Holland America Line has announced further details on the current Signature of Excellence enhancement program, including project specifics, timing and the addition of the popular casual Canaletto Restaurant on all five ships scheduled for upgrades. The premium line also released that new enhancements will now be completed in two phases during future drydocks, except on the first two ships in the schedule. This includes ms Veendam that is currently sailing in Alaska after a 34-day drydock makeover.

“Veendam looks spectacular,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs. “The enhancements are going to impress our guests and engage them in exciting, new ways. This continued investment reaffirms our commitment to our fleet of mid-sized ships and our ongoing leadership in the premium category by continually raising the bar in terms of products and services.”

Other ships receiving enhancements include ms Rotterdam, ms Maasdam, ms Ryndam and ms Statendam.

Latest Signature of Excellence Enhancements to Arrive on Five Ships
Signature of Excellence upgrades begin with new fixtures and soft goods in staterooms and bathrooms. A new category of stateroom, the Lanai stateroom, will be added along with several new staterooms on the aft portion of each ship. Highlights are the resort pool feature called The Retreat, the Showroom at Sea and the new Mix, three specialty lounges midship. Completing projects will be the addition of Canaletto, Holland America Line’s popular and complimentary casual Italian restaurant, introduced with ms Eurodam in summer 2008.

Public Spaces Pulse with Latest Innovations
The most visible and engaging alteration will be to the aft portion of the ships, allowing for a new resort-style pool area on the Lido deck called The Retreat. With a shallow area where guests may lounge in chairs and dip their fingers and toes in the water, the new resort-style pool invites guests to relax while cruising and enjoy a new pool bar, upscale pizzeria called Slice, and a giant LED screen for evening movies. A new canopy and wind screens will provide additional covered seating for the Lido Restaurant, too. In the Lido restaurant, Canaletto comes to life for dinner when a section is transformed each evening into the specialty restaurant with glass partitions and an Italian ambiance. Dishes range from putanesca to penne alla vodka. Although reservations will be encouraged for this casual, complimentary dining venue, walk-ups will be accepted. Canaletto will be open for dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The latest Signature of Excellence plans involve enhancements to several other public areas. Notably, the Casino and Piano bars will be reconfigured into a multi-themed area called Mix with three separate bars — Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales, serving their namesakes. Next door, the high-energy casino will be redesigned highlighting the always trendy table and slot games. The main show lounge will be transformed into the Showroom at Sea with the ambiance of a glamorous nightclub and a new slate of shows. The ever-popular Ocean Bar will be refurbished and carpets will be replaced in most public areas. A Merabella luxury jewelry shop will be added midship.

To complement the new entertainment venues, entertainment and enrichment programming embraces a new, contemporary look across the fleet. A new Explorations Team employs cruise staff, each specializing in a particular area, to educate and entertain guests with an expanded menu of activities including flower arranging, hands-on cooking, dancing, and working with digital photos, blogs and movies. Each team consists of a party planner, a travel guide, dance directors and a “techspert.” On longer cruises, a book club leader joins the team to lead lively group discussions.

Staterooms Receive New Look and New Lanai Category
All staterooms will receive new décor, carpeting and soft goods and bathrooms will see an “extreme” makeover with new vanities and cabinetry. Plans are for each ship to have an additional 44 to 46 staterooms, 32 with verandahs and the remaining will be inside staterooms.

On Statendam-class ships, twelve staterooms near the spa (on Deck 9) also will have verandahs added, and along with three inside staterooms, become ‘spa staterooms’ featuring a variety of enhanced spa amenities. On Rotterdam, 23 staterooms on Verandah deck will become spa staterooms. New lanai staterooms will be created by replacing existing stateroom windows (on Lower Promenade Deck 6) with lanai doors that open directly onto the walk-around promenade, and adding a few additional staterooms. There will be 38 lanai staterooms on Veendam and 39 on Rotterdam. Ryndam, Maasdam and Statendam will receive 38 lanai staterooms during their second phase of drydocks.

Completion in Two Phases
Except for Veendam, completed at end of April 2009, and Rotterdam, to be completed in December 2009, enhancements will be accomplished in two phases. First, in a series of drydocks in 2010 and 2011, Maasdam, Statendam and Ryndam will receive stateroom upgrades, the addition of Mix, Showroom at Sea, Canaletto and other public area enhancements. The second series of drydocks in 2012 and 2013 will add The Retreat and new staterooms on the aft portion of the ships, as well as forward verandah and spa staterooms.

Renowned for service levels provided by its award-winning staff, the program will also include significant crew area enhancements including a new fitness facility, internet centers, staterooms and recreational areas.

Signature of Excellence tops $525 Million
The industry-leading Signature of Excellence initiative announced nearly six years ago in November 2003 has evolved into an ongoing and comprehensive review of every aspect of the Holland America Line experience and exceeds a price tag of $525 million. Signature of Excellence features and amenities are evident in every aspect of the Holland America Line cruise experience, offering guests more luxurious accommodations, more enticing destinations, enhanced dining experiences, more creative activities and even higher levels of service.