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Coast Starlight & Hawaii Cruise

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Amtrak trains and a beautiful cruise to the Hawaiian Islands work together on this memorable rail and cruise vacation that explores the gorgeous destinations of the Pacific Ocean.

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20232024
22 days From $4,155 per person
Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2023 Tour code: WC-CCHS-23

About the tour

From sunny Southern California to the Hawaiian Islands and Mexico's wine country, this all-encompassing independent rail vacation takes to the Pacific by land and sea. Enjoy travel on some of Amtrak's most scenic rail lines, the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner, along the California seaboard, then join your Holland America ship, the Koningsdam, for a 17-night Hawaiian cruise. This thoughtful combination provides the most scenic adventure one could hope for and the promise of grand escapades to come. Begin your trip in San Francisco with nearly two days to enjoy the city's offerings before traveling by train to Los Angeles. Enjoy a culinary tour that introduces L.A.'s vibrant fare before continuing down the coast to San Diego. It is here that the second part of your vacation commences.

The twelve-deck cruise ship glides through the open water before reaching America's very own tropical paradise, Hawaii. Savor the sights, sounds, and nuances of island culture while spending entire days on Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island. Five separate ports of call on the islands give you plenty of time to explore. From Hawaii, the cruise continues back toward the continental United States. Enjoy varied terrain and outstanding wine during your stop in Ensenada, Mexico, before returning to the harbor in San Diego, California. The beauty of this vacation: You can do as much or as little as you desire. With plenty of optional excursions to supplement the exquisite route, there is no shortage of ways to experience the Pacific.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in San Francisco

A gem of the West Coast and one of the most intriguing cities in the nation, San Francisco is the starting point for this incredible journey. Transfer on your own from the airport to your hotel and enjoy an evening to get acquainted with the local offerings. Art, gastronomy, and culture are specialties of the City by the Bay. You may also join an optional sunset catamaran cruise in the bay. For an hour and a half, find yourself captivated by the scenery as you venture under the Golden Gate Bridge and out past Alcatraz Island. The cruise concludes after the sun sinks past the horizon. Overnight San Francisco.

Day 2 - San Francisco Sightseeing

One of the best things about San Francisco is the number of wonderful destinations within easy reach of downtown. From the eclectic neighborhoods to state and national parks and scenic regions that sit atop many travelers' bucket lists, this part of the state is brimming with adventure. Today, you can explore in the way that best suits your travel preferences.

You may wish to embark on a full day of guided touring through San Francisco, exploring neighborhoods like North Beach, Chinatown, and Pacific Heights and admiring landmarks, including Fisherman's Wharf, the Painted Ladies, the Presidio, the Golden Gate Bridge, and more. Enjoy lunch in the charming town of Sausalito and an in-depth look at the soaring redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument.
Alternatively, you could spend the day at leisure, soaking in the city's unique ambiance at your own pace. Follow in the footsteps of the counterculture while meandering down Haight and Ashbury Streets or look at the soaring skyscrapers that line Market Street. Venture to one of the piers, walk along the sandy beaches, or seek out authentic San Francisco sourdough. Museums, such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and lush gardens make the city a joy to discover.

Lastly, you may wish to join a full-day tour of wine county on a guided excursion that takes you across the Golden Gate Bridge and north to Napa and Sonoma, where complex wines and superb cuisine highlight your trip. Enjoys tastings at three wineries, lunch at the Napa Public Market, and expert guidance and commentary along the way.

If you desire a closer look at this city and its surrounding offerings, feel free to add extra nights to your pre-cruise stay. Overnight San Francisco.

Day 3 - Coast Starlight to Los Angeles

This morning, make your way to the San Francisco Amtrak bus station for your transfer to Emeryville. Here, board the Coast Starlight for a day of breathtaking scenery on a route which is widely regarded as one of Amtrak's most scenic. Look over the rugged cliff sides to see crashing waves hitting sandy beaches. Enjoy views of beautiful seaside towns and panoramas that scream Southern California. With palm trees lining the streets and glimmering lights all around, the Coast Starlight stations in Los Angeles. Transfer from the train station to your downtown hotel independently. Overnight Los Angeles.

Day 4 - L.A. Culinary Tour/Pacific Surfliner to San Diego

Soak in the laid-back atmosphere and sunny scenes of Los Angeles during your morning at leisure. Perhaps wander to one of the local beaches or check out the fantastic shopping opportunities. You may even spot a celebrity while you are out and about. Late this morning, embark on a small-group food tour that explores Los Angeles' incredible and often cutting-edge culinary scene. Enjoy tastings at six different businesses - a unique mixture of restaurants, bakeries, and vendors showcasing L.A's flavors. As you walk, your guide offers commentary on food and points of interest, such as the Bradbury Building and The Last Bookstore. There is no better way to get an authentic look at the City of Angels.

