Holland America Line

Cruise Reviews by Cruise Critic

Cruise Line Overview

If you had to pick one word to describe Holland America Line, that word would be "venerable." The brand is arguably the most historic and tradition-laden on the seas. Its first ship, Rotterdam, set sail on a voyage between Holland and New York in 1873, and, today, Holland America ships sail all around the globe. The line was originally named the Netherlands-America Steamship Company, but it soon became known as the Holland America Line because it carried great numbers of immigrants from Holland to America. The company concentrated on the transatlantic passenger trade, as well as on commercial freight shipping until the 1970s. Its first purpose-built passenger ship was constructed in 1973, and, since then, the line has excelled in cruise vacation travel. In 1978, Holland America moved its headquarters from Rotterdam to Stamford, Connecticut. The company's headquarters then moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1983, in order to consolidate operations with Westours, an Alaska tour company in which Holland America purchased a controlling interest. In 1988, Holland America purchased Windstar Cruises, operator of four- and five-masted, computer-guided sailing ships. It ultimately sold Windstar to a smaller ship operator. One year later, Carnival Corporation acquired Holland America Line, which remains headquartered in Seattle. Holland America is now a U.S.-based cruise line, but it continues to maintain strong ties with its Netherlands heritage. Ships in its fleet -- since the 1890s and continuing today -- bear the suffix "dam." Most of the names are inspired by actual dams that traverse the rivers of the Netherlands. Others, such as those within the Vista Class, represent points of the compass. (Oosterdam is east, Westerdam is west, Noordam is north, and Zuiderdam is south.) Many of the names are in their fourth, fifth or sixth incarnations. Eurodam was christened in Rotterdam in 2008 by none other than the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix. Nieuw Amsterdam, HAL's newest offering, was christened in 2010 by the Netherlands' Princess Maxima, marking the 11th time a member of the Dutch Royal Family served as a HAL godmother.

The Fleet

In November 2018, Holland America will unveil its second Pinnacle-class ship, Nieuw Statendam. The ship will be nearly identical to Koningsdam, although it is expected to introduce a number of new features (including a specialty restaurant that has yet to be revealed). Fifteen ships comprise Holland America's fleet, which is divided into seven classes. Classes vary by ship size and what's offered onboard (ships within each class typically share a similar design, layout and features). Koningsdam, the first in the newest Pinnacle class of ships, is the largest and most innovative in the fleet with a passenger capacity of 2,650. It includes a handful of firsts for the line, including a two-tiered Lido Pool with an outdoor movie screen, a main theater with an 270-degree LED screen and new restaurants (for example: Sel de Mer, which serves up seafood and French fare in a traditional brasserie setting). Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam, which make up the line's Signature Class, are the second-largest in the fleet -- and the newest before Koningsdam. Both roughly 2,100-passenger ships lean more toward the trendy side of traditional, with features like Tamarind, the line's specialty Asian restaurant, and basketball courts instead of tennis courts. The line's Vista Class includes four ships: Noordam, Oosterdam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam. All cater to slightly more than 1,900 passengers. These ships introduced to the fleet more cabins with ocean views, expanded public areas and contemporary touches like glass-walled elevators. The Rotterdam Class, which was spearheaded by 61,849-ton Rotterdam in 1997, was designed to show off traditional Holland America at its best. Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Volendam and Zaandam are perhaps the most opulent ships in the fleet, with gleaming dark woods, ornate dining facilities, grand atriums and original artwork throughout. Maasdam, Ryndam, Statendam and Veendam make up the Statendam Class, the smallest of Holland America's mid-sized ships. Launched between 1993 and 1996, these four vessels epitomize the line's vintage charm as the oldest in the fleet. The ships were ordered not long after Carnival Corporation bought Holland America. Since Carnival didn't want the Holland America ships to compete as heavily with its own Carnival Cruise Lines, the Statendam ships were kept to a more modest size, ranging from 1,258 to 1,350 passengers. It's a nice configuration that feels more spacious than other mid-sized ships. Unique in its own way is Holland America's Prinsendam, the only ship in the line's Elegant Explorer Class. Holland America purchased the 835-passenger ship in 2002. Originally built in 1988, the updated Prinsendam still has its Old World charm, with dark woods and brass accents throughout. But it also has plenty of modern amenities, including a nicely equipped Internet cafe with wireless access and a small but lovely Pinnacle Grill restaurant.

