Holland America Line to introduce "Vista Class"

Holland America Line is known as a company that reveres tradition and has never strayed from building spacious, midsized ships. However, just as Holland America introduced the radical and daring Rotterdam V back in 1959, it is once again set to break the mold with the launching of the Zuiderdam and Oosterdam in late 2002 and early 2003.

This new Vista Class of ships, five in total, will be the largest, most advanced and most luxurious vessels ever built for Holland America, and will carry the line forward into the 21st century. These ships will help Holland America meet the future requirements of its discriminating guests by providing more extensive on-board amenities and a larger percentage of verandah staterooms than ever before.

The new ships feature innovative exterior elevators on both sides of the vessel, going up 10 decks and providing guests with panoramic sea views. The ships will also offer a wide range of spacious cabin categories. Fully 85 percent of the staterooms feature an ocean view, with 80 percent of those providing private verandahs.

The 951-foot-long ships will retain some hallmarks of the Holland America brand, like multi-million-dollar art collections and numerous dining options, from elegant full-service meals to casual Lido Restaurant service. The ships will also continue other traditional features of Holland America ships, including the Explorers Lounge, Ocean Bar, an exterior covered promenade deck encircling the entire ship, a large Lido pool with a retractable dome, and Holland America's signature Crow's Nest observation lounge.

The new ships will offer a cabaret-style show lounge, complementing a new three-deck main show lounge. Other new features include a disco, a casual "round-the-clock" cafe, an Internet cafe, the largest spa facilities in the fleet, Internet/e-mail dataports in all staterooms, an extensive Club HAL children's facility with inside and outside play areas, a concierge lounge for the exclusive use of Penthouse and Deluxe Verandah Suite guests, and two interior promenade decks.

More Verandahs Responding to high demand from guests, Holland America Line's five new Vista series ships will offer verandahs with 67 percent of the 924 staterooms--the most in the HAL fleet. Fully 85 percent of all staterooms will be ocean view; and just 15 percent will be inside. All staterooms on the Vista-series ships will be the same size as, or larger than, those in the company's current fleet. The Zuiderdam and her sisters will feature two Penthouse Verandah Suites that will be 20 percent larger than the penthouses on the current ships. Including a 318 sq. ft. verandah, the Vista-class penthouses will measure 1,318 sq. ft. The large verandah will have a private hot tub and an outside dining area.

The 60 Deluxe Verandah Suites will measure 510 to 700 sq. ft., including a verandah that is 130 sq. ft. or larger. The 100 Superior Verandah Suites measure 398 sq. ft. And the 461 Deluxe Verandah Outside staterooms measure 254 sq. ft., including a 54 sq. ft. verandah. The ships will also offer 165 Standard Outside staterooms measuring 185 sq. ft. and 136 Standard Inside staterooms measuring 170-200 sq. ft.

More Dining Choices The new ships will offer guests more dining options, while preserving and enhancing the company's premium quality dining experience. The Zuiderdam, the Oosterdam and their three sister ships all will feature a large alternative restaurant, a cafe offering coffee and pastries, a completely reconfigured Lido restaurant and a new look in the main dining room.

The Lido Restaurants will have a myriad of options including a pizza and pasta counter, an Asian stirfry counter, and a deli area offering sandwiches and salads at lunch and made-to-order omelets at breakfast, along with ice cream, pastry and salad bars.

The popular alternative restaurant will be greatly expanded on the new ships. The restaurant, with twice the space of those on existing ships, will partially wrap around the atrium. Guests may choose to have a leisurely before-dinner drink in the restaurant's bar - a new feature on these ships - while choosing a dinner wine from the extensive wine list. Near the alternative restaurant, guests will find a casual "round-the-clock" cafe. These cafes, open from early morning until late evening, are a new concept on Holland America ships. They will offer limited breakfast service, coffee and rolls, specialty coffees, deli lunches, afternoon tea and snacks, light dinner entrees and after-dinner liqueur coffees.

The two-tier main dining room, encased in floor-to-ceiling windows, will retain the elegant ambiance of dining rooms on the present ships, but will have new amenities. The most visible will be the addition of a bandstand balcony between the two dining levels in the center of the room, flanked by two grand staircase atriums.

More Entertainment Options Entertainment on Holland America Line's five new luxury ships will soar to new heights in the main showrooms, take on a high-tech flair in all-new discos, assume a quieter side in new "cabaret" lounges, and retain a night club atmosphere atop each ship in the company's trademark Crow's Nest Lounge.

The state-of-the-art main show lounges will be, for the first time, three-tiered entertainment venues instead of two tiers, with Royal Boxes on each side of the stage in the middle level. Each box will seat 18 guests, with views of the entire lounge.

The ships will also boast a cabaret lounge along with a futuristic disco--complete with an "ice block" decor and an array of extensive special effects such as fiber optic lighting and "melting walls".

The Crow's Nests will be larger than those on the present ships in the Holland America fleet, configured so the space can be partitioned for private functions. Cigar and pipe smokers will be treated to a dedicated smoking lounge, patterned after an old English club, adjacent to the Crow's Nest with deck access. A second smoking lounge will be adjacent to the Explorers Lounge on another deck.

Stately Seagoing Spas The new Vista-class cruise ships will feature the largest spas in the company's fleet, catering to a growing demand from guests who enjoy spa treatments as part of the total cruise vacation experience. The Ocean Spa will be 54 percent larger than the spas on the company's most recent ships, and virtually twice the size of those on the popular Statendam-class vessels. The spas will offer a greater number of treatment rooms; a deluxe, unisex thermal suite; and an 18x22-foot hydrotherapy pool, designed as a central attraction and featuring a spacious relaxation area with a fountain and skylight.

Extensive Children's Facilities The children's room on the new Vista-class ships will have more space for games and other activities than on any previous ship in the fleet. The new facility, encompassing the KidZone area for younger kids and the Waverunner teen area, will have twice as much space as the children's rooms on the company's current ships. Designed to accommodate the company's popular Club HAL children's program, the facility can be divided to accommodate up to three age groups. The children's room on the Vista ships will feature its own computer game area and a video game room (there's another video game room near the disco for the grown-ups). In addition, there's a dance floor for teen parties and a large-screen movie corner for watching videos. And the deck area outside the children's room can be used as a play area, complete with special matting.

If you have questions for Tim Rubacky, click here to e-mail him.

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