Holland America Line has always had a following, but now it is evolving towards the future while honouring its past, to the delight of loyalists and newcomers alike. Spearheading the charge, the Koningsdam is the brand’s newest flagship, representing the new direction while the existing fleet is brought up to speed.
When it launched in 2016, at a christening I personally attended in Rotterdam, the ship was undoubtedly familiar but also a dramatic step forward. Before then, the latest Nieuw Amsterdam moderately introduced a fresh colour palate that began to depart from the line’s characteristic red and gold hues with more blues and silvers, but overall the existing fleet still clung to tradition when the industry strived to modernise.
Indeed, it was a difficult balance to strike properly. Among current cruise operators, only Holland America Line and Cunard Line have histories dating back to the classic ocean liner era, and that’s not a heritage that should be swept under the rug. It is, however, a challenge to convince today’s traveller to book a ticket onboard if all they perceive is a fleet dedicated to an ageing demographic.