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Holland America Line Spotlights Antarctica
The cruise line that brought premium cruising to Antarctica returns for another series of adventures. Three 20-day South America & Antarctica departures showcase the largest wilderness on earth as ms Rotterdam sails through a fantasyland of ancient icebergs, towering mountains, chattering penguins and breaching whales. Antarctic Explorer Holiday cruises are scheduled for departure on December 22 in both 2005 and 2006 and an Antarctic Experience itinerary is slated for January 11, 2006.
"Guests on South America/Antarctica cruises experience the same sense of adventure that thrilled Cook, Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton and other polar explorers," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "But they also enjoy Dutch high tea, beautiful fresh flowers, wi-fi Internet connections, world-class entertainment and every modern comfort. It's the most elegant way to experience the wildest place on earth."
20-day South America & Antarctica cruises The Antarctic experience unfolds as Rotterdam sails south of the 60th parallel to the bottom of the world. Rimmed by vast ice shelves, the White Continent reveals soaring 15,000-foot peaks, volcanic calderas, thermal hot springs, teeming wildlife, and remote research stations. Guests sail past Elephant Island where Ernest Shackleton's crew touched land for the first time after their ship, the Endurance, was trapped by ice and destroyed in the Weddell Sea. Scenic cruising also features the penguin colonies on Paulet and Petermann Islands; the volcanic crater of Deception Island; and the ice-choked Errera, Neumayer and LeMaire Channels. Cruising between Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Valparaiso, Chile, guests experience Cape Horn, the Strait of Magellan, the Chilean fjords and port visits in Uruguay, Argentina, and Tierra del Fuego.
On a recent Holland America Line Antarctica sailing, travel writer Hugh A. Mulligan described the extremes to which the company goes to protect Antarctica's delicate environment. "The ship's fog horn did not bellow out the noon hour. No bells clanged the crew watches. Smoking was banned on deck and no meals were served outdoors, lest paper napkins blow overboard. Tennis and volleyball courts were roped off, though a dozen brave souls swam in the heated outdoor pool," he wrote. "The environmental officer prowled the ship, making sure deck chairs and blankets were tied down, reminding passengers not to feed passing penguins or seals or throw garbage overboard."
HAL Introduces The Culinary Arts Center,
Holland America Line, in a multi-year partnership with Food & Wine magazine, is launching an exciting new on-board culinary program that will provide guests on select Holland America Line cruises the opportunity to experience demonstrations and seminars conducted by top chefs, wine experts and leading cookbook authors provided by Food & Wine.
These selected sailings, which begin Fall 2005, are part of a broader Culinary Arts Center program which is offered on every sailing and serves as one of the marquee features of Holland America Line's $225 million Signature of Excellence program. An innovative theater-style venue, each Culinary Arts Center features a state-of-the-art show kitchen, large plasma video screens, and a large cooking display counter, where guests can learn how to prepare a variety of culinary treats. These Culinary Arts Centers are on half of the line's 13-ship fleet and will be in place across the fleet by mid-2006.
The Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine magazine, brings the pages of the epicurean magazine alive on dozens of sailings of the world's leading premium cruise line. "Guests will learn from and mingle with the world's most renowned culinary authorities in this extraordinary partnership between Holland America Line and Food & Wine magazine," said Rick Meadows, CTC, Holland America Line's senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Within our state-of-the-art show kitchens, these acclaimed experts offer our guests an enlightening perspective on the places we visit and the food and cuisine that make them so special."
"We are excited about the myriad possibilities of this partnership," said Julie McGowan, Food & Wine's senior vice president/publisher. "By pairing Holland America Line's stellar reputation and worldwide itineraries with Food & Wine's expertise and celebration of the epicurean lifestyle, we'll attract the most dynamic, sought-after talents in the world of food and wine."
Guests will learn tricks-of-the-trade from top professionals and can try their hand at preparing dishes and tasting wines representative of the specific ports-of-call. Food & Wine will also design and provide recipe cards and wine tasting notes that guests may take home along with copies of the magazine. Other opportunities might include book signings, question and answer sessions, market tours in ports of call, specially designed on-board menus and more.
Among the chefs who will be sailing as part of the program is Michelle Bernstein, who will sail on the Statendam to Alaska on Sept. 9, 2005. Bernstein just opened her signature MB restaurant at Grand Aqua in Cancun and is also a co-host of The Food Network's "Melting Pot." Oceana's famed Neal Gallagher, who received the Food & Wine Best New Chef honor in 2003 will delight guests on the Westerdam's Caribbean sailing Nov. 13, 2005. Other chefs participating in the program include Aaron Sanchez and Charles Dale. Aaron Sanchez is a 2005 James Beard Rising Star Chef Award nominee and owner of critically acclaimed restaurants, Paladar, in New York City, and Mixx Restaurant in the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. Charles Dale, widely regarded as a culinary visionary, is the founder of Aspen's renowned Renaissance, Range and Rustique restaurants. In addition to these chefs, Food & Wine will provide chefs, wine experts and cookbook authors who appear in the magazine's pages as well as those featured at the publication's premier culinary events, specifically the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colo., held in June.
"I am thrilled at the unique opportunity to celebrate cuisines from around the world with guests aboard Holland America Line's well-equipped ships," said Charles Dale. "The state-of-the-art demonstration kitchens provide the ideal environment for immersing oneself in the culinary traditions of the ships' destinations, and serve to enhance an already innovative and enriching guest program."
