'A Signature of Excellence'
Holland America Line's history stretches back to 1873, when it ran commercial ships from Holland to America - hence the name!
The 13 ships which currently form the fleet (a 14th is due in Summer 2008) sail to more than 280 ports of call on all seven continents.
Holland America is, therefore, one of the foremost premium class cruise lines in the world.
The whole ambience of Holland America is class and quality. From the restaurants to the antique decor.
From the elegant and spacious staterooms to the entertainment on offer.
Holland America Line multi-million dollar upgrades are expected to be completed throughout the fleet by the end of 2006.
The musically themed MS Zaandam makes the 15 to 17 day Hawaiian cruise pretty much every month of the year. in a full circle from San Diego or Vancouver.
Memorabilia from the breadth of musical history decorates the ship, even guitars signed by the Rolling Stones and more!
Holland America's Hawaiian ports of call are Kona, Hawai'i; Hilo, Hawai'i; Nawiliwili, Kauai; and Honolulu, Oahu, Lahaina, Maui, depending on itinerary.
What's the Food Like?
Holland America is at the top edge of cruising. And their dining is to match. Here you experience the highest standards of formal dining, with offshoots of 'informal' that are still pretty posh!
The 'Main Dining Room' is deluxe dining at it's very best, with silver service, Rosenthal china and fresh flowers.
The menus are to die for (though there are healthy options too!). Other options are the Lido (informal) Dining and Terrace Grill to complement the Pinnacle Restaurant, Holland America's signature alternative dining venue.
Traditions such as afternoon tea and even a quaint chime to announce dinner, add to the lasting history and culture of the line.
Main dining rooms still operate on a set schedule, although Holland America has expanded seatings from the traditional two to four.
What's There to Do?
In keeping with this premium line, the onboard activities are, as you might imagine, understated and of the highest quality.
During the day
One of the most interesting things about Holland America is it's capacity to strike up onboard alliances with like-minded partners.
The 'Explorations Cafe, powered by the New York Times' experience, creates a homely, comfortable ambience, where guests can sip their latte, read the paper or, when they tire of that, choose from the 2,000 book library.
Then, there's the state of the art 'Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food and Wine Magazine' where guests can experience an extraordinary range of workshops, seminars and courses led by top chefs, leading writers and wine experts.
So on Hawaiian cruises, guests can learn, from expert speakers, about the history and traditions of the Lei Ceremony, and spend an evening enjoying the fun and flavors of an onboard luau.
Need some physical stimulation? Well, there are basketball and volleyball courts, two swimming pools, walking and jogging decks.
Added to this, the state-of-the-art weight and cardio workout kit, in the Greenhouse fitness centre, should keep you trim and toned.
Need a respite? Then the Greenhouse Spa offers the ultimate in pampering with thermal suites, hydro pools, body treatments and full facials. Go on - you know you deserve it!
And Holland America knows how to help you shop - and what shopping!
Each cruise features fun and easy art auctions by such masters as Picasso, Chagall, Dali and Rembrandt, to name a few, as well as the highest quality brands in gift merchandise.
Holland America have embraced opportunities to look after kids really well on their cruises.
Club HAL offers age-specific activities to give kids the fun they want and their parents the peace of mind to help them relax on their vacation too, safe in the knowledge that the very best supervision is in place.
For teens and youths appropriate levels of activity are available too, not to mention a whole range of TV, Sony Playstation centers and movies too!
When the Sun goes down
Evening entertainment is fairly understated, consistent with the Holland America experience.
Musicals, magicians, illusionists and more, often direct from Vegas and Atlantic City, form the core of the exceptional standards of onboard entertainment.
And every voyage features a crew show, where crew members sing and dance - and it's always wonderful!
Fancy a movie instead? The latest movies are always available and a nice touch is the free buttered popcorn!
If you are too awake to sleep, then dance the night away to a wide variety of musical styles, with Social Hosts onboard sharing in dining and dancing.
Need to keep in touch?
The Explorations Cafe is the place where you can get on-line; in fact, you can get online anywhere as there are wi-fi hotspots throughout the ship.
Forget your laptop? No problem as there are a limited number to rent!
As you might expect, in the Holland America style, the pre-dinner cocktail reception, is one of the liveliest times!
Who Goes on Holland America Cruises?
Typically Holland America caters for those expecting the highest standards of experience and service.
Yet it's also making a concerted effort to attract passengers beyond its usual core base of the 50 and over.
The line hopes to draw in more families and younger cruisers with innovations during the refurbishments.
Explorations Cafe features the largest library at sea.
The accommodation space is over-sized compared with most other cruise lines.