Seattle, October 12, 2006 â€œ When Holland America Line recently added a new Culinary Arts Center to the final ship in the fleet, all structural changes originally envisioned for the companys $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative were complete. The comprehensive Signature of Excellence upgrades announced nearly three years ago in November 2003 triggered an industry trend of fleet rejuvenations and enhancements to meet the demands of an expanding set of discriminating cruise vacationers.
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.
Å“We invested to realize a vision, and that vision was to make our brand experience even more relevant to todays and tomorrows premium traveler,Â said Stein Kruse, president and CEO of Holland America Line. Å“I believe weve not only delivered on our promise, but exceeded expectations.Â
Signature of Excellence by the numbers
All told during the two-year implementation, 12 Holland America ships spent nearly 200 days in drydock receiving enhancements such as the Mariners Dream stateroom experience with premium comfort appointments, the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, Explorations Cafe â€œ powered by The New York Times, exclusive Pinnacle Grill restaurant, refurbished Crows Nest observation lounge, expanded youth facilities and enhanced Greenhouse Spa and Salon.
A broad range of employees led by Mike Novak, vice president, marine operations, was involved in every aspect of Signature of Excellence, from conception to the final products. Novaks team oversaw the work of nearly 2,000 people, including shipyard workers, contractors and ship personnel. They tested and retested hundreds of items to ensure quality, coordinated delivery schedules and oversaw complex installations.
Other statistics on Signature of Excellence include:
- 10 million hours worked in dry dock â€œ the equivalent of 387 years.
- 1.2 million pounds of steel installed on the ships.
- 695,743 luxury items added to staterooms, from sheets to bathrobes to make-up mirrors.
- 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 Cafs. 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 end on end, they would reach 18,985 feet high â€œ just 1,300 feet lower than the summit of Alaskas Mt. McKinley.
- 254 nautical miles of electrical cable installed on the ships â€œ enough to reach from Ft. Lauderdale to just off shore of Half Moon Cay, Holland Americas private Caribbean island.
- 170 new ways to explore destinations on Medallion/Signature excursions.
- 60 nationalities represented by people working in the shipyards â€œ a virtual United Nations.
More excellence to come
The premium line also is making additional enhancements to the first three Vista-class ships, carrying on the spirit of Signature of Excellence. The fourth Vista-class ship, ms Noordam, was delivered in February with all Signature of Excellence enhancements installed, including an Explorations Caf and Pinnacle Bar. These venues, which have been enthusiastically received by guests on Noordam and the rest of the fleet, will be added in the next few years to ms Westerdam, ms Zuiderdam and ms Oosterdam. Those ships also will receive new aft staterooms, increasing their guest capacity to 1,918 â€ the same as Noordam. All of these changes go beyond the original scope of the Signature of Excellence program. The spirit of excellence also is reflected in the new namesake Signature-class ship, which will be named in the near future and debut in the summer of 2008.
For more information on Holland America Line and the Signature of Excellence initiative, travel agents can call 1-800-544-0443 or visit the travel agent headquarters at www.hollandamerica.com.