In addition to the robust program with Food & Wine magazine, Holland America Line offers additional chefs and demonstrations as a part of its Culinary Arts Center program aboard every sailing. For 2005, these include a dozen additional culinary demonstrations by regional and specialty chefs from the ports visited on Mexico, Alaska, Europe, and Asia/Pacific cruises. For example, Richard Sandoval, an expert on refined Mexican cuisine and owner and chef of several restaurants, sailed on the Apr. 28, 2005 Ryndam cruise to Mexico, and Tamara Murphy, a former Food & Wine Best New Chef and chef and owner of Brasa in Seattle, sailed on the May 9, 2005 Rotterdam Mediterranean cruise. Upcoming guest chefs include, Beatrice Ojakangas, an expert on Scandinavian cuisine and a cookbook author, who will sail on the June 6, 2005, Prinsendam cruise to the Baltic, and Ying Chang Compestine, an internationally recognized Asian healthy cuisine author, who sails aboard the Amsterdam in Asia on October 26, 2005, and on the December 22, 2005, Hawaii holiday sailing.
Holland America Line Announces 2006 Deployment
In 2006, Holland America Line will debut the new ms Noordam, visit Libya for the first time, feature eight ships cruising Alaska, and Australia/New Zealand voyages aboard the ms Statendam. The 13 ships of the world's leading premium cruise line will offer nearly 500 sailings to all seven continents from more than 25 home ports. Itineraries range from two to 108 days and feature many ports, including such new ones as Benghazi, Libya; Pearl Island, Panama; South Georgia Island in the sub-Antarctic islands; and Narvik, Norway.
"We will be offering more cruises to more destinations in 2006 and guests will have more choices of itineraries and homeports," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Our Signature of Excellence enhancements will be completed on 10 ships at the start of 2006 and all 13 ships by the fall, so guests will enjoy such new amenities as our Culinary Arts Center and Explorations Cafe powered by the New York Times."2006 DEPLOYMENT HIGHLIGHTS
Eight ships will cruise to Alaska in 2006, including the addition of a third ship sailing from Seattle. The Westerdam, Oosterdam and Zaandam will be homeported in Seattle and sail seven-day, southeast Alaska cruises May 5 through Sept. 29. The Statendam, Ryndam, Veendam, sail between Vancouver and Seward, visiting Glacier Bay or Hubbard Glacier. And the Volendam and Zuiderdam will offer seven-day cruises roundtrip from Vancouver to Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm. Holland America Line's CruiseTour options highlight the Yukon, Denali National Park, Canada's Kluane National Park and Tombstone Territorial Park.AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND & ASIA
The line's inaugural Australia/South Pacific season kicks off at the end of 2005 with a 35-day South America/South Pacific cruise from San Diego to Auckland on November 17, 2005, and a 16-day Australia/New Zealand holiday cruise from Auckland to Sydney on December 22, 2005. The Statendam then offers a series of nine 14-day cruises between Sydney and Auckland that spotlight port calls in Australia and Tasmania plus visits to the most noted sites on the north and south islands of beautiful New Zealand. A 16-day Australia, Orient and China cruise places the Statendam in Hong Kong for three 14-day China and Japan sailings followed by an 18-day trans-Pacific cruise calling in Japan, Russia's Far East and Alaska.CANADA/NEW ENGLAND
The Maasdam will sail between Boston and Montreal May 13 through Oct. 7, offering 16 seven-day cruises total. It also offers a 15-day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Montreal departing Apr. 28 and a 10-day cruise from Montreal to Norfolk sailing Oct. 7. Guests enjoy such ports as Martha's Vineyard; Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Quebec. Summer sailings provide ideal opportunities for a family vacation and October itineraries are especially designed to take advantage of the region's famous display of dazzling fall color.CARIBBEAN
Holland America Line remains the leader in 10-day or longer cruises, offering seven distinctive itineraries ranging from 10 to 16 days in 2006. It also offers the most complete 14-day Southern Caribbean itinerary and more choices of seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa than any other premium cruise line. A total of 10 ships will sail the Caribbean in 2006, including the Noordam from its new homeport of New York.
Sailing to the Southern Caribbean, the Maasdam features its popular 11-day itinerary from Norfolk. The Volendam will continue its exciting 10-day Seafarer itinerary roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, while the Ryndam will offer premium 14-day cruises roundtrip from Tampa. The Zaandam will sail 10-day Southern Caribbean-Panama Canal Sunfarer itineraries, and the Prinsendam will feature two cruises that venture up the remote Orinoco River in Venezuela.
The Westerdam and Zuiderdam will offer seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, many of which call at Half Moon Cay, the line's award-winning private Bahamian island. New activity choices include a horseback riding and swimming excursion, a stingray adventure, Half Moon Lagoon aqua park and an AquaTrax watercraft tour.EUROPE & TRANSATLANTIC CRUISES
From May through October, Holland America Line is offering 55 European and transatlantic cruises on four ships in 2006, featuring the Noordam with 15 Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruises roundtrip from Rome.
