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Holland America Line’s (HAL) Nieuw Statendam has just launched. And, as this new ship prepares to set sail, Prinsendam is readying to leave the fleet.
Come July 1, the vessel will transfer over to Germany-based cruise ship operator Phoenix Reisen. It first served as Royal Viking Line’s Royal Viking Sun starting in 1988; later, the ship sailed under Cunard and Seabourn Cruise Line before heading to HAL.In the meantime, travel agents have new resources to help them better sell Nieuw Statendam and the entire HAL fleet. At GoHal.com, advisors can be rewarded as Silver, Gold or Platinum for completing Holland America Line Academy training courses. Available classes include “Northern Europe: Its Iconic Cities, Hidden Gems and Scenic Beauty” and “Caribbean, Cuba and Panama Canal: Our Unique Take on Cruising’s Most Popular Sea,” the newest course.Agents who finish four core courses will reach Silver level and receive a diploma, a graduate lapel pin, a luggage tag and a $50 shipboard credit. Once two specialist courses are also completed, participants achieve Gold status and a diploma, along with an onboard welcome letter and a call from the vessel’s dining room manager. Platinum status, which includes priority boarding, is achieved by completing three specialist courses. Culinary OfferingsNieuw Statendam features Rolling Stone Rock Room, where a live five-piece band performs historic music off “Rolling Stone” magazine’s top song lists, but it also continues HAL’s fine culinary traditions. Among them is Rudi’s Sel de Mer from the brand’s titular master chef, Rudi Sodamin. First launched on Koningsdam as Sel de Mer, the eatery has rolled out to other HAL ships as a pop-up restaurant.
Onboard Nieuw Statendam, Rudi’s Sel de Mer offers dishes such as Rudi’s Seafood Tower, Salt Crust Baked Branzino and Rudi’s Face to Face Chocolate. Charger plates feature Sodamin’s Food Faces images, highlighting his culinary pop-art style.Additionally, members of HAL’s Culinary Council, bartender and cocktail expert Dale DeGroff and the line’s Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker partners will be featured on select 2019 Food & Beverage Aficionado Cruises. Sailings will offer cooking, cocktail or wine demonstrations; presentations by experts; and meet-and-greets. Talented names scheduled to appear include Sodamin and DeGroff, along with chefs David Burke, Andy Matsuda, Ethan Stowell, Jacques Torres and more.The line is further promoting 20 new Food & Wine Exc Tours in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and New England. These special shore excursions have been developed in collaboration with “Food & Wine” magazine. These tours usually encompass interactive cooking classes with international chefs and visits to culinary hot spots, all while nibbling along the way.One highlight from the latest offerings is the Courageous Kitchen Cooking Class in Bangkok, where a portion of the proceeds go toward feeding locals and training youth in need. During the tour, clients will explore a local market, then participate in a hands-on cooking class in home-style Thai cooking with chef Dwight Turner, owner of Courageous Kitchen. Through 2019, Food & Wine Exc Tours are expected to continue expanding into the Caribbean, Mexico, the Panama Canal, South America and Hawaii.Club OrangeWhat’s more, a new Club Orange program is available to add another layer of exclusivity to Holland America cruises. (The program honors HAL’s Dutch heritage, as it is named after the color of the Dutch Royal Family, who hails from the House of Orange.) Perks will be included for Neptune and Pinnacle Suite guests and also be available to a limited number of non-suite passengers for purchase at $50 per person per day, commissionable to agents. The program is first rolling out to Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam before going fleetwide this year.Added benefits on the first two ships include private dining in the transformed Culinary Arts Center, where the Club Orange restaurant will serve breakfast and dinner as well as exclusive daily dishes. The offerings will be found in a special section of the dining room on future ships. Other amenities include priority for check-in, disembarkation, tender service and alternative restaurant reservations, as well as a dedicated concierge hotline and queue at Guest Services and the Exc Tours desk. Guests also receive a special in-cabin breakfast menu, a welcome glass of sparkling wine at dinner on embarkation day, premium stateroom bathrobes and a Club Orange tote bag.The DetailsHolland America Linewww.hollandamerica.com