We just completed our first voyage aboard Holland America Line, sailing a 7-day round trip Alaska adventure from Seattle on board Holland America’s Oosterdam. This sailing answered a whole lot of questions we had about Holland America in general as well as life onboard one of their ships as only actually sailing can do. It was our first sailing on Holland America, but surely not our last, for a number of nicely packaged reasons.
On board Holland America’s Oosterdam, I “got it” in about 32 seconds as I saw a whole lot of people boarding who were generally just like me: Cruise fans. No specific age group, ethnic background or income bracket, just regular people who like to sail. Most importantly:
Oosterdam was not full of, only old people and nothing but old people.
We did see a number of multi-generational families as anticipated. But we also saw soccer moms and their brood, young couples off on a romantic adventure and seniors looking to have a good time. If it did not bring them here, nicely organized onboard programming will surely bring them back.
Called “Explorations”, Holland America’s onboard programming is neatly organized around four different tracks that passengers can take.
Explore Our World taps a resident travel guide who presents an enriching series of lectures and discussions about the places they visit
Explore Food and Entertaining features the fleet-wide Culinary Arts Center and a party planner with a series of interactive classes and shows that takes the old notion of “food” on a cruise ship from belly-up-to-the-buffet to hands-on learning and a potentially lifestyle-changing exchange of information.
Explore Technology takes advantage of time at sea to let travelers learn how to get the most out of their digital camera, good information to have before coming face to face with iconic Alaska destinations. Passengers packed classes on digital photo editing, choosing the right computer and more. All included in the price of the cruise.
Explore Well-Being is more than a repackage of commonly distributed onboard health spa information. Here, a Mind-Body-Spirit program has a host of fitness seminars and wellness events, some of which can have lifestyle-changing results to those who pay attention.
We talk alot here about how we believe that there is a cruise for everyone. Adventure travelers now have small, boutique lines that let them kayak, hike or backpack through a lot of places, with their cozy ship waiting for them at the end of the day. Those cruise travelers interested in destination immersion have other lines, with varying price points, where almost all the focus is off the ship.
Mainstream lines are becoming more and more less mainstream as they define their passengers right now and what they will likely be years from now. Holland America Line goes a step further…or is that a step back?…to provide a cruise experience good for many, not so good for others and absolutely perfect for most.
There are no rock walls, surf-riders, water parks or branded elements of a complex onboard program. Here, Holland America Line has stuck to its core values brought about by nearly 140 years of sailing. The result is an environment where guests on board can try something new if they want to, from any or all of the four Explore focuses or do nothing at all in one of the most worry-free spaces at sea…regardless of age.