Looking at trends, Simon Douwes, director of deployment and itinerary planning at Holland America Line, sees a bigger shift toward Asia and Australia/New Zealand, as well as stronger content in Northern Europe.
“Those are safe bets,” he said, “but, that doesn’t mean any less content in the Mediterranean.”
The latter is where Holland America will debut its new vessel in early 2016. The Koningsdam will sail a four-month Mediterranean program before shifting focus to Northern Europe for the summer, sailing from Amsterdam to Norway, Ireland and the Baltic.
“2015 is the first year we are sailing in the complete ECA in Northern Europe,” continued Douwes. “The ships have been prepared with scrubbers, and we have pretty much repositioned the ships in a way over the last few years so the fuel impact is not as big as it would have been.”
Also for this year, Bermuda is back, with the company sailing a handful of cruises from Boston.
The Zuiderdam will be adding capacity in the Mediterranean, while the Noordam will sail to Alaska.
With the Statendam and Ryndam heading to P&O Australia at the end of the year, their capacity will be replaced with the new Koningsdam.
For 2016, the company will have a larger presence in Asia, and add more capacity into Australia and New Zealand.
Introducing a summer program in Canada/New England in recent years, Holland America remains the only major cruise line with tonnage in the market from May to the fall.
“The staple for us is a seven-day trip between Boston and Montreal,” Douwes said. “Those sailings will not change. They are very successful and have the best (port) content you can have for a seven-day cruise. We are one of the few that sail all the way to Montreal instead of stopping in Quebec, and that is an added incentive for passengers.”
In Northern Europe, the company has introduced more varied options.
“We used to just do the Baltic, and now we are sailing 14- and 12-day cruises to Iceland, Scotland and the Irish Sea.”