Holland America fleet
Review of Holland America
Between 1873-1989, HAL was a Dutch mail, cargo and passenger shipping company operating regularly scheduled Transatlantic crossings between Holland and North America (also to South America). HAL was founded in 1873 as "Dutch-American Steamship Company" headquartered in Rotterdam Netherlands. On October 15, 1872, started company's first cruise itinerary (15-day crossing from Rotterdam to NYC). In 1989, HAL was acquired by Carnival Corporation for around EUR 530 million.
Nowadays, the Holland America company’s best assets include the Westmark hotel chain (Alaska-Yukon region), Worldwide Shore Services (warehouses and logistics) and the Caribbean private island Little San Salvador Island. Widely known as Half Moon Cay, it is at approx 160 km (100 ml) southeast of Nassau Bahamas, and is an exclusive port of call for all Carnival Corporation ships. Westmark hotels allow Holland America to dominate completly the Alaskan cruisetours market, offering the most diverse and cheap land and sea Alaska travel packages.
One of the best cruise lines for couples, the best and cheapest for Alaska, Holland America is a feature brand of Carnival Corporation – world’s largest passenger shipping company. One of the main operating companies in Carnival Group, HAL is also member of the exclusive World’s Leading Cruise Lines Alliance (WLCLA) - together with the sister-brands Carnival, Cunard, Costa, Seabourn, Princess, Windstar.
One of the best cruise lines for adults, Holland America fills in the category of premium-deluxe and mainstream ship travel brands. HAL cruise ships visit over 300 seaports in more than 100 countries worldwide, with over 500 traditional and Transoceanic itineraries annually. Itineraries lengths range from 2-day to 110+ days World Voyages. The majority of itineraries are 7-day, and many range between 10-21 days.
The company has a large fleet of unique liners with home-like staterooms, first-class theater shows, professional health and beauty onboard services, University at Sea (shipboard enrichment program), Club HAL (complimentary kids programs).
In 2017, HAL celebrated company's 70 years of Alaskan cruisetour operations. HAL's Alaska passenger shipping service was started in 1947 with a spontaneous cruisetour in Fairbanks, to grow into the company's "Alaska Land+Sea Journeys" - itinerary program that combines cruise and land-based adventure tours to Denali and Yukon Canada.
HAL's newest vessels are from the Pinnacle-class - named Koningsdam (2016) and Nieuw Statendam (2018). These are also the company's ever largest ships, with gross tonnage almost 100,000 (99500 tons) and max passenger capacity 3194.
In the end of January 2017, the shipowner Carnival Corporation announced 2 more shipbuilding orders. The new cruise ships were ordered for the fleets of Princess (Royal-class) and Holland America Line (Pinnacle-class). The announcement said Carnival had signed a MoA (memorandum of agreement) with the shipbuilder Fincantieri (Italy) to construct both new vessels, with scheduled delivery in 2021 (for HAL, at Marghera yard) and 2022 (for Princess, at Monfalcone yard). By the time when both shipbuilding contracts were finalized (February 2017), Carnival Corporation had a total of 19 new ships scheduled for delivery between 2017 and 2022.
HAL ships names
In the Holland America Lines over 130 years of maritime history there are some quite charmingly special traditions and truly unique practices. One of them is that all HAL ships go with the “dam” suffix.
Absolutely all Holland America ships names are named with the “dam” ending. They usually bear names of famous Dutch landmarks, the 4 compass points, or some of the most prominent river dams in Kingdom of the Netherlands. And this special list of “Dutch landmarks” includes rivers, mountains, sea, city/town and the four directional bearings, of course.
Some HAL cruise ships names have been reused (some of them several times) with the ship’s retirement. This practice of renewing ship names allows the Holland America company to emotionally connect its glorious past with its amazing business growth in our times.
HAL ships classes (ordered high to low)
- Pinnacle-class are Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam - company's newest and ever largest vessels.
- Signature-class (enhanced Vista design) are Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam. Compared to Vista-ships, they have 1 additional deck (between Lido and Observation) allowing more staterooms (mostly spa cabins) and public venues (“Tamarind”, “Silk Den”).
