Holland America Line (HAL) Brand Ambassador Seth Wayne describes his recent experience on their first ship back in service – which headed to Alaska – as simply incredible, as well as a joy to be back on the water.
“Alaska is an amazing destination and being on the first cruise back in service after close to 500 days, the excitement and energy was real. You felt the love of our guests and our teammates onboard,” he says. “Everyone was smiling, laughing and in a good mood. Alaska already is a bucket list destination, but mixing that with our first cruise back made for a memorable voyage. It is also one of the few places you can cruise in the world that you can take a taxi to a glacier.”
The cruise line named Emmy Award-winning Wayne as their brand ambassador in 2020. He came from Seattle’s local ABC affiliate, KOMO-TV where he was known for his engaging personality and incredible passion for cruising.
Wayne’s versatile role includes being a roving reporter for HAL Aboard, a multimedia line-up of behind-the-scenes stories and brand highlights. Storytelling is his passion and he says it is wonderful to see people’s reactions as they return to cruising.
“There are truly no words. I’ve been taking people around the world virtually for the past year and a half and to meet our guests in person made for memorable moments.
“Guests were wanting the ‘real deal’ and I was there along with hundreds of our team members to give it to them.” Wayne says evening venues were busy with guests singing and dancing with their favourite HAL cocktail in hand. “It made for a surreal experience after being home for so long … Alaska is stunning,” he says.
HAL will celebrate the 75th year of cruising in Alaska in 2022.
“Our 75th year in Alaska is a big deal, not only for the gorgeous state we cruise in, but for our incredible company,” he says.
“We have ships leaving from Seattle, Vancouver, and Whittier that range from 7 to 14-day cruises. We offer cruise tours that showcase Alaska’s interior with our own lodge just steps away from the entrance to Denali National Park.
“Plus, we’re the only cruise line that offers tours to the Yukon, exploring Whitehouse and Dawson City. So, bottom line we’re planning some fun adventures for our diamond anniversary,” he adds.
Wayne describes Alaska as the last frontier and the perfect destination for cruising.
“Its appeal is that you can be in the middle of nowhere or be in the middle of it all … because of its geographical location, it embodies the sense of wonder,” he says. “Where else can you have a cup of coffee on your balcony watching icebergs, bears, sea otters, whales and so much more right next to the ship? It’s the perfect destination for the first-time cruiser and repeat cruise lovers.”
So how is the future of cruising looking? Wayne is confident fans of cruising can’t wait to get back on their favourite ships and believes the future appears promising.
“This industry has gone through a lot – from what I’ve seen and the excitement I’ve been a part of on our Alaska and Greek voyages, I feel the future of cruising is strong,” he says. “Especially after dealing with COVID-19, people around the world want adventure – they want stability and want to make memories to last a lifetime. Cruising offers all of that and more,” he adds.
Wayne fell in love with cruising at the ripe old age of seven and has clocked up nearly 100 cruises. “I love cruising because of the incredible destinations, plus you unpack once and have the world outside your window. Every team member on board makes you feel special. Your waiter knows that you want a certain dish, knows the drink you enjoy and it’s just perfect. There’s no land-based holiday that’s as rich in value as cruising.”
As Director of Communications and Content, his role is to also bring the behind-the-scene stories to life through social media and other brand channels. There will be lots of travelling across the fleet and around the world and he’s looking forward to cruising on more ships as they return to service. “I love sharing the Holland America Line experience both on board and ashore through the stories of both guests and crew,” he says.
“There’s no doubt that people are looking for more in-depth and engaging content as part of their travel research, especially ‘behind-thescenes’ information and advice directly from fellow explorers.”
As for what sets HAL apart from other cruise lines, Wayne attributes it to the ships being the perfect size.
“Holland America Line doesn’t do mega-ships. Our mid-sized layout offers the perfect amount of space to spread out, enjoy the gorgeous views and take it all in,” he says.
He also says the food is superb. “We’re the only cruise line that offers a Master Chef along with an entire Culinary Council team, featuring chefs from around the world.
“From the awesome burgers at the Dive-In burger bar, French brasserie style seafood feasts at Rudi’s Sel de Mer to the much-loved steaks at Pinnacle Grill, HAL really knows how to take care of guests in the dining department.”