Holland America Line Fleet

Onboard Experience

An Experience to Savor: The Culinary Arts Center program, presented by Food & Wine Magazine, is a groundbreaking program that integrates guests' love for fine food and wine with a unique and entertaining experience. Immerse yourself in the unique traditions and tastes of the ports of call you will visit. Sample fine wines from around the world or learn to make a new gourmet dish in a hands-on cooking class taught by our own Master Chefs or Culinary Guests. Click here to view Kids & Teens Culinary Arts Center Program The Culinary Arts Center also features: An innovative theatre-style venue with a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen; Multiple large plasma video screens so you don't miss the fine details (or you can watch the broadcast from the comfort of your own stateroom); Cooking demonstrations and hands-on cooking classes by our own award-winning chefs and their culinary staff; Wine and cheese experts hosting special wine tastings and food pairing seminars; Special guest chefs, wine experts and leading cookbook authors who appear in the pages of Food & Wine magazine; Book signings, Q&A sessions, market tours in selected ports of call; Demonstrations and Seminars from Top Chefs: The Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine Magazine, provides guests on select Holland America cruises the opportunity to experience demonstrations and hands-on classes conducted by top chefs, wine experts, and leading cookbook authors from the pages of Food & Wine Magazine. Onboard all sailings, you will learn tricks-of-the-trade from top professionals, try your hand at preparing dishes and taste wines representative of the specific ports-of-call you will visit. Guests on selected cruises will also receive Food & Wine recipe cards and wine tasting notes that you may take home along with copies of the magazine. Other opportunities might include book signings, question and answer sessions, specially designed dinner menus and more. Previous guest chefs include: Jacques Torres - Chocolatier Extraordinaire; Max McCalman - Maitre Fromager, Artisanal Premium Cheese; Marcus Samuellson - Chef of Aquavit and Ringo, NYC; Susan Sokol Blosser - President and wine visionary, Sokol Blosser Winery, Dundee, OR;

Spa & Fitness : Spa

Refresh, Relax, and Rejuvenate: Of all the fascinating places you can visit on a Holland America cruise ship, none rejuvenates and relaxes like the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, featuring heavenly beauty and wellness rituals. Choose the blissful pampering of a facial therapy or let the trained fingers of a massage therapist sooth your muscles while working fragrant oils into your skin. Enjoy therapeutic water treatments as you steam in a thermal suite or bathe in herbs, all the while cruising to exotic destinations and enjoying the indulgences that are a signature feature of luxurious Holland America Line cruises. Relaxing treatment rooms also offer breathtaking views where guests can enjoy exotic skin, body, and hair treatments ranging from hot stone massages and pedicures to hair styling and facials. Facilities include: A hydrotherapy pool bubbling with warm, therapeutic sea water; Heated ceramic lounge reminiscent of an opulent Turkish bath; Private treatment rooms, including couple's massage rooms; Massage therapy inspired by an exotic blend of cultures - from Hawaiian Lomi Lomi to Chinese Tui Na; The latest exotic skin, body, hair and nail treatments; Knowledgeable, professional therapists trained to guide you through your spa experience; For rejuvenation thru exercise, Holland America Line spas offer fitness classes to help you achieve optimum health and vitality. Yoga, Pilates, *spinning, aquarobics and cardio circuit training are available for participants at all levels. Take advantage of treadmills, stationary bikes, stairsteppers, rowing machines, weights, and weight machines. Staffed with professionals, the tranquil Greenhouse Spa and Salon invites guests to embrace sensory indulgence on a luxurious cruise vacation to remember. *except ms Prinsendam Because the Greenhouse Spa & Salon is such a popular destination, we encourage you to book spa appointments early, preferably right after boarding the ship. Visit timetospa to order Greenhouse Spa products online.

