Stein Kruse Offers Progress Report On HAL Group Brands


Stein Kruse

Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group, says there’s a new culture sweeping across the company and impacting its every move.

Holland America Group encompasses Princess Cruises, Holland America Line,  Seabourn, and P&O Cruises Australia. It all adds up to 39 ships with another 5 on order. There are nearly 40,000 ship employees and several thousand more on land.

Cruise Week asked Kruse for a brand-by-brand progress report on the three lines of greatest relevance to North American cruise sellers, with a particular emphasis on product positioning.

Princess Cruises: Kruse says  Princess is a highly global brand, the appeal of which is summed up in  the ”Come Back New” tagline that translates very easily to multiple markets. “It works in Australia, it works in Europe and the U.K., and it works in the core North  American market,” says Kruse. “They’re doing everything they can in their brand to be sure  that authenticity around the travel experience is carried through in the onboard product and  in the offshore product when they go into destinations.”
The Princess platform appeals to scale. “We’ve sold off one of the two small Princess  ships, and we have one left, which is fine; she’s a little ship that meanders around the world  and has a certain audience.”
But Kruse emphasizes that the true focus is on a large, modern, very elegant, efficient  type of vessel. “That’s why we’re so excited about first  Royal, then Regal, and our third Princess ship in this class that will be coming to China in 2017.
Holland America Line: Kruse calls Holland America a great, traditional brand with  enormous history and sophisticated, classic, European heritage. That focus and an emphasis on destination immersion will continue with new-builds.

“The fact that the smaller, slightly less-efficient ships that Holland America Line has been operating  on very long voyages are moving into the P&O brand means we will have these two very, very  large and incredibly efficient ships -- certainly large by Holland America line standards -- coming here in the next couple of years. The Holland America brand is in very good shape.” 

Seabourn: To understand the present happenings at Seabourn, it helps to understand  the recent past. “When we had an opportunity to take over Seabourn back in late 2010, early  2011, I know there were a lot of questions being asked, about was that the right thing, moving  Seabourn from Miami and putting it under Holland America Line’s  management, systems  and so forth,” recalls Kruse.
Time and results, he says, have proven naysayers wrong. “We’ve sold off the three  little ships and have these beautiful OSQ ships that are garnering praise, high ratings and top awards,” he points out. That success has translated into capital injection in the form of new ships, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation , and enhancements to existing ships.
“With the innovations that we’re doing there, and the partnerships we have with Chef  Thomas Keller, UNESCO and so forth, it’s going to be the leading ultra-luxury brand in the  cruise industry for many, many years.”
Stronger Together: Kruse says all the changes described above are part of a bigger picture involving constant  innovation, reaching a stage now where every few weeks or so there’s a major  announcement regarding a new feature involving one of the brands under Kruse’s leadership.  

Making it all the more notable is that this level of innovation follows years where news was  slower coming out of all of these brands. “We have a portfolio of brands that are incredibly exciting,” sums up Kruse.

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