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Holland America Line (HAL)’s recent refit of Eurodam — a harbinger for newbuild Koningsdam and the rest of the fleet — is nothing short of transformational.
A completely new suite product, branded music venues, an innovative bar concept and the enhanced Lido Market — all added during a December drydock — give a clear idea of HAL’s future vision. Overall, the refit indicates a modernized, upscale and hipper brand that will appeal to a broad demographic while still retaining the class and decorum expected by the venerable line’s core clientele.
In an extreme makeover of hard and soft goods, all suites have been redesigned with a fresh take on modern resort luxury with tech requisites. Dark woods and warm, natural tones, combined with quality linens and amenities, evoke luxury without screaming it, while new veranda furniture is comfortable and pleasing to the eye. Most suites also now feature Bose Bluetooth speakers, bedside USB charging outlets and binoculars.
HAL’s partnerships with two prestigious organizations, the new Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard, has generated venues that optimize the acoustics for chamber- and pop-music acts. And if the artists slated to appear in those two branded spaces are of the same caliber as the excellent eight-piece Memphis band currently headlining in the nearby B.B. King’s Blues Club, the venue trio for HAL’s Music Walk — slated to be added to all Signature and Vista class ships — will set a high bar for the industry. Meanwhile, the new Gallery Bar, an original and creative lounge concept, is an atmospheric, living room-cum-museum mash-up with a custom-created cocktail menu and smartly dressed servers.
But it’s the Lido Market — a complete refresh of the casual-dining experience — that will affect the largest number of passengers. In the brighter environment, newly themed action stations allow guests to help themselves to their favorite foods without long waits. And the cuisine offered has also been notched up from HAL’s already-high Lido standard. Gourmet salad toppings at Wild Harvest now include seared ahi tuna and freshly roasted chicken and turkey. The Distant Lands station offers a selection of sushi and pan-Asian dishes that change daily. Other themed stations include Sweet Spot, featuring demi-desserts, ice cream and HAL’s signature bread pudding, and Market Central, at which individually plated cold dishes present a practical alternative to standard buffet self-serve. The Lido upgrades also extend to breakfast, where an omelet station features quality ingredients such as avocado, crab meat, lox and shrimp. Meanwhile, the new poolside New York Pizza outlet bakes individual, made-to-order pies with gourmet toppings such as prosciutto, arugula and gorgonzola.
Refocusing the line’s main showroom fare, HAL is retrofitting venues across the fleet with LED video walls in order to deploy modern and edgy new productions such as “On Tour,” a concert-style show that’s a far cry from the Broadway show-tune roundups of the past. And if the impressive production values aren’t enough to reinforce HAL’s changed image, the young cast performing a hit by boy-band sensation One Direction certainly will.
HAL’s staff and crew, known for their warm and gracious service standard, have helped Eurodam set another equally impressive — and no less important — example for the fleet: The ship recently received its ninth consecutive perfect 100 health-inspection score from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a mark of perfection unequaled elsewhere in the industry.
With new and revamped onboard products, a refreshed logo and the line’s new “Savor the Journey” tagline now added to the mix, HAL’s evolution is on the fast track.