For me, the “Signature of Excellence” tagline is not just advertising but a concerted effort by everyone at Holland America to make each passenger feel pampered and provide an experience that meets each persons needs. This is the reason my husband and I have gone on four cruises on HAL in 18 months with the fifth one (Canada/New England on the Maasdam) coming up in May. We will continue cruising and will always come back to Holland America.
Copper 10-8 –
The common bond: Holland America Line: A signature of excellence!
Why we keep coming back:
We took our first Holland America Line cruise on the former Nieuw Amsterdam, the third ship in the line’s long and distinguished history to bear the name of the first Dutch trading settlement in the New World, in November 1993 for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise. Right from the start, we felt at home. It was a different ‘feel’ than being on a Royal Caribbean or Cunard ship, the two lines we had sailed prior to our first dam ship. We were unsure on that first cruise, since we were HAL newbies, if that feeling had something to do with the ‘welcome aboard’ photograph with the staff member in her traditional Dutch costume (since Holland, the country, had been my first home for eighteen years), Nieuw Amsterdam’s warm and spacious public areas, her Dutch West India Company theme, or Captain Leo van Lanschot Hubregt’s welcome aboard champagne reception in the Stuyvesant Lounge, to name a few.
On consecutive HAL cruises after that first one, the one btw, that got us hooked on cruising, HAL-style, that same feeling kept coming back more and more! Once aboard, typical HAL trademarks like the Ocean Bar, the Crow’s Nest, the Explorers Lounge, Lido Restaurant, a decicated movie theater at sea, her wraparound teak deck, the preserved maritime traditions, the artwork onboard, the two Yum Yum men with their xylophones ‘chiming’ their guests to dinner in the Manhattan Dining Room, smiling Indonesian stewards, crisply-uniformed, serving delicious meals on fine china, etc, etc. That feeling kept coming back no matter what class HAL ship we found ourselves on.
After thirty-four cruises on HAL to date, gracious service, clean and well-maintained ships, no-nonsense ‘taking care of business’ officers, interesting itineraries, good food, nightly entertainment and the ocassional ‘Wang Wang’ have become the norm on Holland America Line ships for us. Thanks to HAL, including their Mariner Society, we have met numerous interesting people and made friendships, some of which lasting to this date, with other passengers. Folks, btw, just like us who step onboard the HAL ships to relax, get away from it all and, most importantly to us, have a good time without taking things too seriously!
On that first Nieuw Amsterdam cruise a little more than fifteen years ago, an interesting thing happened on the ship’s return to the port of Tampa. The ship’s (her crew and thereby, HAL) response to this challenge also convinced us that this would be the cruise line of our choice. A very large fog bank had developed, blanketing the port and causing the local authorities to close down the 45-mile route down the channel to in and out-bound maritime traffic. This would cause a substantial delay in Nieuw Amsterdam getting back to her berth, resulting in several of her passengers running the risk of missing their outbound airline flights. There was extra pressure, anxiety and stress not only for those passengers, but for Nieuw Amsterdam’s master, hotel manager and guest relations staff who had to deal with the issue. Staff soon opened up phone lines, at no cost, for the involved passengers, assisting them in whatever way they could. For the remainder of her passengers, they came out with a new and updated Daily Program that contained additional activities, including a movie shown in the Wajang Theater, that gave her guests additional options rather than just spend their time waiting for the fog to lift. Communication to keep everyone ‘in the loop’, from Nieuw Amsterdam’s captain on down was exampanary, something we have gotten used to from HAL ever since.
With over 135 years of experience, Holland America Line is indeed known to us as a ‘signature of excellence’ and that’s why we keep coming back!
Thanks again for your participation!