Holland America Line Debuts New Ship

New ship expected to attract younger clients

By: Anne Kalosh

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands Arizona agent Cathy Lennox believes Holland America Line finally has a ship she can recommend to active baby boomers.

Lennox, president of Cruise Adventures in Tucson, was among attendees of the inaugural festivities here for the Oosterdam, the line’s second Vista-class ship.

“In the past, it’s been difficult to convince younger people to sail on Holland America Line,” she said. “The Oosterdam is really vibrant and will attract our younger clients.”

The first Vista-class ship, the Zuiderdam, drew mixed reviews from agents. Some feared that its larger size and bright decor might turn off Holland America loyalists, who like the line’s medium-size, traditional ships.

Lennox said that the Oosterdam’s amenities a large spa and fitness center, the Internet Cafe, and spacious veranda suites make it stand apart from the rest of its fleetmates.

The Oosterdam was christened by Princess Margriet in Rotterdam to coincide with the line’s 130th anniversary.

Holland America was founded here and the line continues to highlight its Dutch heritage even though it is now based in Seattle and owned by Carnival Corp.

The Oosterdam brings the Holland America fleet to a dozen ships. Like the Zuiderdam, the 82,000-ton vessel carries 1,848 passengers in 85 percent ocean-view accommodations (67 percent with verandas). But unlike the Zuiderdam, the Oosterdam is decidedly more traditional.

“The Zuiderdam is decorated with a much younger, contemporary theme and the Oosterdam is much more in keeping with the Holland America feel it’s Old Europe,” said Nancy Gonzalez, the line’s director of sales, Western Division. “To my thinking, it's one of our most beautiful ships.”

Lennox also believes the Superior Veranda Suite (Category SS) on the Oosterdam is ideal for her target market.

The 384-square-foot suites feature two twin beds convertible to a queen-size, a sofa bed for one, a bathroom with two sinks, a whirlpool bathtub and shower, a separate shower stall, a DVD player, mini-refrigerator, safe and bathrobes.

Sailing in Europe this summer, Oosterdam will move to Fort Lauderdale for seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries this winter before redeploying to Seattle for the 2004 summer Alaska season.