Alternatively, you are welcome to skip the foodie tour and sightsee on your own. Visit one of the incredible museums, like the Broad Museum, or venture to the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall. Chinatown and the Art District are filled with exciting sights, and the varied architecture throughout Los Angeles showcases how diverse the region is.

Later this afternoon, venture from your hotel to Union Station to join Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner for an evening journey along the coastline to San Diego. Could there be a better way to watch the sunset over the water? The journey is completed in around three hours, and on arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night. If you are not ready to leave Los Angeles yet, you are welcome to add more days to your itinerary. Overnight San Diego.

Day 5 - Ship Embarkation

The morning is yours to enjoy sunny, seaside San Diego. Maybe take your breakfast to go and head to Sunset Cliffs to watch the Pacific crash against the rock faces or eat on the beach. Perhaps venture down to the historic Gaslamp District to grab brunch in one of the numerous restaurants or take a stroll through Balboa Park, one of the oldest in the United States, to see its incredible offerings and lush gardens. Old Town San Diego is a treasure trove of history, shopping, and dining opportunities, and of course, there are plenty of museums and art galleries to pique your interest.

Check-in for your Hawaiian cruise begins at 1:00 p.m. A transfer is included from your hotel to the port, where your grand Holland America Line ship, the Koningsdam, awaits. Get settled into your room, and then find a seat on the deck or near a window. Wonderful cityscapes fill the panorama as the vessel leaves the harbor at 4 p.m. and sets out for sea. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 6 - At Sea - En Route to Hawaii

Great blue expanses surround the ship during your first full day at sea. Your Holland America ship is brimming with amenities and entertainment options to keep you busy. Try your luck at the onboard casino, or venture into the World Stage - a room surrounded by 270-degree dual-level LCD screens - to catch a fascinating presentation. Set up an appointment for pampering in the onboard spa for a real treat. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - At Sea - En Route to Hawaii

With twelve passenger-accessible decks, there is always something new to discover during your days at sea. Soak in the ocean scenery from the Seaview Pool or lounge at the Lido Pool. There are specialty rooms in which you can listen to live music, as well as places to attend lectures and presentations. Comfortable seating areas abound throughout the ship's interior and exterior, making it easy to find a cozy place to chat with newfound friends. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - At Sea - En Route to Hawaii

The Koningsdam has over ten eateries onboard and a charming gelato shop to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you seek specialty drinks, look no further than the ship's bars, of which there are many.  Grab a drink by the pool or enjoy it while you lounge on one of the sundecks, watching for dolphins and whales. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - At Sea - En Route to Hawaii

Besides the spaces for lounging and entertainment, there are also opportunities to keep fit while you cruise through the sapphire waters. Perhaps take a walk on the scenic jogging track or check out the well-equipped fitness center. There are also sporting courts for basketball, volleyball, pickleball, and more. Need a break? Venture inside to peruse the art gallery and duty-free shops. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - At Sea - En Route to Hawaii

Enjoy your last day at sea gazing upon the endless blue. It is truly amazing how far the ocean reaches; it is something you can only imagine until you experience it first-hand. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 - Honolulu, Oahu, HI

Your first port of call is within sight as you wake this morning aboard the Koningsdam. Say aloha to sandy beaches, palm trees, and the island way of life as the ship docks in Honolulu. Disembark the ship with a full day to enjoy this tropical location. You may join any one of the optional excursions, ranging from guided island tours and foodie excursions to an in-depth look at Pearl Harbor. There is even a luau option. Alternatively, feel free to enjoy your new location on your own. Walk the beautiful beaches or try your hand at surfing. There are gorgeous hiking paths, including the Koko Crater Trail, and breathtaking hidden waterfalls. Sample the local fare at one of the waterfront restaurants in downtown Honolulu or walk through the city's four various districts to get an authentic look at the city. Return to the ship tonight, as it departs once more at 11 pm. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 - Nawiliwili, Kauai, HI

As you slept last night, your Holland America craft resumed its course on the Pacific, traveling from Oahu to Kauai, home to your next port. Enjoy breakfast on the ship as you get a first look at the stunning landscapes of Nawiliwili. This harbor town is tucked in an idyllic location between the forested mountains of Kauai and the ocean. Venture to shore with a day at leisure to savor the gorgeous surroundings of the "Green Island." Optional excursions include things like a visit to Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific; a plantation visit about a narrow-gauge railway; and escorted island tours, among other choices. If you prefer to explore on your own, Kalapaki Beach is a beautiful place to lounge in the sand or dip your toes. Kukii Point has a charming lighthouse and an abundance of shops and restaurants to explore. If hiking is your thing, Kauai is one of the best places to hit the trails, as the verdant forests and bamboo groves give way to majestic waterfalls and spectacular ocean views. It is no wonder "Jurassic Park" was filmed on this island! Return to the ship this evening for a dinnertime departure. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13 - Lahaina, Maui, HI