Sister flagships, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and the Prinsendam also cruise Europe. The Rotterdam will offer 10- to 15-day sailings between "European Capitals" such as Lisbon, Athens, Rotterdam and Copenhagen, plus feature Scandinavia and Russia cruises, from Apr. 20 to Oct. 22. The Amsterdam also will feature Scandinavia and Russia cruises, sailing roundtrip from Copenhagen on 10-day itineraries from May 23 to Aug. 11. The Prinsendam will sail a series of exotic 16- to 21-day cruises to such places as Spitzbergen, Iceland, the North Cape in Norway, and Egypt, North Africa, Greece and the Black Sea.
Around its Europe schedule, each ship will feature two transatlantic crossings that offer guests unusual ports of call. The Noordam sails two 16-day transatlantics between New York and Rome. The Amsterdam will cruise a north Atlantic route that includes Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The Rotterdam will sail the south Atlantic between Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon, calling at the Canary Islands, Gambia, Senegal, and Morocco. The Prinsendam offers a 34-day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to the North Cape in the spring and a 22-day cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town, South Africa in the fall.MEXICO AND HAWAII
Holland America Line's Oosterdam will cruise Mexico in 2006, offering 29 seven-day cruises roundtrip from San Diego to sun-drenched Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. The Zaandam will sail three 10-day Sea of Cortez cruises, adding Topolobampo for optional tours to Copper Canyon, Loreto and La Paz to the above ports. Holland America Line is the only premium line to sail the Sea of Cortez.
San Diego is also the homeport for Holland America Line's popular Circle Hawaii cruises. The Amsterdam leads with a 30-day Circle Hawaii/Tahiti/Marquesas cruise departing Jan. 6 and then offers five 15-day Hawaii sailings from Feb. 5 to Apr. 21. The Zaandam features four 15-day Circle Hawaii cruises in the fall, alternating them with its Mexico cruises from Oct. 7 to Dec. 21. Holland America Line is also offering an 18-day Circle Hawaii cruise on the Volendam that sails from Seattle to the islands and returns to Vancouver. Guests visit ports of call including Hilo and Kona, Hawaii; Honolulu, Oahu; Nawiliwili, Kauai; and Lahaina, Maui, and cruise past Kauai's scenic Na Pali Coast and Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano.PANAMA CANAL
In 2006 seven Holland America Line ships will feature 29 cruises highlighting the Panama Canal, including 15 roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Itineraries range from 10 to 34 days and depart from Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, New York, Vancouver, Seattle and San Diego. Two transcanal cruises, departing Apr. 14 on the Zaandam and Apr. 22 on the Veendam, will feature a new port of call: Isla de San José on Pearl Island, Panama. While most transcanal cruises range from 17 to 21 days in length, the Veendam also features a 34-day voyage departing Sept. 24 from Vancouver to Tampa. En route, this cruise crosses the equator twice while exploring the Mexican Riviera, Caribbean, Amazon River and Brazil.SOUTH AMERICA & AMAZON
Flagship Rotterdam and intimate Prinsendam will offer cruises to South America in 2006, providing guests with a distinct choice of itineraries. The Rotterdam will sail four 16-day cruises between Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Valparaiso, Chile, departing Jan. 31 to Mar. 20 and two more Nov. 20 and Dec. 6. It will also feature two 20-day South America and Antarctica Explorer cruises with departures Jan. 11 and Dec. 22; these sailings add adventurous cruising along the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula. The Rotterdam's South America cruises highlight capitals such as Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay, and stunning scenery including Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean Fjords. Some sailings include the Falkland Islands.
The Prinsendam will also feature two cruises that add an adventure up the Amazon River to Manaus, Brazil. A 28-day cruise will sail from New York/ Ft. Lauderdale on Apr. 23 and another 46-day cruise will sail from Lisbon, via Cape Town, South Africa, to Ft. Lauderdale on Oct. 17.
Holland America Line Comes Home To New York In 2006
Holland America Line announced that in 2006 it will deploy the 1,848-passenger ms Noordam for its inaugural Caribbean season sailing from New York City, the line's former headquarters. The premium cruise line will sail 13 Caribbean cruises from its new North American homeport beginning with the Noordam's inaugural cruise on February 22. Two transatlantic sailings also include New York as a gateway.
"We have wanted to return to New York for some time now and the Noordam presents a wonderful opportunity to introduce our premium product and a new ship to another North American homeport," said Rick Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "As our fleet expands, we capitalize on attractive new homeports and new deployment.
"We are thrilled to return to New York. We operated from Pier 40 in the sixties and seventies and our company headquarters was there from 1978 to 1983," added Meadows. "And, following the company's founding in 1873, the original Rotterdam made the journey from Rotterdam to New York, the first of many during the great period of immigration to the United States."
The addition of New York completes Holland America Line's Caribbean homeports in 2006 with Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Norfolk, and, now, New York.
Pricing for Holland America Line's new 2006 New York-based Caribbean cruises start at US$1,199 per person, double occupancy, and can be booked starting December 20, 2004.
Scheduled for delivery in January 2006, the Noordam is the fourth and last in a series of 81,769-ton Vista class ships. Eighty-five percent of its staterooms will offer ocean views, with 67 percent of all staterooms sporting verandahs. The ship will be delivered with Signature of Excellence amenities in place, including plush Euro-top mattresses and flat panel TVs and dvd players in all cabins, new dining options, and the pampering Greenhouse Spa and Salon.
