Seattle, Wash., November 19, 2009 â€“ Among the nine 2009 Readersâ€™ Choice Awards that Holland America Line has received from Porthole Cruise Magazine are five that recognize the lineâ€™s varied and port-intensive cruise itineraries. Readers of Porthole conferred awards for Best Central America/Panama Canal, Best Northern Europe, Best Alaska, and Best Australia/New Zealand Itineraries, and Best Private Island for Half Moon Cay, the lineâ€™s exclusive Bahamian port call that appears on most Caribbean cruise itineraries.
In the 11th annual awards, the line also took top honors as most Eco-Friendly Cruise Line and for having the Best Spa Facilities, as well as a pair for Best Overall Facilities for Physically Challenged Passengers and Best Medical Facilities.
â€œBeing recognized for five cruise itinerary regions is a true testament to our goal of delivering unique and in-depth cruise itineraries for our guests,â€ said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. â€œWe are also very proud to be recognized for our commitment to environmental stewardship and the three additional awards for access, medical facilities and our luxurious spas are a great acknowledgement of the services we provide to our guests. We are delighted.â€
â€Porthole Cruise Magazine is the top source of cruise and destination content for savvy travelers,â€ said Bill Panoff, publisher and editor-in-chief of the magazine. â€œOur readers appreciate the quality and overall cruise experience that a premium line such as Holland America Line delivers every day.â€
Artful Itineraries Blend World Sights with New Discoveries
Known for its longer, port-heavy cruise itineraries, Holland America Line picked up its five cruise itinerary-themed awards for destinations spanning the globe. In Alaska, the line operates three major cruising itineraries â€” Glacier Bay Inside Passage, Glacier Discovery and Alaskan Explorer cruises â€” that showcase the highlights of Alaska with distinctive options to suit the various wishes of Alaskan-bound travelers. Northern Europe cruises combine the best of the Baltic with British Isles and Norwegian Fjord exploration. Departure ports now include Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Dover or Greenwich (London) and Copenhagen.
Australia/New Zealand sailings offer a mix of 14-day Sydney roundtrip and Sydney to Auckland adventures as well as the new 34-day circumnavigation of Australia with five days in the Great Barrier Reef. Among the lineâ€™s most popular itineraries, Panama Canal cruises sail the engineering marvel on five ships or guests can opt for a day visit to the canal on a 10-day roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale that includes several Caribbean ports.
In 2009, Half Moon Cay received its ninth Best Private Island acknowledgement from Porthole readers. Built as a sustainable port of call, the islandâ€™s offerings provide private beach cabanas, an exclusive over-water bungalow, a full beachside water park for children, and an array of shore excursions that include horseback riding by land and sea, personal watercraft adventures and an opportunity to swim with stingrays.
Top Awards for Environment and Spa, Too
Holland America Line won the Most Eco-Friendly Cruise Line award for their commitment to responsible environmental practices through comprehensive and innovative fleet-wide programs. The program emphasizes waste reduction and recycling, use of cleaner-burning propulsion technology and cutting-edge solutions. Holland America Lineâ€™s ships currently meet or exceed all provisions of the international regulations governing the environmental management of marine operations.
Holland America Line also has a history of embracing new environmental technologies such as shore power while ships are in port â€” one of two cruise lines to utilize this eco-friendly power â€” and being the first cruise line to install state-of-the-art, level-four water treatment systems and implement a whale strike avoidance program.
According to Meadows, the nod for Best Spa comes from the lineâ€™s focus on unique offerings in the Greenhouse Spa and Salon offered as a part of the $525 million Signature of Excellence enhancement program. The Greenhouse Spa and Salon with fitness center offers guests relaxation and rejuvenation as well as beauty and wellness rituals ranging from tai chi to hot stone couples massages.
Completing the awards, Holland America Line received recognition for its accessibility and medical facilities. Holland America Line ships accommodate guests with a variety of special needs including those requiring wheelchairs, scooters or service animals; those who have sight or hearing impairments; and those using oxygen.
And each Holland America Line ship has a medical center carrying much of the standard equipment found in North American hospital emergency departments. The onboard medical center accommodates most emergencies and routine medical procedures and is staffed by two to four registered nurses, a crew physician and the shipâ€™s doctor â€” all certified in advanced cardiac life support. For additional information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.