January 30, 2023

Holland America heads to the Arctic Circle in 2024

HAL’s Westerdam is taking passengers above and beyond with cruises to the Bering Sea.

Holland America has released some details of its 2024 season. The premium cruise line is debuting a new 28-day Arctic Circle itinerary that includes 12 Alaska ports, longer 14-day voyages and 117 weeklong journeys, enhancing its position as the leader in Alaska cruising.

With more sailings to Glacier Bay National Park than any other cruise line, the only cruise line to include the unspoiled riches of the Yukon plus Denali on overland Cruisetours and more than 75 years of Alaska exploration — longer than any other cruise line — Holland America Line weaves decades of expertise into every nuance of the experience.

“Holland America Line is proud of our rich history of bringing the best service at sea to Alaska, and we’re excited to reveal details of our 2024 season including a new monthlong Arctic Circle itinerary that is the most immersive we’ve ever offered in this region,” said Beth Bodensteiner, chief commercial officer of Holland America Line. “With six ships serving Alaska and the only cruise line with owned land operations in Denali and the Yukon, no one does Alaska better than Holland America Line.”

From April through September 2024, guests can embark on Holland America Line’s cruises to Alaska aboard Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zaandam. The line’s 2024 cruises are now open for booking, and 2024 Cruisetours, which combine an Alaska cruise with an overland expedition to Denali and the Yukon, are scheduled to be available in February.

The new 28-day “Alaska Arctic Circle Solstice” cruise aboard Westerdam departs June 9, 2024 in time for the Summer Solstice. The voyage sails roundtrip from Seattle to the Bering Sea and is a first-of-its-kind itinerary for Holland America Line. Alaskan ports include Anchorage, Dutch Harbor, Haines (Skagway), Homer, Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Nome, Seward, Sitka, Valdez and Wrangell, along with Prince Rupert, in Canada. Scenic cruising includes Glacier Bay, Inside Passage, Tracy Arm, College Fjord, Little Diomede Island, Prince William Sound and Hubbard Glacier.

This sounds like a great cruise and interested passengers should book early as this one will sell out quickly (ed.).

Seabourn finds good fit in Alaska

Seabourn Odyssey is 32,000 tons with 450 passengers.

With its fleet of intimate ultra-luxury ships, Seabourn  Cruise Line ships can get close to the wild attractions of Alaska. This includes beautiful  snug inlets and remote islands brimming with birdlife.

As cruise veterans exclaim, Alaska is a world where whales, bears, and eagles exercise their domain. Here, towering glaciers shimmer under a timeless sky and cool salt air is fragrant with the nearby evergreen forests. Each day of a Seabourn Alaska voyage is enriched with unforgettable moments and unique adventures. These are the off-beaten-path sights few people get to experience on one of their well planned curated itineraries in a rugged world largely untouched by time.

Seabourn ships have excellent itineraries that get close to the wilderness of Alaska.

With Seabourn’s popular Odyssey (32,000 tons, 450 passengers) cruising Alaska in 2023, the line is offering deals on cruises ranging from 7-day to 15-day roundtrips from Vancouver. Many include a tour of the fabled Glacier Bay and a visit to Misty Fjords (this is a beautiful inlet near Ketchikan).

Enchanted Princess Awarded by Good Housekeeping

Enchanted Princess (145,000 ton, 3660 passengers) wins nod from Good Housekeeping.

Enchanted Princess has been awarded a Good Housekeeping 2023 Family Travel Award, recognizing the ship as “Great for Groups.” The Princess ship is one of only three cruise ship experiences selected as winners.

The experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Labs spent seven months evaluating hundreds of travel gear and experience submissions before selecting the winners. They considered attributes that are most important when it comes to family travel, such as convenience, value, service, quality, safety, innovation, inclusion and more. For travel services and destinations, their analysts visited cities, resorts and local attractions to provide first-hand feedback on their experiences. Good Housekeeping also surveyed their proprietary panel and reviewed responses from over 3,000 consumers that have taken recent trips to weigh in on their favorite vacation experiences, airlines, hotel chains, loyalty programs, booking services and more.

The full list of awards can be found at goodhousekeeping.com/familytravel2023.

