As part of its on-going Signature of Excellence program, Holland America Line continues to add enhancements and new features to its fleet of ships, including dramatic new public areas and stateroom upgrades as well as expand their industry-leading enrichment program.   From May 2009 through April 2011, 11 ships will have completed dry dock refurbishments adding several elements from the ongoing Signature of Excellence enhancements, extending the company’s efforts to its most extensive level to date.   

“Signature of Excellence raised the bar in the premium cruise category and highlights Holland America Line’s outstanding brand attributes,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs.  “The enhancements have received several awards and generated rave reviews from our guests, travel seller partners and the industry alike.  We will continue to demonstrate our commitment to our fleet of mid-sized ships through our investment in this program, which engages our guests in innovative and enriching new ways.”

The unprecedented Signature of Excellence enhancements launched in 2004 emphasize Holland America Line’s dedication to all aspects of the guest experience, including spacious, elegant ships and accommodations; sophisticated five-star dining; gracious, award-winning service; extensive enrichment programs and activities; and compelling worldwide itineraries. 

The cruise experience delivered by Holland America Line and the Signature of Excellence enhancements appeal to discerning cruisers who prefer mid-sized ships, personalized service and sophisticated ambiance throughout both public areas and staterooms.  To date, Holland America Line has invested more than $525 million into Signature of Excellence. 

Latest Signature of Excellence Enhancements Arrive on Five Ships
The investment in the latest series of enhancements will include new entertainment and enrichment options and all new stateroom décor aboard five ships: ms Veendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam, ms Statendam and ms Maasdam.  Veendam and Rotterdam also received a new resort pool concept and innovative new lanai staterooms.  Three ships’ enhancements are already complete, while Statendam will receive upgrades in April 2010 and Maasdam in April 2011.

Public area highlights of the latest phase feature:
• Mix, a new bar concept with three specialty lounges serving their namesakes: Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales. 
• Showroom at Sea, a glamorous nightclub with a new slate of performances featuring seasoned Broadway entertainers. 
• A new resort pool feature called The Retreat, a shallow area where guests may lounge in chairs and dip their fingers and toes in the water. The Retreat also includes a new pool bar, upscale pizzeria named Slice and a giant LED screen for evening movies. 
• Canaletto, a complimentary Italian restaurant that was introduced aboard ms Eurodam, comes to life for dinner when a section of the Lido is transformed with glass partitions and an Italian ambiance. 
• A redesigned, high-energy casino highlighting the latest table and slot games. 
• Addition of a Merabella luxury jewelry boutique.

New Stateroom Designs and Lanai and Spa Staterooms
Under the latest series of enhancements, Holland America Line is introducing new soft goods, new carpeting, completely renovated bathrooms with new vanities and cabinetry, new Spa staterooms and, on Veendam and Rotterdam, the new Lanai stateroom category. 

Lanai staterooms feature doors that open directly onto the walk-around promenade, while Spa staterooms located near the Greenhouse Spa offer exclusive amenities such as an organic cotton bathrobe and slippers, yoga mat, water fountain, special room service menus and treatments, and more.  In addition to the five ships mentioned earlier, Spa staterooms are currently on Eurodam and will be added to the forthcoming Nieuw Amsterdam.

Additionally, on all ships, staterooms feature the Mariner Dream Bed with premium plush Euro-top mattress and high-quality cotton bed linens, flat-screen TVs and bathroom enhancements ranging from deluxe bathrobes to lighted, magnifying make-up mirrors. All suites include comfortable bed duvets, fully-stocked mini-bars, VCR/DVD players with access to an extensive video/DVD library, personalized stationery and use of the exclusive concierge-staffed Neptune Lounge.

Explorations Team Delivers Robust Enrichment Programs
To provide guests with new and unique experiences, Holland America Line offers the Explorations program, guided by staff with specific expertise ranging from technology to travel. The team includes a Party Planner, LifeStylist, Travel Guide and “Techspert.”  On cruises lasting 14 days or more, a book club leader also joins the team.

