Holland America Cruise Line – Ships, Destinations, Dining, and More

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Holland America Cruise Line has been around since 1873. It was started as the Netherlands-America Steamship Company, which was headquartered in the Netherlands and provided service to America. Since then it has grown to carry over 800,000 passengers a year across all 7 continents, with an emphasis on luxury, mid-size ship cruising.

In 1971, it stopped transporting cargo to offer only cruise vacations. In 1989 it was acquired by Carnival Corporation, the largest cruise company in the world. Today, Holland America offers modern amenities and luxury accommodations across 14 mid-size ships.

Basic Information

Name: Holland America Line

Parent Company: Carnival Corporation (which also owns Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Cunard Line, Seabourn, Costa Cruises, and P&O Cruises)

Number of Ships: 14 (1 more coming in 2021)

Destinations: 400+

Loyalty Program: Mariner Society

Credit Card: Holland America Line Rewards Visa® Card

Holland America Nieuw Statendam
Nieuw Statendam, one of Holland America’s ships. Image Credit: Holland America

Ships

Holland America operates 14 mid-size ships. Ryndam will be the 15th ship when it debuts in May 2021.

  • Amsterdam
  • Eurodam
  • Koningsdam
  • Maasdam
  • Nieuw Amsterdam
  • Nieuw Statendam
  • Noordam
  • Oosterdam
  • Rotterdam
  • Veendam
  • Volendam
  • Westerdam
  • Zaandam
  • Zuiderdam

Bottom Line: Holland America operates 14 ships with 1 more debuting in May 2021. These are mid-size ships, not the gigantic ships you’ll find on cruise lines like Royal Caribbean.

Departure Ports

Holland America sails to over 400 ports of call from 25 departure ports across the world.

Departure Ports
North America and the CaribbeanAnchorage, AlaskaBoston, MAFairbanks, AlaskaFort Lauderdale, FL
Honolulu, HawaiiMontreal, Quebec, CanadaQuebec City, Quebec, CanadaSan Diego, CA
Seattle, WATampa, FLVancouver, British Columbia, CanadaWhittier, Alaska
Asia and the PacificPapeete, French PolynesiaSingaporeSydney, Australia
EuropeAmsterdam, NetherlandsAthens (Piraeus), GreeceBarcelona, SpainCopenhagen, Denmark
Rome (Civitavecchia), ItalyRotterdam, NetherlandsVenice, Italy
South AmericaBuenos Aires, ArgentinaSantiago (San Antonio), Chile
AfricaCape Town, South Africa

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Private Ports/Islands

Half Moon Cay is Holland America’s private island in the Bahamas (you can also visit this island on a Carnival cruise). Whether you’re looking for adventure or a quiet day on the beach, you’ll find it on Half Moon Cay.

Kayaking at Half Moon Cay
Kayaking is one of the many activities you’ll find on Holland America’s private island, Half Moon Cay. Image Credit: Holland America

Here are some of the activity highlights of Half Moon Cay:

  • Catamarans
  • Children’s water park
  • Glass-bottom boats
  • Horseback riding on the beach
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboards
  • Private 2-story villas and private cabanas
  • Snorkeling

There are plenty of places to eat and drink on the island as well. Try the Tropics Restaurant for a barbecue lunch or opt for Caribbean-style grilled lobster at Lobster Shack. You can grab a tropical drink at one of the many bars including Captain Morgan on the Rocks.

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Onboard Activities

On a Holland America ship, you’ll find plenty of unique activities, plus your favorite cruise classics like a casino, spa, fitness center, and onboard shopping.

In addition to lots of great things to do, Holland America offers a huge selection of live music onboard. Look out for these unique activities and performances on your next Holland America cruise (some activities may have an additional charge and not all are available on every ship).

