For some, cruising is all about rock-bottom pricing. Bare-bone cruising gets you to the destination of your choice, but that’s about all it does. However, cutting corners is not for everyone. The Holland America Line recognized that many vacationers are still looking for a truly distinctive experience: one that gives them total satisfaction as well as good value. That way of thinking was what sparked the Signature of Excellence program.
Starting in 2003, Holland America chose to implement a $225-million initiative that would allow them to provide unprecedented destinations and services to passengers like no other cruise line before them. It was expected that the Signature of Excellence program would take approximately three years to expand throughout the fleet. Holland America is proud to announce that it’s in the final stages of implementation and will complete its program on schedule at the end of 2006.
What enhancements can be found aboard Holland ships since the execution of the Signature of Excellence program? Extensive improvements throughout every area of the ship.
Providing the most spacious cabins in the premium cruise category, Holland America offers elegantly appointed staterooms complete with Sealy® Euro-Top mattresses, 250-thread count cotton linens, Egyptian cotton towels, massage shower heads, flat-panel televisions and more. In addition, guests staying in suites can take advantage of personal concierge services, special luxury linens, fully stocked minibars and special embarkation and disembarkation privileges.
Club HAL is Holland’s youth program and was added as part of the Signature of Excellence program. With permanent, full-time directors and staff, parents can feel confident leaving their children to enjoy a full range of fun activities in a safe, age-appropriate environment. Club HAL offers the most elaborate children’s areas of any cruise line. Children will find colorful surroundings, art tables, big-screen TVs, games, supervised Internet access, Sony Playstations, board games and a host of family events, including the Family Olympics.
<B>For Teens Only</B>
Kids aren’t the only ones that can have fun on these retrofitted ships. Teens get their own hangouts as well. The Loft provides a lounge with the feel of a New York artist’s loft. Filled with popular music and videos, Internet access, karaoke and more, teens can have a space all their own. The Oasis is yet another teen getaway with a teens-only sun deck, a nine-foot-high waterfall and cave, snack machines, sound and laser-light show, and more.
One of the most anticipated parts of cruising is undoubtedly the food! That’s why the Holland America Line gave special attention to not only the meals themselves, but also to the environment in which guests would dine.
From the addition of fine art and antiques in the main dining room to elegant Rosenthal china and expert wine stewards, no detail was overlooked in the dining experience. Now with two servers per table, guests will experience unparalleled service along with exceptional five-course meals under the consultancy of Master Chef Rudi Sodamin. From reservations-only dining featuring Sterling Silver beef and fresh seafood to healthy alternative meals and complimentary in-room trays, passengers will not be disappointed with any aspect of Holland’s food service.
The acquisition of a 55-acre private island, Half Moon Cay, is but one of the many highlights of the Signature of Excellence program. The highest-rated port of call on Holland’s itineraries, Half Moon Cay sits adjacent to an international bird sanctuary in the Bahamas. Repeatedly rated the “Best Private Island” by Porthole Cruise Magazine, guests will find horseback riding, stingray adventures, watercraft adventures, an aqua park and more.
Although the Holland America Line is concluding the implementation of its Signature of Excellence program at the end of this year, the effects of this innovative fleet-wide expansion will continue to impress and thrill guests for years to come.