Holland America welcomes Koningsdam to the fleet

Queen Maxima

Holland America Line has christened its newest vessel, Koningsdam, at a ceremony on board the vessel in Rotterdam.

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, the ship’s godmother, blessed the vessel’s bell and successfully smashed a bottle of champagne on the ship’s hull.

The vessel, which is the largest ship to enter Holland America Line’s fleet, is the first in its new Pinnacle class. The company also announced that its next vessel would be called the Nieuw Statendam.

Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president, said: “It’s an honour to have Her Majesty Queen Máxima as the godmother to Koningsdam, and May 20 was a truly special day with Her Majesty delivering the ceremonial traditions of welcoming our newest ship to the fleet. As our company was founded in Rotterdam more than 143 years ago, it was fitting to return to our roots for Koningsdam’s royal dedication.”

The celebrations were followed by a gala lunch and fireworks as the ship sailed to Amsterdam.

Holland America Line has used its latest ship, which can hold 2,650 passengers, to emphasise the brand partnerships it has in place.

From a Michelin star culinary council to a partnership with the BBC, which will see the ship’s World Stage theatre show scenes from documentaries such as Frozen Planet on its 180 degree screens, all while being accompanied by Holland America’s on board orchestra.

The company also recently announced a partnership with the Rijksmuseum, the largest collection of art in the Netherlands. Experts from the museum will be appearing on Holland America line ships going forward with replica pieces also appearing. As part of the partnership the company hosted guests from Koningsdam at an after hours event within the museum.

Speaking to Cruise Adviser, Arnold Donald, the chief executive and president of Carnival Corporation, said: “Across our world leading cruise brands we have one primary ambition, and that’s to exceed our guests’ expectations. So a partnership like this with the Rijksmuseum where Holland America guests have the opportunity to come in on an exclusive basis – after hours and only available to Holland America guests – is an opportunity to give an immersion and in effect exceed that expectation.

“You can see that guests here are thrilled and excited. Great curators are around to explain and help guests immerse themselves in the works of art. That’s what we seek to do across our brands in different ways and across our destinations in different ways.”

Lynn Narraway, the UK managing director of Holland America Line added: “It’s going be very interesting to see how we continue to develop the relationship with the Rijksmuseum going forward. Hosting this event is such a fantastic experience but for it to be a success we really need to do it properly.

“Our passengers are globetrotting learners. They like to learn, they like to travel and go into the culture, the history and the food as part of their experience of a destination. We have to change, we have to evolve – it’s not to say that what we’ve done in the past wasn’t good enough – but we must always look to differentiate. Travellers are changing and so must we.”

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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