Those looking to take a cruise are faced with a dizzying array of choices, among which is the venerable Holland America Cruise Line. Holland has for many years been the cruise line of choice for the more mature traveler. The senior demographic has flocked aboard to enjoy HAL’s exceptional cuisine, outstanding onboard enrichment programs, and elegant mid-size ships – but families and couples seeking a more lively premium cruise atmosphere have passed over HAL and more often opted to sail with competitors Princess or Celebrity lines instead.
Let’s put it out there. While Holland American offers a first-rate cruise experience, rich in gracious tradition and elegance – it has also been saddled with the reputation for being—perhaps – a tad bit “stuffy.” One of my associates recently described HAL as the “old fogey” cruise line. Passengers looking for something fun to do after, say, 9 pm could be hard-pressed to find a place to plug in. HAL has had problems making it to the short list of options for many regular cruisers.
Well, if you have previously passed on sailing HAL, read on – because things are a-changing at Holland America!
Top leadership in the cruise industry typically comes from people who have worked their way up through the ranks. It’s not unusual to find top echelon leaders who began their careers as business development managers, or even reservation agents. Holland America took a major departure from this model when they brought Orlando Ashford on as President of the cruise line in November 2014. Not only was Ashford a total newbie in the cruise industry – he had never even set foot aboard a cruise ship!
With few preconceptions, it is not surprising that Ashford brought fresh vision to HAL. He quickly established a goal of preserving the traditional essence of Holland America while enhancing the brand with contemporary touches and innovative flair. Under his fresh new direction, HAL is poised to offer much broader appeal to new and exciting demographics.
Bottom line: Passengers who currently love Holland America will continue to love the cruise line. But with exciting new ship launches on the horizon and major updates scheduled for the existing fleet …new family-friendly programming and staterooms …and enhanced entertainment options, an entirely new demographic will enjoy the elegance and tradition of a HAL cruise with an exciting fresh twist of contemporary innovation These changes are sure to enhance the shipboard experience for all.
We suggest you consider Holland America for an upcoming voyage! Contact us today for ship and itinerary options! Our cruise expert will be delighted to work with you to plan an unforgettable cruise experience that you will talk about for years to come.
When The subject of cruising comes up – and it inevitably seems to in many of my conversations! – I frequently hear a fairly predictable list of objections from the “I’m not a cruiser” crowd. In most instances, these objections come from people who have formed preconceptions without ever setting foot aboard a cruise ship. On rare occasion, I do encounter someone has had a less than perfect cruise experience, most generally as a result of booking a ship that was a poor match for their preferences and travel style.
My list of common objections:
I have children and need a more family-friendly vacation option. Actually, it’s hard to imagine a more family-friendly vacation than a cruise. Today’s ships offer an array of activity and entertainment options for all ages – including age-appropriate children’s programs from toddler to teens, all at no additional cost. Programs vary by cruise line so be sure to select one of the lines and ships that are geared for family cruisers. Of course, Disney is a given in this category. Generally speaking, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, Princess and Celebrity are also great choices for families and multi-generational groups of travelers.
There are too many children on cruise ships. Just as there are cruise lines that cater specifically to families, there are ships and cruise lines that are perfect choices for empty nesters looking for a serene environment. Holland America, Oceania, and Azamara are excellent choices for couples seeking peace and quiet. Or, book one of the family-friendly cruise lines during months when children are in school – by avoiding the summer months, major holidays and school break times, you will usually find just a smattering of children onboard the sailing.
I can’t afford a cruise vacation. Cruises can be surprisingly affordable and offer tremendous value since so much is included with your fare. Timing is everything, of course – so for best fares, whenever possible book your cruise when families are tied up with school activities and unable to sail. November and December can be exceptionally good to snag a great fare if you avoid the popular major holiday periods. To optimize the cruise experience, we encourage clients to book a minimum of five nights onboard – better ships, better itineraries – and some would argue better shipboard staff as well. All of our cruise vacations can be booked with a modest deposit and we’re happy to take payments over a period of time. Book early to lock in the best fares!
I’m motion sensitive and afraid I’d be sick the entire time. I’m a passionate cruiser – also one who is also exceptionally prone to seasickness. As one who has fallen prey to the misery of motion sickness, I can commiserate with this concern. Thankfully, today’s ships are larger with extremely effective stabilization systems to minimize motion and improve passenger experience. I personally swear by the prescription “patch” … it totally controls any symptoms for me – I’m convinced I could ride out a hurricane in a rowboat when wearing the patch. There are also very effective oral medications as well as a number of alternative remedies that some swear by. There are also strategic approaches such as booking staterooms mid-ship and on lower decks – although I have sailed in staterooms forward and aft, upper and lower decks and – at least for me — room location played no significant part in whether or not I experienced discomfort.
I hate crowds and these huge cruise ships are a turn-off for me. There are SO many small ship options that there is something for every taste and travel style. River cruises offer vessels with approximately 100 passengers … and many ocean-going vessels accommodate just 600 to 1200 people. Great choices are Oceania, Viking, and Azamara … even Royal Caribbean offers smaller ships at with competitive fares. You might also consider Norwegian’s “ship within a ship” Haven experience that offers a private conclave with an intimate small-ship environment combined with all the fun & entertainment of a mega-ship just an elevator ride away. These luxury suites come with front of the line access for boarding and disembarkation, offering passengers the opportunity to have the best of both worlds.
I’m afraid there won’t be enough to do and I’ll get bored. No way! Today’s ships come with such an amazing array of entertainment and activities and enrichment programs that this objection just won’t hold water. Gyms, spa services, production shows, ice skating, bumper cars. Cooking demonstrations, destination lectures. climbing walls, surfing simulators, comedy shows, piano bars, sky diving simulators, zip lines, carousels … today’s ships literally offer something for every interest and preference. Talk to your travel advisor and make sure they guide you to a ship that will suit your interests and you’ll have an amazing vacation experience.
I’m afraid I could fall off. I really do encounter this as a real concern! And from media reports, you might think that people are accidentally tumbling off their balconies on an almost-daily basis. The truth is that a “man overboard” is extremely rare. It takes a concerted effort – and usually an extremely excessive intake of alcohol – to fall off one of these ships. Those who fall from a cruise ship are inevitably engaging in some incredibly reckless behavior – or is the victim of some sort of foul play.
Norovirus is epidemic on cruise ships and I don’t want to catch it! Probably the biggest misconception in the industry! In actuality, less than one percent of norovirus cases occur on ships. You are far more likely to pick up norovirus in healthcare facilities, restaurants, and schools than you are to contract it aboard a cruise ship. Still, no one wants to be among those unlucky few and ruin a vacation. Use the hand sanitizer … wash your hands frequently — be aware when you touch common surfaces and don’t touch your face until hands are thoroughly washed.
If you are cruise curious … ingtrigued by the potential of a cruise vacation but hesitant to take the plunge … we would love the opportunity to address your concerns and clear up any lingering doubts — with no obligation or high pressure selling. Give us a call … use the contact us button on our site … or look up Dancing Moon Travel on Facebook and use our chat button. We would love to hear from you!