Massage & Facial Therapy

Massage and Facial Therapies: Let our professional Spa staff pamper you with a massage or a holistic face treatment as they bring you to new heights of relaxation. For joint distress and the relief from the soreness excessive physical activity can cause, choose a deep tissue muscle massage; for the ultimate relief of muscle tension, a Swedish massage; or perhaps you and your loved one would appreciate taking time for a couples massage. Elemis Deep Tissue Muscle Massage - This deep massage warms the joints, ligaments and muscles to melt the aches away; Swedish Massage (25 and 50 minutes) - Swedish massage uses Effleurage, Pettrisage, Tapotement and friction to aid the body's internal cleansing system; Couples Massage (50 minutes) - Lie side-by-side in the same therapy room as our massage professionals soothe sore muscle and tissue; Facial Therapies: Experience the ultimate in holistic skin therapy. These facials promise to take your skin on a journey of total renewal. Elemis Japanese Silk Booster Facial (50 minutes) - Natural Japanese silk protein or sulfur compresses combine with pure phytoamine biocomplexes to produce immediate results beyond question; Elemis Japanese Silk Eye Zone Therapy (25 minutes) - Taking rejuvenating eye therapies to a new level, this treatment combines reflexology with a unique Japanese silk protein compress and our Eternal Synergy range. Only available as part of a ritual or ceremony package; La Therapie HydraLift Facial (1 hour) - An oxygenating facial that uses galvanic stimuli and high frequency to penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin. By prolonging the life of skin cells and withdrawing deeply embedded impurities, this facial will assist in giving a refreshed lifted appearance while helping blemished or impure skin to heal quickly; Because the Greenhouse Spa & Salon is such a popular destination, we encourage you to book spa appointments early, preferably right after boarding the ship. Visit timetospa to order Greenhouse Spa products online.

Exotic Body Rituals

Exotic Body Rituals: Embark on a journey to sensory heaven from the soles of your feet to the tingling top of your scalp. Pamper yourself by choosing from several exotic exfoliation rituals to invigorate, replenish and bring vitality to your face and body. Elemis Absolute Spa Ritual: (2 hours) - Combining the Japanese Silk Booster Facial for skin vitality with our sublime Well-Being Massage, this ritual will refresh your spirit and strengthen your vital energies. Also available with Japanese Silk Eye Zone Therapy; Elemis Exotic Coconut Rub and Milk Ritual Wrap or Float: (50 minutes) - This traditional Balinese coconut recipe polishes the skin while the exotic body oil indulges your senses; Elemis Lime and Ginger Salt Glow: (25 minutes) - After light body brushing, warm oil is dripped luxuriously all over your body before our sublime Lime and Ginger Salt Glow is applied. Your skin is deeply cleansed and polished to perfection before a final application of Exotic Island Flower Body Lotion is applied, leaving the skin glowing and vibrant; Elemis Strawberry Herbal Back Cleanse: (25 minutes) - Using premium essential oils combined with cleansing Eastern massage techniques, this treatment acts like a facial for the back; Elemis Total Glow Self Tanning Treatment: (45 minutes) - After light body brushing, warm oil is dripped luxuriously over your body before Lime and Ginger Salt Glow is applied to cleanse and polish. After an application of Exotic Body Lotion, the Total Glow is massaged into your radiant skin; Elemis Musclease Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap or Float: (1 hour 15 minutes) - A heated seaweed mask containing a warming blend of essential oils such as pine and rosemary is applied to your body before you are cocooned in a warm wrap. While you relax, the active ingredients work to ease arthritis, fatigue and muscle spasm; Elemis Cellutox Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap or Float: (1 hour 15 minutes) - Combining the richness of sea plants and marine algae with aromatherapy, this treatment is deeply detoxifying at all levels. A warm seaweed mask containing a synergy of cleansing juniper and lemon essential oils is applied to your body before you are cocooned in a comforting wrap. While you are busy relaxing, the active ingredients work to detoxify, decongest and stimulate your body systems; Elemis Ionithermie Cellulite Reduction Program: (1 hour 15 minutes) - Created by a surgeon in France, Ionithermie is the only therapy available that helps to detoxify the body and offer substantial inch loss after just one session. Combining 21st-century technology with vegetation from the sea floor, you will experience both firming and toning of the body after just one session. For ultimate benefits and detoxification, we recommend you book a course of three on your cruise;

