Holland America Line Announces $200 Million in Enhancements to Five Ships as Part of Ongoing Signature of Excellence

Newspapers

Seattle, WA, Aug 30, 2008 – As part of its ongoing Signature of Excellence, Holland America Line is doubling the amount to be spent in upgrades, enhancements and new features on five of the line’s most popular ships. Over the next two years, the ms Statendam, ms Ryndam, ms Maasdam, ms Veendam and ms Rotterdam will undergo extensive dry docks to create new venues, new staterooms, new décor and more. The 18-month, $200 million program will begin when Veendam enters an extended dock in spring 2009, and the last ship is slated for completion in late 2010.

The investment in this new series of enhancements will include a new resort pool concept, innovative lanai staterooms, new entertainment and enrichment options, all new stateroom décor and more. Holland America Line’s commitment to enhancing its premium fleet now exceeds $525 million.

Signature of Excellence features and amenities are evident in every aspect of the Holland America Line cruise experience, offering guests more luxurious accommodations, more enticing destinations, enhanced dining experiences, more creative activities and even higher levels of service.

Previously, during the first phase of Signature of Excellence, these five ships were enhanced with the Explorations Café, Culinary Arts Center, expanded Club HAL youth facilities and more. This next installment reinforces Holland America Line’s commitment to its popular mid-sized ships. The enhancements will add more verandah staterooms, introduce a new category of stateroom, expand the Lido Deck’s pool feature with The Retreat, create a showroom at sea and upgrade staterooms, bathrooms and fixtures.

“Holland America Line has long been the leader in the premium cruise segment,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest services. “This significant and continued investment reaffirms our commitment to our fleet of mid-sized ships and our ongoing leadership in the premium category by continually raising the bar in terms of products and services.

“In an era where cruise lines are building ships to carry more than 5,000 passengers, Holland America Line remains focused on mid-sized vessels,” said Meadows. “These enhancements will blend the latest innovations for premium travel into our ships, creating a deluxe experience that is unparalleled.”

The most dramatic alteration will be to the aft portion of the ships, allowing for a new resort-style pool area on Lido deck called The Retreat with a shallow area where guests may lounge in chairs and dip their fingers and toes in the water or relax on the bench and dangle their legs in the refreshing water. A new pool bar and an upscale pizzeria called Slice will be installed, as well as a canopy and wind screens to provide additional covered seating for the Lido Restaurant.

All staterooms will receive new décor, carpeting and soft goods. Each ship also will have an additional 44 to 46 staterooms, 32 with verandahs and the remaining will be inside staterooms. On the four S-class ships, twelve staterooms near the spa (on Deck 9) also will have verandahs added, and along with three inside staterooms, become ‘spa staterooms’ featuring a variety of enhanced spa amenities. On the Rotterdam, 23 staterooms on Verandah deck will become spa staterooms. On the five ships, forty-six new lanai staterooms will be created by replacing existing windows of 42 staterooms (on Lower Promenade Deck 6) with lanai doors that open directly onto the walk-around promenade, and adding four additional staterooms.

The program also involves enhancements to several of the public rooms. A Merabella luxury jewelry shop will be added. The Casino and Piano bars will be reconfigured into a multi-themed area called Mix with three separate bars – Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales. Next door, the high-energy casino will be redesigned highlighting the always trendy table and slot games. The main show space will be transformed into the Showroom at Sea with the ambiance of a glamorous nightclub. The ever-popular Ocean Bar will be refurbished and carpets will be replaced in most public areas. The new Sky Room on Sports Deck will feature the latest in multi-generational video games and high-tech entertainment.

Entertainment and enrichment, or “edutainment,” is taking on a new, contemporary look and feel across the fleet. A new Explorations Team employs cruise staff, each specializing in a particular area, to educate and entertain guests with an expanded menu of activities including flower arranging, hands-on cooking, dancing and working with digital photos, blogs and movies. Each team consists of a party planner, a travel guide, dance directors and a “techspert.” On longer cruises, a book club leader joins the team to lead lively group discussions.

Renowned for service levels provided by its award-winning staff, the program will also include significant crew area enhancements including a new fitness facility, internet centers, staterooms and recreational areas.

The industry-leading Signature of Excellence initiative announced nearly five years ago in November 2003 has evolved into an ongoing and comprehensive review of every aspect of the Holland America Line experience. Signature of Excellence is Holland America Line’s brand promise and continues to bring innovation and relevance to guests.

Signature of Excellence: By the Numbers
Statistics on Signature of Excellence to date include:

  • More than 2,000 people (including Holland America Line staff, shipyard workers, contractors and ship personnel) have tested and retested hundreds of items to ensure quality, coordinated delivery schedules and complex installations.
  • 10 million hours worked in dry-dock.
  • 1.2 million pounds of steel installed on the ships.
  • 695,743 luxury items added to staterooms, from Mariner’s Dream beds and bathrobes to make-up mirrors and new blow dryers.
  • 49,372 pieces of electronic equipment, from televisions to CD players, DVD players to computers, installed on the 13 ships.
  • 27,000 book titles added to Explorations Cafés. At one book a week, it would take more than 500 years to read them all.
  • If you stacked all the new Euro-Top plush mattresses, they would reach 21,089 feet high – almost 770 feet higher than the summit of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley.
  • 254 nautical miles of electrical cable installed on the ships – enough to reach from Ft. Lauderdale to just off shore of Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private Caribbean island.
  • 170 new ways to explore destinations on the Medallion, Signature, World Wonder and Encore Collection shore excursions.
  • 60 nationalities represented by people working in the shipyards – a virtual United Nations.

For a cruise brochure or for more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.