Tag Archives: Nieuw Amsterdam

The final "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" cruises will feature from left: Kym Johnson, Florence Henderson, Carson Kressley and Tony Dovolani (not pictured).
The final "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" cruises will feature from left: Kym Johnson, Florence Henderson, Carson Kressley and Tony Dovolani (not pictured).

Why should you cruise on the final two “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruises? In addition to the dazzling performances, fantastic costumes, up-close encounters with the show’s stars and the hilariously antics of Carson Kressley, there’s a new addition to the featured talent: Dance Professional Tony Dovolani!

Dance Pro Tony Dovolani.

Dance Pro Tony Dovolani.

In addition to Tony and Carson, the theme cruises also will showcase pro dancer and Mirrorball Trophy winner Kym Johnson, along with America’s favorite TV mom Florence Henderson. The Champions Cruise departs Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Jan. 10, 2016, and the Jan. 3, 2016, theme cruise sets sail the week prior. These voyages mark the final chances to experience “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” programming before the partnership concludes.

When ms Nieuw Amsterdam heads to the Caribbean on the two seven-day voyages, guests will be able to watch these four fan favorites take the stage to perform routines from the hit ABC television show as well as exciting new choreographed dances. Additional events on these cruises include dance lessons with the ship’s professional dancers; a special fashion show featuring glamorous show costumes from the TV show; and a chance to meet the stars, ask questions and take photos with them.

“We are thrilled to have the talents of Tony, Kym, Carson and Florence, entertaining and mingling with our guests on these last two special theme cruises,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “And the Champions Cruise on the Jan. 10 sailing features the exciting grand finale dance-off following a year of guest competitions, and we look forward to crowning a new Mirrorball Trophy winner with the help of these fabulous stars.”

It’s been a wonderful partnership between Holland America Line and Dancing with the Stars over the last few years,” added Ashford. “The program added an engaging element to our cruises that many guests embraced with passion and dedication. We are thankful to Dancing with the Stars and BBC Worldwide for an amazing run.”

If you’re thinking about joining us for these voyages, read about guest Diana’s adventures on a recent “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” cruise to Canada and New England. She shared her experience with the blog and got some assistance from fellow guest Shigeo Morita who contributed many of the great pictures. We think you’ll be convinced to put on your dancing shoes!

CRUISE DIARY: SAILING ON A ‘DANCING WITH THE STARS: AT SEA’ THEME CRUISE
by Guest Diana

Kym and Carson share a laugh on stage.

Kym and Carson share a laugh on stage.

When Holland America Line’s Veedam sailed from Boston a sunny, cool Saturday a couple weeks ago, there was a special vibe in the air from everyone onboard excited to jive, samba and waltz their way through Canada and New England with “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea.”

It didn’t take long for the dancing to begin with the first class of the cruise scheduled right after sailaway. I put on my dancing shoes and headed to Veendam’s Showroom at Sea. The waltz class began with a few words from the host of DWTS: at Sea, Jason Venner, and a video lesson by one of the TV show’s dancing pros, Sharna Burgess. After learning a full Waltz routine, a couple participants were selected for a dance-off. They were scored by a panel and a winner was selected to participate in the guest competition on the final night of the cruise! What a perfect start to the voyage.

On the second day of the cruise, a jive lesson had guests kicking and flicking in no time. Later that night we lined up for a photo opportunity with the four stars on this sailing: professional dancers Kym Johnson and Tristan MacManus, Florence Henderson of “The Brady Bunch” fame and Carson Kressley from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. Incredibly gracious, they had a quick chat with each guest. My mom, whom I was traveling with, told Kym she loved watching her with Robert Herjavec in the past season and much to my surprise was able to hold back mentioning she felt Riker Lynch had been robbed of the Mirrorball. An opinion she holds strongly!

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Later in the cruise, guests would be able to get these photos autographed by the stars in a special autograph session.

The real glitz and glamour came midway through the cruise when the full “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” cast put on a stellar show in the Showroom at Sea. Carson Kressley was a fantastic MC, but he also participated in a couple of routines.

Kym and Tristan danced a magnificent latin-style routine, and Tristan and Florence delighted guests with a classy waltz. The “DWTS: at Sea” dance troupe also wowed guests, particularly with a two-person rumba routine that packed in more lifts and tricks than any routine I had ever seen on the show. On this night in particular, guests who already knew of Carson were delighted to see him at his best, and those who had not heard of him before quickly became fans. His witty remarks, hilarious commentary and perfectly-timed jokes had guests laughing in between every performance. It felt like he put the star in “Dancing with the Stars.”

Have you ever been to a show you enjoyed so much that you stuck around for the second showing? This show was such a hit that the room barely cleared out after the first showing, with many guests staying in the showroom and waiting around for an hour or so for the next one to begin! I was one of them and I can tell you, it was just as fun to watch the second time around. Here are some more moments from the show:

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The following day, a Samba class was on the schedule. Samba is a fun dance to learn. The music is quick and up-beat, and it felt like a party while dancing to it, or “pah-ty” as Kym described it with her Australian accent.

That night we watched the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Fashion Show in a packed house, standing-room only. Members of the “Dancing with the Stars” dance troupe were joined by Veendam’s dancers modeling some of the impressive costumes used on the TV show. True DWTS fans could quickly recall who had worn what, like the fire-y gown donned by Willow Shields in her contemporary dance with Mark Ballas this past season. Carson and Kym MC’d and it was interesting to hear Kym’s commentary on the amount of fabric used for each piece, general inspiration behind them and the totals of Swarovski crystals!

Veendam's dancers and Florence Henderson modeled some of the gowns worn on the show.

Veendam’s dancers and Florence Henderson modeled some of the gowns worn on the show.

I got an early start the following morning with a 10 a.m. fitness class in the Showroom at Sea led by Kym. In the warm-up she told the large crowd of exercisers we would “start with a cha-cha and end with a jive,” a dance-pro way of noting that though things would start slow they would quickly pick up. She wasn’t lying! The catchy music she selected had everyone shimmying up a sweat in no time. Each song involved a different genre of dance and we quickly learned its basic steps. As the tempo picked up the routines got quicker. I was impressed with the routine, a true workout that had everyone out of breath by the end.

Kym Johnson found herself in the spotlight again with a work out class on an early morning.

Kym Johnson found herself in the spotlight again with a work-out class on an early morning.

