Holland America Line Looks to the Future
Two new ships, three new partnerships, $300 million fleet-wide renovations, and a new logo are just some of the steps Holland America Line will take in 2016 and beyond to ready its ships for the future and help differentiate its cruise experience from those offered by other cruise lines.
The Koningsdam, the first of two ships in HAL’s new Pinnacle class and scheduled to launch in April 2016, will have many new features and a modern take on the line’s 142 years of maritime tradition . (A sister ship under construction is scheduled to arrive in 2017). With interiors by internationally acclaimed designer Adam Tihany and legendary ship architect Bjorn Storbraaten, the new ship will be brighter and more colorful, along with unusual features like the main showroom – a near-360 degree theater-in-the-round with walls of large high-definition LED screens to immerse its audience fully.
The Koningsdam will incorporate “Music Walk” – three separate venues for Lincoln Center Stage, an exclusive partnership with the famous performing arts center in New York; B.B.King’s Blues Club in the newly reimagined Queen’s Lounge; and Billboard Onboard, an interactive experience with live musicians created in partnership with the company that has been providing chart-topping hits for over fifty years.
In addition to the variety of restaurants available on all HAL ships, Koningsdam will add a new seafood brasserie; a Lido redesigned as a marketplace; and most important, the engagement of six renowned international chefs contributing their expertise and specialties to menus and their special appearances in the ship’s Culinary Arts Center.
New, sophisticated interiors with contemporary touches such as bedside USB ports, will characterize the Koningsdam’s accommodations along with the introduction of ocean-view Family cabins for up to 5 passengers; Single cabins for one; and newly-designed luxury suites.
Some of the latest enhancements to the Holland America experience will begin before passengers even select their specific cruise. Through a partnership with Afar Media, best-known for its magazine, AFAR, featuring worldwide travel articles by local writers with an insider’s look, HAL’s web site will soon carry extensive Destination Guides to its 400 ports of call prepared by AFAR Media. These guides will provide travelers with authentic recommendations for top attractions, restaurants and shopping experiences in each destination. Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s new president, in presenting the new partnerships, explained HAL sought outside resources like AFAR as studies have shown travelers trust and value expert, third-party information and recommendations for their authenticity above all else.
To help prospective HAL passengers and their travel agents select and plan their cruise is the line’s new partnership with Seattle-based UTRIP, an interactive web-based platform to be integrated into HAL’s web site. It will provide a novel way to personalize the content available in the new Destination Guides being created by AFAR Media. When passengers have entered data regarding their interests and preferences, UTRIP will zero-in on the cruise or cruises that comes closest to fulfilling their dreams and expectations. They will then receive customized recommendations on shore excursions tailored to their interests and activities onshore at their selected ports of call. “We know our guests are going to enjoy exploring the world in a whole new way using the Utrip interface on our website,” Ashford.
Once on board, passengers can further enhance their knowledge – or dream about visiting other destinations – through another new HAL partnership with BBC Earth. The world-famous creators will provide presentations and information for the cruise line and take passengers closer to the ocean and natural world through films, unusual concerts, game shows, children’s activities and theme cruises. The BBC Earth program will roll out across Holland America Line’s fleet starting in April 2016 and will be on all ships by September 2016.
To bring the other ships in its fleet closer to the new Pinnacle class, Holland America is spending $300 million to renovate and add as many of the Koningsdam’s new features as practical to all its ships. The first two ships having a facelift are Eurodam and Oosterdam which are expected to return to service for their spring 2016 voyages.
And finally, to convince long-time loyal HAL clients and attract new ones that Holland America Line is not your grandfather’s cruise line, it will be sporting a new logo with a streamlined ship’s image sailing into the future with the tagline, “Savor the Journey.”
Blog Thanks to Kay Showker, Travel Writer-Photographer