The courses of Holland America ships, defined

Within the wake of a serious downsizing in 2020, Holland America has a comparatively easy fleet.

The storied, Seattle-based cruise line now operates 11 vessels that may be bunched into simply 4 teams.

Every of those teams — referred to as “courses” in cruise business lingo — is manufactured from ships that had been constructed across the similar time and comply with the identical primary design. If you understand one member of the group, you understand all of them.

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An introduction to Holland America ships

Holland America has downsized its fleet significantly over the previous three years with the elimination of 4 vessels. Nonetheless, it is nonetheless one of many seven large strains that account for almost all of cruises taken by North Individuals. Its 11 ships provide practically 23,000 berths.

Typically, Holland America operates large ships. Nonetheless, they don’t seem to be practically as large because the vessels operated by the six different large strains that cater to North Individuals. Certainly, in some cruising circles, Holland America’s ships are known as “midsize” ships (versus large ships).

Holland America’s largest vessels measure about 100,000 tons, making them about 60% smaller than the largest ships operated by Royal Caribbean and 40% smaller than the largest ships operated by Norwegian Cruise Line.

A few of Holland America’s vessels are simply 61,000 tons, which is as small as a few of the vessels operated by a lot pricier, smaller strains akin to Oceania Cruises or Azamara.

Associated: The 5 greatest locations you may go to on a Holland America ship

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This implies you will be in for a extra intimate cruise expertise on the everyday Holland America ship than on the ships of such rival strains as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess Cruises and Celeb Cruises. There might be fewer individuals on board, and venues could also be much less crowded.

On the flip aspect, you will usually discover fewer venues and facilities on Holland America ships than on the ships of its rivals working larger vessels. For those who’re searching for an enormous, bustling megaship with each amusement identified to people, Holland America is not your line.

Not like some strains, akin to Royal Caribbean and Celeb, Holland America does not drastically change the design of its ships from class to class.

As an alternative, Holland America often takes an incremental method to design adjustments for its new courses of ships. You will discover loads in widespread between Holland America’s Pinnacle Class and Signature Class of ships, as an illustration. And these two courses will not really feel all that completely different from the sooner Vista Class.

Associated: The last word information to Holland America cabins and suites

Typically, Holland America’s largest and most amenity-packed ships are its latest ships. For those who’re searching for a Holland America cruise expertise with essentially the most potential onboard actions and venues, you will need to steer towards the vessels in its new Pinnacle Class.

If cruising in essentially the most intimate atmosphere potential is your objective, you will need to take a look at the R Class, Holland America’s oldest class of ships.

Pinnacle Class

Ships in school: Rotterdam (2021); Nieuw Statendam (2018); Koningsdam (2016)

Dimension: 99,500 to 99,863 tons

Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam. HOLLAND AMERICA

For those who’re within the “newer is best” camp on the subject of cruise ships, that is the Holland America ship class for you.

Holland America’s Pinnacle Class simply started rolling out in 2016, and the three vessels within the collection are considerably youthful than some other vessel within the Holland America fleet.

They’re additionally larger than some other vessel within the Holland America fleet and, in consequence, boast extra facilities.

Notably, along with a essential restaurant and informal buffet, every of the three Pinnacle Class ships has 5 separate specialty eating venues. Choices embrace all the things from a pan-Asian eatery and an Italian restaurant to a steakhouse. That is greater than you will discover on different Holland America ships.

Pinnacle Class ships even have all of Holland America’s signature leisure venues — one thing that may’t be mentioned for the road’s older vessels.

Associated: A primary take a look at Holland’s America’s Rotterdam

Particularly, on Pinnacle Class ships, you will discover one of many line’s signature stay music leisure areas with a B.B. King’s Blues Membership (for Memphis-style rhythm and blues), Billboard Onboard (for chart-topping hits performed by a stay pianist) and Rolling Stone Rock Room (for a stay band enjoying basic rock).

The Pinnacle Class ships even have spectacular, state-of-the-art essential theaters with push-out phases enveloped by two-story, 270-degree wraparound LED screens. The theaters are dwelling to all kinds of further music, dance and comedy performances.

The highest decks of the Pinnacle Class ships have essential pool areas that may be coated by a retractable glass magrodome throughout inclement climate. This makes these ships a sensible choice when reserving a cruise in a vacation spot the place the climate will be iffy. The pool areas even have a big display screen to point out motion pictures, one thing distinctive to the ships of the Pinnacle Class.

Every of the Pinnacle Class ships additionally has a secondary SeaView Pool and lounge space at its again.

Moreover, every of the Pinnacle Class ships has a spa, a on line casino and an extra-fee outside lounge space referred to as The Retreat — a function that first debuted with the Pinnacle Class. Additionally new on the Pinnacle Class ships are Holland America’s first ocean-view cabins for solo and household vacationers.

Every of the Pinnacle Class ships is designed to hold 2,650 passengers at double occupancy.