From Kauai, the ship loops back toward the Big Island overnight. As you wake, enjoy views of the blue ocean and dreamy Hawaiian Islands while approaching your next port of call, Lahaina. This town is located on the west coast of Maui and is the largest destination on the island. Disembark the ship to set out on your choice of supplementary excursion. Select from options like whale watching, submarine tours, scenic drives, a visit to Upcountry Maui, and rainforest and waterfall expeditions. Lahaina, and Maui as a whole, are fantastic to discover independently if that is your preference. The island boasts over 30 miles of pristine coastline, where white or black sand abuts crystalline blue water. In the backdrop, look at the contrast of foliage against the massive volcano that covers much of the island. You may wish to visit Banyan Tree Park, home to some of the largest and most impressive subjects in the United States, in Lahaina. Front Street has a ton of shopping and culinary opportunities, whereas the Kapalua Coastal Trail showcase's the island's natural side. Return to the ship in time for this evening's 8:00 sailing time. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14 - Hilo, HI

This morning, the Koningsdam arrives at Hawaii's Big Island as it docks in Hilo on the east coast. This side of the island is teeming with colorful flora and fauna, waterfalls, and scenic views. For today's optional port activities, choose from options highlighting waterfalls, including the plunging 'Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls; volcanoes; and memorable coastal vistas, such as those found on the Hamakua Coast. If you decide to explore on your own, Coconut Island, the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center, Kaumana Caves, and the local beaches are perfect places to pass the time in paradise. There are places nearby to view lava and a ton of outdoor adventures to be had, both by land and sea. The cruise liner departs from Hilo at 6:00 p.m. this evening. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15 - Kona, HI

On the opposite side of the Big Island lies Kona, a much drier, sunshine-filled haven. Your ship arrives at Kona's port this morning after a night skirting Hawaii's coast. The cruise's thoughtfully chosen optional tours include a Kona sightseeing tour, snorkeling adventures, visits to local coffee farms, a Kona Reef boat tour, and excursions perfect for culinary enthusiasts. If you head out on your own, you may wish to visit one of the many plantations on this part of the island or hike one of the barren lava fields. Gorgeous beaches with multi-hued sand surround Kona, including historic Kealakekua Bay. Downtown Kona has diverse offerings, as well, including Hulihe'e Palace, various shops, places to rent paddle boards and water gear, and wonderful restaurants, all within walking distance. Wrap up your adventure ahead of 6:00 p.m., at which time your ship sets sail back toward the mainland. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 16 - At Sea - En Route to Mexico

Back on the open ocean, take the day to relax in your cabin or one of the light-filled common areas. Reflect on the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands while reminiscing with your fellow travelers. Of course, there are plenty of things to do onboard if you want to keep the momentum going. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 17 - At Sea - En Route to Mexico

How will you spend your day at sea, by the pool soaking up the tropical sunshine, or inside bouncing between live music rooms? Whether you enjoy piano music, mainstream hits, or the blues, there is music for you. When the sun goes down, you may wish to watch a newly released movie on the pool deck. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 18 - At Sea - En Route to Mexico

What better place than the wide-open ocean to learn something new? The Koningsdam is equipped with a fully functional show kitchen where you can watch cooking demonstrations by trained chefs. Savor delectable food and wine tastings led by experts and great conversation at the room's intimate tables. Of course, this is just one of the many ways you can enjoy the day on your luxury ship today. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 19 - At Sea - En Route to Mexico

Keep your eyes peeled for the sea life of the deep Pacific as the ship cuts through the water with deft, continuing toward Mexico. You may spot seabirds gliding overhead and catch a glimpse of dolphins breaching in the water below. While there is no land around, there is still plenty to see if you look close enough. Enjoy the views from one of the window-lined lounges, on the sun decks, or while getting your steps in on the jogging track. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 20 - At Sea - En Route to Mexico

Whether you spend the day catching onboard presentations, getting a massage in the spa, or bouncing between onboard restaurants, enjoy the Koningsdam's offerings of your last full day at sea. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 21 - Ensenada, Mexico

Enjoy a leisurely morning on the ship to have breakfast and gaze at the approaching landmass in the distance. Arrive in Ensenada, Mexico, set on the Baja California Peninsula, after lunch, with the remainder of the day to get off the ship and explore. Excursion choices include sightseeing expeditions, winery visits, shopping in the central retail district, and tours that include the La Bufadora blowhole. This region is rife with history and is a premier destination for sport fishers and wine lovers, so there are plenty of ways to get acquainted with the area. There is no need to rush back to the ship this evening; the cruise does not set out from the harbor until midnight. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 22 – Return Home

The Koningsdam arrives in San Diego this morning. Back on land, you may wish to embark on a scenic city tour before heading home. The four-hour excursion explores San Diego's most desirable neighborhoods and landmark sites with just a small group of travelers to maintain intimacy on the tour. Make your way to the airport at your leisure to catch your return flight.  

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Trains

Amtrak's Coast Starlight
Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner

Ship

ms Koningsdam
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