Holland America has been in the business since 1873. It's a moderately prices cruising option that is classy yet relaxed. It has traditionally served a more senior demographic with most of the passengers being in their 70's or older. In recent years the cruise line has made an effort to appeal to a younger crowd. Currently, about a quarter of its guests are under the age of 55 and there are some families that enjoy the cruise line as well. Still, the general demographic for the cruises, particularly those that are a week or longer, is the senior crowd. The cruise line offers trips to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, Canada, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South America, and Africa.
The food on a Holland America cruise is generally of decent quality. Dining is usually casual in style, and guests are welcome to dress casually for most meals. Dinner meals are slightly more formal. Most ships have a main dining hall and specialty restaurants that offer a variety of meal options to passengers. There are also casual snacks available to passengers including pizza, dessert, and tea or coffee. Once a week there is usually a buffet dinner available as well. Food, as with most cruise lines, is in abundance and guests are never disappointed in the amount of food available. The service is usually excellent and the staff are friendly and welcoming on the ships as well. Staff members often remember your name and greet you with a smile, so every passenger feels pampered.
The activities on board the ship are usually low key and relaxed. Passengers can take part in ballroom dance lessons, bridge, or photography. There are often bingo games available on board, or guests could choose between trivia, Pictionary or ping pong. For the more active there are often games of basketball or volleyball in which they can participate.
Holland America has a strong cruising history. The modern vessels today reflect this in their names, which typically come from classic vessels in the company's history, such as Rotterdam. In recent years, the company has been upgrading its ships through a program called the Signature of Excellence Initiative. The staterooms are each equipped with DVD players and flatscreen televisions. The towels, bathrobes, and shower heads are all state of the art. Even the mattresses and bed linens have been upgraded.
Although Holland America operates all over the world, some of the most popular cruises are in Alaska or Europe. These destinations are superb and highly recommended.
Travel Agent Headquarters
Holland America's Travel Agent Headquarters offers travel agents information, marketing resources, promotional information, and contact information for the cruise line. It serves as a portal for information on destinations, excursions, ship details, and ongoing specials that will benefit both them and their clients. There's an image library available to agents who wish to enhance their marketing efforts. Through the website it is also possible to sign up for an email list that will send you the most current and up-to-date promotional offerings for your clients. This is the most effective way to stay current on Holland America sales, and is highly recommended if you frequently make bookings for the cruise line.
Early Advantage Seminars
Holland America's Early Advantage Seminars are a popular training option with travel agents. These seminars offer an excellent opportunity to meet with your local business development manager. During the seminar you can learn about the Early Advantage program, which offers the greatest level of savings. The seminars will discuss the newest itineraries to Alaska, Europe, and elsewhere, and they will also introduce you to the amenities aboard the Holland America fleet. Attendees of the seminars will receive valuable certificates that earn them bonus GAP points on new groups. Perks for attending these seminars include free upgrades for certain sailings, free or discount fares for third or fourth guests, and up to 50% savings on select Europe Collectors' Voyages.
These seminars offer an excellent networking opportunity. They are available throughout the United States and information can be found by visiting this website
The Holland America Cruise Line uses POLAR Online as its booking engine and organizational tool. The tool allows agents to make bookings, manage groups, and make payments all online. Some functionality is only available online, while other tools are available through the Global Distribution System (GDS). There are many resources available to travel agents to help them learn and understand the POLAR Online system. These include the POLAR Online e-Flyers, which describe functionality and tasks available through the system. There are also step by step tutorials for the system. The more you use the system, the more comfortable and familiar you'll be with it. It's a great setup to help you make bookings, and organize your sales with minimal effort on your part. In order to use POLAR Online, or to access many aspects of the Travel Agent Headquarters, you must first register your agency with Holland America. Registration requires a letter on agency letterhead that is signed by the owner or manager of your travel agency. This letter should request a business partnership with Holland America. Contact information for your agency should be included in the letter. A W-9 form that is signed by the owner of the agency is also required, as is a copy of the IATA, ARC, True, or CLIA certificate, or a copy of your agency's state license.