  • BBC Earth Experiences
  • B.B. King’s Blues Club
  • Billboard Onboard
  • Blend
  • Cantare
  • Club Hal (for kids 3-17)
  • Explorations Central (EXC) Culture
  • EXC Nature
  • EXC Photography
  • EXC Port To Table
  • EXC Talks
  • High Score! family game room
  • Lincoln Center Stage
  • Microsoft Studio
  • Movie theater
  • Music Walk
  • Orange Party
  • O, The Oprah Magazine activities
  • O’s Reading Room
  • Postmodern Jukebox
  • Rolling Stone Rock Room
  • Step One Dance Company
  • World Stage
  • Zodiac excursions

O, The Oprah Magazine Partnership

Holland America has partnered with O, The Oprah Magazine to bring passengers a collection of Oprah-inspired activities and amenities to each of its ships.

This partnership offers complimentary activities that are designed to inspire you to “Live Your Best Life,” which is the magazine’s mission.

Oprah and Holland America Cruise Line
Holland America has partnered with O, The Oprah Magazine to bring passengers exclusive programming based on the magazine’s mission, to “Live Your Best Life.” Image Credit: Holland America

Onboard a Holland America ship, you can start your day with a meditation, pick up an inspirational book in O’s Reading Room, and even shop for “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”

Oprah Winfrey herself has even been named the godmother of the ship Nieuw Statendam.

Holland America Line Navigator

Holland America Line Navigator is a free app that you can use once onboard your cruise ship. With this app, you’ll be able to organize and plan your trip.

Holland America Line Navigator App
Keep your cruise organized with Holland America’s onboard app, Navigator. Image Credit: Holland America
  • Keep in touch with traveling companions
  • Plan daily activities
  • Book shore excursions
  • Make dinner reservations
  • View onboard statement
  • Purchase and use onboard Wi-Fi
  • View and purchase onboard photos
  • View spa treatments

Dress Code

Holland America offers Gala Nights on its ships. On these nights, dress is formal — a suit, cocktail dress, or gown for women and jacket and tie, dark suit, or tuxedo for men are appropriate. On all other nights, resort casual attire is suggested. This includes casual dresses, slacks, or informal evening wear for women and slacks and collared shirts for men.

Orange Party

On 1 night of each Holland America cruise you’ll get to experience an Orange Party.

Orange is the color most associated with the Netherlands and Holland’s royal family (House of Orange), so it’s only fitting that there be an Orange Party onboard. During the party, you’ll get to sample Dutch-inspired appetizers and drinks and you’ll enjoy live music.

So be sure to pack all of your favorite orange-colored clothing. But don’t worry if you forget to pack something orange — you can find Orange Party essentials in the onboard shops.

Specialty Cruises

Whether you’re looking to celebrate a special holiday or want to plan a cruise around a special interest, Holland America can fit the bill.

A Grand Voyage Cruise tends to be a longer voyage with more ports and more time in each port (even overnight stops).

If you love food and wine, try a Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruise. These special cruises feature cooking classes, cocktail demonstrations, wine tastings, and a chance to meet and mingle with a culinary expert from the Holland America Line Culinary Council®.

BLEND on Holland America Cruise Line
Enjoy daily wine classes in BLEND when you’re on a Wine Aficionado cruise. Image Credit: Holland America

If wine is your passion, consider a Wine Experts Cruise. On these voyages, you’ll have the opportunity to meet experts from Chateau Ste. Michelle while you indulge in wine classes and tastings.

If cocktails are more your thing, check out a Mixologist Aficionado Cruise. These cruises feature Holland America’s “King Cocktail,” Dale DeGroff, a James Beard award winner and author of The Essential Cocktail.

A Holiday Cruise offers all of the traditional festivities without any of the work. You’ll enjoy your favorite holiday foods, multiple religious services, a yule log parade, holiday movies, and decorations throughout the ship. Kids can make seasonal crafts and visit Santa while adults can enjoy festivities like the Christmas Eve party and New Year’s Eve Ball.

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Dining and Beverages

As with most cruise lines, Holland America offers both dining options that are included in your cruise fare and options that come with an additional charge. You’ll find everything from casual poolside fare to elegant fine dining.

Dining on Holland America is “As You Wish.” This means you can choose a traditional pre-set seating option or you can dine anytime you choose. You can stay casual by the pool, order room service, or choose one of the elegant dining rooms — the choice is yours.