That afternoon, Kym, Tristan, Carson and Florence took the stage with Jason for a Q&A session. Guests asked the stars questions varying from what a typical week during the show is like to what a certain pro-dancer and her past-partner’s current relationship status is. As they say, what happens on Veendam stays on Veendam, so I can’t give you the answer! Florence spoke about her childhood and her early days on Broadway. Carson spoke about his experience on the dancing show and his passion for horses and Kym talked of her busy schedule. The female guests in the audience weren’t concerned with what Tristan was saying, rather just wanted him to just keep speaking with his charming Irish accent.

An exciting week of “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” ended with a bang when six guests took the stage, partnered with Veendam’s full-time dancers, for an incredibly entertaining guest competition. The winning routine was an impressive jive and the guest was awarded with a gold star. Her routine will put her in the running to represent Veendam in a competition with the highest scoring guest from every ship. If she’s selected she’ll have to clear her schedule in early January for the “DWTS: At Sea” Champions Cruise where Holland America will crown its final Mirrorball Trophy winner. As for myself and many other cruisers who had just spent the past week with some of a hit TV competition show’s best stars, we’ll be clearing our schedules, too, to sail as regular passengers.

Guests were paired with Veendam's dancers and performed a routine for the panel, which included Kym and Carson. One outstanding jiver won a gold star!

Guests were paired with Veendam’s dancers and performed a routine for the panel, which included Kym and Carson. One outstanding jiver won a gold star!

Will you be joining us for one of the two final “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” cruises? Tell us which one below!

Holland America Group CEO Stein Kruse and Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, front, pose with Statendam crew members from various departments.
Holland America Group CEO Stein Kruse and Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, front, pose with Statendam crew members from various departments.

Today is “Day of the Seafarer,” and it’s a day to celebrate the hardworking crew members you meet on every cruise. It is the fifth year that the International Maritime Organization has celebrated this campaign.

In 2010, the Diplomatic Conference that met in Manila, the Philippines, agreed that the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole, should be marked annually with a “Day of the Seafarer.” The date chosen was June 25, the day on which the amendments were formally adopted.

Catholic Seafarers’ Center a Home Away From Home for Crew

Holland America Line recently hosted a “Home from the Sea” fundraiser luncheon for the Catholic Seafarers’ Center aboard Statendam at the Port of Seattle. The event was attended by Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of Holland America Group, along with the Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle, and Father Paul Magnano.

Before the luncheon, attendees gathered at a ceremony to honor Fr. Tony Haycock, the Catholic Port Chaplain at the Catholic Seafarers’ Center, who has served the facility for nearly two decades.

“The Catholic Seafarers’ Center provides support to our crew members that is valued and appreciated by everyone in our organization,” said Kruse. “It is an honor to have had such a longstanding relationship with the center and to support them in return so they can continue serving our community.”

The Catholic Seafarers’ Center is a social-service agency in the Archdiocese of Seattle. Its mission is to meet the spiritual and practical needs of seafarers and maritime workers visiting and living in Seattle. The center provides a number of services to workers coming to the city, including shipping goods on their behalf, arranging transportation and coordinating recreational activities.

Kruse and Most Reverend Sartain admire a painting of the ship.

Kruse and Most Reverend Sartain admire a painting of the ship.

Holland America Line seafarers live and work onboard, and it’s a 24/7 operation. Traveling for months at a time away from home, they bring their land-life with them and work colleagues become like family. So home doesn’t feel so far away, the ships organize activities and socials for the crew members to bond and have some fun.

Eurodam holds monthly food events for the crew, and recently it was a Mongolian themed dinner.

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Nieuw Amsterdam recently held an ice cream social for its crew members where they could stop by and have a scoop or two with all of the toppings.

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Crew members from Eurodam went on a crew tour to Dolphin Cove at Grand Cayman and had an incredible time interacting with the gentle creatures.

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These Zaandam wine attendants and dining room staff went on an educational crew tour to Lustau Cellar while at Cadiz.

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The ships even have their own soccer teams and play against other local and ship teams when in port.

Eurodam's crew soccer team at a game in St. Thomas.

Eurodam’s crew soccer team at a game in St. Thomas.

Do you have a favorite crew member, one that made a lasting impression on your Holland America Line cruise? Tell us about them in the comments!

Caption for the main hero image at the top of the page: Front row, from left: Assistant Steward Lido Ni Made Oktarini, Stein Kruse, the Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain and Wine Attendant Milleth Bebiro. Second row, from left: Beverage Manager Kenneth Johnson, Dining Room Manager Philip Stolte and Steward Restaurant Hery Priyanto. Back row, from left: Assistant Manager of Culinary Operations Raj Kantharaju, Beverage Attendant Ariel Peradilla, Bellboy Eko Wahyudi and Dining Room Greeter Humid Barbara.

Vote for Nieuw Amsterdam as the Best Cruise Ship for Families!
Vote for Nieuw Amsterdam as the Best Cruise Ship for Families!

Holland America Line is an award-winning company. Whether it’s receiving an environmental award, topping the list of World’s Leading Weather Observing Cruise Ship Companies or winning several Travel Weekly Magellan Awards, it’s always an honor to receive the accolades.

Some awards are selected by a professional committee, while others are selected by the public. Holland America Line is up for an award right now, and we need your vote to win!

10best USA Today and 10Best are running a readers’ choice travel award contest, and Holland America Line’s ms Nieuw Amsterdam is up for Best Cruise Ship for Families. The ship, which was selected by an expert panel, is one of 20 up for the title. Voters have until April 27, 2015, to vote once a day for the candidate of their choice, so get voting for Nieuw Amsterdam!

Vote by clicking HERE.

What makes Nieuw Amsterdam an obvious choice for this award? Perhaps it’s Club HAL, the fun and friendly program for kids ages three to 17 that provides age-appropriate activities and events for our junior cruisers. Or the kids-only cooking classes in the Culinary Arts Center. Pool time, beach time, family time … there’s something for every age on a Holland America Line cruise.

From kids-only culinary classes to activities in Club HAL, Nieuw Amsterdam makes cruising fun for kids!

From kids-only culinary classes to activities in Club HAL, Nieuw Amsterdam makes cruising fun for kids!

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SparkiesLogoSparkies’ LIVE UNITED Award

At a March 5 reception at the Seattle Waterfront Marriott, Holland America Line was presented with a Sparkies Award by the United Way of King County, Washington. The Sparkies Award recognizes organizations that make a difference locally through enthusiastic and innovative community work.