Water Therapies

Water Therapies: Spa Water Therapy can bring calm to the day's stress, release tension and alleviate muscle pain. Relax and rejuvenate with nature's natural healer in our world-class Greenhouse Spa and Salon. Thermal Suite: - With an ambiance similar to a Turkish bath, different grottos and chambers release a variety of dry heat, steam and mists into the air with aromatherapy filled vapors. Relax on a heated ceramic lounge and allow the pressures of life to rinse away; Hydrotherapy Pool: - The bubbling ocean water is rich with trace elements and vitamins, helping to remineralize the body. Gently heated to body temperature, the pool embraces the body with warmth, soothing sore joints, alleviating arthritic pain and offering wonderful relief for sports injuries. Nurture your sensory experience and be sure to enjoy a dip before your scheduled spa packages or therapies; Bathing Rituals: (20 minutes) - Many ancient cultures use baths for rituals and health. Ancient Greek physicians once believed that the body's capacity for healing was so strong that it only needed a boost in the right direction. They believed that a hot bath infused with aromatic oils was like medicine for the body. As you immerse yourself in one of our baths you will feel stress and tension dissolve. Maybe the ancient Greeks were right. Choose from: Exotic Enriching Milk Bath; Detox Ocean Bath; Exotic Jasmine Flower Bath; Warming Ocean Bath; Dry Float Bed: - The dry floatation bed provides a wonderful feeling of weightlessness and is used in conjunction with many of our body wraps to provide you with a unique experience. The warmth and motion of the bed assists in the penetration of active ingredients, increasing the therapeutic benefits of the treatment;

Hair & Nail Services

Hair and Nail Services: Hairstyling: Change is power. A new hairstyle can alter the way you perceive yourself. Venture towards the unknown if you are game. .and if not, then just uplift your current style. Open your mind to the creativity of our international stylists and leave the salon today with a hairstyle that will put a bounce in your step. .and your locks! Frangipani Conditioning Hair and Scalp Ritual: (30 minutes) Monoi oil has been used for centuries in Tahiti to soften the skin and hair of brides. After cleansing your hair you can enjoy a deep scalp massage for fifteen minutes using this precious ingredient to ease away scalp stress and give the hair a glossy and healthy shine. We leave the Tahitian Monoi oil on the hair and scalp for fifteen minutes under a warmed towel. Hair will be style dried or set. Nail Services: Your onboard nail technician offers manicure and pedicure services from full pampering to last-minute repairs. Feel the joy of pampering in the soles of your feet and the very tips of your fingers with exotic rituals derived from 10 cultures. Exotic Hand Ritual: (45 minutes) Simply beautiful. Pure pampering for your hands and nails to restore beauty and suppleness. Warmed aromatherapy oils nourish and condition, while the sublime sensation of milk lavishes its richness and healing action on your skin. Our exotic hand ritual includes a complete manicure. Sole Delight Foot Ritual: (1 hour) Warmed aromatherapy oils nourish and condition your feet and nails while the decadence of milk and exotic Frangipani Monoi oil lavish their richness and healing action on your skin. Sole Delight Foot Ritual includes a full pedicure. A sensory experience for your feet that promises to leave you walking on cloud nine! Because the Greenhouse Spa & Salon is such a popular destination, we encourage you to book spa appointments early, preferably right after boarding the ship. Visit timetospa to order Greenhouse Spa products online.