Introducing "Explorations Café - Powered by The New York Times"
Holland America Line announces enhancements to the onboard experience across the premium cruise line's five-star fleet with the introduction of the "Explorations Café - powered by The New York Times." The cafe is a comfortable, living room-style environment where guests can sip a cup of coffee, browse through a selection of more than 2,000 books, spend time enjoying a wide selection of music and surf the Internet. Guests can take advantage of these new resources, including a wealth of content provided by The New York Times, to get an in-depth look at the history, culture and traditions of Holland America Line's worldwide destinations. The café, part of the cruise line's enhanced Explorations enrichment program, is one of the highlights of Holland America Line's $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative.
"It is an honor to be working with The New York Times. They have been instrumental in the creation of the Explorations Café and in helping build upon our Tradition of Excellence," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Holland America Line. "We realize that taking guests to exotic global destinations is only part of our commitment and with the 'Explorations Café - powered by The New York Times' we are providing guests with an opportunity for 'full-immersion' in local cultures and attractions before they ever set foot on land."
In the "Explorations Café - powered by The New York Times," Holland America Line guests can get a cappuccino and a pastry and enjoy access to a variety of activities, resources and audio and video programming including the following:
Rounding out the Explorations Café, The New York Times is also providing compelling photos from the publication's famous archives. Tables with glass tops featuring New York Times crossword puzzles contribute to the ambiance of the café. Guests can sit at the tables and use grease pencils to complete the puzzles or leave the difficult parts for the next guest to finish. In addition, the café area will feature nine music stations, about a dozen Internet stations and offer guests the convenience of wireless Internet access.
"We are delighted to enter this innovative marketing agreement with Holland America Line," said Alyse Myers, vice president of marketing, The New York Times. "It allows us to bring The New York Times to life for Holland America Line's intellectually-curious passengers and is in keeping with our approach to provide high-quality news, information and entertainment across a variety of multi-media platforms."
Holland America Line has also secured expert speakers for its Explorations Guest Speaker Series, on all cruises lasting 10 days or longer beginning December 1. For example, a cruise to the Western Caribbean may feature a museum curator discussing the ancient Mayan civilization and folk art of the Yucatán Peninsula. The speaker series, which brings respected authorities to speak on topics relating to the history, culture, art and cuisine of various destinations, was previously available on cruises lasting over 14 days. It provides a great way for guests to enhance their cruise experience and fully immerse themselves in each destination.
Holland America Line will also provide guests with lists of informative Web sites on their destinations of choice. Guests can use the menus for their convenience or search for topics on their own. This wealth of information delivers a rich cruise experience for all guests no matter where their interests lie.
The Ryndam will be the first ship to showcase the "Explorations Café - powered by The New York Times" on its October 20 sailing to Mexico. The broader Explorations program will be in place across the fleet in 2006.
American Academy of Hospitality Sciences Recognizes Premium
Holland America Line announces that it has been awarded the prestigious International Five Star Diamond Award from The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. Each year, the American Academy bestows the honor on an exclusive group of hospitality companies around the world that are deemed to be the pinnacle of quality and excellence in their respective industries.
The American Academy selects award recipients based on thorough evaluations of hospitality, gastronomy, attitude, quality, cleanliness and, above all, service. The decisions of the American Academy are based exclusively on whether the establishment demonstrates a commitment to excellence in luxury and service within its category.
"We are honored to receive this very prestigious emblem of achievement and quality," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Holland America Line. "It reflects a deep commitment that every one of Holland America Line's employees has to our company and our guests. We continue to look at every facet of our business in order to ensure that every guest has the very best premium cruise when they sail with us."
"Long recognized for its Tradition of Excellence, Holland America Line consistently works to exceed the American Academy's high level of standards," said Joseph Cinque, president and CEO, The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. "Year after year, many strive for this award, but few achieve it. We're proud to include Holland America Line among the distinguished group of Five Star Diamond Award recipients that deliver the very best five-star hospitality experiences in the world."
The announcement comes in the midst of the company's Signature of Excellence initiative, a series of groundbreaking investments occurring throughout Holland America Line's five-star fleet that are enhancing the company's position as the premium cruise leader. Those receiving this global recognition include five-star quality hotels, resorts, spas, airlines, cruise lines, automobiles, products, restaurants and chefs. Past award recipients include the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows; Hotel Ritz, Paris; American Airlines; and Lufthansa airlines. Holland America Line is one of only three cruise lines to receive the Five Star designation in the award's 11-year history.
Holland America Line Offers 28 CruiseTours for 2005,
Holland America Line features an exciting array of Alaska and Yukon CruiseTour itineraries in 2005 with extra time for in-depth exploration in Denali National Park, Kluane National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, and newly added, Tombstone Territorial Park. This remote and unique, sub-arctic landscape north of Dawson City in the Canadian Yukon is the setting for an exclusive new program of tours and guided hikes. Expanded Dawson City Klondike Gold Rush activities and numerous additional wilderness adventures such as hiking, flightseeing, scenic tours by jeep and boat, bird watching and golfing are also part of the line's 2005 season of 28 CruiseTours.
"Holland America Line continues to offer a unique focus on the extraordinary experiences offered by U.S. and Canadian national parks," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "With our expanded offerings and addition of Tour Directors on many CruiseTours, the 2005 CruiseTour season is sure to be our most exciting."
