While in the planning stages for its trade appreciation cruise, Michelle Sutter, vice president of North America sales, said one common theme that stood out across the board was to showcase “the tremendous gratitude we have for travel advisors.”
Designed to get the travel trade to rediscover Holland America Line, the aptly named Attitude of Gratitude cruise featured four days of inspirational and educational sessions on the flagship Rotterdam while sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Half Moon Cay, the cruise line’s private island in The Bahamas, from March 10 to 13.
Agents had a shot at winning one of 75 cruise giveaways to Alaska, the opportunity to record personal travel advisor commercials to post on social media and access to register for upcoming FAM trips, while also getting to experience highlights like Music Walk, nightly entertainment ranging from B.B. King’s Blues Club to the Rolling Stone Rock Room, where a live band plays classic rock and roll hits, and sample their way through culinary options like the poolside Dive-In featuring gourmet hotdogs and burgers or a la carte restaurants like Tamarind and Rudi’s Sel de Mer.
Acknowledging that the pandemic has been hard for the travel industry at large and the cruise industry in particular, Jan Swartz, president of Holland America Group believes there’s now lots of reasons for optimism about the future. As travel restrictions ease, bookings are rebounding and Google searches for cruises in January neared 2019 levels and YouTube searches already surpassed 2019 levels.
“We’re emerging from this pause stronger,” she says. “We’re on a more positive trajectory in 2022.”
Meanwhile, Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line, outlined some of the key differentiators that make the cruise line stand out such as its deployment, mid size ships and the on board team. At the forefront this year is its longevity in Alaska, where Holland America has been operating since 1947, “longer than it’s been a state.”
“Our land program is simply unmatched,” he says.
In celebration of the 75-year anniversary in Alaska, the premium cruise line is debuting new Alaska Up Close programming, featuring authentic and immersive experiences from foodie tours where guests can explore the local culinary scene to a super fresh special dining experience. Clients who reel in a big one during a shore excursion can enjoy their catch for supper that night for a truly memorable ocean-to-table meal.
“Alaska is so abundant that it needs to be explored and presented differently, and with ‘Alaska Up Close’ our guests will have access to activities and experiences that they won’t find anywhere else,” says Beth Bodensteiner, senior vice president and chief commercial officer.
This season, Holland America Line will have six ships operating in Alaska across 123 sailings including cruises departing from Vancouver, which are a convenient option for Canadians.
To give clients more confidence to make travel plans, Holland America Line has also extended its Flexible Cancellation Plan book-by date to May 31 on cruises through Sept. 30.
Stay tuned for more Holland America Line coverage in upcoming editions of Canadian Travel Press and Travel Courier.
In the photos:
Kacy Cole, vice president of marketing & e-commerce; Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line, and Michelle Sutter, vice president of North America sales.
A look inside the Pinnacle Suite, approximately 1,290 square feet.
Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private island in The Bahamas, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
President of Holland America Line Gus Antorcha.