Complimentary Dining

Look for these complimentary dining locations on your Holland America cruise. Not all locations are offered on every ship.

  • Dive-In
  • In-room dining
  • Lido Market
  • New York Pizza
  • Tea time
  • The Dining Room

Specialty Dining

The following dining locations come with an additional charge above what you paid for your cruise. Not all locations are available on every ship.

  • Canaletto
  • Explorations Cafe
  • Gelato
  • Grand Dutch Cafe
  • Nami Sushi
  • Pinnacle Grill
  • Rudi’s Sel de Mer
  • Tamarind

Bars and Beverages

There are plenty of bars and lounges on a Holland America ship so you can grab a drink and relax anytime. Look for these locations on your next cruise (not all locations are available on every ship).

  • Crow’s Nest
  • Explorer’s Lounge
  • Gallery Bar
  • Mix
  • Notes
  • Ocean Bar
  • Piano Bar
  • Tamarind Bar

Each passenger over 21 years old can bring 1 bottle of wine or sparkling wine (750 ml maximum) in their carry-on luggage that can be consumed in a stateroom free of charge. Any additional bottles will incur an $18 per bottle corkage fee regardless of where they are consumed. You can’t bring beer, boxed wine, or any other liquor onboard.

For cruises that depart from and return to Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Singapore, this policy applies to passengers 18 years old and up.

For cruises departing from and returning to Japan, this policy applies to guests 20 years old and up.

Most beverages onboard a Holland America ship come with an additional charge. If you’d prefer to pay for your drinks upfront, you can purchase a beverage package.

Quench Package: $17.95 per person per day 

  • Premium coffees, espresso, and cappuccino
  • Coca-Cola products
  • Signature mocktails
  • Red Bull
  • Bottled water (500 ml and under)

Signature Package: $54.95 per person per day (limit of 15 drinks per day)

  • Everything from the Quench Package
  • Premium beers
  • Spirits and cocktails
  • Wines by the glass priced $11 and under

Elite Package: $59.95 per person per day (limit of 15 drinks per day)

  • Everything from the Quench and Signature Packages
  • All drinks priced $15 and under

Evian Water Package: $24-$42 per person

  • 6 or 12 liter bottles of Evian water delivered to your stateroom

Coca-Cola Package: $8 per person per day

  • Unlimited fountain sodas
  • Coca-Cola Freestyle on select ships

Bottom Line: Every beverage package purchase automatically incurs a 15% service charge and must be purchased for the entire length of the cruise. If a guest purchases a package that includes alcoholic drinks, every other guest of legal drinking age in the same stateroom must also purchase the package. Beverage packages don’t apply to purchases made from the in-room mini-bar, Honor Bar, Chocolate Seduction, in-room dining, Half Moon Cay, and any self-service draft beer stations.

Accommodations

In each stateroom on a Holland America ship, you’ll find a host of luxury amenities waiting for you including:

  • Mariner’s Dream bed
  • Complimentary 24-hour room service
  • Elemis Aromapure bath products
  • Deluxe bathrobes
  • Complimentary fresh fruit

Holland America offers rooms to suit everyone from the single traveler to families to cruisers looking for the ultimate in luxury.

Here are some of the highlights:

The Family Ocean View Stateroom is great for families on a budget. This room sleeps up to 5 people and comes with 2 bathrooms (including a tub, which comes in handy if you’re traveling with kids).

Holland America Family Ocean View Stateroom
The Family Ocean View Stateroom sleeps up to 5 guests. Image Credit: Holland America

Verandah Staterooms come with floor to ceiling windows that open up to a private verandah. You’ll also find a sitting area, queen-size bed (that can be separated into 2 single beds), and a shower with a premium massage head.

Guests staying in a suite will also receive complimentary mimosas with in-suite breakfast, a premium duvet, binoculars, and an in-suite coffee and espresso machine.

The Signature Suite is a spacious room featuring a private verandah, sitting area, a queen-size or king-size bed, plus 1 Murphy bed and 1 sofa bed. In the bathroom, you’ll find 2 sinks and a full-size whirlpool bath/shower plus an additional shower stall.