The 145,000-ton, 3,660-guest Enchanted Princess debuted in 2021, and is the fifth of six Royal-Class to join the Princess Cruises fleet. Enchanted Princess represents an evolution of the design platform used for her sister ships – Regal Princess, Royal Princess, Majestic Princess, Sky Princess and the most recently introduced Discovery Princess – offering an elevation of spectacular style and elegance that is distinguished by Princess. The cruise ship introduced new dining experiences, the most pools and whirlpool hot tubs ever, world-class entertainment venues and the breathtaking Sky Suites, offering expansive views from the largest balconies at sea.

Windstar adds stunning new suites to Star Legend

Beautiful new suites have been added to Windstar Star Legend.

Windstar Cruises’ Star Legend recently visited its new headquarters/hometown of Miami, showing off two new themed suites as well as a brand-new mural.

The two specialty suites are inspired by Windstar’s Forbes Five-Star sister companies The Broadmoor and Sea Island and will be rolled out to Windstar’s two other Star Plus Class yachts next: Star Breeze in spring of 2023 and Star Pride in 2024.

The new mural from Miami-based artist Alex Nuñez is the third and final to be added on board Windstar’s three Star Plus Class yachts as part of a collaboration with Fountainhead Arts to bring new works to sea.

Windstar’s Star Plus Class yachts have two Classic Suites located on Deck 5 forward. These Classic Suites on Star Legend have been transformed, now called The Broadmoor Suite and The Sea Island Suite. While the suites are inspired by these unique, luxury properties, they are not an exact replication. The Broadmoor, located in Colorado Springs, is known for its endless adventures and European elegance paired with Western charm and mountain vistas. Sea Island is equally iconic: situated on the coast of Georgia and exuding Southern charm while providing the perfect backdrop for an exceptional array of outdoor activities.

Windstar’s Broadmoor Suite on Star Legend.

“Unlike hotel brands that have begun offering yacht-style cruises, this is a unique example of a cruise line bringing a separate land-based experience to sea,” explains Windstar President Christopher Prelog. “It connects and cross-sells a diverse and seemingly unrelated set of travel experiences that have shared ownership.”

In the Sea Island Suite, guests find elegant touches that evoke the property’s Addison Mizner design including curved arches, light walls, and sophisticated wood furnishings. “The overall look is quite coastal and airy – colors like sea-glass green are used throughout,” says Prelog. “In The Broadmoor Suite, you’ll find a traditional space with classic furniture, floral motifs, white trim with gold finishes, and wide crown molding.”

Several clever design workarounds had to be made to honor the resorts’ designs while also meeting International Maritime Organization rules and accounting for general safety at sea (like replacing resort throw rugs with inset carpet). For the wallcoverings, Windstar designed custom wallpapers for both suites on International Maritime Organization-certified paper. For The Broadmoor Suite a striking wallpaper adorns the suite’s bedroom and walk-in closet. It is an exact replica of the wallpaper used at The Broadmoor Main Building designed by Julie Penrose (wife of resort founder Spencer).

Windstar Cruises offers “Sail, Sip and Savor” cruises

Windstar Breeze was lengthened in 2019 to accommodate over 300 passengers.

Windstar Cruises has presented more theme varied cruises for the summer and fall with their “Sail, Sip, and Savor” itineraries.  The cruises to savor new world wines in Australia, Europe and New Zealand are proving especially popular as the cruise line promotes access to unique ports and smaller towns were larger ships often can’t go.

The line says guests will have the freedom to explore wine country like a local by meeting growers and vintners and walk through the vineyard grounds to learn more about the various grapes and wine produced. Windstar, with ships ranging in size from 148 to 342 guests are known as a luxury brand with cruise destinations around the world.

The line produces an excellent guide for cruises to the end of 2023 with information on their ships and cruise destinations available to download as a PDF on their site at: Windstar.

The “Voyage Collection” is filled with pages that will transport you to tropical paradises and uncrowded ports combining the best cruises with land tours across the globe as well as details on the completely transformed Star Plus Class ships.

HAL restarts Zaandam from Fort Lauderdale

Holland American Line has reentered Zaandam into service.