Celebrating its 57th year as the leader in Alaska travel, Holland America Line will have seven ships offering 134 cruises in 2005 with more cruise and CruiseTour departures featuring Glacier Bay National Park than any other company. CruiseTours also highlight more time in Denali National Park. All 28 CruiseTours include the complete six-hour Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour for 71 percent more wildlife viewing and better Mt. McKinley viewpoints. Holland America Line offers the most "Double Denali" CruiseTours featuring a second full day at the Park and four new itineraries will travel directly between the ship in Seward and Denali National Park for a quicker transfer to the wilderness.
Additionally, every CruiseTour also includes travel aboard the new McKinley Explorer® luxury dome railcars, two nights at the new lodge at the McKinley Chalets at Denali National Park and one or two nights at the expanded Fairbanks Westmark Hotel. "The best way to experience the natural wonders of Alaska and the Yukon is to take your time," said Meadows. "Guests can flightsee Mt. McKinley from Denali Village, get their hiking boots dirty in Tombstone or Kluane, cruise down the Yukon River aboard our exclusive dayboat, and cross the Arctic Circle to Prudhoe Bay. All CruiseTours features our five-star Holland America fleet with the extraordinary glaciers of Glacier Bay Hubbard Glacier, College Fjord or Tracy Arm."
Holland America Line Expands Entertainment
Holland America Line announces that it is expanding its television and entertainment options to include additional channels and even more movie choices for its guests. This programming expansion will cover Holland America's entire fleet of five-star ships and is part of the company's $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative. Signature of Excellence is a series of groundbreaking investments occurring throughout Holland America's fleet that are enhancing the company's position as the premium cruise leader.
"We recognize that each guest who steps aboard a Holland America Line ship is unique," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "This goes right down to the kind of television programming and movies they like to watch. Our goal is to accommodate our guests in every way possible; one way to do this is to provide them with more viewing and entertainment options than ever before."
Holland America Line's extended service debuts this month, and includes a new documentary channel with programming that varies based on the ship's itinerary. For example, passengers embarking on a trip to Alaska can see the documentary, "Alaska's Natural Wonders," which will provide them with a spectacular look at the 49th state's majestic beauty -- all from the comfort and luxury of their stateroom. In addition, ESPN will now be available in all staterooms, as will two new channels: one featuring Discovery Channel programs and another featuring recent and classic TV shows. Guests will also be able to view cooking demonstrations that take place in the ships' Culinary Arts Center from the privacy of their own cabin. These new programming options complement Holland America Line's existing in-stateroom offerings, including CNN, Boomerang, TNT and CNNfn.
"Our entertainment options always provide guests with an opportunity to have fun and learn about some of the intriguing destinations we visit," said Bill Prince, Holland America's director of entertainment. "We have long set the industry standard for providing exciting entertainment with a purpose and the additional television and movie offerings are simply an extension of that commitment." With the enhanced programming options, Holland America Line will offer passengers more movie choices than ever before, with nine different movies every day on rotation on three different movie channels. Each channel will provide a different focus including comedy, drama and classic movies.
Families Reap Rewards With Holland America Line's
Recognizing the growing popularity of multi-generational family travel, Holland America Line has created its Family Reunion Program -- the first of its kind in the industry -- to reward families who cruise together with extra amenities. Premium cruise leader Holland America Line's new Family Reunion Program offers amenities that benefit the entire family. Available to families booking five staterooms or more on any cruise, the program features such benefits as special group pricing; a Fountain Soda Package for every member of the family (unlimited soft drinks throughout the voyage); a family photo per stateroom; and a choice of either dinner for the entire family in the line's alternative Pinnacle Grill Restaurant or, on Caribbean cruises, free rentals of snorkel gear and swim mats or banana boat rides for all on Half Moon Cay, HAL's award-winning private island.
For families booking ten or more staterooms, the line offers its Head-of-the-Family Reward: one complimentary upgrade from an outside stateroom to a verandah. Family groups will receive the free upgrade to a verandah stateroom for the head of the family if booking only five staterooms or more on a holiday cruise in 2004.
"We are very excited to debut our Family Reunion Program -- it offers choice, extensive value, and a benefit for every member of the family," says Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "Cruising is the perfect family vacation offering something for everyone. Sharing an exceptional meal with the entire family at the Pinnacle Grill or enjoying all the fun beach toys at Half Moon Cay provides an opportunity for families to bond and create lasting memories -- all with our compliments."
Indeed, Holland America Line's extensive onboard programming is designed to appeal to guests of all ages and interests. Club HAL provides a wide variety of exciting age-appropriate activities for kids ages three to 12, including "kids-only" shore excursions. Participating youngsters receive an activity program delivered to their stateroom and a Club HAL T-shirt. There is also a program for teens ages 13 to 17, in which they can participate in activities such as their own discos, karaoke, DDR Dance Competitions and hot tub parties.
Moms, dads and grandparents will enjoy invigorating fitness activities with exercise classes, tennis, volleyball, and state-of-the-art golf instruction, and then relish the soothing treatments at the spa and salon. Enrichment opportunities abound with special guest lecturers, art auctions and carefully planned shore excursions.
