WATCH: Holland America Line Embraces Past and Present on Koningsdam
Its upcoming Koningsdam and new branding and fleet enhancements represent a more modern future for Holland America Line, but another new partnership embraces its historic identity too.
The World Stage
The line has released the third video in its “Countdown to Koningsdam” series that this time previews the forthcoming ship’s unique World Stage entertainment venue. Once more the video is hosted by inaugural cruise director Johnathan Rogers as the line’s Director of Entertainment Bill Prince describes the unique theater in-the-round and its 270-degree LED walls.
The World Stage’s high-definition LED screens will be two decks tall and stretch 250 feet in length, allowing digital environments to immerse the audience throughout the day and set the scene for various performances and production shows. Rounding out the hardware package will be state-of-the-art lighting, projection and sound systems. See more in the video, hosted at my Popular Cruising YouTube channel, below.
Another modern touch on the Koningsdam will be a glass-encoded growing area in the ship’s Culinary Arts Center. In partnership with award-winning microgreen specialist Koppert Cress, farm-to-table-style ingredients will be grown right onboard and feature in special dinners prepared in the reimagined dining venue’s show kitchen. Some ingredients will even be picked on the spot for the ultimate in freshness.
“Rather than being used as a garnish, the Koppert Cress microgreens will be used as integral ingredients in the recipes,” said Michael Smith, senior vice president, guest experience and product development. “Our guests will be able to watch them grow during the cruise and then savor them freshly harvested and at their highest flavor potential during their Dinner at the Culinary Arts Center experience.”
Seedlings will sprout for up to two weeks before being snipped and included in artisanal dishes. Each microgreen will have a unique flavor of garlic, mustard and licorice that will influence the final culinary experience.
As Holland America Line sails for the future, it thankfully continues to cherish its Dutch heritage with another partnership with Rijksmuseum, the most-visited national museum in the Netherlands. In fact, the line is a new sponsor of the institution. Next, “Rijksmuseum at Sea” created by Rijksstudio will first be installed on the Oosterdam while it’s in dry-dock in April 2016 before being introduced fleet-wide over the next few years.
Classic artwork is already a staple of Holland America’s onboard collection, and now reproductions of some of the museum’s signature pieces will be highlighted throughout the ship. Additionally, a dedicated venue will host creative art workshops for guests, videos featuring the museum and its collections will be available for viewing in the cabins, and enrichment programs by Rijksmuseum staff will be presented on select cruises. Special museum merchandise will also be available to purchase in the shops onboard.
"Both Rijksmuseum and Holland America Line are historic brands with proud Dutch heritage. We're grateful that through our new partnership, Holland America guests from around the world will be able to experience our impressive collection at the ‘Rijksmuseum at Sea,’ created by Rijksstudio," said Wim Pijbes, General Director of the Rijksmuseum.
While a predominant focus is placed on the upcoming Koningsdam, Holland America Line has not forgotten its existing fleet, and just as the Oosterdam will be receiving “Rijksmuseum at Sea,” the Eurodam has recently emerged from dry-dock with its own set of enhancements, many of which will feature on the new ship as well.
After a two-week refurbishment, the Eurodam relaunched on Dec. 20, 2015 with Lincoln Center Stage, in partnership with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Billboard Onboard, in partnership with Billboard, both in addition to the already successful B.B. King’s Blues Club. Lincoln Center Stage highlights a chamber music ensemble nightly and in the afternoons on sea days. Billboard Onboard additionally showcases live pianists, a guitarist and a DJ who perform shows centered around Billboard music history and trivia in the evenings.
The Oosterdam is also scheduled to receive these two venues during its aforementioned April dry-dock, and additional Vista- and Signature-class ships will be getting them as well over the next several years. The Eurodam’s Northern Lights nightclub also made way for the line’s first Gallery Bar, featuring the cocktails of celebrity mixologist Dale DeGroff among abstract portrait, landscape and still-life artwork, selected to engage guest conversation. This venue too will rollout on the remaining Vista- and Signature-class ships through May 2018.
As for dining, the Lido buffet has become the Lido Market, now with table-served complimentary beverages, includes separate themed stations described by the line as follows: “Breadboard, with fresh-baked breads and pastries; Wild Harvest, offering a bountiful selection of ingredients for made-to-order salads; Homestead, serving up comfort classics; Distant Lands, featuring exotic flavors from around the globe; Market Central, serving continental breakfast or light meals to go; Perk, where freshly brewed coffee, hot and iced tea and chilled juices are available; and Sweet Spot, dishing up delightful ice cream creations and desserts.”
Also, Slice has been converted into New York Pizza, like the one on the Nieuw Amsterdam, with five Big Apple-themed thin-crust personal pizzas or customized pies that are made to order in under 10 minutes. Guests are given a pager to alert them when their pizza is ready fresh from the oven. A selection of salads and desserts are also available.
What’s more, the Eurodam is the first in the fleet to receive new Signature-, Vista- and R-class suite upgrades as part of the line’s $300 million brand enhancement initiative. Improvements include a refreshed living area complete with new furniture, carpet, wall coverings and soft goods. Electronic enhancements feature a new USB outlet in the headboard, bedside LED reading lamps and a lit closet rod. Neptune and Pinnacle suites benefit from an added Bose Bluetooth speaker as well. Bathrooms were also updated with designer glass tiles, a refreshed vanity, mirrors with integrated LED lights, newly styled floor tiles and a nightlight.
Ship-wide, new LED flat-panel TVs and interactive programing with complimentary on-demand movies, daily program, restaurant, spa and billing information were installed.
More by Jason Leppert
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