Spa & Fitness : Fitness

Recreation and Fitness: Fully equipped Fitness Center; Classes in low-impact aerobics, yoga and Pilates; Basketball, ping pong, tennis, volleyball, walk-a-mile; Golf Simulator and golf swing analysis on the ms Prinsendam (golf shore excursions in selected ports); Fitness Center and Onboard Recreations: Holland America Line makes it easy for you to stay fit and trim while on your journey with fully equipped fitness centers and sports courts. Fitness centers aboard each ship include exercise and weight training equipment, and sports courts may include tennis, volleyball or basketball. Our broad, generously proportioned teak decks are perfect for walkers and joggers, and when you are finished exercising, cool off in one of our pools. To maintain or achieve optimum health, work with one of our qualified personal trainers or take one of our fitness classes lead by knowledgeable instructors. Fitness classes may include: Pathway to Yoga: Yoga is an ancient Hindu practice that offers a pathway to enlightenment through specific postures and breathing techniques. We offer a variety of Yoga styles in classes for students of all levels; Mat Pilates: Developed in the 1920s by the legendary personal trainer Joseph Pilates, the Pilates method is an exercise system that combines posture and controlled moves. Our class is mat based and appropriate for students of all levels; Cardio Ki-Bo Circuit Training: A great combination of Chi-releasing moves including boxercise, kickboxing and aerobic conditioning. We place emphasis on technique and help push you to your cardiovascular limit; Aquarobics: This program features a low-impact water workout. You will effortlessly strengthen tone and energize mind and body; Pilates Reformer: The Pilates method is an exercise system focused on improving flexibility and strength for the total body without building bulk. The Pilates method is not just exercise; it is a series of controlled movements engaging your body and mind, performed on specifically designed exercise apparatus and supervised by trained fitness directors;

On Holland America ships, we provide a wide variety of exciting youth- and teen- friendly activities and facilities for guests ages 3 to 17. With supervised fun for our younger guests, the entire family can have the cruise vacation of their dreams. Safe and Managed Supervision: You can feel at ease knowing that your child's on board experience is safe and well-managed. All Club HAL® activities are supervised by permanent, full-time staff, and are designed to be kid friendly and age appropriate. Youth Staff hold degrees in education, childhood development, recreation, leisure studies or related fields. Programs Available: Club HAL® - Kids*: Children, ages 3-7, can participate in such activities as story telling, fabric painting, indoor games, arts and crafts, drawing contests, ice-cream sundae parties, puzzles, bingo, pirate treasure hunts or a farewell pizza party. Children in the Kid's age group must be toilet trained. Children in pull-ups or diapers are not allowed in the youth facilities, due to mandates from US Public Health. Exceptions to this rule cannot be made; Club HAL® - Tweens*: Tweens, ages 8-12 might learn golf putting, have disco parties and theme parties, participate in the award-winning National Park Service Jr. Ranger Program on Alaska cruises, compete in on-deck sports events, compete in scavenger hunts or simply play Ping-Pong with a friend; The Loft and The Oasis*: Teens, ages 13-17 will especially enjoy the teen disco, karaoke sessions, video games, teen sports tournaments, card games, trivia contests, bingo, movies and videos. When there are more than 100 children on board, a HAL Talent Show is offered. (The Oasis is not available on all Vista-class ships); *On the Prinsendam, youth activities are offered for ages 5-17. All other ships offer youth activities for ages 3-17. Daily Programs: Times vary based on age group, number of children on board and staffing: Sea Day - Morning, Afternoon and Evening Activities; Port Day - Morning, Afternoon and Evening Activities; Extended Hours: Club HAL® After Hours is available on all ships (except the ms Prinsendam) from 10:00pm - 12:00am. The fee is $5 per child, per hour. Parents must pick up their children on time or a late fee is charged. For babysitting outside of the hours offered in Club HAL, guests may check at the Front Office to schedule this service provided by staff on a voluntary basis only. Kids & Teens Culinary Arts Center Program: HAL Kids Culinary Workshops now offer children a unique and fun learning experience. Kids will learn basic cooking techniques, kitchen safety, new ingredients and how to follow recipe instructions. Aside from the fun involved, cooking encourages kids to think about numbers and measuring, cleanliness, safety, and time management. All the workshops are hands-on where questions are encouraged and having fun is a must! HAL Kids Culinary Workshops are geared toward two age groups; ages three to seven and ages eight and up. Teenagers 15 and up may participate in the adult classes. The menus range from simple to teen gourmet; Classes are usually limited to fifteen students unless otherwise noted; All classes are hands-on; Each student receives copies of the recipes prepared in class; All classes are complimentary and last approximately one hour; Additional Family Services: Holland America Line is dedicated to making your family's cruise vacation memorable and happy for each member of your family. We serve a wide variety of kid-pleasing food, including special sandwiches, tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza. Baby food, high chairs and booster seats may be requested in advance of boarding. Baby-sitting services are available for a small surcharge. Special-kid friendly birthday parties can also be arranged with advance notice. Special Needs: HAL Youth Programs recognize that some children may have special needs. Special needs children are invited to attend activities based on their chronological age. HAL Youth Programs have many staff trained to work with special needs children. Guests should make HAL aware of this when booking their reservation. Important Notes: A limited number of high chairs, booster seats and cribs are available at no charge. These must be reserved in advance at the time of booking. An international children's menu is offered at dinner and includes a variety of appetizers, salads and soups, and standard items such as hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and chicken, plus chef's specials like beef tacos, grilled cheese, fish and chips or spaghetti.