Signature Class

Ships in school: Nieuw Amsterdam (2010); Eurodam (2008)

Dimension: 86,700 and 86,273 tons, respectively

Holland America’s 2,104-passenger Eurodam. HOLLAND AMERICA

At round 87,000 tons, the Signature Class vessels are about 15% smaller than the Pinnacle Class ships, they usually have a considerably extra intimate really feel.

In addition they have a tad fewer facilities.

Just like the Pinnacle Class ships, each of the Signature Class vessels — Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam — have stay music leisure with a B.B. King’s Blues Membership, Billboard Onboard and Rolling Stone Lounge (coming to those ships in December 2023), as an illustration.

And you will find simply three extra-charge eating places on the ships: the Pinnacle Grill steakhouse, Canaletto for Italian and the pan-Asian Tamarind. Not like the Pinnacle Class vessels, the Signature Class ships do not have Rudi’s Sel De Mer, a brasserie created by prime Holland America chef Rudi Sodamin. In addition they do not have a Grand Dutch Cafe.

Nonetheless, the Signature Class ships are related in feel and look to the Pinnacle Class ships.

Just like the Pinnacle Class ships, the Signature Class ships have essential pool areas that may be coated by retractable glass magrodomes throughout inclement climate and secondary pool areas at their backs.

The ships are designed to hold about 2,100 passengers at double occupancy.

Vista Class

Ships in collection: Noordam (2006); Westerdam (2004); Oosterdam (2003); Zuiderdam (2002)

Dimension: Between 82,305 and 82,348 tons

Holland America’s Westerdam in Sitka. HOLLAND AMERICA

Comprising 4 vessels, that is the largest group of Holland America ships. Thus, it is the category of Holland America ship on which you might be almost definitely to sail.

In measurement, the vessels are only a tad smaller than the Signature Class ships — about 5% smaller, to be actual. Nonetheless, they’re designed to hold about 9% fewer individuals at double occupancy, that means they provide a much less crowded really feel than the Signature Class vessels.

Their barely smaller measurement means there are barely fewer facilities, although.

For instance, every of the 4 Vista Class vessels presents simply two specialty eating places: Holland America’s signature Pinnacle Grill steakhouse and the Italian restaurant, Canaletto. Not like the Signature Class, there isn’t a pan-Asian eating venue.

The primary leisure choices on the Vista Class vessels are an identical to what’s discovered on Signature Class ships: a stay music leisure space with a B.B. King’s Blues Membership, Rolling Stone Lounge and Billboard Onboard venue.

Just like the Pinnacle Class and Signature Class ships, the Vista Class ships have essential pool areas that may be coated by retractable glass magrodomes throughout inclement climate and secondary pool areas at their backs.

R Class

Ships in collection: Zaandam (2000); Volendam (1999)

Dimension: 61,396 and 61,214 tons, respectively


The R Class ships are about 25% to 38% smaller than the remainder of the ships within the Holland America fleet and have a extra cozy really feel.

Due to their smaller measurement, in addition they have fewer options and facilities than the ships within the different Holland America courses — notably the ships of the newer Pinnacle and Signature courses.

Typically, R Class ships attraction to cruisers searching for a extra intimate cruise expertise. In addition they draw cruisers who care extra in regards to the locations they go to on a cruise than onboard sights.

Alongside these strains, Holland America usually deploys the R Class ships on its extra far-flung, destination-rich itineraries, together with prolonged around-the-world cruises.

For example, within the fall of 2024, Zaandam is scheduled to sail a 51-day Tales of the South Pacific cruise spherical journey from San Diego, visiting 22 island ports from Hawaii to Fiji.

In early 2024, Volendam departs San Diego on a 94-day Grand Australia and New Zealand Voyage that crosses the Pacific Ocean and circles the continent of Australia. In 2025, the ship will sail a 133-day Grand Voyage: Pole to Pole cruise out of Fort Lauderdale that’s the first of its variety for the cruise line and explores each the North and South Pole.

Regardless of their smaller measurement, the R Class ships provide the identical variety of pool areas (two) as their larger sister vessels, with one pool space coated by a retractable glass magrodome.

Every of the vessels has two specialty eating venues: Holland America’s signature Pinnacle Grill steakhouse and the Italian restaurant Canaletto.

Leisure choices on the R Class ships embrace a essential World Stage theater for reveals, a piano bar and a string ensemble that performs onboard.

Backside line

The Holland America fleet is comparatively simple to know. There are simply 4 kinds of ships within the Holland America fleet, and — for essentially the most half — they are not too completely different from one another.

Holland America believes strongly in providing a constant product from ship to ship, and it does not make revolutionary adjustments with every class of vessels it unveils.

The massive distinction between the road’s 4 courses of ships is the scale of the vessels within the courses. For those who’re a fan of larger ships with extra facilities, you will in all probability gravitate to the brand new Pinnacle Class vessels. For those who like your cruise ships extra intimate, you will in all probability need to follow the R Class vessels.

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