Holland America Line

Amongst the cruise liners which can boast about rich history and tradition Holland America Line is undoubtedly one. The history of the cruise liner goes back to the 19th century when its first ship, Rotterdam, made its first voyage between Holland and America in 1873.

Initially the line was named as Netherlands-America Steamship Company, but soon came known as Holland America because it carried most number of immigrants from Holland to America. It carried both passenger and cargo till 1970, but afterwards concentrated only on vacation cruising. In 1973 its first purposely-built cruise ship made its debut to the line.

In its early days the Holland America cruises were only restricted to offering transatlantic trips, but now HAL ships sail all over the world. Their world tour is known as ‘Grand World Voyages’.

Although the origin of the cruise line is European, in 1983 its headquarter had been shifted to Seattle, Washington. But despite its shift of base the cruise line has maintained a strong connection with the Netherlands as most of its ships still bear the suffix ‘dam’ and are usually named after real dams of Netherlands. Till date HAL has followed the tradition in which its ships are christened by the Dutch Royal Family since they serve as the godmother to HAL.

HAL is now a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Lines.

What to except from HAL as a passenger


Obviously with a cruise line that has such a strong heritage the expectations are very high and it seems that the management is aware of the fact as they have taken up the $25 million project by the name of ‘Signature of Excellence’ to revamp and modernize the existing cruise line.

As a part of the program several of its existing ships- Veendam, Rotterdam, Ryndam, Statendam, and Maasdam have undergone extensive makeover. Several cabins with balcony, staterooms with spa facilities, and ‘lanai’ rooms that open directly in the deck have been introduced in each of the ships to make the cruising experience with HAL more special for the passengers. With the new and revamped HAL one may expect the following,
  • A cruise trip on a liner with strong tradition and rich history.

  • A fleet size of 14 ships that consists of both mid-sized vessels and large ships.

  • Roomier stateroom and cabins with balconies.

  • Special cabins that opens to the deck.

  • Culinary art classes with demonstrations and lessons from expert chefs.

  • An adult only pool; Retreat.

  • A lounge with three specialty bars.

  • More improved and modernized ships under the program of ‘Signature of Excellence’.

HAL on-board experience


HAL offers an ambience of nicely decorated interior that speaks of class and cheerfulness. Although there are subtle differences but overall HAL has maintained uniformity in its line of ships both in inner and outer appearances.

Amongst the luxury cruise liners, HAL offers some most personalized and thoughtful services, like- serving iced tea and lemonades in tours of hot itineraries and delicious Dutch pea soup if you are on-board on their tour of Alaska. Apart from these, HAL also follows some days old traditions, such as afternoon tea, gentlemen hosts for dancing and ‘chime ringing’ for dinner, which are consistent features of all their ships.

HAL also have an extensive art collection on-board and their art tours are certainly worthwhile.

When it comes to cruise with HAL the expectations are normally very high and more often than not HAL has successfully lived up to those expectations to earn itself a loyal base of customers.