- Vista-class are Zuiderdam, Oosterdam, Westerdam and Noordam.
- Single-class is Prinsendam (sold in 2018).
- Rotterdam-class (R-class) are Rotterdam, Volendam, Zaandam and Amsterdam.
- Statendam-class (S-class) are Statendam (now Pacific Eden), Maasdam, Ryndam (now Pacific Aria) and Veendam. They were fleet's 1st to have Atrium, 2-deck dining room, show lounge, Lido pool (with retractable glass roof).
SOE (“Signature of Excellence”) program upgrades – multimillion dollar ship enhancements to older vessels, with new venues, stateroom categories, amenities, etc.
NEWS: In July 2018, MS Prinsendam was sold to Phoenix Reisen, starting operations for the German cruise company on July 1, 2019. Prinsendam's cruise schedule is assimilated by the fleetmates Rotterdam, Volendam and Veendam.
Holland America ship refurbishments
In November 2015, HAL announced the company's USD 300 million fleetwide drydock refurbishment program. The fleet upgrade project included Suite improvements (new decors, furnishings, amenities and services upgrades for all suite stateroom categories on Vista-Class, Signature-Class and R-Class vessels.
- The first scheduled for dry-docks ships were Oosterdam and Eurodam, followed by Westerdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Zuiderdam,Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Volendam and Zaandam. Eurodam was drydock refited in December 2015 (Dec 7-20, in Freeport Bahamas). Oosterdam was drydock refited in 2016 (April 3-18, in Fincantieri’s Palermo Sicily yard).
- Each cruise suite was upgraded with new sofa, chairs, headboard, carpet and wall coverings, privacy curtain, drapery, bed runner, bed skirt, quartz stone top (on the vanity desk), vanity lighting, dresser, dressing table, nightstands.
- Other upgrades included 1 new USB outlet (on the bed’s headboard), bedside LED lights, upgraded electrical outlets, lighted closet rod, new interactive TV system (allowing complimentary movies-on-demand, access to the ship's daily scheduled activities program, ship information - restaurants, bars, spa services, checking onboard accounts, Internet).
- Suite bathrooms received a wall of designer glass tiles (backdrop to the new dressing area with new stone top, modern taps, undermount sink), new mirrors (with integrated LED lighting), stylish floor tiles, nightlight.
- Since 2016, all suites fleetwide received the following exclusive amenities - priority services (embarkation, disembarkation, tendering, dining reservations), complimentary services (laundry, pressing, dry cleaning), exclusive access to Neptune Lounge, private breakfast service (at Pinnacle Grill).
- The list of new suite cabin amenities includes: premium duvet, luxury bathrobes and slippers, luxury bath products (by Elemis). BOSE SoundDock (iPod docking station), umbrella, binoculars, complimentary mimosa cocktails (with in-cabin breakfast), Nespresso coffee machine.
(NEW) HAL cruise gratuities 2019
Prior December 2018, HAL's daily gratuities per person (pp) were USD 13,50 (interior-oceanview-balcony staterooms, applied to both adults and kids) and USD 15 (suites).
On HAL cruises after December 1 (2018), daily gratuities are increased to USD 14,50 pp per day (non-suite passengers) and USD 16 pp per day (for suite passengers).
Daily gratuity is an automatic service charge (applied to both adults and kids) that is added to passenger's onboard account each day. Passengers can prepay cruise gratuities. The amount of gratuities is split between ship's staff (dining, housekeeping, cabin stewards).
Note: On May 1, 2017, Holland America Line raised daily gratuities from USD 12,50 to 13,50 pp (non-suite pax).
Holland America fly-cruise deals
In August 2015, Holland America added enhanced features to its flight booking program "Flight Ease". HAL's website allows travelers to choose flights (departure and return) separately, also to compare real-time air fares, plus detailed schedules. HAL also allows adding of stopover flight segments.
