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Congratulations, Holland America Line—150 looks good on you! And, according to HAL President Gus Antorcha during a recent Seatrade Cruise Global event, the line has a recipe for another successful 150 years that rests on several factors: a premium product that stands out from the crowd, a focus on sustainability and immersion in Alaska and longer voyages—a trend spurred by guest interest.

Holland America Line’s Premium Product

Holland America Line
Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line. (Photo by Holland America Line)

Antorcha focused on three things that make Holland America Line stand out in the crowded cruise line scene: service, ship size and deployment. “[Our service] is anticipatory, it’s caring and it’s genuine,” he said. “Our team members connect in that way to the guests. It’s bringing a breakfast order, it’s how you’re greeted in the hallway.” And, he stressed, over the course of a cruise that can take anywhere from 7 to 25 days and beyond, “it really begins to drive very different service interactions with with team members.”

Secondly, he stated, is the ships’ “perfect size.” “We are in the sweet spot where we’re big enough to have entertainment options, dining options, multiple music venues, multiple specialty dining restaurants, but we’re not so big where we start to see the pinch points of larger ships.” The lack of pinch points, he went on to add, allows Holland America to navigate into smaller ports like Montreal.

“We think we’ve got the right size ships to deliver on the third element, which is deployment. We have some of the most differentiated deployment in the premium space. We have some real assets that enable us to be quite differentiated.”

Holland America Line’s Alaska

It’s no coincidence that when you think “Alaska,” you think “Holland America Line.” Antorcha shared Holland America Line has been traveling to Alaska for 75 years longer than it’s been a state. “And that affords us a lot of advantages in Alaska,” he said.

“I mentioned deployment is one of our differentiators, and within that Alaska really stands out. We’re also adding some of these more unique longer voyages to Alaska. We have a round trip Seattle that goes up to the Arctic Circle during the solstice and is part of our Legendary offering. It’s trying to think of how we can do Alaska a bit different than we have historically.” And the core 7-day round trip from Seattle and Vancouver and the cruise tour program with the open jaws are still available.

This unique relationship with Alaska means extraordinary benefits for your clients, such as onboard park rangers from the Glacier Bay National Park, Huna Tlingit guides, a partnership with BBC Earth for talks and excursions, unique overland Yukon explorations and more.

Holland America Line
Chef Ethan Stowell holds a cooking demo using Sustainable Traceable Alaska Seafood. (Photo by Laurel Herman)

And then there’s the food.

“We’re the only cruise line that’s certified for Sustainable Traceable Alaska Seafood.” Launched last year, it’s part of their sustainability efforts that they hope to expand moving forward. Along with the food component, Antorcha stressed that the company is also looking ahead to ensure another 150 years on the books by continuing to be more fuel efficient. The line has invested in significant technologies to reduce waste, among other things. “It’s the right thing to do. We cruise to these wonderful, unique, sensitive areas of the world and want to make sure we’re stewards in protecting them so we can continue to sail those for the next 150 [years.]”

Survey Says: Longer Voyages

Antorcha shared guests have voiced an interest in longer voyages on surveys, so Holland America Line is delivering. In the Caribbean, the line is shifting more to nine-plus days instead of seven, and that allows your clients to visit more ports than other cruises. “This year in the Caribbean we’ve increased 12-day capacity by 41 percent. So the 12th day gets us down to ABC Islands, the Panama Canal and Columbia.”

“We’ve doubled our capacity in the 50-plus day market, and, it’s been very well received from our guests. A lot of this comes from understanding our guests very, very deeply. We’ve done a lot of research, a lot of focus groups.” In addition, the line has launched a special category called Legendary Voyages with distinctive itineraries. “Not quite as long as 50 plus days. These are 25 to 59 days. Many of them round trips out of the U.S., which is also another distinguishing factor.”

Travel advisors, for example, can literally book a cruise to Japan—using only round-trip tickets from Seattle. There are many other round-trip itineraries from additional homeports, including San Diego, Vancouver, Boston and Fort Lauderdale.

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