Holland America Line (HAL) is filled with tradition. Founded in 1873, the cruise line got its start sailing across the Atlantic between the Netherlands and the U.S. Carnival Corporation purchased HAL in 1989, but the line still maintains its Seattle headquarters. The ships are considered by most to be "deluxe" or "premium" class—not luxury, but of higher standards (and sometimes price) than some of the other members of the Carnival family.
Holland America Line operates 14 ships, all with Dutch names, many of which have been used more than once. A new ship joins the fleet in 2018 and will be named the Nieuw Statendam. The company plans to spend $300 million to upgrade and enhance the current ships in the fleet from 2016 through 2018.
The M/S Ryndam and M/S Statendam were transferred to P&O Australia Cruise Line in November 2015 and now sail from Australian homeports as the Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden.
Many HAL passengers are experienced cruisers in their 50's or older who like a quality product and traditional cruising. The seven-day Alaska and Caribbean cruises cater to families, and HAL has many theme cruises for groups of all interests. HAL passengers like to have a good time, but are not late-night revelers or big party goers. HAL has many loyal, repeat cruisers who love the consistency and traditional nature of the ships.
Accommodations and Cabins
Since the ships range in age and size significantly, the cabins differ between HAL's ships. However, all cabins are contemporary and comfortable. Many of the newer ships have large numbers of veranda cabins, but some of the older ships do not. Holland America features both a bathtub and shower in many of its cabins.
Cuisine and Dining
The main restaurants on HAL ships have fixed seatings for dinner, starting at times ranging from 5:45 to 8:30. In addition, the ships also have "as you wish" open seating dining in the main restaurants at dinner. Like most cruise lines, the HAL ships have buffet restaurants for casual dining featuring salads, regional specialties, and fast food. All the HAL ships now have premium, alternative restaurants (at a fee) for those seeking a gourmet dining experience.
Onboard Activities and Entertainment
Holland America has the standard production shows performed by its own troupe. The shows are not as lavish or spectacular as those found on larger ships in the Carnival Corp. family or on Royal Caribbean. Live music is featured in the lounges and dining rooms. Lectures and movies are shown in the theater.
Club HAL is the children's program. The larger HAL ships such as the Vista class "compass ships" and the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam are probably better for children.
The common areas of the older, smaller HAL ships are traditional in decor, with subdued colors and a quiet, classical ambiance. The four newer, Vista-class ships and the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam have a more contemporary and colorful decor. Some frequent HAL cruisers criticize the newer ships because they seem to have lost their "classic" look, others love the updated decor. All ships feature fresh flowers and an impressive art collection.
Spa, Gym, and Fitness
The gym facilities have modern equipment and a variety of fitness classes, some of which have a fee. The Greenhouse Spa, operated by Steiner Leisure, has all the standard treatments from head to toe.
More on Holland America Line
Holland America Line
300 Elliott Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119
On the Web: http://www.hollandamerica.com