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We interview Wendy Lahmich, Holland America Line's UK Sales Director

27 March 2017

Holland America Line - Koningsdam

Updated June 2019

We collated some of our most frequently asked questions about Holland America Line (HAL) and pitched them to Wendy Lahmich, the cruise line's Sales Director for the UK & Ireland. She shared with us some great information for anyone new to the brand, plus some personal memories based on her own experiences with this fantastic cruise line...

What has been your most memorable cruise?

I had always wanted to go to Alaska, and I finally embarked on a Holland America Line Inside Passage cruise 14 years ago.  My favourite memories include seeing orca whales in the wake of our ship and viewing the incredible scenery in Glacier Bay.

Do you have any favourite ports and why?

Other than Alaska my favourite ports would have to be Kotor, in Montenegro and Dubrovnik, in Croatia.   I just love the Dalmatian Coast for its stunning architecture, scenery and lovely people.  Of course, you can see all of these destinations on a Holland America Line cruise, departing from Venice – one of the most iconic cities you can ever sail from!

What are HAL's stand out features?

Holland America Line is known for our “carefully curated” itineraries which really do give our guests authentic destination immersion both before their cruise via our online destination guides and onboard with our experts, along with long days and overnight stays in iconic cities like Sydney, Shanghai and Singapore.

We launched a beautiful new ship in 2016, ms Koningsdam, and with it a whole host of new partnerships (we called it our “Bold New Story”), most of which are now being rolled out fleetwide.  Our partnership with BBC Earth brings incredible Frozen Planet concerts to the main show lounge; we now have Music Walk featuring the BB Kings blues, dueling pianos at Billboard Onboard and great classical music from Lincoln Centre Stage.  Plus, our already excellent culinary reputation has been enhanced by new restaurants – very French Sel de Mer, “Dine at the Culinary Arts Centre” on Koningsdam and a partnership with America’s Test Kitchen, offering guests regional cookery demonstrations and more.

My personal favourite?  Our unique wine blending facility on ms Koningsdam where a small group of guests learn to blend and create their own red wines, with help from the experts of Chateau St Michelle.  Before this experience I knew very little about red wine….and I learnt so much!

Are there any age ranges best suited to HAL?

Holland America Line appeals to discerning travellers of all ages.  Obviously longer itineraries will appeal to a slightly older demographic, but our excellent CLUB HAL amenities for children aged 3 upwards also attract many families during school holidays – including my own!

Which hobbies/interests do HAL best cater to?

Enrichment is an important feature of Holland America Line.  When on holiday our guests like to learn, so we have a huge choice of activities from cookery and digital workshops to painting and drawing skills at ‘Rijksmuseum at Sea’. One of our popular partnerships is with O, the Oprah Magazine, which helps provide wellness activities, classes, seminars and so much more!  Our Explorations Central experts also provide lots of information about the culture, customs, sights and history of the destinations visited during the cruise.  And of course there are many places just to relax and watch the world go by such as the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, our extensive deck areas which feature two pools – and our wrap-around Promenade deck.

My absolute favourite place for relaxation onboard ships which have the area is the Retreat, where I always book a Private Cabana for the whole duration of the cruise! It is a must for me as it does exactly what it says on the tin but in total luxury!

What should our customers know before booking a cruise with HAL?

Holland America Line is an international company which means you’ll have the opportunity to interact with amazing people from many different countries. English is the official language onboard, however we are very proud of our Dutch officers and our academy trained Indonesian and Filipino crew who provide intuitive, yet friendly service and are really adept at getting to know guests’ names and preferences very early in the cruise.

How does HAL cater for singles?

We welcome single travellers onboard (me being one of them!) and we arrange get-togethers, socials and dining according to their preferences.  While we do feature some new single staterooms on ms Koningsdam, many guests choose to “share” accommodation with another single guest of the same sex (in designated stateroom categories), for instant companionship - and to avoid single supplements.

What is the dress code?

Daytime is always casual and most evenings are informal.  We still offer guests the opportunity to dress up on two evenings per week and enjoy a more celebratory evening meal in the restaurant however, those who prefer to stay casual may dine in one of our alternative restaurants at the Lido or even order a freshly-baked pizza in the comfort of their stateroom.

Alaska has always sold really well for us, and Holland America Line celebrated 70 years in Alaska in 2017 – with more ships, glaciers and gala dinners than ever before! As well as cruises from Vancouver, Seattle and Seward, we offer a range of incredible Land + Sea Journeys which, as well as a cruise, include up to 3 nights at our McKinley Chalet hotel in Denali National Park, for nature at its very wildest!  Another very popular destination is South America, especially the 14 -16 night “Passage” cruises that sail from Buenos Aires or Santiago, combining cities like Montevideo and Ushuaia with the breathtaking Chilean Fjords and Glacier Alley – plus, a day at Port Stanley in the Falklands, a chance to see penguins visit a real British pub!

What does the future hold for Holland America Line?

We have not long celebrated the launch of ms Nieuw Statendam in Autumn 2018, and we have another “Dam” ship due for delivery in 2021 - showing there is a huge demand for Holland America Line’s mid-size, premium product and incredible destination experience.  We constantly continue to enhance the existing fleet for example, ms Westerdam now features upgraded suites, the Music Walk, our Explorations Central concept and “Rijksmuseum at Sea” art instalment.

If you're feeling inspired to cruise with this ever-popular cruise line, take a look at our current Holland America Line cruise offers.

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