For Holland America Line, the future isn’t about creating a new cruise line with shiny new gadgets and brand new “this and that.” For Holland America Line, a cruise line with over 140 years of rich history, it’s about pushing themselves the extra nautical mile to make “great” into “perfected.”
During a recent media event aboard ms Eurodam, one of Holland America Line’s newer ships, Holland America Line executives showed off the new features, spaces, and partnerships the line has brought aboard the fleet. For many, this sounds familiar, a typical drydock that replaces one thing with another. This was surely not the case for Holland America. Orlando Ashford, a fresh face in the industry and President of Holland America Line, described the evolution taking place throughout the fleet. He reflected on one of his first cruises aboard a Holland America Line ship and recalled on his disappointment that a number of spaces weren’t being fully appreciated or used by guests. After returning from his sailing, he and his team began to brainstorm ways to transform these spaces into more than just another room. The results of this thinking was seen during our brief tour of ms Eurodam early last week.
The former Northern Lights nightclub, which hadn’t made the right connection with ms Eurodam’s guests, has made a dramatic change into Gallery Bar, a trendy and comfortable cocktail bar reminiscent of an underground speakeasy, featuring an exclusive menu of cocktails designed by celebrity mixologist Dale DeGroff. The old piano bar and sports bar have been cleared for the open and inviting Billboard Onboard, featuring dueling pianos, a guitarist, and DJ spinning the biggest hits over the decades. Lincoln Center Stage, featuring a truly world class ensemble of musicians, has taken center stage on ms Eurodam’s promenade, inviting guests to grab a drink and relax with an after dinner recital. B.B. King’s Blues Club, a partnership with the club of the same name on land, lights up the night aboard with incredible beats and a dance floor for all of the ship’s guests to join.
For suite guests, new luxuries await in refreshed and redesigned suites. From brand new counter tops, a modern and contemporary bathroom design, USB outlets in the headboard, espresso machines, and brand new furnishings, the suite life just became a bit sweeter.
These new spaces and refreshed onboard experiences, while unique to ms Eurodam for the moment, but rolling out to the fleet over the coming years, reflect a new direction at Holland America Line. For a line with such a rich and traditional history and arguably some of the most loyal guests in the industry, Holland America has a challenge to continue delivering the experience its loyal guests expect, but at the same time, improve on the experience for their loyal guests and new guests alike. Holland America is very much exceeding this challenge and much to the credit of Orlando Ashford, who’s personality and attitude have guided Holland America into a new chapter of its history. Towards the end of our media event, Mr. Ashford reflected on the recent changes and changes on the horizon for the line, saying he understands and appreciates the loyalty of his guests and believes that by preserving the best parts of the Holland America Line experience and building on the others, they can offer a truly perfected cruise experience. In my opinion, Mr. Ashford has set the right course and for Holland America Line, there is nothing but beautiful seas ahead.