The whole family will enjoy evenings out in the line's dramatic, multi-tiered show lounges featuring dazzling Las Vegas- and Broadway-style production shows created by more Emmy®, Grammy®, Tony® and Oscar® nominees than any other cruise line. These spectacular musical programs feature vocalists, comedians, illusionists and variety performers -- suitable and entertaining for all ages.
Holland America Line Announces 2005 Alaska Cruises
Holland America Line, the leader in Alaska cruises and CruiseTours, will sail seven ships on 134 cruises in 2005, offering the widest selection of Alaska cruise itineraries and departures in the industry. The company's five-star ships offer unmatched spaciousness, carry fewer passengers than any other major cruise line and offer the most entries into Glacier Bay National Park. Guests will experience the most popular Alaskan ports of call, most extensive shore excursion programs, exclusive enrichment programs and brand-new Signature of Excellence amenities.
"We're proud to be returning for our 57th year of premium cruising in Alaska," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales. "And the shipboard experience will be better than ever. We offer attention to detail in everything from the caliber of our shore excursions to the traditional split pea soup that we serve on deck during our Alaska cruises. The quality of our cruises is what distinguishes us from the competition."
The Three Kinds of Alaska Cruises
Beginning in May, Glacier Bay Inside Passage cruises will depart on round-trip, 7-day voyages from Vancouver aboard Holland America Line's "wins," the 1,440-passenger ms Zaandam (departing every Saturday) and sister ship, ms Volendam (departing Wednesdays). The voyages will take in the placid, scenic waters of Canada's Inside Passage and tour Tracy Arm before calling at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. Each cruise features a day of cruising Glacier Bay National Park, including the stark vistas of the Johns Hopkins Glacier and the stunning, bright white and blue Margerie Glacier in Tarr Inlet.
Three ships will sail the waters between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska throughout the summer. One-way Glacier Bay Discovery Cruises of seven days depart on alternating Sundays aboard ms Ryndam and ms Veendam and feature both Glacier Bay National Park and the sixteen glaciers of secluded College Fjord. The ms Statendam, embarking on Fridays, visits inspiring Hubbard Glacier. Each ship carries only 1,258 passengers, half the number of guests of other cruise lines on similar itineraries.
The 1,848-passenger ms Oosterdam and the 1,380-passenger ms Amsterdam cruise roundtrip from Seattle on Alaskan Explorer voyages. Together, they will make 37 seven-day journeys between May and mid-September. Port calls include Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria. The Oosterdam sails Saturdays and visits Hubbard Glacier. Holland America's flagship, ms Amsterdam, will sail Sundays from Seattle, visiting Glacier Bay National Park.
Exciting Ports of Call and Unique Enrichment Programs
Holland America Line believes travel means doing, not just seeing. To provide quintessential Alaska experiences to its guests, the company offers a wide array of optional excursions. These activities highlight ports of call in Southeast Alaska -- Juneau, Sitka, Skagway and Ketchikan -- and Victoria in British Columbia, depending on the ship and itinerary. Each port showcases its own unique flavor through a variety of organized optional tours. Adventurous travelers can hike, bike, kayak, climb glaciers, ride horses, and try dogsledding. Flightseeing via helicopter or fixed wing aircraft offers the ultimate adventure.
Aboard every Alaska cruise, a full-time naturalist is on board to discuss and point out wildlife and key natural features. A native artisan, affiliated with the Alaska Native Heritage Center, is aboard to demonstrate traditional crafts. In Glacier Bay, only Holland America Line spotlights the interpretation of a Huna Totem tribal member as well as the more usual Park Service Ranger programs for adults and Junior Ranger program for children and teens.
Holland America Line Names Master Chef
Holland America Line announced a partnership with well-known Master Chef Rudi Sodamin to serve as culinary consultant for the company's fleet of five-star ships. Sodamin will be a driving force behind the enhancement of Holland America's already superb dining experience and will spearhead the creation and development of a new line of signature menu items as part of the company's unprecedented $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative.
"Chef Sodamin has a long history in the cruise industry and is highly respected as a culinary innovator and leader," said Stein Kruse, president and chief operating officer of Holland America Line. Through his consulting company, Food Sensation Enterprises, Chef Sodamin will work with Holland America Line's newly created culinary department, headed by Steve Kirsch, director of culinary operations, to help solidify and elevate its renowned dining at sea. Chef Sodamin brings more than 25 years of experience -- including an extensive background in the cruise and hospitality industries -- to this role.
"We are excited to have a person of Rudi's caliber assisting us in further developing and enhancing our dining experience," continued Kruse. "Rudi's passion, expertise and knowledge of both cuisine and the cruise industry will be tremendous assets to Holland America Line."
In 2002 Chef Sodamin founded Food Sensation Enterprises which offers full-service, end-to-end creativity, logistics, leadership and training for food industry businesses. Prior to founding Food Sensation Enterprises, Sodamin spearheaded and tested the first line of proprietary branded food products and menus for a cruise line, in the cruise industry's first test kitchen.
At the age of 23, Chef Sodamin was appointed as Chef de Cuisine on the Norwegian America Cruise Line's luxury liner Vistafjord, becoming the youngest chef in the cruise industry to attain that level of responsibility. He also spent 12 years at Cunard Line as vice president of food and beverage, as well as serving as that company's corporate executive chef. Over his career Sodamin has published eight cookbooks internationally and with international affiliations such as Academy Culinair de France, Master Chef Society and Club de Chefs des Chefs, Sodamin is widely regarded as the leading chef on the seven seas.
