Holland America to launch EXC

exc-and-orlando-ashford

Holland America Line is to launch a new destination immersion programme called Explorations Central or EXC.

The company will be eventually be changing the Crow’s Nest on all of its ships into a new area made up of travel resources for passengers to increase their travel experience.

The programme will begin in 2017 and be rolled out across the entire fleet by the end of 2018. It will debut on the Westerdam in April.

“Explorations Central is revolutionising the way we deliver destinations to our guests, and it’s going to profoundly change how our guests are immersed in the history, culture and cuisine of the places we visit,” Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president, said. “Those who see the world better understand the world; and when we better understand the world we can gain insights into ourselves and personally experience the transformative effects of travel. EXC is going to show our guests the world in a whole new way and enable them to engage in truly meaningful experiences.”

Ashford also confirmed that the company has not yet finalised plans for travel to Cuba.

There will be a team dedicated to EXC that will bring “local culture and history onboard”, according to a spokesman. The idea being that guests are able to ask the team, who will also host destination talks, for their recommendations when in port. The EXC area will also feature a virtual ship’s bridge, in an industry first.

“EXC will really ratchet up the customer experience for us,” added Ashford. “It will deliver personal, authentic experiences for our guests.”

EXC Encounters, the name given to the programme’s shore excursions, will be hosted by the EXC guides. They will feature language and cultural etiquette lessons as well as programmes covering music and dance and storytelling sessions.

Holland America will also introduce EXC port guides created using content by Afar Media for each destination. Guests will then be able to create personalised itineraries based on their own interests, the spokesman added. EXC port maps will be available for those want to travel on their own.

Sam Ballard

Sam Ballard is the publisher of CRUISE ADVISER and has been writing about the cruise industry for a number of years. His CV includes the likes of shipping magazine International Cruise & Ferry Review and the digital publication Cruise News. He can be contacted on:sam@cruise-adviser.com.

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