A Cruise Line 150 Years in the Making: The Legacy of Holland America Line

Discover the standard in premier cruising.

A large Holland America cruise ship docked in the medieval port on the island of Malta. There  are sand-colored brick buildings surrounding it and the water is a deep beautiful blue. Holland America Line

Founded in 1873, the Holland America Line has a rich history and a well-earned reputation for maritime exploration, elegance and exceptional cruise experiences that spans an epic 150 years. Beginning as transatlantic transportation for European immigrants seeking a new beginning in North America, today, Holland America Line is a favorite of travel aficionados crisscrossing the globe.

A drawing of the Rotterdam I sailing her maiden voyage and first transatlantic cruise from Rotterdam, Holland to New York City. 1872: Rotterdam I sails her maiden voyage and first transatlantic cruise from Rotterdam, Holland to New York City. Holland America Line

Momentous Milestone

This year marks the cruise line’s 150th anniversary. To celebrate its legacy and longevity, Holland America Line has planned special itineraries, commemorative events and exhibitions to showcase its rich history and highlight some of the world's most breathtaking destinations.

“A milestone like a 150th anniversary doesn’t come around often for most companies, and our celebrations will bring to life our century-and-a-half of amazing history,” said Gus Antorcha, Holland America Line’s president. “Holland America Line has touched the lives of millions of people throughout the years — whether by bringing them to a new life in America or providing a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. We have some really special experiences planned over the next several months to honor our heritage.”

One highlight of the anniversary celebration is the Grand Voyage. An exhilarating 128-day cruise, the Grand Voyage itinerary visits more than 60 ports of call in some of the world’s most tantalizing destinations and offers passengers the unique opportunity to completely circle the globe without a single overseas flight—all experienced in the signature style and comfort of Holland America Line. 

The poolside lounge on a Holland America ship featuring a cocktail bar, comfortable seating and unique golden fish bar stools. Holland America Line

The Cruising “Sweet Spot”

While the Holland America Line is known for its exceptional service and elegance, and for setting the standard for cruising, the company has found the "sweet spot" of cruising, striking the perfect balance between fine amenities and affordability. The line's ships are known for their classic and timeless style, with elegant decor and a refined atmosphere that appeals to discerning travelers.

At the same time, Holland America Line offers a range of affordable options, from shorter itineraries to budget-friendly staterooms, making it accessible to a wide range of travelers. The line's exceptional culinary offerings, diverse entertainment options and personalized service also contribute to its reputation as a premier cruise line that doesn't break the bank.

A large onboard cinema for cruise passengers to watch movies. This scene shows a BBC Earth show with a large brown bear on the screen. Holland America Line

Living & Learning

One of the hallmarks of a Holland America Line cruise is the emphasis on destination immersion. Through specifically curated shore excursions, Holland America Line provides guests with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the local culture and history of each destination on their itinerary.

A wide range of excursions cater to any interest and preference a guest may have—from behind-the-scenes tours of famous landmarks to private access to museums and galleries, more adventurous hiking and kayaking tours, and even wildlife safaris. However, destination immersion doesn’t just refer to when guests are exploring exotic ports of call.

Explorations Central™ (EXC®), exclusive to Holland America Line, is a program designed to help guests connect with the destinations they visit through cultural and educational activities. Featuring expert-led lectures, workshops and demonstrations, as well as hands-on activities such as cooking classes, language classes and craft workshops, the EXC® program provides guests with a more authentic travel experience and makes each destination more vivid and meaningful.

A Holland America chef prepares to cut a grilled steak. He is wearing the classic white chef's clothing. Holland America Line

Destination Dining

Along with the company’s legendary cruise destinations, Holland America Line is known for offering exceptional culinary experiences onboard their ships with menus that are sure to delight all foodies. The cruise line partners with six world-renowned chefs that make up the Holland America Line Culinary Council® to create menus that feature a variety of international flavors. Holland America Line is committed to providing guests with an authentic culinary experience that reflects the destinations they visit. To achieve this, the cruise line sources ingredients locally whenever possible, ensuring passengers can taste the flavors of the region.

In Alaska, guests can enjoy fresh seafood like salmon and halibut, while in the Caribbean, they can savor tropical fruits and spices. The chefs onboard the ships work closely with local suppliers to ensure that the ingredients are fresh and of the highest quality. By using locally sourced ingredients, Holland America Line not only supports local communities but also provides passengers with a unique and immersive dining experience that complements their cruise vacation.  

A Holland America cruise ship in port. This is one of their ships that uses biofuel as part of the company's commitment to reduce emmissions. Holland America Line uses biofuel as part of their commitment to reduce emissions. Holland America Line

The Future

As the Holland America Line celebrates its legacy of longevity, the company is looking towards the future with excitement and optimism. The company is committed to continuing its tradition of offering cruises and destinations that appeal to so many travelers, while making a commitment to sustainability and taking steps to reduce its impact on the environment.

As part of this commitment, Holland America Line has implemented a range of measures to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices, including the use of cleaner-burning fuels, energy-efficient technologies and waste reduction programs.

There are also increased efforts to support the communities it visits by implementing a range of programs to support local economies and promote responsible tourism. These programs include partnerships with local organizations and initiatives to support education, health and environmental conservation projects in the destinations it visits.

Exclusive AAA Member Benefits

AAA Vacations® Amenities*

$50 Onboard Spending Credit (max 2 per stateroom/select departures)

$50 Denali Dollars for Alaska Land + Sea Journeys (Verandah staterooms and above for first two guests in stateroom)

24/7 Member Care & Best Price Guarantee

AAA Member Benefit

$50 Onboard Spending Credit (max 2 per stateroom)

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