Flight Ease's improved functionality includes:
- calendar for flight cruise planning based on the cruise itinerary's departure and arrival dates
- independent selection of departing / return flights
- improved website navigation - you can move across fly bookings, including search, select, summary, pay
- improved search box filters to select best flights as preferred airlines, number of stops, ticket price, departure time, flight duration
- easy airfare comparison for the same flight
- flight schedules with detailed info on aircraft types, flight connections, layover times.
HAL's "Flight Ease" air booking program offers up-to-the-minute flight schedules and selection of 2 competitive pricing on flights with arrival / departure dates same as the booked cruise itinerary. All flight cruise deals booked through HAL's Flight Ease program feature 24-hour assistance and “Next Port Protection”. The latter guarantees that in case of flight delays or cancellations, Holland America Line takes care of the flight changes in order to join the cruise ship at the next port of call along the booked itinerary.
Airfare payments are due with HAL cruise's final payment. Restricted Fares include cancellation fees and require full payment for the flight reservation at booking time.
(NEW) HAL cruise shore excursions "Best Price Guarantee"
Since November 2017, HAL offers a "best price guarantee" for customers with prebooked shore excursions (land tours).
- The new program is available fleetwide and on all cruise itineraries, excluding only voyages in Asia.
- By the program, any booked passenger who finds a comparable excursion / tour deal (offering same amenities, including date, duration, transfers, transportation, meals) elsewhere at lower price will receive an OBC ("onboard credit") of 110% of the price difference.
- The request must be submitted online up to 7 days prior cruise ship departure. Booked passengers are notified within 2 days of submission if the tour / excursion meets the "Best Price Guarantee" requirements. If eligible, booked passengers receive a non-refundable OBC to be used during the voyage.
- Best Price Guarantee applies only to publicly available and advertised with pricing tour deals. Passengers cancelling their HAL tour on the ship are not eligible for "Best Price Guarantee" OBC.
- The new program further guarantees HAL tour deals' exceptional value, competitive pricing and best quality. As of 2018, through HAL can be purchased over 4100 tours / excursions in around 550 cruise ports.
Holland America smoking policy
Implemented in January 2017, Holland America Line has a new cruise ship smoking policy banning smoking on all cabin balconies. As previously, in-cabin smoking is also not allowed. Smoking E-cigarettes and vaping devices is permitted in designated areas, as well as inside passenger staterooms (but not on cabin balconies).
Passengers who violate the company's ship' smoking policy will be fined a cleaning fee USD 250 per day.
There are smoking-allowed areas for active slot machine players located in all HAl cruise ship casinos - excepting on MS Oosterdam and MS Eurodam, which casinos are entirely smoke-free. Follows the list of Holland America ships' designated smoking-allowed areas:
- MS Maasdam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side; Sports Deck forward and aft of Crow's Nest on starboard side
- MS Veendam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side; Sports Deck forward and aft of Crow's Nest on starboard side
- MS Volendam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side; Sports Deck forward and aft of Crow's Nest on starboard side
- MS Zaandam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side; Sports Deck forward and aft of Crow's Nest on starboard side
- MS Rotterdam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side; Sports Deck forward and aft of Crow's Nest on starboard side
- MS Amsterdam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side; Sports Deck forward and aft of Crow's Nest on starboard side
- MS Noordam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side and the Oak Room
- MS Oosterdam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side
- MS Eurodam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side
- MS Zuiderdam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side
- MS Prinsendam - Seaview Bar/Pool on port side
- MS Nieuw Amsterdam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side
- MS Westerdam - Seaview Bar/Pool on starboard side
- MS Koningsdam and MS Nieuw Statendam - Seaview Bar/ Pool (aft portside on deck 9) and Sun Bar (aft starboard on deck 11).
Holland America Alaska crui￼setours (land and sea packages)
The 7-day "Alaskan Explorer" (roundtrip from Seattle WA) is company's signature cruisetour itinerary for this unique destination.
The other itinerary (7-day "Alaskan Inside Passage") is roundtrip from Vancouver Canada.
HAL ships in Alaska offer cruisetours with lengths 10-13-14-15 days. They are inclusive of 3-day cruising (between Vancouver-Juneau) plus scenic train travel (between Juneau-Anchorage) on the White Pass-Yukon Route Railway.
