Lynn Narraway, UK managing director of Holland America Line and chair of Clia UK & Ireland, writes for Cruise Adviser about standing out in a competitive market and attracting new-to-cruise passengers.
“I didn’t know that about Holland America Line…” is a comment we hear so frequently from travel partners when they come on board our ships – or even just for a meeting. We are not simply a five-star cruise line, offering award-winning service, delicious cuisine, spacious accommodation and more onboard mid-sized ships – there’s so much more to the brand and the guest experience…
Some of these comments refer to our on board offerings… Did you know for example that our suites are some of the largest in the industry, and suite guests have their own private concierge Neptune lounge with access by keycard? Did you know that the BB King Blues band are resident on board seven ships, playing six nights a week to packed audiences? That our free Digital workshops run by techsperts from Windows offer guests the chance to learn to blog, edit their holiday photos or create a website during lessons at sea?
More surprise is generated from the huge number of destinations we visit onboard our 14 ships – and about the immersive experiences our guests enjoy during long days and overnights in port – and through our On Location destination programme
It’s a fact that Holland America Line visits more ports than any other major cruise line – and 35% of our itineraries feature an overnight in port! A 12-night Mediterranean cruise may feature an overnight stay in Venice and Istanbul; our classic Baltic Adventure overnights in both St Petersburg and Copenhagen; while further afield a 14-night China & Japan cruise offers two days in both Xingang (Beijing) and Shanghai; or a classic South America Passage an overnight stay to discover Buenos Aires. And we bring it all onboard with illuminating talks, regional cuisine, folkloric displays, local entertainment and more.
2016 is going to be an exciting year with the debut of our new Pinnacle-class ship ms Koningsdam [the rendering of which you can see above] in April, bringing a whole range of new innovations and partnerships, many of which will be rolled out onboard the existing fleet. Lincoln Centre Stage will bring the best in classical music onboard, The Culinary Arts Centre will combine our famous cookery demos with the chance to learn while you dine as it transforms by night into a stylish dinner venue; while the World Stage, with its two storey 270 degree high-definition LED screen will offer the latest concepts in entertainment.
A new ship creates new energy around any brand… With our proud 143-year history Holland America Line is always going to be classic in style – but with that always evolving modern, twist. In the words of our president Orlando Ashford: “Trendy and modern can be instantly obtained but classic must pass the test of time – and still remain relevant by adapting”. Take the example of products such as Burberry and Mercedes that have successfully reinvented themselves to be sought after by today’s premium shoppers, yet retained their own classic identity.
Classic Style meets Enriching Journeys is a good way to describe the brand; if your five-star clients have a travel bucket list, we are sure to be able to fulfil some of these once-in-a-lifetime trips, in the style we are known for – with a few nice surprises along the way!
There’s much more coming from Holland America Line in the near future – so watch this space!