Special Programs : Art

Art Onboard: Holland America Line is known for the extensive art collections onboard each ship. Now, fine art goes high tech when you sail with Holland America Line. We invite you to enjoy the self-guided walking tour for each ship which highlights the art onboard an eclectic collection that is valued at tens of millions of dollars. Narrated by well-known radio hosts Paul Lasley and Elizabeth Harryman, the 30- to 40-minute tours include walking directions, interviews with artists, background music and thumbnails of some of the artwork. Download the ship-specific art tour onto your personal iPod®, MP3 or portable media player before you embark on your Holland America Line cruise. Pre loaded art tours are also available onboard. Art Auctions at Sea: Holland America Line is pleased to partner with Park West Gallery®, founded in 1969 and based in Southfield, Mich., the world's number one art dealer, having brought fine art to over 1 million customers worldwide. Since 1994 fine art auctions have been a regular event aboard our cruise ships and were named 'Best Art Auction Program' in Porthole Cruise Magazine's Readers' Choice Awards. Fine art auctions are entertaining and informative, and are absolutely free to attend - many guests begin their art collections at our auctions. There are hundreds of original works of art, from the old and modern masters found at fine art museums around the globe to today's most world-renowned contemporary artists.

Special Programs : Shopping

A Holland America Line cruise would not be complete without experiencing some of the world's best duty-free shopping especially in the Caribbean. Holland America Line's Guaranteed & Recommended Shopping Program will assist you in finding the finest treasures in your ports of call with significant savings below U.S. retail prices. Each recommended store listed on the shopping map has been chosen on the basis of price, selection and reputation. Visit the map to explore stores in this program.

