Holland America Announces New Partnerships
Holland America Line news conference, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 in New York. (Jason DeCrow for Holland America Line)
At a news conference in New York City, Holland America’s president, Orlando Ashford, announced a series of new partnerships
Holland America is partnering with experiential travel expert AFAR Media to help cruisers dream, plan, choose and prepare for the perfect cruise vacation. Through the collaboration, AFAR will provide “Destination Guides” for all of Holland America Line’s ports of call and scenic cruising areas — totaling approximately 400.
The Destination Guides will be available on Holland America Line’s website, giving guests the most comprehensive information accessible to travelers in the cruise industry. AFAR will utilize its vast network of local experts to curate the content, providing travelers with authentic recommendations for top attractions, restaurants and shopping experiences in each destination.
“Holland America Line guests seek authenticity in travel, and studies have shown that travelers trust and value expert, third-party content above all else,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Our new partnership with AFAR Media will deliver the most extensive destination information to our guests in a way that’s never been done before in cruising, ensuring they will have the perfect shoreside experience tailored to their personal tastes and interests.”
The second new partnership was with Utrip , a travel-planning platform that brings together the best in artificial intelligence and human experience, making it easy for travelers to create their perfect trip. Utrip’s predictive technology works on a vast travel database that has been curated by local experts.
Through integration into the Holland America Line website, the Utrip platform will offer a novel way to personalize content in new Destination Guides being created in partnership with travel authority AFAR Media. Cruisers will be able to browse the information on their own or utilize the Utrip functionality to select desired ports of call, highlights and activities ashore. They will then receive customized recommendations on the line’s cruise itineraries, port highlights, as well as shore excursions tailored to their interests.
“Our guests want to experience destinations in their own way, and through our partnership with Utrip they can now personalize their trip in a fun and engaging way, as well as make more informed choices about what to do and see ashore,” said Orlando Ashford. “We are thrilled to partner with another Seattle-based company, and we know our guests are going to enjoy exploring the world in a whole new way using the Utrip interface on our website.”
Utrip simplifies searching through Holland America Line’s thousands of cruise itineraries and shoreside activities by enabling guests to narrow down their options and save specific ports and interests. These are recommended by either a pre-determined profile or a personalized one created with interactive sliders covering History, Art and Culture, Food and Drink, Nature and Outdoors, and Contemporary Life.
The third partnership was with award-winning BBC Earth, to bring fun and factual entertainment onboard its fleet of premium ships. Through the innovative programming that is a signature of BBC Earth, guests will be taken closer to the ocean and natural world through groundbreaking concerts, films, shows, children’s activities and theme cruises. The BBC Earth program is set to roll out across Holland America Line’s fleet starting in April 2016 and will be on all ships by September 2016 .
“Holland America Line cruises are all about experiential travel and venturing to all corners of the globe, and this exclusive partnership with BBC Earth will make that a richer, more rewarding experience for our guests,” said Orlando Ashford. “No one else in the cruise industry is offering the depth of quality content that BBC Earth will bring to our ships, and we hope this program will give our guests a deeper connection to the destinations we visit.”
A highlight of the partnership will be a live concert specially adapted for the line based on the “Frozen Planet” program, which will take guests on a journey into the majestic wilderness of the Polar Regions. The production will feature “Frozen Planet” footage and be accompanied by live musicians, making it a feast for the senses.
On all ships, guests will also be able to enjoy enriching activities including a game show uncovering the weird, wonderful and obscure in our natural world and BBC Earth theater screenings with special introductions by the film crew behind the programs.
Junior cruisers can get in on the adventure as well with an on-board explorer trail, fun workshops, and BBC Earth animal and dinosaur fact shows. They will even have the opportunity to try their hand at being a journalist.
Guests who want a deeper BBC Earth experience can join a featured theme cruise that will include access to the creators of your favorite BBC Earth shows who share their behind-the-scenes stories of how the programs are made and conduct master classes in their craft. Younger guests will also have the opportunity to have film workshops with the BBC Earth YouTube team. Featured cruise dates will be announced at a later time.
For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel professional, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425 ) or visit the website .