- (Y5C) 10-Day Yukon+double Denali (Vancouver to Anchorage)
- (Y3C) 13-Day Yukon+triple Denali (Vancouver to Anchorage)
- (Y3L) 14-Day Yukon+triple Denali (Anchorage to Vancouver)
- (Y2l) 15-Day Yukon+triple Denali (Anchorage to Vancouver)
Itinerary of Holland America
The list of Holland America cruise destinations features Alaska, Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe (Mediterranean), Australia, Asia, Canada New England, Transatlantic (repositioning), South America, Caribbean, and Round The World Cruises. Here you will be able to easily compare all Holland America cruise line itinerary changes – all the new HAL itineraries and new cruises on a single page. The comparison on all Holland America destinations by ship will give you all home-port and itinerary changes in the HAL’s sailing program.
Holland America offers new culturally immersive Signature Experiences on its select 2018 cruise itineraries departing out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and 5 of the most popular cities in Europe: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Rome and Venice.
Holland America cruise itinerary changes
For season 2018, Holland America pulled from its Mexican Riviera cruise itineraries the Acapulco port due to concerns about violent crime in the region. The company (Carnival Corporation subsidiary) had scheduled different itineraries to Pacific Mexico ports, but the popular resort destination Acapulco was scrapped and replaced with alternative Mexican ports. The changed Itineraries included 7 Panama Canal transits and 7 South American cruise.
|Ship Name||Homeports||Itineraries Changes|
7d Alaska from Vancouver
(December special) 15-17d Panama Canal California to Florida (leaving from San Francisco and San Diego to Fort Lauderdale).
fall 2018-spring 2019
10d Canada New England (Fall) 10d NYC-Quebec City, and the reverse).
fall 2018-spring 2019
Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale
7-14d Canada New England from Boston and Montreal
(Oct-Nov) Transatlantic (21d Florida-Rome, 21d Rome-Florida, 42d roundtrip).
(Jan-Feb) South America
Mediterranean (itinerary changes)
7d Caribbean from Lauderdale
Transatlantic repositioning (Florida-Barcelona, Barcelona-Florida.
MS Nieuw Amsterdam explores the eastern and western regions of the Caribbean during 2018-2019 season on a series of 7-day cruises, featuring calls at Saint Thomas, San Juan, Cozumel, Grand Turk, Georgetown, Ocho Rios.
new Mediterranean itineraries
Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale
Transatlantic Florida-Barcelona, Rome-Florida.
7d Alaska from Seattle (Tracy Arm, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria). Australia from Sydney
repositioning from Alaska to Australia New Zealand, and reverse.
April – October 2016
2018-2019: ms Oosterdam offers a series of 7-day itineraries spotlighting both eastern and western routes, and 7-day Tropical Caribbean itineraries featuring calls at ports in Bahamas and Dominica.
68d Around South America from Fort Lauderdale.(Nov) 26d Florida to Amazon Brazil.Transatlantic USA Europe (Spring and Fall).Europe
(December special) 14d Southern Caribbean from Ft Lauderdale (no changes).
Europe from Amsterdam (departing from Rotterdam)
World cruise (90d from Rotterdam (88d from Southampton).
(Nov) 35d Transatlantic roundtrip to Caribbean from Europe (departing from Rotterdam) and 33d from departing from UK (Southampton).
October 2018-April 2019: ms Rotterdam sails roundtrip from Tampa FL on eight 7-day western itineraries as well as five 14-day southern itineraries. The vessel visits some of the most beautiful islands and ports in the region, of which Key West, Curacao, Mahogany Bay, Costa Maya, Aruba and Saint Lucia.
South America cruises
7d Canada New England (Boston-Quebec City, and the reverse Quebec City – Boston), special 7d roundtrip Boston.