From left: Holland America Line and Seabourn employees Manager, Hotel Services and Administration Teresa Haughey; Human Resources Specialist Stephe Newell-Niggemeyer; Sr. Director, HR Seagoing Todd Kimmel; Manager, Corporate Giving Pamela Baade; and Sr. Manager, Contracts and Analytics Stijn Creupelandt.

From left: Holland America Line and Seabourn employees Manager, Hotel Services and Administration Teresa Haughey; Human Resources Specialist Stephe Newell-Niggemeyer; Sr. Director, HR Seagoing Todd Kimmel; Manager, Corporate Giving Pamela Baade; and Sr. Manager, Contracts and Analytics Stijn Creupelandt.

Holland America Line won the Sparkies’ LIVE UNITED Award for increasing donations during the company’s annual United Way campaign and for rewarding employee volunteers who give at least 30 hours of service by donating to their nonprofit of choice.

HAL employees participate in a variety of United Way activities, including the barbecue kickoff and citywide Day of Caring.

HAL employees participate in a variety of United Way activities, including the barbecue kickoff and citywide Day of Caring.

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EthisphereLogo
World’s Most Ethical Companies

For the fourth consecutive year, Holland America Line, together with sister line Seabourn, was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute, the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. The company secured its spot on the 2015 list by implementing and promoting the highest ethical business standards and practices both internally and in the community.

Named in the Lodging, Leisure & Recreation category, Holland America Line and Seabourn are among 132 total honorees representing more than 50 industry sectors from around the world. Kelly Clark, chief ethics officer and senior vice president, safety, environmental and regulatory services, accepted the 2015 World’s Most Ethical Companies award at the Ethisphere Institute’s annual Gala Dinner March 9 in New York City.

From left: Mona Ehrenreich, general counsel, sr. vice president legal, Holland America Group; Emmely Kik, manager ethics and compliance, Holland America Group; Tim Erblich, chief executive officer; Ethisphere; Kelly Clark, chief ethics officer, sr. vice president safety, environment and regulatory services, Holland America Group; and Karen Reich, director insurance and risk management, Holland America Group.

From left: Mona Ehrenreich, general counsel, sr. vice president legal, Holland America Group; Emmely Kik, manager ethics and compliance, Holland America Group; Tim Erblich, chief executive officer, Ethisphere; Kelly Clark, chief ethics officer, sr. vice president safety, environment and regulatory services, Holland America Group; and Karen Reich, director insurance and risk management, Holland America Group.

In selecting World’s Most Ethical Company winners, Ethisphere Institute organized their criteria for 2015 into five core categories: Code of Ethics and Compliance Program; Corporate Citizenship and Responsibility; Culture of Ethics; Governance; and Leadership, Innovation and Reputation.

Don’t forget to vote for Nieuw Amsterdam in the USA Today awards! Click HERE.

The Edinburgh Tattoo is an exciting way to experience Scottish culture.
The Edinburgh Tattoo is an exciting way to experience Scottish culture.

When you cruise, what type of shore excursions attract you the most? Relaxing city tours, historically rich explorations or exhilarating adventures that get your adrenaline pumping? If you’re looking for once-in-a-lifetime experiences that combine a little bit of everything, Holland America Line has an incredible collection of shore excursions in Europe that feature some of the most exclusive events and exciting opportunities that allow you to explore the ports in a variety of ways.

Are you a golf fan, Formula One junkie or do you like to see the world from a different view? Read on and see why these six tours top the list of European shore excursions not to miss.

British Open Championship at St. Andrews
Rosyth, Scotland

Visit St. Andrews and witness the British open on a tour.

Visit St. Andrews and witness the British open on a tour.

For those who appreciate the game of golf’s rich history, the British Open Championship at St. Andrews tour is the ultimate tournament experience. Be there as the 144th British Open is played out on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Follow the best players in the world as they navigate the pot bunkers and gusty winds that are the hallmarks of this Scottish legend. This is the rare opportunity to witness golf’s oldest Major Championship return to the game’s most cherished links.

Prinsendam’s July 15, 2015, Irish & Scottish Explorer departure calls at Rosyth during the British Open.

Grand Prix Trials
Monte Carlo, Monaco

Amazingly the call at Monte Carlo on Nieuw Amsterdam’s April 22 departure coincides with the trials for the world-famous Formula One Grand Prix. Guests can attend the first day of the F1 trials, held on one of the most fascinating and talked-about racetracks in the world. From the port of Fontvieille a local escort will lead you on a 30-minute walk (approximately) toward the grandstand section, located in a central position. Local Grand Prix personnel will direct you toward the section where you are to be seated. It is then up to you to decide which trials you wish to attend as your ticket gives you grandstand access for the whole day with in-out privileges. Come and go as you please. Your escort will give you a map of Monaco for orientation and then you’re on your own for a most enjoyable day.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Rosyth, Scotland

Edinburgh Castle is the beautiful backdrop for the annual Tattoo.

Edinburgh Castle is the beautiful backdrop for the annual Tattoo.

Traditionally, the ‘tattoo’ was the signal given by drumbeat that warned British soldiers to return to their quarters for the night. Innkeepers promptly turned off their liquor taps and the drums continued to beat for a half hour — the period of grace during which the soldiers were allowed to return home before being AWOL. The custom eventually developed into a ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands, held a few hours after sunset.

At the Edinburgh Military Tattoo that takes place every August against the majestic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, the world-renowned Massed Pipes & Drums together with the impressive Massed Military Bands and the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland are among those who will gather for Scotland’s sensational Edinburgh Tattoo. The Tattoo concludes with that most moving of all Scotland’s performances — the lone piper, floodlit on the battlements, haunting tones reaching out across the darkened arena to echo in your heart long after the music stops. (This excursion is only available on select sailings in August and is not available on Sundays.)

Exclusive Mt. Vesuvius
Naples, Italy

Take an exclusive tour of Mt. Vesuvius on a 4x4 bus.

Take an exclusive tour of Mt. Vesuvius on a 4×4 bus.

Travel by coach along the Bay of Naples on the Exclusive Mt. Vesuvius tour, stopping en route at a local cameo factory before reaching the foot of awesome Mount Vesuvius — the only volcano on the mainland continent of Europe. From the village of Boscotrecase, you will board a special ecological 4×4 bus for a 25-minute drive through Mount Vesuvius National Park, through pine forests and broom to an elevation of 3,400 feet. Leave the bus and walk to the upper part of the crater, where you will enjoy a walking tour around the crater under the expert supervision of an alpine guide.

Mount Vesuvius creates a beautiful landscape with the bay and Naples tucked below. Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79, destroying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing up to 25,000 people. It has erupted many times since and is today regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of three million people living nearby. The mountain has a tendency for explosive (Plinian) eruptions.

We had a wonderful sunny day, and you want good weather. The drive in the 4 wheel vehicle part way up Mt. Vesuvius was great. There is quite a climb but rails to hand on to when needed. You get right to the mouth of the volcano which is amazing. This trip was my husband’s choice and I am so glad we took it. — Guest Chrisdo

Kickin’ Corfu! A 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
Kérkira (Corfu), Greece

Drive your own Jeep around Corfu and kick back like a local.

Drive your own Jeep around Corfu and kick back like a local.

Get behind the wheel of a four-wheel-drive vehicle on the Kickin’ Corfu tour and drive yourself and your fellow guests along the main coastal route, and up a country road, through olive groves and the village of Ano Korakiana. The road up Pantokrator Mountain features 27 zigzag turns and leads to the old village of Sokraki. Stretch your legs on a walk through the narrow winding streets of the village and enjoy a meze (traditional light snack) with a glass of local wine. Set off again along a country (dirt) lane to admire the beautiful panoramic view of the island as well as the magnificent view of the old town of Corfu. Returning to the narrow asphalt road, pass through Troubeta, Arkadades, Makrades and Lakones.

Without doubt this tour was the best tour of the whole cruise.My wife drove the little four wheel drive ,without any problems,while I ran the Gopro. The best views. The stop at Sokraki was more of a full lunch than a light snack, with local produce and meats, wine and ouzo.The narrow roads through picturesque towns were a treat. And one breathtaking view after another. I would highly suggest this tour. — Guests Steve and Linda

Sensational Rooftop Walk & Stockholm’s Old Town
Stockholm, Sweden

Get a bird's-eye view of Stockholm on the rooftop tour.

Get a bird’s-eye view of Stockholm on the rooftop tour.

It’s been featured on the blog in the past, but it’s too special to leave off this list. Try something sensational and unique — a guided walk conducted along a historic rooftop in Stockholm. Drive to Riddarholmen, the small island in the Old Town of Sweden’s capital. During the 13th century, Franciscan monks built a monastery here, parts of which still remains in the cellar vaults of the many impressive buildings that stand here today. Riddarholmen Church is the final resting place of most Swedish Kings. Next to the church is the Old Parliament Building which you’ll enter and take the elevator up to the top floor and, via the attic, step out into the open. Buckle up with your safety harness and take your first steps along the narrow rooftop path offering fantastic views and fascinating stories that your guide will share en route.

Even though the height (up to 130 feet) may be a challenge to some, this is the perfect starting point to learn of the history of Stockholm and take in some breathtaking views. With your feet back on the ground, continue to the Old Town for a ground-level walking tour through Gamla Stan — a living historical monument of international renown. On the way back to the ship, relax for a panoramic sightseeing drive through Stockholm, passing the Parliament Building, the Royal Opera, the city center with Sergels Torg and the Concert Hall.

My husband and I had a great time – what a unique opportunity to walk on the rooftop of a centuries old buildling in the middle of Stockholm. We had a view of the city from every angle, and learned a lot about the history of Stockholm. It was the perfect mix of sightseeing and adrenaline! — Guest TravelGal

Which one of these tours would you like to take? Many of the exclusive shore excursions fill up quickly, so remember to pre-book the shore excursion of your choice to save time onboard and ensure you have a seat!

One-year-old Isabelle waves goodbye to her Uncle Vincent who is staff captain on Prinsendam.
One-year-old Isabelle waves goodbye to her Uncle Vincent who is staff captain on Prinsendam.

Taking a cruise vacation is a social event full of memory-making moments both onboard and ashore. From mingling with guests around the ship to taking a fabulous shore excursion and visiting all of the fantastic destinations around the world, there are plenty of opportunities to capture the special moments and share them with friends, family and fellow fans of Holland America Line.

If you want to be social before you cruise, check out “Roll Call” on Facebook, Holland America Line’s way of connecting fellow cruisers before departure. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the Holland America Blog are other outlets that provide a great way for guests to get cruise tips from fellow guests or share vacation stories and photos.

If you want to be part of the sharing, submit your fun photos and stories through social media channels, by clicking “Share Your Story” on the blog or emailing info@hollandamericablog.com. And if you’re out there cruising and tweeting while you sail, hashtag us at #HALcruises or #HollandAmerica, or tag us at @HALcruises. You can even hashtag your ship, like #Eurodam!

The photos and notes in this blog post are just some wonderful examples that show the dedication, fondness and love that our guests and crew have for Holland America Line.

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Well Wishes from Shore to Ship

The beautiful photo above came through email with this sweet note:

My uncle Vincent works as a staff captain on the ms Prinsendam. Every time when the beautiful ms Prinsendam visits the Netherlands (Amsterdam or IJmuiden), I go by bike, together with my mom and dad to the beach/pier to wave my Uncle Vincent goodbye. We always wish him and all of the crew and passengers a safe and secure journey. My mom took a picture of us the last time. — Isabelle Engel (1 year)

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Noordam Carries Historic Tote Bag on Transatlantic Crossing

From left: Captain Jeroen van Donselaar, Nancy and Francis Stiles, and Hotel Director Simon Tanner display the historic tote bag.

From left: Captain Jeroen van Donselaar, Nancy and Francis Stiles, and Hotel Director Simon Tanner display the historic tote bag.

Guests Francis and Nancy Stiles of Pennsylvania brought an unusual piece of history on board a Noordam transatlantic cruise: a tote bag that has been in the Stiles family since 1890 and carried on many sailings. The tote bag traveled on Holland America Line ships including the Rijndam and Statendam in 1929 and made its first transatlantic crossing in 1930 aboard White Star Line’s R.M.S. Homeric.

On this transatlantic cruise 84 years later, Captain Jeroen van Donselaar and Hotel Director Simon Tanner held a commemoration ceremony on the bridge, inscribing the ship’s itinerary on the bag.

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Getting Creative with Tiles

While some guests create tables and kitchen backsplashes with their Holland America Line Delft tiles, guest Ton Rijppaert has found another way to get creative with these favorite give-aways. A former HAL cabin steward from 1964 to 1972, Ton now cruises regularly so he’s amassed quite a collection of tiles and pins.

Ton Rijppaert from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, displays his tiles and pins in a photobook.

Ton Rijppaert from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, displays his tiles and pins in a photobook.

I collect HAL tiles (not plates) and pins … At this moment my collection consists of 290 tiles and 80 pins. I have them processed in a photobook. It is a loose-leaf album, so I can effortlessly handle additions. The tiles are shown at actual size. I always take the album with me on our cruises. That is the way I am “creative” with my tiles. During our voyage with the ms Rotterdam from our hometown Rotterdam to Singapore last January I had the opportunity to exhibit my tiles on board the ship (2 times). — Ton Rijppaert

Ton at home with his collection and the wonderful display onboard.

Ton at home with his collection, a new tile and the wonderful display onboard.

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Friends for Life

Crew members who work onboard become like family. Cruising is a 24/7 operation, and there’s a lot of time spent together. Special bonds are formed and lifelong friendships develop. Former Cruise Director Lizabeth Knight can attest to this in her story:

Teresa, left, and Liz onboard Nieuw Amsterdam.

Teresa, left, and Liz onboard Nieuw Amsterdam.

I’m a former HAL Cruise Director and Teresa Papp is a former HAL Event Manager. We were partnered together on the Statendam from 2009 through 2010. It was a tremendous partnership, and we were fortunate to work with a fabulous “family” on the Statendam. Even though we’ve both been officially gone from the company since 2010 we’ve remained close friends, and decided to take a “Family Reunion” cruise this year.

Since the Statendam does voyages that are longer than we can manage in our current lives, we chose a Caribbean cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam. We were thrilled to find many of our Statendam family members onboard, making it truly a family reunion to remember! Thank you, Holland America Line, for the magical memories – from both the Statendam and the Nieuw Amsterdam! — Lizabeth Knight

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Warm Feelings in Cold Weather

The Shore Excursion department on Zaandam recently received new uniforms for their South America explorations. They were very appreciative of the cold-weather wear.

Judy from Zaandam's Shore Excursion team shows off the new uniforms.

Judy from Zaandam’s Shore Excursion team shows off the new uniforms.

Just a little appreciation for our new uniform! — Judy

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Is that an Original Holland America Line Design?

Chuck and Deborah Humbert.

Chuck and Deborah Humbert.

Chuck Humbert and his wife Deborah were wondering what to do with all of the vintage, complimentary tote bags that Holland America Line gives out. They got creative, and we think the result is fabulous!

Because of the superb quality of the design and fabric, they were recycled by my wife Deborah and her mother into a jacket and vest to be worn at the Mariners Luncheons. Needless to say they do attract attention. Careful attention was paid to the patterns when piecing together the final project lending to a memorable taste of our past cruises.

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A Presidential Dinner

President’s Club Mariners Mark Goldberg and Christopher Smith have made the ms Zaandam their winter home sailing around South America for nearly 100 days.

To honor them and their loyalty to Holland America Line Hotel Director Simon Tanner orchestrated a remarkable dinner in the Neptune Lounge just a few steps from their suite. This was most definitely a memorable evening for these VIP guests!

Left to Right: Christopher Smith, presidents club member; Clarissa Zwart, guest relations manager;  Marc Spijkerboer, culinary operations manager; Mark Goldberg, presidents club member; Anita Szilagyi, shore excursions; Simon Tanner, hotel director, pose with HAL crew members.

Clockwise around the table from bottom left: guest Christopher Smith; Clarissa Zwart, guest relations manager; Marc Spijkerboer, culinary operations manager; guest Mark Goldberg; Anita Szilagyi, shore excursions; and Simon Tanner, hotel director, pose with HAL crew members.

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A Golden Anniversary

Even regular blog contributors and current Grand World Voyage cruisers Jan and Dick Yetke got in on the fun.

We celebrated our 50th Anniversary onboard. Started out with a wake up call in the morning from Guest Relations Manager Christel and her whole front office staff, including Neptune staff, singing a Happy Anniversary song to us!!!! What a wonderful surprise and great way to start the day!!!

A little while later we were out of the cabin attending the Good Morning Amsterdam show and when we returned our door had been decorated with 3 gold balloons and a sign saying Happy 50th Anniversary, Jan and Dick!! It was from the Neptune staff and our cabin stewards. Wow, that was really nice!

Cards arrived all day long from friends on board!!! We received our first large flower bouquet from Captain Jonathan Mercer; Henk and Christel Mensink, hotel manager and guest relations manager; ship officers, staff, and crew!! So beautiful and so much appreciated by us! We felt very special.

Celebrations continued throughout the day with flower deliveries, a cocktail party, fabulous dinner and dessert.

When it was time for dessert, all the dining room staff gathered around the table and they brought the cake and they all sang their Indonesian song which means Happy Life to us!! Another, Wow, for us – so many singers.

The Yetke's 50th Anniversary celebration included balloons, cake and Captain Mercer.

The Yetke’s 50th Anniversary celebration included balloons, cake and Captain Mercer.

Content is king and social media is the new water cooler. We want to hear what you’re doing! If you have fun photos or a great story that you’d like to share with Holland America Line’s social media team, send to info@hollandamericablog.com or hit the icon on the home page that says “Share Your Story.”

Happy cruising — we hope to hear from you soon!

The small plate experience at Canaletto contributed to the line's win for Best Dining.
The small plate experience at Canaletto contributed to the line's win for Best Dining.

It was just announced that Holland America Line won top honors in four categories in the 2015 Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards. The line took first place in Best Dining (large-ship category) for ms Nieuw Amsterdam, Best Value-for-Money (mid-sized category) for ms Zuiderdam, and Best Caribbean Cruises and Best Cruises from Florida for Nieuw Amsterdam in the general categories not based on ship size.

“The readers of Cruise Critic are savvy travelers who candidly share their cruise experiences, and to receive these awards based on their reviews is an honor,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Our mission is to provide exceptional cruise vacations, and when Cruise Critic members rank us among the best we’re know we’re succeeding in creating memorable experiences for our guests.”

The Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards name the best cruise ships of the year and are based entirely on consumer reviews of cruises taken in 2014 that were posted to the Cruise Critic website. The awards are broken into three ship classes based on passenger capacity (large with 2,000-plus passengers, mid-size with 1,200 to 1,999 passengers, and small with 1,199 or fewer passengers) and they are calculated using the ratings submitted in each Cruise Critic member review.

“Being named to this list of winners is one of the highest forms of praise cruise lines can receive,” said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic. “The awards represent the compilation of thousands of reviews Cruise Critic received over the past year, so it’s truly representative of the experiences of those who have sailed on the ships firsthand.”

Best Dining (large-ship category) for ms Nieuw Amsterdam

All of the fine dining options on Nieuw Amsterdam contributed to the win for Best Dining, including (clockwise from top) Canaletto, Le Cirque in the Pinnacle grill and the main dining room.

All of the fine dining options on Nieuw Amsterdam contributed to the win for Best Dining, including (clockwise from top) Canaletto, Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Grill and the main dining room.

Dining options are innovative and diverse aboard Holland America Line’s fleet, with each venue highlighted by elegant décor for a one-of-a-kind culinary event. Guests aboard Nieuw Amsterdam can enjoy the sophistication of the main dining room or casual dining at the Lido Restaurant, Dive-In at the Terrace Grill and Slice pizzeria. Alternative restaurants include the award-winning Pinnacle Grill serving favorites from the Pacific Northwest, Canaletto with Italian fare and a recently introduced “small plate” sharing concept and the Asian-inspired Tamarind. All menus are developed by Holland America Line’s award-winning Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, working closely with the line’s team of highly regarded international chefs.

Best Value-for-Money (mid-sized category) for ms Zuiderdam

Zuiderdam was named Best Value for Money.

Zuiderdam was named Best Value for Money.

Carrying 1,916 guests, Zuiderdam is consistently ranked among Holland America Line’s most popular ships. Offering a timeless and refined setting with a cruise experience that is modern, fresh and full of adventure, the ship highlights the line’s signature style of service and exciting itineraries. And from B.B. King’s Blues Club to Dancing with the Stars: At Sea, all of the latest entertainment offerings are showcased onboard.

Best Caribbean Cruises and Best Cruises from Florida for Nieuw Amsterdam

Half Moon Cay is one of the many beautiful calls on Nieuw Amsterdam's Caribbean cruises.

Half Moon Cay is one of the many beautiful calls on Nieuw Amsterdam’s Caribbean cruises.

Sailing seven-day eastern and western Caribbean cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Nieuw Amsterdam took top honors in both categories for its unique itineraries that sail conveniently from South Florida. Ports of call include various combinations of Key West, Fla.; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Grand Cayman; Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas; and Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private island in the Bahamas. Back-to-back seven-day itineraries can be combined to form an extensive 14-day Caribbean Collectors’ Voyage.

Cruise Critic is the world’s leading cruise review website and online cruise community, with more than 100,000 cruise reviews covering approximately 500 cruise ships.

What award would you give to Holland America Line if you could give one? Tell us in the comments!

History and Old World charm come to life on intimate ports in Europe, like Kotor, Montenegro.
History and Old World charm come to life on intimate ports in Europe, like Kotor, Montenegro.

When Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam explore Europe this summer and fall, both Signature-Class ships will set sail on longer journeys that visit some of the most charming, quaint and lesser-known ports in the region. These itineraries were recently added to the ships’ line-up to add more comprehensive options and to extend the season into the fall when the temperature falls slightly and the crowds diminish … making it an ideal time to visit.

Guests who want to also visit marquee destinations such as Stockholm, Sweden; St. Petersburg, Russia; Venice, Italy; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Barcelona, Spain, need not worry. Those popular jewels are still on the routes. But what makes these itineraries so alluring is that they feature the perfect combination of famous capitals and off-the-beathen-path ports that are on the verge of discovery but still retain their old-world style and ambiance.

From northern Europe to the Mediterranean, join us and explore our picks for the most exciting lesser-known ports on these incredible itineraries.

DRAMATIC LANDSCAPES AWAIT IN NORTHERN EUROPE

Invergordon (Inverness), Scotland
While you might not have heard of Inverness, you probably know about this charming port’s most famous resident … the Loch Ness Monster. Those who are interested can go in search of the monster at splendid Loch Ness — Britain’s deepest freshwater lake — whose murky depths inspire lurid tales of fantastical creatures. The Loch Ness, Water Monsters & Highland Castles tour features Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, Culloden Battlefield and Cawdor Castle — a truly beautiful, traditional medieval castle with exceptionally lovely gardens.

Lock Ness is 23 miles long and only a mile wide. Its deepest point in 754 feet and it contains more fresh water than England and Wales combined.

Lock Ness is 23 miles long and only a mile wide. Its deepest point in 754 feet and it contains more fresh water than England and Wales combined.

Yet, it’s not all about Nessie. Those who are looking to explore Scottish culture can learn about whiskey on a visit to the distillery that produces Glenmorangie, one of Scotland’s favorite malt whiskies. And photographers will relish in the opportunity to capture the Scottish Highlands — indisputably one of the most picturesque and photogenic areas in the U.K. — with the aid of a professional photographer on the Photographic Expedition in the Scottish Highlands tour.

Stavanger, Norway
While Olso and Geiranger are better known Norwegian destinations, Stavanger is a port that’s one of the most beautiful and memorable. Guests might have seen images of Pulpit Rock but not known where to find this iconic location. The answer is Lysefjord, which is accessible from Stavanger. This natural wonder juts out more than 1,500 feet above the sea, and on the Lysefjord: Pulpit Rock Cruise tour guests are able to cruise under it!

Pulpit Rock is one of the most scenic natural wonders in Norway.

Pulpit Rock is one of the most scenic natural wonders in Norway.

Guest Grams said:

The best fjord viewing of the cruise. Although the Ryndam does cruise near to Pulpit Rock, there were other “up close” moments that made this tour worth the money.

Guests who want to climb the rock can do so on the Pulpit Rock Hike Tour. To reach the Pulpit Rock involves a two-hour hike through a variety of different landscapes includeing mountain, forest and marsh with some lovely ponds along the way. The last 600 yards are quite spectacular as you walk along a narrow path with steep cliffs on one side and the Lysefjord far below on the other. Finally, upon arrival at the Pulpit Rock, guests can enjoy fantastic scenery and view the Lysefjord some 1,500 feet below.

Portree (Isle of Skye), Scotland
The mountainous Isle of Skye provides breathtaking vistas from nearly every destination. The largest town on Skye, this port’s harbor is fringed by steep cliffs, and the town’s Gaelic heritage is evident in the local attractions. Harry Potter fans will recognize that the town is home to the fictional Pride of Portree. Everything is a short stroll away within Portree, and nearby Glasgow provides further opportunities for exploration. Visit Dunvegan Castle, stronghold of the Chiefs of MacLeod for nearly 800 years, or Iconic Eilean Donan Castle and the West Highlands. Guest Jeanne had this to say:

There’s plenty of time to visit the castle and roam around the grounds on your own. The guide was very knowledgeable about his land. The scenic drive was awesome.

For the rest of the itinerary details, click HERE.

THE BALTIC BECKONS

In addition to Norway and the British Isles, Eurodam heads to the Baltic next summer. These lovely ports enhance the itineraries, showing the culture and traditions of this stunningly beautiful part of the world.

Tallinn is among the most charming ports in the Baltic.

Tallinn is among the most charming ports in the Baltic.

Tallinn, Estonia
Toompea, the old town, is a thicket of turrets, spires, and onion domes that overlooks the rest of Tallinn and the Gulf of Finland. From the brilliantly preserved All-linn (the lower town) to Pirita — site of the 1980 Olympic Games — there’s so much to see and do at Tallinn. Guests can explore the 16th-century ruins of St. Bridget’s Convent, see the walls and towers that surround the Old Town area, and admire the architecture of St. Kaarli’s Church and the Estonian Opera & Ballet Theater.

For the active adventurer, the Countryside Cycling & A Stroll Through the Old Town tour goes through a forest park on the coast and the picturesque area of Kakumae.

Kiel, Germany
While you might have heard of the Kiel Canal that links the North Sea at Brunsbüttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau, did you know that Kiel also is a city in Germany? In fact, it’s Germany’s largest passenger port. Offering the perfect blend of urban charm, culture and history, Kiel also serves as the gateway for Hamburg, a beautiful port city on the Elbe River. From Kiel, guests can visit A UNESCO World Heritage Site: Medieval Lubeck & its Famous Marzipan.

Enjoy the medieval ambiance of the Altstadt (Old Town) with its well-known Holsten Gate — a landmark of the city and one of the few relics of the original fortress. Pass the Gothic Rathaus (City Hall), among the oldest in Germany, and one of the first old age homes in Germany — the Heiligen Geist Hospital. See Buddenbrooks House, home of the famous writers Heinrich and Thomas Mann, and admire some of the city’s 82 quaint alleyways.

Guest Dobo highly recommends the tour:

The trip to Lubeck was so interesting. It is not a strenuous trip, as there is plenty of opportunity to rest with walking distances quite short. Our local guide, Yan, was absolutely fantastic! He was knowledgeable, interesting, enthusiastic, and eager to answer individual questions. As he had chosen Lubeck as his home, he had learned a great deal of its history and could tell us stories about the buildings. This was one of our best tours on the trip. We would recommend others to take advantage of this tour and learn about the history of this area, the Hanseatic League, construction methods, and enjoy the local marzipan. Three cheers for Yan!

Visit these ports and more on the Baltic Adventure cruise.

VISIT THE MEDITERRANEAN IN THE FALL

The Europe season has been extended for Nieuw Amsterdam to give guests more options into the fall. It’s the perfect time of year to visit the region, with less tourists and cooler temperatures. Many of the itineraries explore several countries, making it easy for guests to unpack only once while seeing multiple destinations. Imagine waking up in a new country each day, easily traveling from port to port by cruise ship. These smaller ports make the voyage all the more memorable.

Kotor, Montenegro
Kotor is located along one of Montenegro’s most beautiful bays. First settled during the days of ancient Rome, the city today has a well preserved urban center with a vibrant community. Medieval architecture and numerous monuments of cultural heritage have made Kotor a UNESCO listed “World Natural and Historical Heritage Site.” To learn about the city, the Traditional Montenegro tour is an immersive experience.

Kotor is a must-see port on the Mediterranean cruises.

Kotor is a must-see port on the Mediterranean cruises.

In the old village of Lastva, enjoy a brief walking tour to visit a local house and the St. Maria Church. Learn about olive oil production and enjoy a snack of homemade bread, smoked ham, cheese and wine. On display is an exhibition of traditional arts and crafts, and watch a folklore performance by a local group. On returning to Kotor, stop to explore the city that is known as the jewel of Montenegro. The guide will take you on a walking tour that will include a visit to St Triphon’s Cathedral. Guest JerseyGirl praised the tour:

This tour should not be missed. The only difference is that they now have a little hall where they serve the refreshments and do the folklore performance. You will leave this tour feeling that you have seen something that will be a treasured memory. I have never meet such friendly people. Bring your camera and movie camera too!

Salerno, Italy
An attractive Italian city location in the region of Campania, Salerno is a popular destination and a gateway to the beautiful Amalfi Coast. In addition to beautiful beaches for guests who simply want to soak up the sun, visitors can journey to Positano, Capri, Amalfi and the lost city of Pompeii.

Roman emperors such as Caesar Augustus and Tiberius vacationed on the island of Capri, and the magnificent remains of their Roman villas remain today. Capri is a popular destination for artists and jet-setting travelers, although it’s known for its quaint charm and beautiful landscapes.

Gorgeous Capri is known for its chic vibe and stunning scenery.

Gorgeous Capri is known for its chic vibe and stunning scenery.

Pompeii is probably the most well-known of the attractions. Perfectly preserved since the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79, guests learn what the residents were doing at the time of the eruption and gain an insight into the lives of the ancient Romans as you discover baths, theatres, temples, markets and the huge forum.

Alicante, Spain
A dynamic Spanish city with an abundance of attractions, Alicante is a juxtaposition of old-world charm and a busy, buzzy vibe. Modernity runs alongside tradition, and visitors can still find very traditional villages tucked away in the mountains. It’s also known to have some of the best cuisine in Spain. The unbeatable rice dishes are the most typical dish from Alicante.

Alicante features beautiful scenery and amazing cuisine.

Alicante features beautiful scenery and amazing cuisine.

