Holland America Line has taken the plunge into new waters of dining, launching a global Fresh Fish Program—the first of its kind in cruising—which will source a worldwide network of 60 ports for 80 types of fish that will go from port to plate in less than 48 hours.
The program also will include daily fresh fish specials as well as a planned expansion of the cruise line’s “Savor my Catch” excursions allowing passengers to catch fish that is then prepared and served by chefs on board.
“We’re diving deep into the interests of our current and future guests and the interests and passions that bond them to the brand,” noted HAL’s chief marketing officer Kacy Cole in a launch announcement webinar on Sept. 19. “Our guests are living a lifestyle where fresh fish is a staple, and we want to be part of it.”
To that end, Holland America was the first and only cruise line to be awarded Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification in 2022 and was recently renewed for 2023 in recognition of their commitment to serving fresh, certified sustainable and traceable wild Alaska seafood. In fact, on any given Alaska cruise, Holland America Line serves more than 2,000 pounds of Alaska salmon, 1,000 pounds of Alaska cod, 800 pounds of Alaska halibut, 500 pounds of Alaska rockfish and more. But now they’re expanding from the 49th state to the entire world.
“Alaska was our role model in 2022, the cornerstone of building that Fresh Fish Program,” said Michael Stendebach, Holland America’s vp of F&B and guest services. “When we move into Mexico, we’re sourcing fresh grouper, yellowfin tuna and red snapper. Moving to northern Europe, Iceland for example, the local turbot is amazing. Our purpose is to serve fish with native ingredients,” he added. “So we’re sending scouts out to find those ingredients and discover the seasonality of products in the destination.”
“It roots us into destination dining, which is where we’re going,” Cole said. “How do we tell more stories through F&B?”
Iron Chef Pops Up on Holland America Fresh Fish Cruises
An exciting new aspect of that story is the addition of Iron Chef star Masaharu Morimoto as the cruise line’s Fresh Fish Ambassador, bringing his signature style to curated dishes served fleetwide in the main dining room and as a fresh fish pop-up restaurant—Morimoto by Sea—in Tamarind or Pinnacle Grill, depending on the ship.
“Chef Morimoto has the same commitment to fresh fish that we do. Having come up as a sushi chef and now as a master chef, he’s the perfect fit for us.” Cole said. “It’s been really exciting to work closely with him and offer dishes that reflect the destination as well as his pop-up.”
Among those classic Morimoto dishes served in the dining room will be Fresh Black Cod Yuzu, Morimoto Epice Lobster Tails and Fresh Halibut XO, which will roll out this weekend on the Eurodam and Koningsdam, with fleetwide availability expected in October.
Meanwhile, the pop-up will debut at the beginning of 2024 but you might want to advise clients to prepare themselves—in addition to amazing seafood, it also will showcase Chef Morimoto’s beverage program, including four different kinds of sake.
For more information on Holland America’s Fresh Fish Program, visit hollandamerica.com/en/us/onboard-experiences/dining/fresh-fish.