(July) Transatlantic with Iceland and Greenland
from San Diego CA
Panama Canal repositioning
7d Alaska from Vancouver (Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan). 34d Around Australia (50d combined with Sydney to Singapore).Asia cruises
7d Alaska from Seattle (Juneau, Glacier Bay, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria).Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale
(special) 30d roundtrip to Hawaii and Tahiti from San Diego, California.
relocation (Spring) Panama Canal (Florida-Alaska), San Diego – Vancouver, Vancouver-Seattle, and the reverse in Fall.
September 2018 through April 2019, Westerdam cruises in Asia on 10 itineraries (10-31 days) visiting China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam. Back-to-back cruises can be booked as longer "Collectors Voyage". Combining 2 B2B itineraries, "Asia Collectors Voyages" range between 23-31 days. "Grand Asia Voyage" (82-day Pacific circumnavigation) departs September 30, 2018 as a roundtrip from LA with all 33 port calls and 6 overnights.
7d Vancouver to Alaska
from San Diego CA (21d “collectors”)
7d Vancouver to Alaska (Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan).(Caribbean) Panama Canal cruises from Fort Lauderdale (Florida round-trips to Panama)
(Dec Caribbean Holiday specials)
repositioning (with Panama Canal crossing)
2018-2019: partial Panama Canal transit, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale FL on 10- and 11-day voyages. The ship calls at several Caribbean ports making its way to Gatun Lake, where travelers enjoy a day of scenic cruising.
Holland America 2018 itineraries themed "Signature Experiences"
HAL new culturally themed "Signature Experiences" are available on select 2018 cruise itineraries departing out of Montreal (Quebec Canada) and in Europe - from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Civitavecchia-Rome and Venice.
- These are pre-cruise packages created exclusively for HAL with included evening event (themed on culture or culinary), 2-night luxury hotel stay and bus transfers to the cruise ship. Guests booking a suite cabin on these eligible cruises receive the package complimentary, but as space is limited reservations are required.
- The 2018 pre-cruise "Signature Experiences" tour packages for non-suite passengers as prices range between USD 700-1000 per person (double occupancy). Taxes and port fees are additional.
- "Taste of Montreal" pre-cruise tour package is on select Canada New England cruises from Montreal. The tour visits the city's most popular sights. The package also includes a 2-night hotel stay and complimentary ship transfers. HAL passengers visit Place Ville Marie and its observation deck (Au Sommet Place Ville Marie) for fabulous city views. The tour culminates with the Pointe-a-Calliere museum where a private party with appetizers and open bar is held.
- Port of Amsterdam Holland - the pre-cruise tour package includes an evening at Rijksmuseum - after-hours private tour, cocktail reception with hors d'oeuvres in the museum's foyer, Rijksmuseum Honor Gallery tour, followed by a 3-course dinner in its cafe.
- Port barcelona Spain - the pre-cruise tour package includes an evening at Casa Batllo - private tour, followed by informal dinner with tapas and drinks while enjoying flamenco music by Son de Cajon.
- Port Copenhagen Denmark - the pre-cruise tour package includes a night at Kronborg Castle (UNESCO Heritage Site) where guests are entertained by local actors providing a history of Shakespeare's Hamlet, then follow appetizers and beverages.
- Port Civitavecchia (Rome Italy) - the pre-cruise tour package "A Night Out in Ancient Rome" includes an evening at Casa dei Cavalieri di Rodi. The formal dinner is on a terrace overlooking the Roman Forum. After in appetizers and prosecco, guests enjoy a private tour of the Colosseum lead by an expert guide.
- Port Venice Italy - the pre-cruise tour package "An Evening on the Grand Canal" includes an evening canal cruise to the entrance of a privately owned palace overlooking the Grand Canal. There guests enjoy formal dinner with appetizers, drinks and live music, all in the company of the countess or member of her noble family.
- Signature Experiences" pre-cruise tour packages for departure ports in Australia, New Zealand, South America and Asia will be added soon.
HAL cruises to Cuba 2018-2019
Starting December 22, 2017 through April 2018, HAL Holland America Line scheduled cruises to Cuba roundtrip from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale Florida) on ms Veendam. HAL's 7-, 11-and 12-days long Cuban cruise itineraries also visit other Caribbean ports of call. HAL's prices started from USD 900 per person (double occupancy inside cabin rates).
