Holland America announces three new partnerships, new logo for 2016
Holland America President Orlando Ashford.

Holland America announces three new partnerships, new logo for 2016

NEW YORK CITY — Within one of the historic rooms of The Explorer’s Club on New York City’s Upper East Side, Holland America President Orlando Ashford gathered North American travel media, senior staff and cruise industry veterans to hear about the future of the 142-year old cruise ship company.

Ashford spoke about the growing US$100 billion cruise industry, and Holland America’s $300 million investment in its future, including $40 million focused on in-suite enhancement.

Ashford also detailed the long legacy of the service culture of Holland America and how the way we travel is changing. “We’re looking at everything we can to make sure our brand is aligned with our guests.”

Responding to guests looking for more bespoke and personalized experiences, Ashford announced Holland America’s partnership with AFAR Media, an independent travel media company that launched its print consumer magazine in 2009. The partnership will create 400 destination guides exclusive to Holland America guests, to be able to plan off-shore excursions that reflect personal tastes and provide insider information during trip planning.

“We’ll be rolling out the destination guides at the beginning of 2016,” explained AFAR Media co-founder Greg Sullivan, “…starting with Europe for spring travel, and popular destination departure cities like Barcelona and Rome.” Sullivan explained that the online guides will offer Holland America guests the ability to go below the surface of places and get off the well-known paths.

The second partnership announcement from Ashford was with fellow Seattle-company, Utrip. The technology company, which offers software to help with trip-planning will be now available via Holland America’s website to guests to help with vacation planning, from deciding on the right itinerary, to the perfect shore excursion.

Utrip’s Gilad Berenstein explained the idea of his company came after a trip to Europe when he was dismayed by the endless options to find information. With Utrip, over 8,000 recommendations would be available exclusively to help plan a memorable trip for guests before departure, starting in early 2016.

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The third partnership announcement was with BBC Earth, the world’s largest natural history producer, which airs its programming in 122 markets worldwide. BBC Worldwide’s Mat Way explained that there will be a variety of options for cruise passengers to experience BBC Earth, from the live concert series to on-board activities to featured theme cruises with BBC Earth creators on-board to share the details of their behind-the-scenes stories of how these wildlife programs are made. The programming will be available on-board starting in April 2016 and available on all ships by fall 2016.

Working with his extensive team, Ashford also announced that the historic brand, a division of Carnival Corporation, has updated their brand identity, with a new logo and a new tagline, changing ‘Signature of Excellence’ to ‘Savor the Journey’. Both will officially be introduced as of January 2016.

In April 2016, Holland America will welcome its newest ship to the fleet, the ms Konigsdam, with a design inspired by musical instruments. The ship will feature new single and family staterooms, the Innovative Culinary Council and Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine offering cooking classes as well as farm to table dining and new entertainment additions to Holland America in Music Walk featuring Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and BB King’s Blues Club/Queen’s Lounge, as well as World Stage, a performance space featuring a two-storey 270 degree LED screen.

Holland America will add another ship in fall 2018 to its fleet, bringing its total to 15 ships.

Ashford explained that in the past year as president, he’s learned about the passion of Holland America guests, sharing their likes and dislikes about their cruise experiences and how travel can make a difference in how we view the world.

He ended the press conference on a hopeful note, quoting American writer Mark Twain “…travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime, adding that “…our small contribution [as travellers] is about making the world a better place.”

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