Thursday, September 4, 2008

Holland America to Spend $200 Million in Ship Upgrades

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. As part of its ongoing Signature of Excellence program, over the next two years the Statendam, Ryndam, Maasdam, Veendam and 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 dry-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, lanai staterooms, new entertainment and enrichment options, 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 designed to offer 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 addition of an Explorations Café, Culinary Arts Center, expanded Club HAL youth facilities and more. This next installment 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 Meadows, 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. 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, which will have a shallow area where guests can lounge in chairs and dip their fingers and toes in the water or relax on a bench and dangle their legs in the 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 inside. On the four S-class ships, 12 staterooms near the spa on Deck 9 also will have verandahs added, and along with three inside staterooms, become spa staterooms featuring enhanced spa amenities. On the Rotterdam, 23 staterooms on Verandah Deck will become spa staterooms. On the five ships, 46 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 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 casino will be redesigned. The main show space will be transformed into the Showroom at Sea with the ambience of a glamorous nightclub. The 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 Signature of Excellence initiative announced 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.

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