October 18, 2013

Holland America Line – What You Should Know About Cruising

Written by Joy Thrun.

I have owned and operated Classic Travel since its beginning in 1980. I counsel clients (the best part of my job), so I not only have an opinion, but have accumulated opinions from some of the country’s most avid travelers (an advantage of having an agency in the affluent community of Okemos near a Big 10 University).

One thing most travel researchers have discovered from Trip Advisor and similar websites is that for every place someone loves, someone else hates…enter the experience of a qualified travel professional. We get one-on-one feedback from clients and are able to use that information to put the person and personality in the right destination, hotel, and cruise. At Classic Travel we are darn good at it. No internet site can compete with us!

This posting is dedicated to the Holland America Line (HAL).

The Holland America Line has a loyal following. It has always had a reputation of quality and sophistication. I have yet to have any complaints about the Holland America Line – that alone beats the odds! Because of this reputation, and the clientele of the Holland America Line, the mainstream cruiser and, I am sorry to say, mainstream Travel Agent, typically assume HAL’s price point is high. However, I have often found Holland America Line cruises in the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Europe and Alaska to be less expensive than some of the more advertised lines.

Some important information for passengers who have cruised Carnival or Seabourn is that you qualify for past passenger discounts on the Holland America Line. This saving can be significant. Travelers should be sure to tell us about previous cruises so we can check this discount for you when pricing a Holland America Line cruise.

Let’s talk Europe. At the time of this writing, the US dollar is very weak against the Euro. That means that a European cruise is the way to enjoy Europe affordably. I priced a 12 day Romantic Mediterranean Holland America Line cruise (I love this itinerary) it averaged $127.00 a day per person – that covers accommodations, transportation and meals! Believe me; it would be hard to find just an acceptable hotel room for this price!

If you have not considered Holland America Line Grand Voyages, have some fun and take a look. Their 114 day World Cruise from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale is awesome. If you don’t have 114 days you can take segments of this cruise.

Besides the value cruising offers, it also adds the convenience component to traveling. There is no packing, unpacking, navigating airports and customs. In addition there’s the safety edge to some areas of the world that interest you but might be a bit intimidating culturally or politically.

If your life has too much structure and you don’t want to be on a dining schedule of a cruise, the Holland America Line has “as you like dining”. At time of booking you can choose: a set time for dinner 5:45PM or 8:00PM; or the flexible option where you can make dinner reservations by 4PM daily; or enter the dining room anytime between 5:15PM-9:00PM and be seated by the Maitre. I think this has enhanced cruising tremendously for people like me.

If you would like to do a family cruise but think the Holland America Line is too stuffy – you’d be mistaken. In fact, the Zuiderdam 7 day Caribbean cruise was rated “Best Family-friendly” cruise by Parents Magazine. All their ships have great programs for kids and teenagers.

Foodies, yes the food on this line is amazing, but you might not know that the Holland America Line has “The Culinary Arts Center” presented by Food and Wine Magazine. This is a great way of discovering tips and techniques from some of the world’s most respected chefs.

If you are into health and rejuvenation you could enjoy a HAL cruise as much as any fine spa experience in the world. Could there be a better way to stay healthy? The Holland America Line spa is the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, rated one of the top full service luxury spas in the world. You also have access to the fitness center with yoga and Pilates. Just imagine your life and body after 114 days around the world with the spa and fitness program and destinations worldwide. In fact imagine your mind and body by taking a 7 day break!

A Holland America Line cruise is an experience you’ll want to put on your “bucket list”. Here are some of the awards this line has received:

Consistently Among the Highest-rated cruise lines
Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards
Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards

Best Overall Cruise Value (15 consecutive years)
World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society, Ocean & Cruise News

High Deluxe Five-Star-Plus Rating
World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society

International Five Star Diamond Award
The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences

Cruise Line with the Highest Client Satisfaction (Large Ship Category)
Travel Age West

Best Alaska Itineraries, Best Canada/New England Itineraries, Best Central America Itineraries, Best Overall Facilities for Physically Challenged Passengers, Best Medical Facilities, Best Art Auction Program, Best Eco-Friendly Cruise Line, Best Private Island (for Half Moon Cay)
Porthole Cruise Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards

Best Private Island in the Cruise Industry (five consecutive years)
Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Award

Green Planet Award
Kuoni Switzerland for outstanding environmental standards

Best Cruise Line, Alaska
Travel Weekly, Readers’ Choice Awards

Top Five Cruise Lines
Celebrated Living magazine

Top Ten Cruise Lines
Departures Magazine

Best Honeymoon, Top Ten Cruise Lines
Modern Bride Magazine

World’s Best Cruise Line
American Association of Travel Editors

Best Family-friendly Cruise ms Zuiderdam 7-Day Caribbean
Parents magazine

Best Cruise Ship Overall: ms Oosterdam
Cruise Critic

Best Medium-sized Ship: ms Oosterdam
Porthole Cruise Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards

Call us for our advice on itinerary, cabins, time of the year, and of course, the best buy.

Share The Travel Love!