Holland America Line's Newest Moves: What Do They Mean?
Holland America Line just locked in many details today about its future. Not only was the line already anticipating the launch of the Koningsdam in April 2016 and a second sister ship in late 2018. Now it has announced three new partnerships and even an entirely new brand image and logo. So what does it all mean?
Holland America is a line steeped in rich heritage, more than 140 years' worth to be exact, and it has had an uphill battle at times combating an image that it’s an old person’s cruise line. Truth be told, the company’s average customer age has declined year after year.
Renderings of the Koningsdam have indicated that the line is heading in a more modern direction, and today’s news continues to confirm that. This is no longer (just) your grandmother’s cruise line. It’s a multigenerational one complete with family staterooms available on the new ship.
Exciting partnerships with BBC Earth, AFAR and Utrip were unveiled today, and each showcases enhancements in forward-thinking programming and consumer technology.
Following in the footsteps of the line’s collaboration with Dancing with the Stars, BBC Earth builds on a media relationship that has worked well for the line. And this one mimics in many ways a similar partnership sister line Princess Cruises has with Discovery.
Beginning in April 2016 and rolling out fleet-wide by September 2016, Holland America Line will feature branded films, shows, concerts, theme cruises and, of particular note, children’s programs. Featured for young cruisers will be an onboard explorer trail, animal and dinosaur fact shows, the opportunity to be a journalist and, on special theme cruises, workshops with the BBC Earth YouTube team. I don’t know about you, but that even sounds like great fun to me as an adult videographer.
The next two partnerships really showcase Holland America’s effort to easily connect its guests with the perfect cruise experiences personalized just for them.
Ports-of-call will come alive well before passengers even board, thanks to around 400 AFAR Destination Guides that will be featured on the line’s website. Holland America Line’s President, Orlando Ashford, astutely explains that studies indicate travelers value third-party expertise, and AFAR will generate that content independent of the line’s own marketing materials.
Above all, this reaffirms the line’s position that the destination remains key, and it is dedicated to providing its guests with authentic shoreside experiences not isolated exclusively onboard. In a refreshing approach, the destination guides’ suggested attractions, shopping and dining will now go above and beyond the traditional cruise line recommendations which sometimes only scratch the surface.
Such online enhancements also point to marketing efforts to a more tech-savvy generation but with ease of interface so as not to alienate anyone either, and the last partnership brings it all together.
The Utrip software platform will be Holland America Line’s new web wizard for funneling guests in the right direction and to the right content, AFAR Destination Guides included. The newly integrated technology will effectively make sense of the line’s thousands of cruise itineraries, port highlights and shore excursions, making the search experience more fun and less daunting.
It’s all about personal preference and customizing each and every cruise to you and your own profile. The ability to discover itineraries based on a specific port of interest alone is a substantial time saver, and the means of slider adjustments and map locators make the process pleasantly more visual than before. Holland America Line? It would now seem there is an app for that!
Although it won’t officially be revealed and applied until January 2016, Holland America Line’s updated logo will also reflect a more modern approach. As a trained graphic designer I can honestly say the logo exhibits a sharp refined look. Gone now is the sailing ship in the foreground, something as a sentimentalist I lament just a little, but the swooping lines now flow into each other more seamlessly conveying a new sense of forward moment.
Plus, the new tagline – Savor the Journey – expresses the line’s renewed commitment to the destination and the way its ships get there in timeless class.
More by Jason Leppert
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