The current list of passenger shipping lines offering cruises to Cuba includes:
- Carnival Paradise leaving from Tampa Florida - prices started from USD 480 pp
- Royal Caribbean (ship Empress of the Seas) from Miami and Tampa since April 2017
- MSC Cruises (ship MSC Opera, leaving from Havana)
- Oceania Cruises (ships Marina and Regatta) starting in 2017, Cuba circumnavigation, stops in Cienfuegos and Havana, also part of some Panama Canal transition itineraries.
- NCL (ship Norwegian Sky) 4-day itineraries with Havana overnights - starting May 2017
- Azamara Cruises (ship on Azamara Quest from Miami)
- Compagnie du Ponant (yacht Le Ponant, leaving from Miami Florida)
- Pearl Seas Cruises (ship Pearl Mist, leaving from Fort Lauderdale Florida) since January 2017
- Thomson UK / Marella Cruises (ship Marella Dream) 7-day, leaving roundtrip from Jamaica (Montego Bay) to Havana
- Lindblad Expeditions (chartered sailing ship MS Panorama II, leaving from Havana)
- Celestyal Cruises (ship Celestyal Crystal, leaving from Havana and Montego Bay Jamaica)
- Grand Circle Cruise Line (ship MV Clio / ex Tere Moana) one-way from Miami to Havana, or the reverse from Havana to Miami (embarkation/disembarkation in port Cienfuegos).
- International Expeditions (leaving from Havana, charter flights out of Miami)
- Victory Cruise Lines - MS Victory I (former MS Saint Laurent) - fly-cruises from Miami to Havana (home-port Cienfuegos /departures)
- Note: According to the current Cuban law, US citizens of Cuban origin (born in Cuba) are not allowed to visit the island country (including on cruise ships). Regardless of their US citizenship status, Cuban-born Americans were denied booking on cruise itineraries visiting ports in Cuba. However, the situation changed in April 2016, after Carnival Corporation negotiated with the Cuban government for allowing ships with Cuban-born passengers, as such US citizens are allowed to visit the country on USA-Cuba charter flights. The Carnival-fathom line started Miami to Cuba cruises in May 2016.
- Alaska Airlines offers regular nonstop flights to Havana from Los Angeles (California USA). An 80-min ling JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale (Florida) to Havana costs less than USD 100. Previously, air travel from USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.
Holland America related cruise news
- Cruise Industry
Holland America is raising daily gratuities rate. On all cruises after December 1, the gratuity increases to US$14.50 per day per person ...October 9, 2018
- Cruise Industry
Holland America Line is adding 20 new tours throughout Asia, Australia & New Zealand, Canada & New England to its popular collection of...September 29, 2018
- Cruise Industry
Holland America Line unveiled more than 100 cruises to choose from between October 2018-April 2019 ranging from 3 to 21 days, and sailing on 8...September 20, 2018
- Cruise Industry
A classic rock club has emerged via partnership with Rolling Stone magazine onboard Holland America’s newbuild. A 5-piece band is expected to...September 16, 2018
- Cruise Industry
Holland America Line’s ms Nieuw Statendam, the 2nd Pinnacle Class cruise ship in the fleet, returned to Marghera shipyard of Fincantieri, Italy...August 30, 2018
- Cruise Industry
Holland America Line announced that its Adventure of Your Life Cruise onboard ms Nieuw Amsterdam was due to set sail for the Caribbean October 28...August 18, 2018
A crew member is missing from a Holland America cruise ship in Alaska. The Coast Guard searched via helicopter in Sitka Sound for a man reported...August 4, 2018
- Cruise Industry
When Holland America welcomes ms Nieuw Statendam to its fleet in December, the cruise ship will showcase the evolution of design introduced with the...August 1, 2018
- Cruise Industry
Holland America Line’s ms Westerdam will be sailing to the Far East between September 2018-April 2019. There will be a total of 10 different...July 21, 2018
A 69-year-old cruise passenger of a Holland America Line cruise ship was lost overboard at Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. The park announced...July 15, 2018
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