Among the Explorations activities are:
• The onboard Party Planner hosting Explore Food & Entertaining events in the Culinary Arts Center, significantly expanding the innovative program which brings more than 70 culinary experts on board each year for cooking demonstrations and seminars.
• The Travel Guide, as the destination expert on board under the Explore Our World programming, delivering dynamic multimedia presentations about the ship’s itinerary and be a one-stop source for port-of-call information.
• The “Techspert” offering Explore Technology classes and personal workshops where guests can learn how to blog, work with digital photos arrange a digital scrapbook, create a slideshow or edit a movie. 
• The LifeStylist leading the Explore Wellbeing Program.   Developed in cooperation with the Greenhouse Spa, the program focuses on various forms of well being.
Other activities by the Explorations Team range from dance lessons to wine tasting, floral arranging and craft classes. 

Extensive Activities for Guests to Discover, Learn and Daydream
Aboard ship, Holland America Line’s Signature of Excellence activities provide relaxing and inspiring options while allowing the freedom and time to make choices.  Among the latest innovations aboard the company’s premium ships are the:
•        Digital Workshop Powered by Windows, which offers complimentary classes on how to manipulate photos and videos online to share with family and friends.
•        The Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine Magazine, features shipboard chefs and guest experts providing cooking demonstrations, specialty workshops and seminars for adults and kids. The Explorations Team Party Planner will host innovative new culinary events and programs ranging from regional dish preparation to barista training.
•        Greenhouse Spa & Salon expansion with exclusive signature treatments and more treatment rooms, including couple’s massage rooms, dry float suite with massage option and thermal suites with hydro-therapy pool, steam and aromatic room, heated ceramic lounges and in-suite showers.  Unique new offerings include Acupuncture and Tai Chi.
•        Expanded Club HAL and teen programs. Kids ages 3-7 participate in creative arts, watch big-screen television and enjoy a play area. Older kids 8-12 have an area featuring arcade games, air hockey, foosball, Karaoke, Internet access and Sony PlayStations. Teens 13-18 can enjoy The Loft, a teens-only lounge, connecting to a teens-only sun deck called The Oasis.
•        Explorations Café — powered by The New York Times, where guests can sip coffee, browse one of the most extensive libraries at sea, enjoy diverse music at one of several listening stations or surf the Internet.
•        An expanded Exploration Speakers Series, including topics that excite and enlighten guests, leaving them wanting to learn more.   Sessions range from culinary to mixology to entertaining for guests. 
•        A new complimentary Ship Flicks movie lending program with more than 1,000 titles aboard each ship.  DVDs are delivered to your stateroom and guests can re-order when finished.

Service Enhancements Add to Gracious Experience
Already renowned for its service, Holland America Line’s expanded Signature of Excellence onboard services and amenities include:
•    Early Embarkation that features boarding as early as 11:30 a.m. Guests are welcomed aboard with live music and invited directly to the Lido Restaurant for lunch or to explore the public areas until staterooms are ready – when white-gloved stewards show the way.
•    Silent Debarkation with one announcement that debarkation has begun and one upon completion.  Guests may relax in public areas or their staterooms until the time stated on their debarkation letter.

A Special Focus on the Port Experience
Holland America Line ships will call at a total of 354 ports in 98 countries or territories in 2010. Nearly 500 shore excursions include exotic and exclusive destinations through The Collections of Holland America Line. Collections series are the Signature, Medallion, Encore and World Wonders Collections, each with its own individual focus.

Exclusive shore excursions range from private tours of Caribbean estates to African safaris offering opportunities to photograph big game.  Unusual shore excursions include such adventures as the Flight from Helsinki across the Arctic Circle to the city of Rovaniemi, Lapland, and the Vallarta Adventures' Outdoor Challenge, which takes place in jungles of Mexico’s Sierra Madre.  This active six-hour excursion begins with a panga boat ride and off-road adventure and includes instruction in wilderness techniques and mule rides, plus splashing through streams, rappelling through waterfalls and soaring 200 feet above the ground on a 1000-foot zip line.

Holland America Line continues to enhance Half Moon Cay, its award-winning private island in the Caribbean, to offer more activities while maintaining its exclusive appeal.  The island offers full bar service, a buffet-style restaurant, three Water Sports Centers, a children’s playground and beach area with slides and water toys, the exclusive Grand Cabana private retreat, and the activities of Horseback Riding by Land and Sea, Stingray Adventure, Personal Watercraft Adventure.  New additions are the Pirate Play Area, distinctive Lustre jewelry shops and a jogging course around the island.