The ms Amsterdam is the third ship to bear the name of the Dutch capital in Holland America Line's 135-year history.View cruise deals View details
Having spent one hundred years conveying immigrants to the ‘new world’ Holland America Line built its first cruise liner in 1973 and began to specialise in cruise holidays. In 1989, Carnival Corporation acquired the line. The ships of Holland America Line all have dam at the end of their names, and these are either real dams on Dutch soil or points of the compass, such as Noordam = North dam.
In 2003, the cruise line started its ‘Signature of Excellence’ programme which enhances staterooms, public spaces, dining, services and activities on their ships. The programme has delivered substantial improvements such as early embarkation programmes meaning guests can be in their staterooms by noon on the first day, Culinary Arts Centres offering cookery classes and ‘Greenhouse’ Spas. Also notable are the 24-hour concierge services for suite accommodations, and more extensive youth activities.
- Brand history – established in 1872 to carry Dutch immigrants to the New World, this is one of the oldest shipping lines around. It moved into the cruise market in the 1970s and has been part of the Carnival Corporation since 1989
- Signatures of the line – an adventurous commitment to finding new ports and experiences; Culinary Arts programme features onboard cooking lessons and demonstrations
- Number of ships - 14
- Best for (kids, entertainment etc) – those who love to cook or eat, and those who enjoy getting slightly off the standard cruise itinerary without being as rugged as expedition-style cruisers
- Special dining features – while it was one of the first to offer flexible dining, HAL is still largely a two-sitting fleet, with dinner options from 5pm to 9pm
- Special suite features – many older ships are undergoing refurbishment with new suite offerings such as spa staterooms big enough for treatments to be carried out in privacy
- Special kid features – three age divisions, starting at three years old and rising to 17 with club based entertainment and dining
- Entertainment features – think ‘solid’ rather than ‘exciting’ and you have the picture. Good entertainment of the traditional style is the HAL hallmark
- Spa and fitness features – good spas and well used gyms and classes show that this line caters to a well-heeled, health-conscious passenger list
- Routes – everything, including world tours, but particularly strong on smaller less well-known ports on traditional routes