Onboard Nieuw Amsterdam - A Move Towards Contemporary
with Ming Tappin
A modern painting in place of dark oil canvases is one of the noticeable changes onboard the Nieuw Amsterdam.
Public area seating shows off lighter shades and cleaner lines.
Suites feature flat screens, minimalist furnishings with a pop of colour.
The ever present floral detail, traditional yet a departure from the single bloom in a vase.
Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam hosted 85 travel agents for a tour and lunch last Saturday at Vancouver's Canada Place. As the "newest" HAL ship to homeport at YVR for the Alaska season, and the 1stexample of the line's shift towards a more contemporary look, many agents came onboard eager to see the differences.
And there were plenty of noticeable differences that clearly stood out as we toured the public areas and the staterooms. Gone are the dark wood paneling, heavy oil paintings and overstuffed chairs. Staterooms are bright with blonde wood vanity and chestnut brown wardrobes; in the lounges, walls, floors and furniture are of pale blues, soft greys and other muted shades with a subtle and well-placed pop of colour. Seating carries clean lines of Scandinavian design, covered in leather and microfibre. Modern art has also found a place in many corridors and stairwells.
But Holland is careful not to alienate its loyal repeat guests by keeping many traditional elements which are the foundation of its success. Wraparound teak promenade deck with steamer chairs, gorgeous fresh flower arrangements, gracious Indonesian and Filipino staff remain the hallmarks of Holland America cruising, as well as sumptuous cuisine and attention to detail.
This perfect balance is why Vera Chan of Cruise Holidays found the ship to be so pleasant. She is glad to see the evolution to the contemporary while keeping all the traditional elements, which she feels is so important. Carla Nordin of WD World Travel agrees that the ship is very elegant and would still appeal to HAL's longtime client while attracting newcomers looking for a mix of modern and classic cruise experience.
Matthew Vaughan of Cruise Experts Travel confessed he had mixed emotions as he toured the ship, and found himself being distracted by the mix of traditional and modern. Like many of us who are so used to Holland’s traditional style, I can certainly understand his predicament. In the end, he felt that the modern touches were just right - not too much to overwhelm or confuse tried and true Mariners, but selective enough to create enough difference to those who might not like the more traditional "dark" look of the older HAL fleet.
Ask any travel agent what demographic Holland serves and you will get a quick answer: Seniors. This is the unfortunate stigma for a cruise line whose objective includes providing a traditional cruise experience. With a strategy to steer towards the contemporary with the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, and culminating with the newly launched Koningsdam, Holland America should be on its way to amend its image.
(L to R)Carla Nordin, WD World Travel; Matthew Vaughan, Cruise Experts Travel; Vera Chan, Cruise Holidays; Cheryl Gray and Eric Van Meter,Uniglobe One Travel enjoying lunch with Ming.