Holland America Enhances Youth Programs
Holland America Line has announced that it is further enhancing its onboard experience for kids with an upgraded Youth Program, complete with expanded facilities for kids of all ages. Club HAL®, offering fun and creative activities for kids ages 3 to 12, will be improved to include state-of-the-art facilities and will serve as the hub of the children's program. In addition, Holland America Line is also introducing new areas on all its ships that will provide teens with a unique environment to get away and have fun. The expansion is part of the premium cruise line's $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative and is helping to ensure that guests of all ages experience the best of classic ocean voyaging.
Designed by the world-renowned architectural firm of Peter Yran and Bjorn Storbraaten of Oslo, Norway, Holland America's new children's facilities are themed by art and will be the most elaborate of any cruise line at sea. Each area is tailored to a specific age group and provides great activities to fulfill every interest.
"Every guest on board a Holland America cruise is unique, and we believe it is important to provide activities that cater to every interest and age group," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales for Holland America Line. "The expanded new facilities are exciting additions to our fleet. No matter their interests, the entire family can now personalize their experience and enjoy the ultimate vacation at sea."
Club HAL, previously serving children 5 and older will now cater to kids 3 years and up. A streaming array of colors swirl on the ceiling, paint brushes serve as pillars and enormous pencils adorn the back wall. Kids will be delighted by the opportunities available in Club HAL. Art tables, a big screen television and a tape dispenser styled slide in the middle of the room inspire creativity and fun, giving children a great sanctuary where they can escape into a world all their own.
Through a partnership with Cranium, Holland America Line will expand its board game offerings, providing kids with a wide variety of games to choose from. Foosball, Internet access and state-of-the-art electronic games are also available. Club HAL activities are supervised by permanent, full-time directors and staff. Directors hold degrees in education, childhood development, recreation, leisure studies and related fields, giving parents peace of mind that their kids are enjoying safe, supervised fun.
An area for older kids ages 8 to 12 features arcade games, air hockey, foosball, Karaoke, Internet access and Sony Playstations, providing everything they look for in land-based activities and more. This getaway provides kids in this age group an area to relax, surf the internet, and play games in a cool, modern atmosphere.
Teens ages 13 to 17 will find a perfect getaway from family and siblings in The Loft. Specially designed to resemble a New York artist's loft, this lounge area has a contemporary feel with bright colors and funky patterns. One of the most exciting features of this area is the special passageway to a secluded teen deck called The Oasis.
An exclusive hideaway for teens, The Oasis provides guests with plenty of space to relax and socialize with people their age. Featuring a private entrance, the deck is a perfect place for teens to soak up rays then cool off in a one-of-a-kind waterfall and cave. Located toward the stern of the ship, the sundeck is an exciting addition to Holland America's already extensive activities. Unmatched anywhere in the cruise industry, The Oasis provides teenage guests with a secluded area they can call their own.
Several other unique onboard activities also have been added, including the Little Artist program, "Luau at the Oasis," "Teen Superstar" and "Dance Dance Revolution" (DDR) contests, Campin' under the Stars and Wacky Olympics. Families can take advantage of expanded offerings such as Cranium Family Game time, Family Olympics and Karaoke.
The kids program will also offer a new service, Club HAL After Hours. This program features extended hours so parents can enjoy an evening alone while their children are enjoying themselves in another area of the ship. Available for $5 per child per hour, the service extends from 10 p.m. to midnight. All of these additions provide more ways than ever to enjoy cruising as a family while providing opportunities for everyone to customize the voyage to suit their interests.
The innovative facilities and Youth Program will be fully implemented across Holland America's fleet by 2006. In addition to debuting the new areas and Youth Program, the ms Ryndam will be the first ship to showcase all enhancements associated with the Signature of Excellence on its October 10 sailing to the Mexican Riviera.
Holland America Line Expands Wireless Internet Service
Holland America Line announces that, as part of its $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative, the company is further elevating its premium cruise experience by expanding its wireless Internet service fleet-wide. This technology upgrade allows guests to stay in touch with loved ones, check stock quotes or share vacation experiences in real-time, all from the comfort and luxury of Holland America's elegant five-star ships.
Wireless "hot spots," similar to those found in many land-based businesses today, are now available on all Holland America ships for guests traveling with personal laptop computers with wireless capability. Wireless Internet access aboard Holland America ships was previously only available in the Internet Café, which provides guests with the use of desktop computers, printers and traditional Internet access. Wireless service is now available at the Lido Deck pool and in the Atrium area, Explorer's Lounge, Card Room, Library, Crow's Nest, Ocean Bar and other locations, depending on the ship. This wireless expansion puts Holland America Line at the forefront of the cruise industry, providing guests with 24-hour wireless access the moment they step aboard.
"We have a longstanding and unwavering commitment to provide our guests with all the comforts and amenities possible," said David A. Giersdorf, executive vice president, marketing and sales for Holland America Line. "More wireless coverage means more convenience for our guests. They can now enjoy all of the beautiful lounges, pools and common areas throughout the vessel while the rest of the world is just a click away."
