By Mike Coleman
Premium cruise operator Holland America Line will be spending $200 million over the next two years to transform five of its venerable vessels.
Statendam, Maasdam, Ryndam, Veendam and Rotterdam will each receive an extensive makeover highlighted by the transformation of each pool area into an upscale retreat.Â
The Retreat is a totally new approach for us to this area of the ship,Â said the lines Richard D. Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs.Â
Were creating an area where guests can relax outside in a sophisticated environment, and were adding other fun and convenient features such as a whirlpool, band and DJ stand and even a pizzeria.Â
The Retreats pool will be divided into three main sections separated by low, curving walls running the length of the pool. The middle section is 16 inches deep so guests can sit on built-in benches in the water. The two side sections feature lounge chairs in eight inches of water ideal for cooling off on a hot day. Water falls and spouts enhance the decor. A hot tub will be located at the aft end of the pool.
Slice, an upscale pizzeria, will be incorporated into the area, serving signature pizzas, whole pies and slices to order. Look also for tables and comfortable, padded chairs under a sunscreen where guests can dine al fresco. A large LED screen and sound system will be integrated into the ship’s superstructure, above The Retreat, providing movies and video to guests lounging in the area.
Veendam will be the first ship to receive the makeover in spring 2009. Maasdam, meanwhile, will be the last, in early 2011.Â
A new bar concept will be added. Dubbed Mix, look for separate locales Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales within The Retreat.
Enhancements will also be made to existing staterooms. Additional staterooms will also be added to each vessel.Â
The ships will feature 38 lanai staterooms (39 on Rotterdam) with direct access to the Lower Promenade deck. New spa staterooms near the Greenhouse Spa and Salon will offer special in-room spa amenities.
There are 14 ships in the lines fleet offering some 500 cruises to 320 ports in more than 100 countries. Two- to 108-day itineraries visit all seven continents.
A 15th ship, Nieuw Amsterdam, is scheduled to join the fleet in 2010.
Holland America vessels feature Culinary Arts Centers – state-of-the-art onboard show kitchens where more than 60 celebrated guest chefs and culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes – presented by Food & Wine magazine; Explorations Cafe powered by The New York Times; teens-only activity areas and all new stateroom amenities highlighted by flat-panel TVs and plush Euro-top beds.