Holland America Neptune Suite
A Neptune Suite on Holland America Cruise Line. Image Credit: Holland America

Try the Neptune Spa Suite if you’re looking to indulge. These rooms come with spa amenities like yoga mats and access to spa treatments at Greenhouse Spa & Salon. You’ll also find a large sitting area, private verandah, and a bathroom with 2 sinks and 2 showers. Plus, you’ll have access to the Neptune Lounge and a private concierge.

The Pinnacle Suite is the largest stateroom offered by Holland America and features over 1,200 square feet of both indoor and outdoor living space. These suites come with a living room, dining room, pantry with microwave and fridge, bedroom with separate dressing room, whirlpool bath and shower, additional shower stall, soft bed, and guest toilet. You’ll also have access to the Neptune Lounge and a private concierge.

Hot Tip: The Neptune Lounge is exclusively for guests staying in a Neptune Suite or Pinnacle Suite. This private area features worktables, large screen TV, a library, sofas and chairs, and refreshments throughout the day.

Mariner Society

Holland America Cruise Line’s loyalty program is called Mariner Society. Once you’ve cruised with Holland America once, you’re automatically enrolled. You’ll earn Cruise Day credits for each night you sail and for onboard purchases.

Bonus credits can be earned when you pay a published fare for a suite or penthouse and for each $300 in eligible onboard purchases.

Mariner Society LevelNumber of Cruise Day Credits RequiredBenefit Highlights
Star Mariner1Mariner Welcome Onboard lunch, Mariner brunch with complimentary sparkling wine, subscription to Mariner® magazine, special offers, and discounts on future sailings
2-Star Mariner30Complimentary photo of the ship, annual cruise planner, special recognition lapel pin, discount on Holland America Line logo clothing sold onboard, discount at shophollandamerica.com
3-Star Mariner75Discounts on specialty restaurants, specialty coffees, wine packages, and mini bar purchases, discounts at Greenhouse Spa & Salon, advance information on new itineraries
4-Star Mariner200Complimentary cruise fare for kids and extra guests on select sailings, complimentary laundry services, complimentary wine tasting, subscription to Travel + Leisure or Food & Wine magazine, priority check-in
5-Star Mariner500Up to a $30 credit on an internet package, surcharge waived for 2 dinners at The Pinnacle Grill, a day pass to Greenhouse Spa & Salon

Mariner Society benefits are cumulative so each level will also have access to the benefits offered at all lower levels.

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Final Thoughts

You won’t find mega-ships with thrill rides and high-octane activities like zip-lining or ice skating with Holland America Cruise Line.

What you will find are mid-size ships that offer luxury cruises to fantastic destinations all over the world. You’ll find cultural activities and plenty of live music onboard plus special perks like amenities inspired by O, The Oprah Magazine.

When you return to Holland America for a second, third, or even 20th cruise, you’ll be rewarded through the Mariner Society with benefits like discounts and special welcome aboard events.

If you’re looking for luxury accommodations and fantastic itineraries, Holland America might be the right choice for your next cruise vacation.


Frequently asked questions

Which is the best Holland America cruise ship?

While the”best” Holland America cruise ship can be subjective, the Nieuw Statendam is consistently Holland America’s top-ranked ship. It’s also the newest, having debuted in December 2018.

Is Holland America all-inclusive?

No, like most other cruise lines, Holland America is not completely all-inclusive. Some restaurants, beverages, and shore excursions are among the things that may come with an additional charge beyond your cruise fare.

Can you wear jeans on a Holland America cruise?

Yes, you can wear jeans on a Holland America cruise with the exception of select restaurants on formal nights which are called Gala Nights. On Gala Nights, dress is formal and a suit, cocktail dress, or gown is suggested for women and jacket and tie, dark suit, or tuxedo is suggested for men.

Does Holland America have anytime dining?

Yes, Holland America’s anytime dining is called “As You Wish.” With this type of dining, you aren’t confined to specific dining times or locations. However, if you prefer a more traditional cruise dining experience, that option is available as well.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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