The classic Holland America Line logo,
as seen aboard the Oosterdam.
Photo © Aaron Saunders

One of the oldest and frankly most beloved lines in the world of cruising, Holland America Line is set to ring in 2011 with a slew of new enhancements to their vessels and onboard offerings in addition to their newest addition to the fleet: the 2,104-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam.
 The elegant Nieuw Amsterdam; fourth vessel to bear the name.
Photo courtesy of Holland America Line
The latest evolution in the line’s highly successful Signature Class of vessels that began with 2008’s Eurodam, the Nieuw Amsterdam is the fourth ship in Holland America’s history to bear the name.  While she appears similar to her sisters externally, inside her interiors sport a number of enhancements and elegant touches that make her one of the classiest ships in the fleet.  In 2011, Nieuw Amsterdam sails the warm Caribbean seas before setting out across the Atlantic to spend her summer basking in the history of Europe. 

While we hope to sail Nieuw Amsterdam in the coming year to offer our own unique perspective of the ship, there is a fine photo-tour on Bart de Boer’s excellent ShipParade website for those who are curious to see the evolution of Holland America’s latest ship.

 The fantastic new “Mix” bar concept aboard the Rotterdam.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
The line also continues to revitalize its existing fleet as part of their ongoing Signature of Excellence enhancement program.  Back in May, we had the opportunity to tour the newly-refurbished Rotterdam and discovered the thirteen-year old ship quickly became one of our favourites.  Similar enhancements were completed aboard Prinsendam, and Maasdam is slated to undergo her own revitalization in April, 2011. 
The Signature of Excellence program has been ongoing since 2004, and is easily one of the most ambitious programs undertaken by any line.  Not only are the ships being kept at the top of their game, the line is also continuing to tweak and refine their onboard product.
One such addition is the new “An Evening at Le Cirque” in the Pinnacle Grill.  Partnering with Le Cirque Executive Chef Craig Hopson, this new culinary experience offers guests aboard Holland America’s entire fleet of ships the opportunity to experience one of the most unique dining experiences at sea.
So what is Le Cirque?  For those unfamiliar with it, the restaurant began life as a trendy Manhattan restaurant that was notable for its excellent cuisine and unique atmosphere.  Today, it boasts several key Manhattan, Las Vegas, and Dominican Republic locations.  An Evening at Le Cirque brings the same whimsical style and award-winning cuisine to the Holland America’s signature Pinnacle Grill specialty restaurants.
For a nominal fee, guests can enjoy the cuisine and stellar service that made Le Cirque an award-winning success on land while enjoying the legendary service that Holland America has built a reputation on since its inception in 1873.
 The intimate Pinnacle Grill aboard the Rotterdam.
Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders
While their onboard product is continually evolving to meet the changing demands of modern cruise passengers, what hasn’t changed is Holland America’s commitment to a wide variety of itineraries.  Though the line continues to tinker with fleet deployment in order to offer more varied sailings in terms of both length and destination, it remains committed to the regions that offered it success in the past, like Alaska and the Mexican Riviera.
Curious where to sail with Holland America Line in 2011?  Here are two of our personal favourite itineraries:
Nieuw Amsterdam – 12 Day Mediterranean Empires – April 30, May 22, July 28, Sept 9, 2011.
Day 0 – Embark in Venice, Italy
Day 1 – Venice, Italy – Depart at 5:00pm
Day 2 – Split, Croatia – 9:00am to 4:00pm
Day 3 – At Sea
Day 4 – Piraeus (Athens), Greece – 8:00am to 5:00pm
Day 5 – Cruising the Dardanelles / Istanbul, Turkey – overnight
Day 6 – Istanbul, Turkey – Depart 5:00pm
Day 7 – Mykonos, Greece – 1:00pm to 11:00pm
Day 8 – Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey – 7:00am to 7:00pm
Day 9 – Santorini, Greece – 8:00am to 5:00pm
Day 10 – Katakolon, Greece – 9:00am to 5:00pm
Day 11 – At Sea
Day 12 – Venice, Italy – Arrive 7:00am.
Pricing for the April 30, 2011 voyage starts at just $1,995.64 per person for an inside stateroom.
Zaandam – 7 Day Alaska Inside Passage – September 18, 2011
September 18 – Vancouver, BC – Depart at 5:00pm
September 19 – Cruising the Inside Passage
September 20 – Juneau, Alaska – Noon to 10:30pm
September 21 – Skagway, Alaska – 7:00am to 9:00pm
September 22 – Cruising Tracy Arm
September 23 – Ketchikan, Alaska – 10:00am to 6:00pm
September 24 – Cruising the Inside Passage
September 25 – Vancouver, BC – Arrive at 7:00am
This is the classic, week-long Alaska Inside Passage cruise that’s simply tough to beat.  Better still, prices start at $795.24 per person for an inside stateroom.  Zuiderdam and Volendam also offer a similar voyage that also includes Glacier Bay from May to September, 2011.
For more information on the entire Holland America Line fleet and itinerary lineup for next year, be sure to pay a visit to their website.
 

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