildlife viewing on exclusive day-long Tundra Tours and an unbeatable experience at the 60-acre basecamp of McKinley Chalet Resort. Near the entrance to Denali National Park, the resort now offers suite room accommodations and the popular Denali Square gathering square of dining, artists, ranger lectures, entertainment and more. The 54 Denali Suites feature balconies opening onto the area’s stunning views, larger living areas, thoughtful details such as heated bathroom floors, and additional amenities for that extra touch of luxury in the Alaskan wilderness.

Holland America Line remains the only cruise line offering Land+Sea Journeys that go beyond Alaska to Canada’s Yukon Territory, following the route of the Klondike Gold Rush all the way to Dawson City. Ship-to-shore travel is seamless and easy, as the line owns and operates its hotel, rail cars and motorcoaches to help create the best, most authentic experience.

In 2021 and 2022 six Holland America Line ships -- including the introduction of Pinnacle-class Koningsdam next summer -- will take guests to Alaska from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Seattle, Washington; and Whittier, Alaska.

Voted Number-One Cruise Line in Alaska
In addition to the AFAR award, Holland America Line was named the top pick for Alaska in the 2020 Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Awards, 2019 Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards and 2019 TravelAge West Wave Awards Editor’s Pick

Visit Big Cities of South Africa

Visit Big Cities of South Africa


Johannesburg is a city with so much to offer: there are wonderful restaurants, relaxed sidewalk cafes, laughter-filled shebeens, glitzy shopping malls, tranquil parks, unique emotive museums and monuments, thrilling casinos, busy townships, stunning galleries, funky nightclubs, and more...

Johannesburg's entertainment and leisure options are vast and varied, so make sure your energy levels are high.

This dynamic city has a range of restaurants – from pub 'n grub bars, pizza take-outs and African-inspired eateries to delightful delis serving everything from a great cup of coffee to healthy meals.

There are restaurants for virtually every type of cuisine, cocktail bars, cigar bars, and fine dining. You've simply got to hang out at one of the many eateries in Soweto (along the famous Vilakazi Street), or soak up the sun in the Soho-type villages of Norwood, Parkhurst and Greenside.

Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa's second-largest city, ranks among the most beautiful in the world. With its larger-than-life mountain overlooking the City Bowl, harbour, white beaches and Robben Island beyond, this is a tourists' playground. Two World Heritage Sites, the sprawling Winelands, nature reserves, botanic gardens and a buzzing waterfront are just the start of the adventure.

Cape Town is South Africa’s second most populous city, a quintessential melting pot of creativity, cuisine and colour – including pink.

Its strategic geographic position at the tip of Africa has seen foreign visitors stopping off at the Cape since the 1400s, each contributing unique cultural influences that make up the fabric of modern-day Cape Town.

A mix of Malay, Dutch, French, Portuguese and African flavour is reflected in Cape Town’s stylish restaurant menus, where locally produced wines complement popular seafood and curry dishes.

Mango Airlines a subsidiary of South African Airways operates daily flights from JNB-CPT

Aeroflot – Kaliningrad The City of History and Landscape

Aeroflot – Kaliningrad The City of History and Landscape

Initially three independent towns until the Königsberg Fortress united them and gave them their first name (Königsberg), the city was eventually renamed to Kaliningrad in 1946. The city’s entire history is reflected in its landscape: Soviet housing coexists with picturesque European neighborhoods, ancient churches with modern buildings, residential suburbs with strikingly beautiful countryside.

It is quite pleasant just to wander around Kaliningrad looking at old German villas, taking pictures, going into cozy cafes, enjoying nature, and admiring the lovely seaside sunsets.

The local climate transitions from moderate maritime to moderate continental. Winter is mild, summer is cool, and the proximity of the capricious Gulf Stream makes the weather change frequently. It is usually rather cloudy here, but that does not affect the flow of tourists. Even if it starts raining (usually a brief occurrence), there are plenty of interesting museums and cafes where you can pass the time while waiting for the rain to stop.

A good place to start exploring the city is Kant Island. Kneiphof (as it is officially called) is a really cozy place with many paths where you can stroll in the shade of the trees. Here you can take in the majestic presence of the gothic Cathedral (Konigsberger Dom), listen to organ music, and visit the grave of Kant, the famous philosopher.

The German villas in Maraunenhof look exactly the same as they did 100 years ago. By the way, many of them have become comfortable mini-hotels, so anybody who wants to can try on the role of a respectable last-century German.

Aeroflot operates six daily direct flights from Moscow to Kaliningrad.