All up, Wayne says, “Holland America Line differentiates our cruise experience with perfectly crafted itineraries and immersive cultural experiences that enhance our guests’ time in a destination, through live entertainment, regional food and wine, and unique shore activities.”
From April through October 2022, guests can embark on cruises to Alaska aboard Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Oosterdam and Zuiderdam. For explorers who wish to travel farther into the Great Land, 16 different Land+Sea Journeys combine a three-, four- or seven-day Alaska cruise with an inland exploration of Denali National Park.
HAL is the only cruise line that extends land tour options up to the unspoiled reaches of Canada’s Yukon Territory.
Every Alaska cruise includes a visit to one or more of Alaska’s iconic glacier destinations including Glacier Bay National Park, College Fjord, Hubbard Glacier and the twin Sawyer Glaciers of Tracy Arm. The company has more Glacier Bay permits than any other major cruise line.
The seven-day Glacier Discovery Northbound and Glacier Discovery Southbound itineraries cruise between Whittier, Alaska, and Vancouver, Canada, travelling aboard Nieuw Amsterdam and Noordam and visiting ports such as Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska.
Meanwhile, the seven-day Alaska Inside Passage cruises sail roundtrip from Vancouver on Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam and Zuiderdam, visiting similar ports. The seven-day Alaskan Explorer cruises sail roundtrip from Seattle and call in at Victoria, British Columbia, Ketchikan and Sitka, Alaska.
All ships cruising in Alaska feature expanded onboard programs including talks by an Alaska naturalist. Cruises with Glacier Bay take on a National Park Ranger and Huna native speaker, and special presentations explore local topics such as Alaska’s bush pilots and the famous Iditarod sled dog race.
Highlights for 2022
From transatlantic jaunts and culturally rich destinations ranging from rivieras to cool wonderlands – as well as an epic 150th anniversary crossing – HAL has lots to offer:
EUROPE – 150TH ANNIVERSARY
HAL will celebrate the historic 150th anniversary of its first ship, the Rotterdam, which sailed on 15 October, 1872, with a transatlantic cruise on the new Rotterdam. The ship embarked on its maiden voyage from Rotterdam to New York and the new Rotterdam VII will depart Rotterdam on 15 October, 2022.
The historic crossing on its 150th anniversary will stop at Plymouth, England; stay overnight in New York City, New York, then continue onto Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Celebrations will continue into 2023.
Next year’s Europe season features culturally rich destinations and a new combination of ships, including two Pinnacle Class vessels. From April through October, dozens of unique Europe itineraries, ranging from seven to 21 days, will be offered aboard the Rotterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Westerdam and Volendam.
As well as transatlantic crossings to and from Europe, the five HAL ships will cover the entire region on voyages.
Ships will explore the Baltic, British Isles, French and Spanish rivieras, the Iberian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, and Northern Europe including Iceland, Greenland, Norway and the North Cape.
In 2022, there will be 27 one-way and roundtrip sailings from the Netherlands. Rotterdam and Volendam will depart from Rotterdam between May and August, including roundtrips and one-ways to Amsterdam. Zaandam also visits Rotterdam on a transatlantic itinerary. “It’s going to be very exciting to make Rotterdam and Amsterdam homeports,” says Wayne.
WHAT’S HOT IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
HAL has a busy, adventure-packed season next year in the Mediterranean. Westerdam will sail the entire 2022 Europe season in the Mediterranean on roundtrip cruises from Venice, as well as between Civitavecchia (Rome), Venice, Barcelona and Piraeus (Athens).
The seven- and 12-day itineraries cover the eastern and western Med, including Greece, Turkey, Italy, Croatia, France and Spain. The Pinnacle Class Nieuw Statendam sails seven-day cruises between Barcelona, Venice, Civitavecchia and Piraeus. The ship spans the eastern and western Mediterranean, including Spain, Italy, Tunisia and Sicily.
In May, Nieuw Statendam sails from Barcelona to Copenhagen on a 12-day voyage along the Iberian Peninsula. Meanwhile, Volendam offers the Europe Voyages of Distinction program, specially curated for guests looking to explore off the beaten path. The ship will offer 14-day cruises roundtrip from Venice and between Civitavecchia and Venice that include unique ports like Alexandria (Cairo), Egypt; Ashdod and Haifa, Israel; and Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey.
To learn more visit hollandamerica.com