Special Programs : Weddings On Board

Wedding Cruises and Renewal of Vows at Sea. .Creating and Recreating Memories: Weddings: Whether you prefer a simple ceremony and a small, elegant reception or lots of family and friends at a larger celebration, a wedding cruise on one of our elegant ships will launch a lifetime of memories. Choose to get married on board, under the palms on an exotic Caribbean island beach or on top of a majestic Alaskan glacier. No matter what your preference, our wedding cruises coordinator is ready to help you tailor a wedding package to meet your needs and help you and your loved ones have the ultimate onboard experience. Wedding cruise packages include: A personalized ceremony; Wedding coordinator services; Flowers, cake, champagne, a photo album and a keepsake-wedding certificate; Services such as photography, live music, receptions and pampering appointments can also be added to customize your wedding cruise package; Wedding cruise packages are available on each ship in our fleet and start at $795 for North America and Caribbean sailings and $1,900 for Europe sailings. To arrange a North American or European wedding cruise, please use the following contact information: North America/Caribbean: Royal Ocean Events, Inc.4337 River Road WestDelta, BC V4K 1R9PH: (604) 940-1181 or 1-888-475-5511FAX: (604) 940-6216 Europe: The Wedding Experience2600 SW 3rd Avenue, Ste. 200Miami, Florida 33129PH: 305-421-1260;Direct Europe: +39+347+2790978Jorge@theweddingexperience.com;europe@theweddingexperience.com Renewal of Vows On Board: For couples that would like to say their wedding vows while at sea, Holland America Line offers an onboard renewal-of-vows package. As part of the package, the bride receives a corsage, and invitations are made available to invite guests to the ceremony and celebration. The couple also receives: A photo and photo album; Dinner for 2 one evening in the Pinnacle Grill; A celebration featuring live music, champagne, wine and hors d'oeuvres served by Holland America Line's five-star staff; The price for this romantic and memorable occasion is $149 per couple and $12.50 per guest (celebration only). The onboard honeymoon, anniversary and renewal-of-vows packages may be booked through Holland America Line's Ship Services Department, (800) 541-1576. Renewal of Vows at Half Moon Cay: Guests that visit Half Moon Cay, the company's own island paradise, on Holland America Line Caribbean and Panama Canal cruises may renew their wedding vows on the island in a private, traditional Bahamian chapel nestled in a garden overlooking the sea. This is a more casual ceremony than on board and participants are encouraged to wear their favorite tropical attire. Champagne and cake are served after the ceremony. Each couple is photographed on the island and the photo is delivered to their stateroom in a souvenir frame. Arrangements for renewal of vows at the chapel may be made through the Guest Relations Manager at the Front Office on board the ship. Packages are $49 per couple and $6.50 per guest.

The Explorations Cafe, powered by The New York Times offers a comfortable, coffee house environment where you can browse through one of the most extensive libraries at sea, view a wide array of audio and video programming, or simply read the morning paper. Guests can also enjoy fresh pastries and their favorite espresso drink provided by Torrefazione Italia. Additional highlights include: Internet stations featuring news and email, with free access to The New York Times online edition (wireless hot spots also available for those traveling with laptops) ; Destination-related content provided by The New York Times, as well as unique travel-related New York Times crossword puzzles ; Large jigsaw puzzle tables; The Explorations Speaker Series on longer voyages, feature guest lecturers and discussions on varied topics related to the history, culture and cuisine of ports of call ; An Internet Cafe is available in lieu of the Explorations Cafe on ms Oosterdam, and ms Zuiderdam. In addition, all Holland America Line ships now have wireless "hotspot" connectivity.

Fellow Passengers

Holland America has long had a reputation for catering to a well-heeled but somewhat traditionally minded crowd. Perhaps that's due to the line's insistence on maintaining its traditions with elegant afternoon tea, ballroom dancing, tennis courts and timeless decor throughout the fleet. An emphasis on worldwide, often lengthy, itineraries also attracts an older crowd with the time and money for these extended voyages. But standard modern features like Internet cafes and alternative restaurants, coupled with superb kids facilities (Club HAL) and a growing entertainment lineup do entice younger passengers and families alike. Many are onboard as part of multigenerational groups. Don't expect to see lots of children until the summer season, unless you're sailing on a shorter itinerary or during a holiday.


Shore Excursions