Holland America Line’s Zaandam returned to service Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, leaving just one more ship until the cruise line’s full fleet is operational again. Zaandam embarked guests for a nine-day Atlantic Coast cruise to Montreal, Canada, that will position it in Canada/New England through October. Not only is this a return to service for Zaandam, but it also marks a return to cruising in the Canada/New England region after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To commemorate the occasion, Holland America Line held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the terminal to open embarkation, attended by the ship’s captain and senior officers, with flag-waving fanfare from team members lined up to greet guests as they boarded the ship.

“With Zaandam’s reentry into service, we are thrilled to not only have nearly our full fleet back, but also to return Canada and New England after two years away from this beautiful cruising destination,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Zaandam has some special cruises coming up, and we’re glad to have her back in service with an amazing team ready to give our guests an exceptional cruise experience.”

Following the repositioning cruise along the east coast of North America, Zaandam will spend the summer and early fall offering Canada and New England cruises between Boston, Massachusetts, and Montreal.

On July 9, Zaandam sets sail on the popular 35-day Voyage of the Vikings itinerary roundtrip from Boston that retraces the routes of past explorers with ports in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands. Following fall foliage cruises between Boston and Montreal, Zaandam embarks guests Oct. 10 for the 71-day Grand Africa Voyage that sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale and includes 25 ports of call, four overnights and countless safari opportunities to throughout the African continent.

After the Grand Africa Voyage, Zaandam will spend the holidays in the Caribbean and then offer a series of Panama Canal transits between San Diego, California, and Fort Lauderdale, with two Mexico options roundtrip from San Diego in March. The ship will return to Canada/New England next spring.

Since Holland America Line restarted cruising in July 2021, Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Noordam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam and Zuiderdam have returned to service with cruises in Alaska, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, California Coast and South Pacific. Volendam currently is under charter by the government of the Netherlands, positioned alongside in Rotterdam accommodating Ukrainian families.

Seabourn Adds New Scandinavia Cruises

The 46,000 ton Seabourn Ovation is one of the newest ships cruising Europe.

Seabourn has added several excellent 7-day northern European itineraries this summer with their 600-passenger Seabourn Ovation. Departing from Copenhagen, Denmark, “Gems of Scandinavia” takes in Gothenburg, Sweden, before steaming up the western Norway coast to visit Ulvik, Sandness (Stavanger) and Farsund. The ship returns to Denmark with a stop at Aalborg before returning to Copenhagen.

Another itinerary from Copenhagen takes in the Norwegian ports of Arendal and Oslo before stopping at Helsingborg, Sweden and Wismar, Germany, then back to Denmark. A short ferry ride from Helsingborg is Helsingor, home of the Danish castle famous as the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. There are several fascinating castles and forts in the Helsingborg area to visit.

Seabourn also offers another new 7-day cruise that terminates in Dover, UK. The “Gems of the Low Countries” departs from Copenhagen, visits Wismar, Germany and the next day enters the Kiel Canal for a day-long transit.  It stops at Amsterdam and then Zeebrugge for those wanting to visit Bruges or Brussels. The next day the ship visits the French port of Cherbourg and the following day arrives at Dover.

Seabourn is offering shipboard credits up to $2,000 for suites booked by May 31st, 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAL returns to Vancouver with Koningsdam arrival

Holland America Line’s Pinnacle class Koningsdam returns to Vancouver.

Holland America Line was the first cruise line to return to Canadian cruising following a more than two year industrywide pause due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Koningsdam arrived at Victoria, British Columbia April 9, restarting the cruise industry in Canada. The ship will end its current seven-day cruise at Port of Vancouver, its homeport for the summer Alaska season.

“We are thrilled to be the first cruise line back into Canada after such a long absence, and we look forward to celebrating a great moment for everyone who loves to travel and for those in Canada and Alaska whose livelihoods depend on tourism,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Holland America Line has a robust schedule of cruises that explore Canadian ports on both coasts with Alaska, Hawaii, transatlantic and Canada and New England itineraries.”

Koningsdam’s call at Victoria marks 905 days since a cruise ship has visited the port, and it also will be a maiden call for the ship. To mark the milestones, Antorcha and local government officials will be on hand in both Victoria and Vancouver to celebrate the return to Canadian cruising and address the importance Canada and Alaska to Holland America Line.

In 2022, six Holland America Line ships will call at Victoria and Vancouver for the Alaska cruise season. In total, the six ships will make 45 calls at Victoria and bring nearly 75,000 guests to the port, and 76 cruises begin or end at Vancouver, welcoming approximately 140,000 guests.

