The Holland America cruise experience is a unique one, and the many returning passengers are evidence that it suits quite a few cruise enthusiasts down to the ground. This line draws heavily on centuries of oceangoing tradition to offer a stately and elegant holiday, with low-key but top quality entertainment, activities and decor. It was founded in 1893 as a Dutch shipping line, and when you step aboard one of HAL’s beautiful dark-hulled ships, you will feel a part of many decades of maritime history.
There are currently 14 Holland America cruise ships sailing the world’s oceans, the biggest being the extremely modern Koningsdam, which was constructed in 2016 as the only ship in the Pinnacle Class. The ships are all elegantly understated in their decor and livery, with plenty of dark wood and a lot of artwork throughout. The members of the fleet commonly seen cruising from Australia include:
Daytime fun with Holland America
You won’t find splash parks or bumper cars on a Holland America ship, but there is still plenty to keep you entertained. The line offers a range of refined activities and facilities, including simple pool areas, spas and fitness centres, wine tastings, mixology classes, dance lessons, trivia and more.
There are also plenty of chances to learn while on a Holland America cruise, with seminars and special interest events on a range of topics. Collaborations with BBC Earth and Oprah Magazine add to the enrichment opportunities, and each ship has a fantastic culinary arts centre for cooking-based activities and lessons including a range of “America’s Test Kitchen” programming.
World class entertainment options from Holland America offer a refined and memorable night out onboard. Venues vary across the fleet, but you might find the BB Kings Blues Club Experience, live music at Lincoln Center Stage, a movie theatre playing recent-release films, and varied performances and productions on the Main Stage. The newest ships have the multimedia World Stage for innovative, 270-degree wraparound entertainment.
Of course, there’s no need to attend anything in particular. Holland America ships have an array of bars and lounges in which passengers can chat, drink, socialise and even dance.
HAL dining options
Set dining times and tablemates are one nautical tradition that has gone by the wayside on Holland America, although it is still available for anyone who wants it - and a great way to meet fellow passengers. The line also offers the more flexible “As You Wish” dining in the Main Dining Room which is the primary a-la-carte restaurant, offering a sophisticated multi-course menu.
The Lido Market buffet, Dive In Poolside Grill, pizza, afternoon teas and 24-hour room service round out the options that are included in your cruise fare, with the range varying between vessels. The Pinnacle Grill is the line’s signature specialty restaurant, a veritable fine dining experience, and there are other gourmet treats including Canaletto’s Italian dishes and Tamarind’s Pan-Asian fare.
All of the above delights and more make Holland America a line that attracts many return cruisers. It’s the perfect option for anyone who likes the idea of a maritime voyage with a refined atmosphere reminiscent of the golden years of ocean travel, and many nautical touches that make it feel as though you are on a ship rather than a floating hotel.
If you want to get onboard and try it for yourself, you’ll find plenty of Holland America cruises from Australia onsite.