Customer feedback/the price of airfares led HAL-Holland America Line to shift its deployment strategy and offer longer roundtrips from American homeports, Gus Antorcha (HAL's President) revealed.
The pivot features a new category of extended voyages/longer itineraries in regions like the Caribbean. The shift led to a 41% increase in the company's 12-day capacity. HAL also doubled its capacity of voyages stretching at least 50 days.
During a luncheon on Sunday, March 26th, hosted by HAL on Nieuw Amsterdam ship ahead of the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference (in Fort Lauderdale), Mr Antorcha said to travel media that a lot of that came from understanding their guests very deeply. The shift was a response to customer research and focus groups.
HAL will offer more Caribbean voyages ranging from 9 to 21 days. The roundtrip itineraries include calls to farther destinations where fewer vessels sail, including the Netherlands' ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), Cartagena (Colombia), and the Panama Canal. HAL is also planning longer European itineraries.
Increased air travel cost was also motivating Holland America to sail a new category of 29- to 59-day, roundtrip journeys from domestic homeports, Antorcha said.
He added air travel was tough, "increasingly tough and increasingly expensive."
HAL also created the new category "Legendary Voyages" with departures from Canada and the USA. For example, HAL is sailing a 53-day voyage from Seattle WA aboard ms Westerdam that sails in Alaska prior to making 14 calls in Japan, sailing to Hawaii, and returning to Seattle.