Holland America Line has quietly reached out to an unknown number of repeat Grand Voyages guests, an important and lucrative demographic for the line, advising them of certain improvements and upgrades cruisers can expect on future sailings.
The changes are the result of guest feedback and affect shipboard lifestyle as well as enhancements to ship systems, such as air conditioning and plumbing.
Guests who have sailed with Holland America Line on Grand Voyages itineraries were told in a recent email about a slew of new services, programs, and experiences the line will provide on future Grand Voyages sailings.
The Grand Voyages category includes lengthy, immersive cruises and Grand World Cruises, all varying from about 70 days to 130-plus days.
In a note from Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha, who was named to the top post in July 2020, at the height of the pandemic, loyal guests have learned that improvements are in the works and will debut with Zuiderdam’s 73-day Grand Africa Voyage, sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, on October 10, 2023. The changes will be implemented on all other Grand Voyages that follow.
Upgrades include more sailaway parties, themed dining room dinners, pop-up experiences in specialty restaurants, and themed dinner menus in the ships’ Lido Market. And, in an important first for Grand Voyages, guests can buy a beverage package, including a non-alcoholic option.
Grand Voyages guests also will enjoy the offer of expanded wine packages, allowing the purchase of 12- and 24-bottle packages for these lengthy itineraries.
“When we returned to full service following the industry-wide pause, we vowed to return as the best version of Holland America Line. Many of our Grand Voyage guests have provided us with valuable feedback, and based on those comments, our team has been working diligently to create an elevated and more consistent guest experience for Grand Voyages moving forward,” Antorcha wrote.
“We are constantly evolving the products and services we offer our guests because we are committed to creating an exceptional experience every time you step on board,” he added.
More changes will follow in 2024, starting with the line’s Grand World Voyage in January and on all Grand Voyages scheduled for next year.
These include guest chef appearances, guest performers who will add variety to World Stage performances, ballroom dance instruction, printed port maps, and daily news digests for all guests.
The 2024 Grand World Voyage will be operated by Zuiderdam, roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on January 3, 2024. The 128-day itinerary features the Caribbean and South America, Hawaii and the South Pacific, several Asian destinations, India, Arabia and the Middle East, the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, and a transatlantic crossing on the return to Florida.
Along with the 1,916-guest Zuiderdam, two other ships will sail Grand Voyages, Volendam, and Zaandam, each with capacity for 1,432 guests.
All three ships currently are undergoing upgrades to infrastructure as they continue to sail. Improvements are being made to air and water systems, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning.
Four Grand Voyages are scheduled for 2024, and Antorcha told loyal guests that he will personally visit each of the cruises, likely for short durations.
Holland America Line has already announced a unique Grand Voyage for 2025. In a first for the line, Volendam will operate a 133-night “pole-to-pole” cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale and calling at five continents. Departing on January 25, 2025, the ship will visit Antarctica, then sail north above the Arctic Circle in Norway’s North Cape.
Destinations in between include South America, Africa, Europe, and North Atlantic port calls in Iceland and Greenland.
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