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Holland America was founded in 1873 as the Netherlands-America Steamship Company (NASM), a shipping and passenger line. Because it provided service to the Americas, it became known as Holland America Line. The company's first ocean liner was the original Rotterdam, which sailed its maiden voyage from the Netherlands to New York City on Oct. 15, 1872. The one-way voyage took 15 days.

By its 25th anniversary, Holland America owned a fleet of six cargo and passenger ships and also provided service between Holland and the Dutch East Indies via the newly-constructed Suez Canal.

The line was a principal carrier of emigrants from Europe to the United States until well after the turn of the century, carrying 850,000 to new lives in the New World.

The company offered its first cruise in 1895; its second cruise, from New York to the Holy Land, was in 1910.

In 1971, Holland America suspended its trans-Atlantic passenger trade and turned to offering cruise vacations full time.

Holland America has carried more than seven million passengers.

At Holland America Line we work hard to live up to our own very high standards. It is gratifying when our guests, members of the press, and others let us know that we are living up to their standards as well. We are honored by the many positive reviews and comments received for our ships and our service.

Industry Awards

"Highest-rated Premium Cruise Line"
1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000
--Readers of Conde Nast Traveler

"Highest-rated Premium Cruise Line"
--Readers of Travel + Leisure

"Best Onboard Service"
1998, 1999, 2000
--Onboard Services Magazine

"Diamond Awards: Food Service, Entertainment & Onboard Service"
1997, 1998, 1999
--Onboard Services Magazine

"Best Overall Cruise Value"
1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
--World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society

"Ship of the Year"
1993, Noordam; 1995, Statendam; 1996, Ryndam; 1998, Veendam; 1999, Rotterdam
--World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society

"Eight of the World's Twenty Top-Rated Ships"
1997, 1998, 1999
--World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society

Guest Comments

"The service in the dining room was flawless. I think the most impressive quality is the balance between being there to serve every whim and yet not being, as so many lines are, over aggressive to make you uncomfortable.
But in the final analysis, it was the ship's crew and staff that exhibited such a gracious and helpful attitude, to all the guests, by everyone, including the waiters, cabin stewards, officers, etc. It was truly impressive. How an organization can create and maintain such a high standard is remarkable."
--John De Libera, Statendam

"A very special young man employed in the Beverage Department, Francis Navarez, has natural qualities that cannot be learned or taught. He has a way of dealing with people that shows respect and genuine interest in the individual."
--Robert Benson, Statendam

"Everything was wonderful. The cabin as well as all other areas of the ship were very clean. The food was fabulous; the service was first rate; the entertainment was extraordinary."
--Cathy and Don Erdman, Ryndam

"Cruise Director Rick Spath's positive attitude always came through with his message. One could hear the smile on his face. He's good, very good."
--Mark Beales, Ryndam

"All of the staff was excellent."
--Patricia Kauff, Noordam

"My wife and I recently returned from a seven day cruise and we really had a great time."
--Lee Shockley, Westerdam

"Let me tell you that it was the best of all the cruises we have been on. The Indonesian crew were always very courteous, pleasant and eager to serve us."
--Paul Costello, Noordam

"This was a most wonderful experience. We were pleased in every way. Everyone we met was pleasant and competent - from ship officers to the fantastic waiters in the dining room."
--Tom and Charlette Campbell, Noordam

"Katy was not only a tour director, she was a friend. She greeted us in Anchorage, gave us the information we needed for our stay here and made sure as the evening approached
that we were satisfied and comfortable."
--Barbara van Poppelen, Maasdam

"I have never been treated so royally. From our room steward, to the dining room service, your Five Star service excelled them all."
--Helen Poetz, Nieuw Amsterdam

Guidebook Comments

"Service, too, is taken seriously: The line maintains its own school (in Indonesia) to train staff members, rather than hiring them out of a union hall.
The crew seems to take a genuine, personal interest in guests, learning not only their names but also habits and personal preferences.
They will also find the finer moments that Holland America has become known for - bartenders who make personalized book marks for guests and roll napkins into flowers for the ladies."
--Fodor's Worldwide Cruises and Ports of Call

"Holland America Line marked 125 years in the business in 1998 and the experience shows."
--The Complete Idiot's Travel Guide to Cruise Vacations

"Four-five ribbons out of a five maximum."
--Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation, Eighth Edition

"Service - Attentive everywhere by an accommodating staff anxious to please. About 70 percent of the staff are very experienced and enjoy their jobs. Holland America's not-so-secret weapon is the crew."
--The Total Travlers Guide to Worldwide Cruising, 13th Edition

"Cruise line's strengths: outstanding crew and service, consistent quality and style. HAL's efficient Dutch officers and friendly Indonesian and Filipino crew are a winning combination. Unobtrusive service by an unfailingly gracious, smiling and attentive staff is the hallmark of Holland America and one of the principal reasons the cruise line has so many loyal fans."
--The Unofficial Guide to Cruises

"The line's long-standing tradition of hiring Indonesian and Filipino crew members and training them in its own Jakarta hotel school results in consistently high-quality service.
As much as anybody in the business, Holland America delivers what it promises. Housekeeping is of the sort our mothers used to describe as, 'You could eat off the floor'."
--Fielding's Worldwide Cruises


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