For Canada and New England cruising on the East Coast, two ships return in May and cruise between Boston, Massachusetts, and Quebec City or Montreal, Quebec. Nieuw Statendam and Zaandam offer itineraries ranging from seven to 24 days to more than 12 Canadian ports.

In total for 2022, Holland America Line operates 141 cruises on eight ships in Canada with more than 250,000 guests visiting both coasts.

NCL Pride of America returns to Hawaii

NCL Pride of Hawaii returns to America’s paradise destination.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the innovator in global cruise travel, today announced the return to service of Pride of America, the only cruise ship to sail Hawai’i year-round.

NCL’s Pride of America, which is the fifteenth ship in its fleet to return to service, sails weekly seven-day, roundtrip voyages from Honolulu, providing guests nearly 100 hours of port time and the ability to explore four islands in a week’s span. The itinerary includes overnights in Maui and Kauai, allowing for more immersive experiences on land, and unforgettable sights of the Nāpali Coast. NCL has two remaining ships that will be returning to service, both in early May, which will complete the Company’s Great Cruise Comeback.

“Being the only cruise line to sail year-round from Hawai’i, we’re thrilled to be back at last,” said Norwegian Cruise Line President and Chief Executive Officer Harry Sommer. “Pride of America will once again offer thoroughly immersive itineraries and deeply authentic experiences that support business and tourism in Hawai’i, while providing travelers with everything they seek from a vacation in paradise.”

Pride of America set sail on April 9, 2022 and is available to book through December 2025. Weekly voyages depart Honolulu every Saturday.

NCL’s fleetwide redeployment continues in partnership with local governments and is guided by the robust protocols of the Company’s Sail Safe Health and Safety program, which at its cornerstone requires that all guests ages twelve and over, as well as all crew, must be fully vaccinated to embark on all NCL voyages for the foreseeable future.

NCL elevates Epicurean experiences

 

Norwegian Prima is 142,00 ton scheduled to begin cruises in August.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the innovator in global cruise travel, today revealed additional details regarding its elevated culinary and beverage offerings for its highly-anticipated new Prima Class vessels, Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva.

The first two of six vessels within this cutting-edge class will push the boundaries of traditional cruise cuisine with the debut of nine new dining and beverage venues including Metropolitan Bar, the Brand’s first sustainably-focused bar. The Cruise Line also announced its first three-level atrium, the Penrose Atrium, in addition to major F&B updates including the launch of its revamped main dining menu set to rollout on Norwegian Prima as well as the enhancement to Norwegian’s guest-favorite culinary staples Le Bistro, Cagney’s Steakhouse and Food Republic as well as NCL’s coveted Observation Lounge.

“We’ve been innovators in the food and beverage space for more than three decades, becoming the first cruise line to offer specialty dining and the first to introduce our ‘Freestyle Cruising’ concept that allows our guests to vacation their way by giving them the choice to decide when and where they dine,” said Harry Sommer, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer. “Our latest food and beverage offerings take our Norwegian Prima Food and Beverage experience to another level, one that travels well beyond the guest expectation to provide elevated gastronomical experiences featuring sophisticated design, masterful mixology and cuisine that delivers full-throttle flavor.”

Elevated Eateries

Meant to take guests on a global culinary journey, the seven new dining venues onboard Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva will take first-time and returning travelers on an epicurean adventure featuring tantalizing fare matched with thoughtfully curated design. Making its debut on Norwegian Prima, the all-new Mediterranean seafood specialty restaurant Palomar, set in a relaxing atmosphere, features high-end Mediterranean cuisine made with simple yet sophisticated ingredients. Hasuki the Brand’s new elevated take on the traditional “hibachi-style”, will boast an intimate space featuring design elements that invite guests into the artisanship of Japanese influence through minimalist decor, handcrafted pottery and featured Japanese artwork. NCL’s new contemporary sushi house Nama will offer guests elevated sushi dishes prepared by master chefs who will create upscale sushi and sashimi masterpieces. The venue is set among a whimsical Japanese backdrop inspired by the restaurant’s menu items, including a marble sushi bar reflective of the marbling in the high-quality sashimi and subtle orange ambient lighting representing the color of masago (fish roe).