Holland America Line is at the forefront of the premium cruise market and, as it moves towards 2008, the company hopes to maintain its position as one the cruise industry’s leading operators. Among its more recent advances and improvements are the expansion of its fleet of Vista-class ships, guest programmes such as As You Wish Dining and the launch of ms Eurodam, the first ship in Holland America Line’s new Signature Class.

While its Signature of Excellence programme was physically completed at the end of 2006, its spirit continues as the concept is taken to the next level with continued refinements and enhancements.

MAKEOVER MAGIC

A number of Vista-class ships have recently undergone drydock refurbishments. The refurbishment of ms Westerdam is a perfect example of how Signature of Excellence continues to provide imaginative onboard activities and renovations that appeal to today’s premium cruise client. The ship now features the addition of 34 new staterooms, more shopping opportunities, a larger Pinnacle Grill and a new Pinnacle Bar.

The vessel will also reveal its new Explorations Café, operated in partnership with The New York Times, which is located at the top of the ship within the Crow’s Nest. Against a backdrop of spectacular views, guests can surf the internet, read a book or relax with friends while enjoying speciality coffees and pastries.

“At the end of 2007, ms Prinsendam began a $20m drydock.”

The popular Pinnacle Grill alternative restaurant has been expanded to accommodate 136 guests, and a Pinnacle Bar has been added near the restaurant where guests can enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail. The recently expanded Holland America Line Signature Shops will give guests a greater variety of outlets including the new high-end jewellery store Merabella. Two of the other Vista-class ships, ms Zuiderdam and ms Oosterdam are undergoing similar enhancements to be completed in 2008
and 2009, respectively.

At the end of 2007, ms Prinsendam began a $20m drydock to deliver refurbished staterooms, an Explorations Café, new carpeting, an expanded shopping promenade, a new Lido Restaurant flooring, upgraded verandah and deck furniture, and meeting spaces. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Providing more options for guests is a hallmark of the Signature of Excellence. Dining innovations are highlighted by As You Wish, a programme that enables guests to choose from the best of two worlds: either traditional pre-set seating and two dining times on one level of the two-tiered restaurant; or a flexible dining schedule on the other level. Those guests choosing flexible seating can make reservations daily or simply walk up any time during dining hours. Reservations and guest
preferences are managed through a unique computer system ensuring the same efficient and high-quality service no matter which option is selected.

BIG SISTER ARRIVES

The new concepts and amenities found on the Vista ships will also be found on Eurodam, which will be delivered in July 2008. The vessel will further the evolution of Holland America Line’s sophisticated mid-sized ships and inaugurate its next class of vessels. At 2,104 passengers, it’s the largest ship ever constructed for the line.

In its first year, the vessel will sail in the Baltic, Canada/New England and the Caribbean. Some of its exciting innovations include a topside 144-seat Pan-Asian restaurant with a 50-seat lounge surrounded by panoramic views of the ocean and Lido pool area.

Eurodam’s additional deck provides 63 more staterooms than the latest Vista-class ship.”

Other additions are an Explorer’s Lounge Bar, a new speciality restaurant adjacent to the Lido offers Italian cuisine, elegant jewellery boutiques, a new atrium bar area, an enhanced show lounge with theatre-style seating and a new photographic centre.

Eurodam’s additional deck provides 63 more staterooms than the latest Vista-class ship; 47 will be verandah staterooms and ten will be a new style of stateroom with ceiling-to-floor windows and curved verandahs. All staterooms will provide the Signature of Excellence premium amenities.

Additional Holland America Line staples on Eurodam include: the Culinary Arts Centre, operated in partnership with Food & Wine Magazine, where culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and hands-on classes in a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchen; an expanded Greenhouse Spa and Salon with thermal suites and hydro-therapy pool; the largest gymnasium ever built for Holland America Line; and a youth facility that includes the teens-only Loft.

On the technical side, Eurodam will feature the latest navigation and safety systems including dynamic positioning abilities to hold the ship in a precise position. The vessel will be powered by six diesel generators and propelled by the latest Azipod propulsion technology.

ENVIRONMENTAL HARMONY

In terms of environmentally sound practices, Holland America Line continues its measures to meet or exceed all provisions of the international regulations governing the environmental management of marine operations. A comprehensive fleet-wide programme demonstrates the line’s commitment to responsible environmental practices with the emphasis on waste reduction and recycling, compliance with all international environmental guidelines and using cleaner burning propulsion technology into
the line’s new ships.

Holland America Line’s Environmental Management System conforms to the ISO14001 standard that requires an environmental officer to be present on each ship. This officer will provide training to all crew members and will oversee shipboard compliance. Every aspect of vessel operations, from food preparation and hotel operations, navigation and ship operations on the bridge, to engineering and maintenance activities, are performed to minimise the impact on the environment while assuring a safe, comfortable and satisfying experience for guests and crew.

Technology is also being used to reduce both fuel consumption and air emissions. For example, the Vista-class cruiseships Westerdam, Oosterdam and Noordam have been retrofitted to use shore power at the Port of Seattle. Wile docked, these ships will buy and use electricity provided by Seattle City Light instead of diesel fuel.

“The line has also invested in a cutting-edge emission reduction technology.”

The total cost to retrofit is nearly $1m per ship. In addition, approximately $1.5m has been spent dockside to establish hook-ups and install a transformer. The line has also invested in a cutting-edge emission reduction technology installed on ms Zaandam.

In cooperation with several US and Canadian Government and regulatory agencies, Holland America Line has launched a technology demonstration project designed to demonstrate the feasibility of using seawater to ‘scrub’, or reduce, engine emissions on vessels.

Zaandam is a ship like no other and, after studies and modifications of its new test emissions technology, it could dramatically change not only the cruise industry, but also the entire maritime industry by reducing ship engine emissions.

The seawater scrubber system developed by Krystallon, a subsidiary of BP, uses the natural chemistry of seawater to remove virtually all sulphur oxide as well as significantly reduce particulate matter emissions. The seawater is then treated to remove harmful components while the calcium carbonate in seawater renders the sulphur oxides harmless by conversions to sulphates and neutral salts.

ONE STEP AHEAD

Holland America Line tops the list of cruise lines sought by affluent leisure travellers. It will continue to make every effort to remain in this prestigious position. Programmes such as As You Wish Dining, continuous onboard enhancements and evolving ship designs and technology challenge the line as a company and shows why Holland America Line is one of the leading premium cruise lines in the industry today.