Holland America Debuts New BBC Earth Experiences, Cruises

If you’ve sailed with Holland America Line before, you’ll likely know that the venerable line has been widely praised for its comfortable ships, friendly Indonesian and Filipino crews, excellent food, and classic, old-world charm. But Holland America Line is changing and evolving, and in the process, becoming more relevant than ever before.

Now, Holland America has partnered with BBC Earth to develop new performances and interactive programming, as well as special theme cruises, that immerse guests in the network’s award-winning take on the natural world around us.

Zuiderdam. Photo courtesy of Holland America Line.

Currently available aboard Koningsdam, Noordam, Rotterdam, Oosterdam, Zuiderdam and Eurodam are brand-new shows and onboard entertainment including “Frozen Planet Live,” a take on the popular Frozen Planet television series.

Debuting in the main showroom of each ship, “Frozen Planet Live,” features live musicians playing a specially orchestrated musical score by award-winning composer George Fenton as the images unfold on screen. Guests are taken on an emotional and evocative journey into the wilderness of the polar regions, where life thrives in the most extraordinary conditions.

Guests can also test their knowledge with fun and entertaining onboard, family-friendly game shows that bring the world of BBC Earth to life in a brand-new, oceangoing format.

In “What on Earth!” teams gather in the ship’s main show lounge to compete against each other to uncover all that is weird, wonderful and obscure about our natural world.

In “Where on Earth!” guests try to determine the location of the questions asked, while “Who on Earth!” will pit them against a variety of animal noises; a challenge that’s sure to be more fun after a couple of cocktails at the bar.

The onboard offerings also expand to team trivia, with the new “Trivia From Earth” game being rolled out as a way for guests to showcase their knowledge of natural history to new friends and shipmates, and providing the opportunity for passengers to learn from one another.

Special programming has been developed for younger cruisers, too. The “BBC Earth for Club Hal” program will be integrated into Holland America’s Club HAL kids program, where younger cruisers can learn about animals, dinosaurs and marine life around the world. The programming will have questions and activities that are tweaked on a voyage by voyage basis depending on the age of kids and teenagers on any given sailing.

To celebrate Holland America Line 70th anniversary of exploring Alaska, a new BBC Earth Alaska show will be developed for the 2017 Alaska cruise season. Details are still forthcoming, with the line expected to announce full particulars before the start of the Alaska cruise season in April.

“Since announcing the BBC Earth partnership, we have been looking forward to launching the programming on board; and now that it’s rolling out across the fleet it’s even more engaging and visually powerful than we imagined,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Our guests are destination seekers with a desire to learn more and know more when they are cruising with us. ‘BBC Earth Experiences’ bring them to the most remote corners of the world in an incredibly innovative way.”

For an even more immersive experience, guests can join select BBC Earth Experience sailings. These special voyages feature special onboard BBC Earth guests, including producers, cameramen, and on-air hosts, who provide insight through question and answer sessions and master classes in their field of expertise. These voyages help fully immerse guests in the world around them, as well as educate them on the more technical aspects of producing such ambitious television programming.

Currently, only a handful of these special sailings have been announced by Holland America Line, with more BBC Earth Experience cruises to be unveiled at a future date.

Right now, you can join the Oosterdam out of Tampa, Florida on April 7 as she sails one of three segmented itineraries through the Panama Canal: an 18-day journey between Tampa and San Diego; a 22-day cruise from Tampa to Vancouver, British Columbia; or a 23-day journey that ends in Seattle, Washington.

In July, interested guests can book a 7-day voyage aboard the Maasdam from Boston to Quebec Montreal, or a 14-day roundtrip Boston sailing to Canada New England. Both journeys depart from Boston on July 8, 2017, and include calls on Bar Harbor; Halifax; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and Quebec City, Quebec.

Holland America similarly segments Volendam’s BBC Earth Experience sailing in October. Guests can choose to sail 14 days from Shanghai to Hong Kong on an itinerary that visits the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan;  or embark on a massive, 28-day discovery of Taiwan, Japan and the Far East from Shanghai to Singapore. Both voyages depart on October 27, 2017.

Additional BBC Earth Experience sailings are scheduled to be announced at a later date. Regular cruises aboard will still feature these new BBC Earth features, but not the onboard lecturers. Guest lecturers for the above voyages are still being determined as of press time.

Mat Way, Commercial Director Live Entertainment for BBC Worldwide added, “BBC Earth exists to inspire people with the incredible wonder of the natural world and it’s exciting to partner with a company like Holland America Line that shares our vision. Working creatively with BBC Earth’s world class content we look forward to creating some unique, immersive and unforgettable experiences for Holland America Line guests of all ages.”

These new BBC Earth offerings will be rolled out across the fleet in the coming year, with all vessels except Prinsendam slated for the new shows.

The Holland America Line that past guests have grown to love still exists, but the company is steadily moving away from the stereotype as your grandparents’ cruise line. In its place: a Holland America Line that is technologically-savvy, trendy, and suitable for the whole family.

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