Holland America Line’s Half Moon Cay Earns Best Private Island for 20th Year in Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards

Holland America Line’s Half Moon Cay Earns Best Private Island for 20th Year in Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards

Seattle, Wash., Nov 17, 2020
— Holland America Line took home four Porthole Cruise Magazine 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards in areas that covered everything from onboard dining to shoreside experiences. For the 20th year, readers of Porthole — one of the world’s leading consumer cruise travel publications — named Half Moon Cay as Best Private Island. Additional wins include Pinnacle Grill as Best Specialty Restaurant, Best Shore Excursions and Best Facilities for Guests with Disabilities.

Porthole Cruise Magazine's annual Readers' Choice Awards are determined by thousands of the publication's readers who vote both online and via paper ballot for their favorite cruise lines in dozens of categories.

“The readers of Porthole are some of the most knowledgeable cruisers in the world, and to be recognized in areas that are important to us like dining, shoreside experiences and inclusive cruising is an honor,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “We believe in the strength of the Holland America Line brand, in the beauty of Half Moon Cay and exceptional quality of Pinnacle Grill, the power of our immersive tours and making a cruise vacation accessible to everyone. These awards tell us that our guests believe in us as well. Thank you to Porthole and everyone who voted.”

“Every year Holland America Line continues to deliver an exceptional cruise experience, which is why our readers consistently honor the cruise line with several of Porthole’s distinguished awards,” said Bill Panoff, chairman & CEO of PPI Group, publishers of Porthole. “If you’ve been to Half Moon Cay you know that it’s the quintessential Caribbean paradise, and Pinnacle Grill is superb in every way. The shore excursions are as diverse as they are memorable, and inclusivity is key in today’s travel environment. Congratulations to Holland America Line for the wins.”

Half Moon Cay: Best Private Island

For the past 20 years, Porthole Cruise Magazine’s readers have named Half Moon Cay the industry’s best private island. The island’s perfect powdery sand, crystalline waters and island-time ambiance make it easy to see why. Half Moon Cay has evolved into an idyllic playground for cruise guests, and features the finest beaches in the Caribbean, a natural 700-acre lagoon, incredible two-story villas and private cabanas, delicious dining venues like Lobster Shack, a children’s waterpark, and a variety of fun-filled shore excursions for nature lovers, adventure seekers and explorers.

Cruisers visit Half Moon Cay on nearly all of Holland America Line’s Caribbean itineraries sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Best Specialty Restaurant: Pinnacle Grill

Pinnacle Grill is the ultimate steakhouse at sea, where steak, seafood and wine make for an impeccable meal inspired by the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. The menu focuses on expertly prepared dishes with premium ingredients — from Alaska’s wild-caught king salmon to sustainably raised beef from Washington State’s Double R Ranch.

The menu also features signature recipes by Culinary Council Member David Burke including Pastrami Salmon, Clothesline Candied Bacon, Beef Tenderloin with Lobster Dumplings, Braised Short Ribs with Mushroom Orecchiette, and Broiled Lobster with Corn and Bacon Crepes. Culinary Council member and renowned chocolatier Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Soufflé is featured on the menu as well.

Best Shore Excursions

Holland America Line’s nearly 6,500 unique shore excursions are designed to help guests make the most of port visits and deeply connect with the places they visit, as well as maybe have an adventure along the way. From zip lining over a lush jungle canopy or gliding over a glacier pulled by sled dogs to conquering a fear of heights while scaling Sydney Harbour Bridge or moving through the surf atop a graceful horse, Holland America Line’s expertly curated tours provide a wide variety of ways to experience and enjoy each port of call.

For foodies and wine aficionados, Holland America Line features shore excursions in partnership with FOOD & WINE magazine. These exceptional excursions around the globe show the culinary side of destinations in some very special ways, combining food and culture with entertaining and unique experiences. Guests can learn how to make authentic Italian pizza in Naples, taste wines at New Zealand’s oldest winery, explore Japan’s food culture with one of the world’s foremost ramen experts or shop with a renowned Barcelona chef and create an extraordinary meal together.

Top Accommodations for Guests with Disabilities

Holland America Line ships accommodate guests with a variety of special needs. The cruise line offers a number of services to guests who may have a disability, including up to 30 accessible staterooms on each ship, in-room equipment for assistance, computer and entertainment tools for those in need and a tender transfer system to accommodate guests using wheelchairs.

About Porthole Cruise Magazine
Porthole Cruise Magazine, the world's leading cruise travel magazine, now in its 24th year, is published bimonthly. Featuring a wide range of cruise content for both first-time and experienced cruisers, each issue includes ship reviews, destination features and other editorial writing on cruise trends, food and wine, spa and well-being, entertainment, kids' activities and other onboard amenities. To learn more, visit

For more information about Holland America Line, contact a travel advisor or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit