Tag Archives: Westerdam

Brenton and his dance partner Whitney pose with the coveted Mirrorball Trophy.
Brenton and his dance partner Whitney pose with the coveted Mirrorball Trophy.

It’s official! On Friday night Brenton Mitchell was crowned the 2014 “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champion. Brenton, who represented ms Nieuw Amsterdam, triumphed over 14 other guest competitors to claim the title and take home Holland America Line’s coveted “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Mirrorball Trophy.

Brenton is showered in confetti when his name is announced.

Brenton is showered in confetti when his name is announced.

Brenton competed in the Dec. 12 finale with partner Whitney against Ian (ms Zuiderdam) and partner Melissa, and Matthew (ms Eurodam) and partner Leighann.

All three finalists danced a waltz choreographed by Sharna Burgess, and then they were able to select another dance style to perform for judges Kym Johnson, Artem Chigvintsev, Sharna and Pop Star Sabrina Bryan. Brenton chose a tango that Kym praised:

It was like fifty shades of fantastic! Your partnering skills are what impress me most. The footwork was flawless. You have it all!

Brenton and Whitney performing the tango.

Brenton and Whitney performing the tango.

Matthew danced a samba and Ian performed an energetic jive.

Matthew, left, performed a samba, while Ian danced a jive.

Matthew, left, performed a samba, while Ian danced a jive.

Jason Venner, Holland America Line’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” show producer and emcee, commented from the ship:

It was an EPIC finale that included a show lounge at 100 percent capacity over an hour before show time, a live broadcast to a standing-room only Queen’s Lounge, a ship-wide TV broadcast and enough confetti to convince anyone that we were announcing the Super Bowl champion!

From left: Ian, Matthew and Brenton performing the waltz.

From left: Ian, Matthew and Brenton performing the waltz.

When asked before the cruise where he would display the trophy if he won, Brenton said:

I would display the Mirrorball Trophy at the clinic where I work, as well as at my dance practice studio.

It’s sure to bring a lot of attention to wherever it’s displayed!

“Dancing with the Stars” Fashion Show
The “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” fun included more than the finale. Guests were treated to a fashion show hosted by Carson and Kym that showed off actual costumes worn on “Dancing with the Stars.” Journalist Jason Leppert from Popular Cruising shared some fabulous photos from the show.

Photos courtesy of Jason Leppert, popularcruising.com.

Photos courtesy of Jason Leppert, popularcruising.com.

“Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Continues in 2015/16
If looking at the posts and photos made you want to want to join in on the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” extravaganza, the program continues next year!

The 2015/16 schedule will feature “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” programming on every cruise throughout the year, in addition to six special “Dancing with the Stars” theme cruises featuring the show’s professional dancers and celebrities: Jan. 3 eastern Caribbean on Westerdam; Jan. 10 eastern Caribbean on Westerdam; June 6 Bermuda on Veendam; June 13 Canada & New England on Veendam; and Jan. 3, 2016, eastern Caribbean on Nieuw Amsterdam.

The season culminates with the third annual Champions Cruise on ms Westerdam departing Jan. 10. for the westerdam Caribbean. Hope to welcome you onboard!

Celebrities and professional dancers for 2015-16 will be announced in the coming weeks.

The 15 guest finalists and their professional shipboard dance partners wowed the crowd with a variety of dances on the first night.
The 15 guest finalists and their professional shipboard dance partners wowed the crowd with a variety of dances on the first night.

The “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champions Cruise aboard ms Westerdam is well underway, and everyone onboard is having a great time enjoying the electrifying performances and “Dancing with the Stars” atmosphere.

Since embarking, the 15 finalists have been busy rehearsing and preparing for their performances. Through a series of elimination rounds, the group of 15 will be narrowed down to just three finalists who will compete for the coveted Mirrorball Trophy.

The finalists having some fun with their shipboard dance partners.

The finalists having some fun with their shipboard dance partners.

Social media has been on fire with tweets, photos and comments posted from the professional dancers and celebrities from “Dancing with the Stars” who are onboard to perform and judge the competition. A select group of journalists also were invited to sail, and they’ve been reporting on the events throughout the week.

This week the “Dancing with the Stars” production took place in the ship’s show lounge, featuring pro dancers Kym Johnson, Artem Chigvintsev, Sharna Burgess and Jaymz Tuileva, as well as celebrities Sabrina Bryan and Carson Kressley.

Photo courtesy of journalist Jason Leppert of Popular Cruising.

Photo courtesy of journalist Jason Leppert of Popular Cruising.

Photo courtesy of journalist Jason Leppert of Popular Cruising.

Photos courtesy of journalist Jason Leppert of Popular Cruising.

It’s not all work for the “Dancing with the Stars” team. Kym, Artem and Carson Kressley have been chronicling their adventures on Instagram and Twitter:

Photos from @kym_johnson, @carsonkressley and @artemchigvintse.

Photos from @kym_johnson, @carsonkressley and @artemchigvintse.

Below are the results to-date as the guest competitors advance toward the Final Round to compete for the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Mirror Ball Trophy.

Top 15 – Round 1

Day 1, clockwise from top: the contestants performing an elegant waltz, getting ready for the tango, Jacoba doing the jive, Caroline and her sassy samba, Summer performing the Jive and Ian's exciting cha cha.

Day 1, clockwise from top: the contestants performing an elegant waltz, getting ready for the tango, Jacoba and the jive, Caroline and her samba, Summer and the jive and Ian’s cha cha.

Cha Cha – 1. Jamie (Rotterdam) & John 2. Frances (Volendam) & Tiago 3. Ian (Zuiderdam) & Varinia
Tango – 1. Maurice (Noordam) & Melissa 2. Marie Liza (Ryndam) & John 3. Kelly (Oosterdam) & Ian
Samba – 1. Caroline (Zaandam) & Derek 2. Ritchie (Westerdam) & Jamie 3. Simona (Amsterdam) & O’Brien
Waltz – 1. Matthew (Eurodam) & Leighann 2. Elaine (Maasdam) & Ian 3. LeeAnn (Statendam) & Tiago
Jive – 1. Jacoba (Prinsendam) & O’Brien 2. Summer (Veendam) & Derek 3. Brenton (Nieuw Amsterdam) & Whitney

Eliminated after Round 1 were Elaine, Maurice, Jamie, LeeAnn and Summer. Before taking a final bow, they showed the crowd some more moves.

The eliminated guests showed off some final moves.

The eliminated guests showed off some final moves.

Top 10 – Round 2

Day 2, clockwise from top: The judging panel of professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev, actress Sabrina Bryan  and Cruise Director Johnathon Rogers; Frances doing a tango; Matthew flicking his feet in the jive; Simona's foxtrot; Kelly did the samba; and Caroline and her jive.

Day 2, clockwise from top: The judging panel of professional dancer Artem Chigvintsev, actress Sabrina Bryan and Cruise Director Johnathon Rogers; Frances doing a tango; Matthew’s jive; Simona’s foxtrot; Kelly’s samba; and Caroline and her jive.

Cha Cha – 1. Todd (Amsterdam) & Larissa 2. Kristin (Noordam) & Ken
Tango – 1. Frances (Volendam) & John 2. Ian (Zuiderdam) & Melissa
Samba – 1. Kelly (Oosterdam) & Ian 2. Marie Liza (Ryndam) & John
Foxtrot – 1. Simona (Amsterdam) & O’Brien 2. Ritchie (Westerdam) & Jamie 3. Brenton (Nieuw Amsterdam) & Whitney 4. Jacoba (Prinsendam) & O’Brien
Jive – 1. Matthew (Eurodam) & Leighann 2. Caroline (Zaandam) & Derek

Eliminated after Round 2 were Simona, Jacoba, Marie Liza and Caroline.

Top 6 – Round 3

Tango — Matthew (Eurodam) & Leighann
Foxtrot — Brenton (Nieuw Amsterdam) & Whitney
Cha Cha — Kelly (Oosterdam) & Ian
Jive — Frances (Volendam) & John
Waltz — Ritchie (Westerdam) & Jamie
Samba — Ian (Zuiderdam) & Melissa

Clockwise from top left: Brenton, Ritchie, Matthew, Kelly, Ian and Frances.

Clockwise from top left: Brenton, Ritchie, Matthew, Kelly, Ian and Frances.

Following one more elimination just before the finale tomorrow, the final three contestants will perform their last dance in hopes of winning the Mirrorball Trophy and being crowned Holland America Line’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champion! The winner will be revealed on Facebook Friday night or Saturday morning, and we’ll feature the winner on the blog next week.

Don’t you wish you were onboard the Champions Cruise? Book the 2015/16 Champions Cruise on Nieuw Amsterdam departing Jan. 6, 2016, and you can experience the thrill and excitement of “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea!”

Photos of the dancers and performances when not noted are by Vladimir Ramljak.

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.

Guest Michael McNerney was grateful for Rizi and Ari, who made his cruise to Alaska extra special.
Guest Michael McNerney was grateful for Rizi and Ari, who made his cruise to Alaska extra special.

Cruises offer guests the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world while being treated to caring service and making memories with loved ones. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, and across the country guests are counting their blessings. In honor of the holiday Holland America Line asked Facebook fans if there was a special crew member, fabulous destination or other Holland America Line experience for which they are grateful.

The question was met with a resounding ‘yes!’ Guests were most thankful for the people that made their experiences so meaningful. Warm memories of exceptional Holland America Line crew members and family gatherings along with anecdotes and images, poured forth. Also noted were the beauty of Venice, heavenly Half Moon Cay, St. Kitts, Hawaii and astounding Alaska.

Photos shared by Mallemolen Poots, Lucy Goei and Greg Krysia Moyle.

Photos shared by Mallemolen Poots, Lucy Goei and Greg Krysia Moyle.

Several guests mentioned Hunky Dorey, the server with a great talent for remembering names, and Jean-Pierre, the unforgettable dining room host on Volendam. Margadana and Yanuar Dwi — among the best dining room managers at sea — Lawrence the charming singing wine steward and Eric Bob the fabulous dining room supervisor were all praised. Some recalled inside jokes and bonding moments with their buddies onboard. Like Mallemolen Poots who wrote,

“Cheers Bouzie Bouzie from ms Rotterdam! He brought me cold beer and always made me laugh! For bouzie: woensdag gehaktdag.”

Lucy Goei mentioned Paulus from housekeeping who is hilarious. Others were thankful for cabin stewards Wisnu, Jay and Putu that dazzled on Nieuw Amsterdam, along with pairs like Mus and Ali who were ‘the greatest’ on the Alaskan Cruise on Statendam, Ari and Kolich from Oosterdam or DJ and Lu from Ryndam who helped to make Darla Isbell’s 50th anniversary cruise more memorable.

Holland America Line and its guests are grateful for the fabulous crew. Ozgur Turnuklu shared this photo of members of the Rotterdam team.

Holland America Line and its guests are grateful for the fabulous crew. Ozgur Turnuklu shared this photo of members of the Rotterdam team.

Sea days are made all the more pleasant thanks to Holland America Line’s professional entertainers. Jazzy Jeff Davis, the DJ that makes cruising fun; Lucky Lee the awesome entertainer from Noordam’s piano bar and David Anthony, the piano bar singer on Prinsendam who Margaret Chute credited with countless hours of good times.

Many echoed the sentiment that the crew on Holland America Line goes above and beyond to make sure their guests are enjoying their vacations.

Emmy Banning said she is grateful for Henry, the waiter on Oosterdam last September who was thoughtful and insightful. Henry went out of his way to accommodate dietary needs and gave special attention to Emmy’s guest that was recovering from a stroke.

“Full marks for Henry!” she said.

Scott and Marty Lara pose with Stan Kuppens, hotel manager, ms Eurodam.

Scott and Marty Lara pose with Stan Kuppens, hotel manager, ms Eurodam.

The hope is that all goes well in travel, but in case of conflict Holland America Line professionals have been known to rise to the occasion. Scott Lara, an avid mariner, mentioned that he was grateful for Stan Kuppens, the hotel director on ms Eurodam. A friend they were traveling with had to cut her trip short due to a medical issue and Mr. Kuppens went the extra mile to help return her to the states. She recovered quickly and Lara maintains a friendship with Mr. Kuppens to this day.

“Last year on the Eurodam on a Canada to Ft Lauderdale repositioning cruise we had to disembark in Bar Harbor due to a family emergency. Our Cabin Steward Putu helped us get off the ship by assisting with our luggage, some pieces were bigger than he was.” – Michael Lewis

Guests were also grateful for the memories made while cruising and the time spent with loved ones on Holland America Line. Touching stories emerged of togetherness, like Rex Parker who said, “As the holiday season comes upon us I keep thinking of my last trip to Alaska in September 2012 on HAL with my parents. We lost my step-dad earlier this year and as I wrap myself in memories the week we spent cruising Alaska on the Westerdam keeps coming to mind as it was such a fun and special trip for all of us enhanced by the wonderful Westerdam staff and crew.”

Precious memories with Holland America Line shared by David Mellichamp and Linda Hansell.

Precious memories with Holland America Line shared by David Mellichamp and Linda Hansell.

Linda Hansell shared a story of special times onboard with her mother:

“Years ago we had a waiter in training while cruising with my Mom. He was trying so very hard to please. During one of the meals we hid the silver after he had so carefully arranged each piece. You should have seen his face when everything was missing.

“We later cruised on the same ship hoping to find Mom’s friend, and took a picture my Mom treasured of them together, just on the chance he would be there. Luckily, he was.

“I no longer have my Mom, but will always carry fond memories of a very special young man.”

Other guests were thankful for having spent anniversaries, birthdays and vow renewals with Holland America Line. David Mellichamp wrote on behalf of his family. He said that his vow renewal at Half Moon Cay was a day to remember forever thanks to the staff of Westerdam, especially Buzz, Nickie, Diane, Dr. Nancy and Phil.

Family bonding is certainly on the minds of many during this season. Carla Vleugels mentioned her daughter Lynn who is working onboard Volendam as a cadet, and Will Dean Pham who offered props to his parents.

“One of my blessings is my parents who have taken me on Holland America Line three times!!!! And I’m only 14. I also thank the crew, service and food on your line. You guys are just amazing.” – Will Dean Pham

Photos shared by Jackie Buonocore Ferriso, Dianne Dundon Betzel, Joanne Spirito Stigerts and Stephen Fowler.

Photos shared by Jackie Buonocore Ferriso, Dianne Dundon Betzel, Joanne Spirito Stigerts and Stephen Fowler.

All in all folks are grateful for intangibles in their Holland America Line experience. Like Marjorie Shenkir who got something back from cruising.

“I am thankful for Scotty, my personal trainer aboard my Panama cruise Spring 2014. He got me started on the Rennaisance of my life! I’ve never been fitter, happier or healthier!” she said.

Jo Ann Cheek Baker said the fun time she had with Holland America Line left her glowing.

“Three older women, me included, took the eleven day land and sea cruise two years ago. It was the best vacation any of us ever had,” she shared. “Especially the cruise. Just can’t say enough about it only if we had a chance we would do it again. Thank you for making us feel young again. And special.”

Debbie Gulnick summed it up nicely when she said,

“Whenever I am on a Holland America Line ship I always feel at home and there is always someone I know. They are a part of my extended family, and its like going home every time I am on a HAL ship.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!”

Do you have a Holland America Line experience for which you’re grateful? Share below!

Follow Holland America Line on Facebook to join future conversations!

"Dancing with the Stars" celebrities and professional dancers take to Nieuw Amsterdam's stage.
"Dancing with the Stars" celebrities and professional dancers take to Nieuw Amsterdam's stage.

Exciting news! Holland America Line will continue the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” program in 2015/2016 due to its overwhelming popularity and success. For the third year, the collaboration brings the excitement of ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars” to all of the premium ships in the Holland America Line fleet. The program will culminate with the annual Champions Cruise competition on ms Nieuw Amsterdam’s Jan. 10, 2016, western Caribbean voyage.

The 2015 schedule will continue to feature “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” programming on all sailings in addition to six special “Dancing with the Stars” theme cruises highlighting the show’s professional dancers and celebrities. In 2013 and 2014 select theme cruises featured professional dancers Tristan MacManus, Kym Johnson, Sharna Burgess, Emma Slater, Lacey Schwimmer, Chelsie Hightower, Mark Ballas and Derek Hough, along with television personality Carson Kressley, singer Joey Fatone, actress Sabrina Bryan and Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson.

“On every cruise throughout the year our ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea’ lessons are a huge draw and the competition to dance for the Champions Cruise is intense, which tells us we have a very successful and engaging program,” said Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president, sales, marketing and guest programs. “Dancing always has been a feature activity on our ships, and the partnership with ‘Dancing with the Stars’ has enabled us to provide guests with a very special and exclusive experience.”

"Dancing with the Stars" cast members have a great time on every theme cruise. In addition to performing, they also participate in a Q&A.

“Dancing with the Stars” cast members have a great time on every theme cruise. In addition to performing, they also participate in a Q&A session with guests.

Sail with Dance Pros and Celebrities from the ABC Show on Theme Cruises
The six “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruises in 2015/16 are:

Jan. 3, 2015: Seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise aboard ms Westerdam that sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Jan. 10, 2015: Seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise aboard ms Westerdam that sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
June 6, 2015: Seven-day Bermuda cruise aboard ms Veendam that sails roundtrip from Boston, Mass.
June 13, 2015: Seven-day Canada/New England cruise aboard ms Veendam that sails from Boston, Mass, to Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Jan. 3, 2016: Seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise aboard ms Nieuw Amsterdam that sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
• Champions Cruise: Jan. 10, 2016: Seven-day western Caribbean cruise aboard ms Nieuw Amsterdam that sails roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Each theme cruise features lively guest performances from the professional dancers and celebrities who dazzle the audience with routines from the television show and exciting new choreographed dances. Additional events on theme cruises include dance lessons with the ship’s professional dancers, a special fashion show featuring glamorous show costumes and a chance to meet the dance pros and celebrities, ask questions and take photos with them. Celebrities and professional dancers for 2015 will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Dance Competition for Guests
Beginning with cruises that depart on or after Sept. 21, 2014, and continuing with sailings departing through Nov. 24, 2015, every sailing on all 15 ships in the Holland America Line fleet will feature exclusive “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” programming. Included are complimentary dance lessons with the ship’s dance pros and a dance competition that gives guests an opportunity to compete for a chance to represent their ship on the Champions Cruise. The range of eligible dance competition cruises vary slightly by ship based on actual departure dates; specific eligibility schedules and complete rules for the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” dance competition are posted at www.hollandamerica.com.

Following preliminary rounds on each cruise finalists are paired with a Holland America Line dance professional to perform center stage in the ship’s main show lounge. A judging panel — ship officers, shipboard professional dancers and other cruise staff — will score participants’ performances and combine those scores with audience appreciation scores for a total tally to determine the winning guest. Judges onboard the theme cruises may also include some of the “Dancing with the Stars” dance pros or celebrities.

Allyse Ishino, the first Champion, accepts the Mirror Ball trophy following her win.

Allyse Ishino, the first Champion, accepts the Mirror Ball trophy following her win.

Winners of the guest competitions with the highest scores from each of Holland America Line’s ships will win a free ocean-view stateroom for two on the Champions Cruise to compete for the coveted Mirrorball Trophy and title of Holland America Line’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champion. There will be one winner from each ship on the Champions Cruise sailing aboard Nieuw Amsterdam Jan. 10, 2016.

Two New Dance Pros Added to Holland America Line’s Remaining 2014 ‘Dancing with the Stars: At Sea’ Theme Cruises
Before the 2015 season kicks off, there’s still time to sail on a 2014 theme cruise with dance pros and celebrities from the show. In fact, Holland America Line has added the talents of professional dancers Sharna Burgess and Artem Chigvintsev to the remaining two 2014 “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruises. Both currently performing on the ABC hit show “Dancing with the Stars,” Burgess and Chigvintsev will join ms Westerdam for the theme cruise departing Nov. 29 and the Champions Cruise that sets sail Dec. 6. Both cruises sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to the Caribbean.

Burgess and Chigvintsev will be joined onboard the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” cruises by dance professional and Mirrorball Trophy winner Kym Johnson, and celebrities Carson Kressley and Sabrina Bryan.

Artem Chigvintsev, left photo, and Sharna Burgess, far right, join the cast of "Dancing with the Stars: At Sea" pros.

Artem Chigvintsev, left photo, and Sharna Burgess, far right, join the cast of “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” pros. Right photo courtesy of Jason Leppert, www.popularcruising.com.

About Burgess and Chigvintsev
Sharna Burgess has been a dance pro on “Dancing with the Stars” since 2011, performing this season with author and late-night television talk show host Tavis Smiley, and previously with Olympic gold medalist Charlie White, football-great-turned-ESPN personality Keyshawn Johnson and funnyman Andy Dick. She’s also toured with dance shows “Burn the Floor” and “Strictly Ballroom” as well as appeared on “Dancing with the Stars Australia” and “So You Think You Can Dance Holland.” Burgess was a choreographer on the film “Street Dance 2 – 3D.”

Dancing as a pro for first time on the current season of “Dancing with the Stars” with actress Lea Thompson, Artem Chigvintsev was a troupe member on the show last season and won the coveted Mirrorball Trophy during his first season on the U.K. version of the smash hit called “Strictly Come Dancing.” He also was a finalist on the FOX television show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Will you be booking a “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruise in 2015 or participating in the onboard dance competition? Tell us your plans below!

All photos courtesy of Holland America Line/RobComeau.com.

The Caribbean boasts some of the finest snorkeling opportunities in the world.
The Caribbean boasts some of the finest snorkeling opportunities in the world.

It’s all about sun, sand and surf as Holland America Line gets ready to sail into the 2014-15 Caribbean season this fall and winter. After spending time in Alaska and Europe, nine ships in the fleet are preparing to make their repositioning cruises to the turquoise waters of the tropical Caribbean where powdery beaches, balmy breezes and the award-winning private island of Half Moon Cay await.

From October 2014 through April 2015, ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Noordam, ms Ryndam, ms Westerdam and ms Zuiderdam sail regular Caribbean voyages, while ms Amsterdam and ms Prinsendam each sail one December holiday cruise in the region. The ships feature more than 10 different seven-, 10-, 11- and 14-day itineraries that can be combined into longer Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 14 to 25 days.

On all cruises sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, guests will get to visit Half Moon Cay, the line’s private Bahamian island. While Holland America Line is committed to keeping 96 percent of its pristine private island wild, Half Moon Cay offers everything you need for a day of play. Park yourself in an air-conditioned cabana along a two-mile crescent of gorgeous white beach. Visit Stingray Cove to feed and learn more about the gentle creatures. Ride a horse to a deserted beach and into the surf. Or, take the kids to Half Moon Lagoon, the island’s aqua park and children’s playground.

All roundtrip Fort Lauderdale itineraries include a call at Half Moon Cay (top), the line's private island. Other calls may include St. Thomas, bottom right, and Grand Cayman.

All roundtrip Fort Lauderdale itineraries include a call at Half Moon Cay (top), the line’s private island. Other calls may include St. Thomas, bottom right, and Grand Cayman.

Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale Itineraries
During the season, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam will sail a series of seven-day eastern and western Caribbean itineraries that can be combined to form a 14-day Collectors’ Voyage spanning both regions. Maasdam sails seven- and 10-day eastern routes, as well as longer 11- and 14-day southern itineraries. Noordam also features 10- and 11-day southern Caribbean cruises ideal for guests looking for a longer vacation.

Are you ready to sink your toes into the warm golden sand?

Are you ready to sink your toes into the warm golden sand?

In addition to the 14-day Collectors’ Voyages, the itineraries can be combined to form a diverse range of options, including an 18-day southern and western cruise on Noordam, a 21-day southern and eastern option on Maasdam and a 25-day nonrepeating double-southern route on Maasdam.

New for 2015, Noordam, Eurodam and Ryndam have added more dates to their already-robust schedules, giving guests expanded options to choose from.

Grand Turk is known to have some of the clearest waters in the world.

Grand Turk is known to have some of the clearest waters in the world.

Roundtrip Tampa Itineraries
Ryndam spends the Caribbean season cruising roundtrip from Tampa on seven-day western and 14-day southern itineraries. The two options can be combined to form a 21-day western/southern Caribbean Collectors’ Voyage. The ship makes a maiden call at Banana Coast, Honduras, and also visits Puerto Rico, Antigua, St. Lucia, Aruba, Curaçao, Guatemala, Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Key West, Fla.

Tampa itineraries visit ports in (from left) Aruba, Guatemala and Curacao.

Tampa itineraries visit ports in (from left) Aruba, Guatemala and Curacao.

Celebrate the Season with a Festive Holiday Cruise
For travelers who like to get away from the hustle, stress and chill of December, the holiday season is a special time onboard. A total of 15 holiday sailings will ply the warm waters of the Caribbean on itineraries ranging from seven to 25 days. Several non-repeating itineraries can be combined to form a grand Holiday Collectors’ Voyage.

Guests looking to explore the Caribbean on Prinsendam and Amsterdam during the holidays can embark on their only Caribbean sailings of the season. Prinsendam leaves Dec. 18 on a roundtrip Fort Lauderdale cruise to the southern Caribbean. The 16-day itinerary includes 10 ports and stretches from Half Moon Cay to Tobago. Departing Dec. 22, Amsterdam sails a roundtrip Fort Lauderdale cruise on a 14-day southern Caribbean cruise.

During the holiday cruises, guests can take part in a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enjoy traditional holiday meals with all of the trimmings and indulge in a special Royal Dutch High Tea with fanciful holiday cookies and pastries. The ships’ international crew chorus performs a magical holiday show, while caroling and sing-alongs take place around the ship. Kids will delight in a visit from Santa Clause and holiday-themed crafts.

holiday

The New Year’s Eve sailings are the ideal setting to ring in a new year, featuring a festive holiday ball with a champagne toast. Prior to the ball, book a special evening at the Pinnacle Grill to celebrate all of the good things to come over a meal of caviar and filet mignon. You can pre-book your Pinnacle Grill dinner by clicking HERE.

So whether you’re looking to get away for the holidays, or just get away, the laid-back vibe, warm weather and beautiful beaches of the Caribbean are the ideal escape this winter.

—–

Have you taken a Caribbean cruise? What did you like best about the destination? Tell us in the comments below!

The band Recycled Percussion creates music with whatever they can get their hands on!
The band Recycled Percussion creates music with whatever they can get their hands on!

Doug Parker, host of Cruise Radio, recently took an Alaska cruise aboard Westerdam and shared his thoughts on the beautiful and rugged frontier. Today, Parker shares the Recycled Percussion entertainment experience.

Recycled Percussion was the highest-placed non-singing act on “America’s Got Talent” and has enjoyed extended runs at both the MGM Grand and Tropicana in Las Vegas. Their fast-paced, highly interactive, audience-participation and family-friendly shows involve lots of drumming on objects ranging from 12-foot-tall ladders to low-tech drum kits suspended upside-down at center stage, as well as sounds produced by household appliances (vacuum cleaners, fans) and power tools (circular saws, drills). Performances are available on select Holland America Line cruises. Without further adieu, Cruise Radio’s Doug Parker explains why this group will “wow” you.

