Each cruise line has its own characteristics that appeal to different travelers. That’s not good or bad, in and of itself, but as travel advisors, we understand that getting the match right can make or break a vacation. Today I’m going to talk about what Holland America is not (and more importantly what it IS) so you can decide if it’s the right cruise line for you.
Are you not really interested in the ports, want to eat the same things you do at home, and expect wild partying into the wee hours on vacation? Holland America may not be your best choice. But if you are an explorer looking to discover, a foodie looking to indulge, or a music lover looking to be moved, keep reading. I think you’ll like what you see.
“Holland America Line differentiates our cruise experience with perfectly crafted itineraries and immersive cultural experiences that enhance our guests’ time in a destination, through live entertainment, regional food and wine, and unique shore activities.” – Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line
Explorations Central In-DepthTM Voyages
Enrichment programs on Holland America are not your typical uninspired port talks and cookie-cutter shore excursions. A relatively new program called Explorations Central, or EXC, helps guest drill down into what makes a destination tick on many different levels. With a focus on six themes – Photography; Nature and Science; Food, Wine & Spirits; History and Perspective; Arts and Culture; and Active Exploration – you can explore the world through your own personal interests.
Onboard programs of discovery help curious travelers delve deeper into subjects that appeal to them around the six themes. You get to meet and talk with oceanographers, naturalists, historians, and cultural ambassadors about their own passions and how they relate to the places you are sailing. Hear captivating talks and see cultural performances by local artists that bring each destination to life. Then the “classroom” moves outside to see how those topics play out in the local environment and culture.
With EXC, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in destinations that others only get to read about. For example, in places like the Spice Islands and Alaska, Zodiac tours take you into a realm that few experience. Expedition guides and local experts share their insights to give you a deeper connection with the local culture, so you see it with new eyes. Excursions designed in partnership with FOOD & WINE combine food and culture in a menu of engaging experiences.
Learning about the destination and people who live there in multiple ways gives guests a much deeper and richer experience.
Food & Drink
Holland America’s food scene is not bound to any single culinary tradition. From exotic flavors of Asia to a traditional American burger and fries to decadent chocolate desserts, Holland America imbues their culinary offerings with innovation as well as local flavor. A Culinary Council of highly lauded chefs oversees a wide range of delicious dining options from fine dining to casual bites.
Food is a gateway to understanding a culture, and on Holland America, you can learn about each region’s culinary traditions with onboard cooking demonstrations in America’s Test Kitchen, as well as wine and whiskey tastings.
On-Board Activities and Entertainment
On Holland America, you won’t find Go-carts, laser tag, or zip lines. Instead, The Oprah Magazine-inspired daily meditation and O’s Reading Room are available to energize and inspire you to “Live Your Best Life.” There are no waterslides, but in addition to two pools on most ships, about half of the fleet offers a Hydro pool and Retreat Cabanas and all ships feature the Greenhouse Spa & Salon.
While many ocean cruise ships feature elaborate Las Vegas or Broadway-style entertainment, evenings onboard Holland America are all about live music. With multiple venues showcasing world-class musicians in chamber music, 20’s jazz, Memphis blues, rock and roll, as well as Billboard hits, you’ll definitely find your rhythm.
One place that Holland America really stands out from every other cruise line is their fleetwide art collection, valued at tens of millions of dollars. On each ship, you can take a self-guided walking tour of the eclectic artwork exhibited throughout.
What a Holland America Cruise IS
In summary, Holland America is a premium cruise that goes to great lengths to offer guests the ability to immerse themselves in their passions while deeply engaging with their destination. If this sounds like your kind of cruise, contact the vacation advisors at Covington to choose a Holland America itinerary.