Art appreciation has gone high tech on Holland America Line,
where self-guided art tours using handheld iPod devices debuted on
ms Westerdam July 30. Tours of the unique art and antique
collections on each of the line’s five-star ships together valued
at tens of millions of dollars will be available fleet wide by the
end of 2006.
The iPod Art Tours mark the first time that a cruise line has
offered museum-quality self-guided tours to its guests.
“These self-guided tours are just the latest addition to our
constantly expanding on-board enrichment programs,” said Richard D.
Meadows, CTC, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “The
tours highlight the most interesting, historical and accessible
pieces of art and antiques to provide greater depth and context,
and give our guests a truly rewarding experience.”
Guests interested in a tour simply sign out an iPod free of charge
and peruse the ship at their leisure, returning the device when
they finish. In addition, the tours will be available for download
to a home computer or handheld device from the Holland America Web
site. Narrated by well-known radio hosts Paul Lasley and Elizabeth
Harryman, the 40- to 50-minute tours include walking directions,
interviews with artists, background music and photo images
displayed on the iPod screen to help guests locate each piece. For
convenience, tours are confined to the main public decks to
facilitate casual, unhurried strolling from piece to piece.
Each tour begins with a welcome message from Holland America Line
President and CEO Stein Kruse and includes comments from ship
architect/designer Frans Dingemans, as well as others associated
with the line’s art program. Two artists whose work is featured
fleet-wide, Susanna Holt and Stephen Card, also provide insight
into their artistic inspiration.
Although the tours only cover an estimated 20 percent of the art
and antiques on each ship, at the end of each tour the narrators
encourage guests to participate in a kind of scavenger hunt by
suggesting they seek out a list of pieces not included on the tour.
On the Westerdam tour those include tea caddies made into boxes,
carved Meerchaum pipes and a cardboard chair by artist Frank