If you want to learn about the area, set out to visit The Castle of Santa Barbara, a 12th century fortress that sits on Mount Benacantil in the center of Alicante. There’s also Iglesia de Santa Maria, a cathedral in a gothic style that was built in the 14th and 16th century over the remains of an old Moorish Mosque. And the co-cathedral of St. Nicholas is the main church in Alicante and exhibits a striking combination of baroque and renaissance features. The Gravina Palace is located in the Old Town of Alicante and is home to the Gravina Museum of Fine Arts. Built between 1748 and 1808, it houses a rich collection of Spanish artworks.

These ports are featured on the 19-day Gems of the Mediterranean cruise that explores seven countries on one itinerary and includes an overnight at Barcelona.

EIGHT SHIPS EXPLORE THE MEDITERRANEAN IN 2015
In addition to these new voyages, Holland America Line will have eight ships in the region for Summer 2015. The Europe cruises continue to focus on destination diversity, timeless appeal and high-quality experiences. The ships explore the entire region on itineraries that include northern Europe and the Norwegian fjords, Iceland and the Baltic; the British Isles; Canary Islands; Italian and French rivieras; Iberian Peninsula; Black Sea; the eastern and western Mediterranean; and transatlantics.

If you’re taking a cruise that visits these ports, you can pre-booked shore excursions so you get the tour of your choice.

Will you head to Europe in 2015? Tell us which off-the-beaten-path port you’re looking forward to visiting in the comments below.

To-date, the line's "On Deck" programs have raised $4 million for cancer support.
To-date, the line's "On Deck" programs have raised $4 million for cancer support.

In honor of #GivingTuesday today, Holland America Line is announcing that its “On Deck for a Cause” shipboard giving program has raised $600,000 since its inception in 2013. The funds benefit six international cancer organizations located in the United States, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom.

To date, Holland America Line has raised a total of $4 million through the combined efforts of On Deck for a Cause and the previous On Deck for a Cure shipboard giving program that raised funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure from April 2006 through February 2013.

On Deck for a Cause invites guests to participate in a noncompetitive 5k fundraising walk on every sailing aboard each of the line’s 15 ships, with proceeds distributed among the American Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Society, Cancer Council Australia, Cancer Research UK, Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid) and KWF Kankerbestrijding (Dutch Cancer Society).

Guests of all ages are invited to donate $20 to the Holland America Line Foundation, with a minimum of 80 percent ($16) distributed to the organizations. The remaining 20 percent covers program and administrative expenses. On a day at sea, participants join in a 5k walk around the ship’s decks. Guests may walk less or not at all, as they prefer. Participants also receive an On Deck for a Cause T-shirt, wristband and a reception following the walk. Depending on the ship, the distance to reach 5k ranges from nine to 12 laps.

By the end of 2014, nearly 500 On Deck for a Cause events will have been held across the Holland America Line fleet, with walks taking place on cruises globally on cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South Pacific, Alaska’s Inside Passage, Mexico, Asia, the Baltic, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and South America.

In addition to On Deck for a Cause, Holland America Line shoreside staff and shipboard officers, staff and crew participate in giving events throughout the year.

Fundraising for Cancer Information and Support Centre in Jakarta
By Hotel Director Henk Mensink

CancerCollage

While ms Amsterdam called at Tanjung Priok (Jakarta) this Grand Voyage, we collaborated with Wielly Wahyudin to welcome him and CISC onboard.

Wielly Wahyudin is one of the members of CISC, as well as our former Amsterdam shipboard colleague and our previous Crew Officer, who was forced to retire due to a sudden onset of cancer. Wielly now is a proud survivor and brought with him several other survivors to display and sell hand-made batik merchandise, also made by fellow cancer survivors. The proceeds of all sales totaled $1,500 and will benefit a CISC halfway house for cancer patients.

Westerdam Crew Helps Repair School Hit by Hurricane Odile
By Hotel Director Mark Pells

WEDMCollage

In September, Hurricane Odile devastated the Mexican port city of Cabo San Lucas – a popular call on Holland America Line’s Mexican Riviera cruises. True to their resilient nature, residents in the area started rebuilding right away to be able to welcome back tourists and cruise ship guests.

Cruise lines were asked to donate what they could. However, officers and crew aboard ms Westerdam decided to take things one step further and use their manpower and resources to make a difference right away. They contacted the local tour operators from Tropical Tours and, together with the port agent, made plans to identify and help out those in need when Westerdam called at Cabo in October.

It was decided that the Amelia Wilkes Primary School, which also caters to special needs students, was the best fit. In a true example of “Team Together, Team Apart,” the Deck Department provided painting supplies and a private tender, the Technical Department collected money to replace lost courtyard awnings and the Hotel Department organized more than 60 volunteers to handle all of the labor. Onboard, support teams packed up sandwiches and refreshments to feed those who would be working in the 100-degree-plus weather.

Buses were arranged for the trip to the school, where the group found that several classrooms had been at least partially exposed to the elements. Everything, even the courtyard, was given a fresh coat of paint – with a few special touches from the Westerdam crew in the form of painted handprints: a creative way to show how honored crew were to lend a hand to the boys and girls from Cabo San Lucas.

Nieuw Amsterdam Crew Members Aid Refugees in Greece
By Hotel Director Marco van Belleghem

Hotel Director Marco van Belleghem, far left, and Assistant Housekeeper Savio DSilva, third from right, with a rescue worker and refugees in Mytilene.

Hotel Director Marco van Belleghem, far left, and Assistant Housekeeper Savio DSilva, third from right, with a rescue worker and refugees in Mytilene.

Crew members from ms Nieuw Amsterdam encountered hundreds of international refugees in the island city of Mytilene, Lesbos, off the coast of Greece when the ship docked there Oct. 9. Naturally they wanted to help, and so they organized a delivery of food and personal items to the island. Crew aboard Nieuw Amsterdam quickly rallied to provide sandwiches, fruit, drinks, blankets and towels for as many people as they could.

“The rescue worker was so appreciative, and we were glad we could do something for these people, who literally have nothing,” said Hotel Director Marco van Belleghem. “We see the situation in these countries on TV every day. But to witness it in real life and see these people who have fled their countries out of fear for their lives hits you hard and makes you realize we have a very good life.”

Holland America Line is honored to be a part of so many giving efforts and to celebrate #GivingTuesday.

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