The Recycled Percussion Experience at Sea is fun for all.

The Recycled Percussion Experience at Sea is fun for all.

Got Junk Rock? Holland America Line does. Created by the group Recycled Percussion back in 1994, the band creates music with whatever they can get their hands – or rather, drumsticks – on, including buckets, power tools and ladders.

Recently, they wowed audiences on Holland America Line’s Westerdam in Alaska. And here’s 6 reasons why we think they’ll wow you too:

1. See them LIVE!

Things are always better live and in person – concerts, sporting events, sunsets. You saw Recycled Percussion on TV – they came in 3rd on “America’s Got Talent” and now’s your chance to see them on your cruise ship. They performed live across the country at colleges, NBA halftimes and NFL halftimes. They even play shows in Vegas too, but wouldn’t you rather go on a cruise at the same time? Gives a whole new meaning to ‘If the ship’s a-rocking…’. The Recycled Percussion franchise is now performing on select Holland America ships.

2. You get to play too.

When you enter the ship’s lounge to catch the show, you become part of the show. You’ll get a drumstick and special instrument to join in on the fun.

Ladders, buckets, power tools and electric guitars. Oh my. What won’t this group create music with?

Ladders, buckets, power tools and electric guitars. Oh my. What won’t this group create music with?

3. New Hampshire.

That’s where the four members of the band are from: the Granite State. Ok, that doesn’t really have anything to do with you, but don’t the nice folks from the northeast deserve some warm sunshine on a cruise? They’ve got really tough winters. Founded and still led by Justin Spencer (the world’s fastest drummer), the group also includes Ryan Vezina, Matt Bowman and Jason Davies.

4. It’s all about the equipment.

Ladders, buckets, power tools and electric guitars. Oh my. The real question here – is what won’t this group create music with? Some other objects you might see incorporated in their act: vacuum cleaners, fans and drills.

Holland America Line installed a staging set-up just to accommodate this highly interactive and fun show.

Holland America Line installed a staging set-up just to accommodate this highly interactive and fun show.

5. The stage.

Holland America installed a staging set-up just to accommodate this highly interactive and fun show. It’s called the ‘Great Wall of Percussion’ and is a suspended 3,000 pound set with 4 drum kits. Not your average drum kit, they’re made from cans and recycled buckets. The four band members strap into the drum kits and the wall rotates all the way around during the show – including upside down!

6. Genre.

You’ll hear hits from yesterday and today in whole new ways. There’s not a genre this group hasn’t mastered and you’ll hear them all during the show.

—–

Have you seen Recycled Percussion perform onboard? Tell us about the experience and send your photos to info@hollandamericablog.com and you might be featured on social media.

Journalist Doug Parker of Cruise Radio

By:

As Creator and Host of Cruise Radio, Doug Parker has pioneered innovative new media applications for the cruise industry. Cruise Radio delivers web-based radio-style podcasts, along with interviews, news, unique industry insights, interactive listener Q&As, and other highly topical items of interest, along with YouTube videos, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other leading edge social media platforms.


The Alaska Beer Tasting on Alaska cruises is a unique opportunity to try some local brews. Photo by Doug Parker.
The Alaska Beer Tasting on Alaska cruises is a unique opportunity to try some local brews. Photo by Doug Parker.

Doug Parker of Cruise Radio recently took an Alaska cruise and participated in an Alaska Beer Tasting while onboard.
Continue reading

Journalist Doug Parker of Cruise Radio

By:

As Creator and Host of Cruise Radio, Doug Parker has pioneered innovative new media applications for the cruise industry. Cruise Radio delivers web-based radio-style podcasts, along with interviews, news, unique industry insights, interactive listener Q&As, and other highly topical items of interest, along with YouTube videos, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other leading edge social media platforms.


Posts navigation

Previous Posts