Offering the same pricing and sign-up procedures as terminals in the Internet Café, guests can purchase time at 75 cents per minute or in discounted packages that range up to 250 minutes. Discounts for purchasing bulk packages of online time can reduce the cost to as little as 40 cents per minute. Guests' laptops will filter the connection according to the settings that have been established on each system. Internet managers on board all ships are available to assist guests with troubleshooting.
Fine Dining Experience Further Enhanced
Holland America Line has announced that, as part of its $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative, the company is further elevating its five-star dining experience by introducing new Northwest-style menu offerings and adding elegant, one-of-a-kind touches in its romantic, industry-leading Pinnacle Grill.
Pinnacle Grill, a popular, upscale, reservations-only restaurant is now available on Holland American Line's five-star ships, and combines unrivaled cuisine with distinctive Bulgari china, elegant Riedel stemware, WMF flatware and crisp Frette linens. This unwavering attention to detail elevates Pinnacle Grill to a level of elegant sophistication unmatched in the premium cruise category.
"Our guests have always believed that we set the highest standard for fine cuisine in the premium cruising industry," explained David Giersdorf, Holland America's executive vice president, marketing and sales. "Ensuring every detail of the Pinnacle Grill dining experience exceeds those expectations is paramount to the Signature of Excellence initiative."
Pinnacle Grill is one of the most notable additions to the at-sea dining experience in the premium cruise industry. The unrivaled cuisine, which celebrates Pacific Northwest fare and fine wines, is perfectly complemented by the meticulous attention to detail in every aspect of the experience. The Pinnacle Grill features great streaks, seafood and unique signature entrees. An exciting new signature dish, cedar planked lobster with roasted garlic scampi-butter and herb crumbs, is a delectable addition to the already amazing menu offering. Other signature entrées include chicken marsala with Washington cherries and cedar planked halibut with Alaskan king crab. Also featured are "Sterling Silver" premium hand-selected cuts of beef, unsurpassed in tenderness and taste, including two sizes of filet mignon. A food and wine tasting menu is also available, which provides guests with an opportunity to sample delectable options such as smoked salmon tartare with grilled asparagus wasabi sabayon. Coupled with a glass of Washington state's own Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven wine, diners experience what amounts to a "culinary nirvana."
Guests can top-off their meal by choosing from a collection of incredible desserts such as lemon berry angel shortcake with wild berry compote or a creme brulée sampler. All of these selections are further enhanced by the superb finer touches that truly define this distinctive restaurant. These touches are perhaps best illustrated by Bulgari china. Elegantly designed plates further enhance the artistry of the cuisine, as each one features a unique blue and gold rim with subtle replicas of fruit embossed in a circular pattern in the middle of the plate. This timeless design is a testament to Holland America's commitment to providing guests with a classic ocean voyage experience in a tradition of excellence to which the cruise line has always been devoted.
"Our Bulgari china is a tribute to the undivided attention to detail that Holland America Line has taken in every area of our Signature of Excellence initiative," said Johan Groothuizen, vice president, marine hotel operations. "This tableware could just as easily hang on the wall of an art gallery as it could serve as a display for Pinnacle Grill's unrivaled cuisine."
The fine china awaits guests on the tables where it is displayed at the start of each meal. It is then taken to the kitchen where the meal is artistically designed. With each plate valued at nearly $300, great care is taken to ensure the beauty of these pieces of art lasts for many years. While it goes without saying that this fine china will never see the inside of a dishwasher, guests might be surprised to learn of the extra care taken in the storage of these fine plates as each one is housed on its own shelf in order to avoid damage from stacking.
In addition to the china, the elegant Riedel stemware is perfectly crafted to capture wines' full potential, and esteemed Frette linens - made by the same company that supplies the Orient Express and Vatican -- cap-off the table. WMF flatware speaks to Holland America Line's commitment to quality as the world-renowned stainless-steel sets feature a classic European design. And for guests looking to take a truly spectacular memento of their journey home with them, the famed Bulgari china is available for on-board purchase.
Customized Shore Excursion Program Provides a
Holland America Line has announced that as part of its Signature of Excellence initiative, guests will have a new way to explore many of the premium cruise line's 280 fascinating ports of call with the new Signature Collection touring option. As part of the exclusive Medallion Collection of shore excursions, Signature Collection tours provide Holland America's seasoned travelers with the flexibility to customize their time ashore in the comfort of a private, luxury vehicle with the personalized attention of their own driver and a highly skilled English-speaking guide. Holland America Line currently offers the service in 46 European ports of call and will be rolling it out to destinations worldwide.
"Holland America's comprehensive selection of shore excursions lead the industry, allowing our guests the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in every port of call," said David A. Giersdorf, executive vice president, marketing and sales. "The Signature Collection is a great example of how, under the Signature of Excellence initiative, we continue to push ourselves to find new ways to enhance these experiences and raise the bar even higher for the premium cruise category."
The premium cruise line developed the Signature Collection for guests who are interested in the flexibility and independence of designing their personal itinerary while ashore according to their individual interests and at their own pace. The Signature Collection allows them to maximize their time in port and visit destinations more in-depth according to their own timetable.
The service is available for groups of two to eight guests. Most tours are available in four- and eight-hour segments, including unlimited mileage and utilizing the highest-grade vehicles available ashore. Also included are motorway tolls, parking fees and bottled water. Signature Collection tours start at $300 and prices vary per group up to $3,000 depending on the location, duration and type of vehicle.
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