HAL is THINKING big for it's next-generation ships

Krazy Kruizers

Holland America Specialist
source: http://www.cruise-community.com/inde...=910&Itemid=69

HAL is thinking big for its next-generation ships

Wednesday, 07 July 2010 06:43

Holland America Line is focussing on vessels of around 110,000gt with capacity of 3,000 passengers for its next generation of cruise ships, company executives confirmed.

Interviewed aboard the newly christened Nieuw Amsterdam on a maiden three-day cruise in the Adriatic, HAL chief executive Stein Kruse reiterated that fresh orders were still some distance away.

At the same time, the company is examining its options in light of the expected completion of the Panama Canal expansion project in 2015. ‘Our size restrictions are driven by the Panama Canal,’ he said.

‘We want to be able to move our ships in an inter-dependent way. If we have a ship in Europe and we want her to be in Alaska, we want her to be able to go through the canal.’ After the canal’s enlargement, ‘a 32.8mtr beam will no longer be an issue. The question then is how big do you go?’

Pieter Rijkaart, the company’s newbuild director, noted that, due to the impact of the economic crisis, ‘this is the first time we have completed a ship without having a follow-up order.’

But he added that ‘when the new Panama Canal opens up there will be opportunities,’ and that 2011 might therefore be the right time to embark on new, and larger prototype. He said HAL is considering a 110,000gt vessel with capacity for 3,000-plus passengers and 1,500-1,600 cabins.

Kruse said a number of considerations would play into an eventual decision, perhaps the most critical of which: ‘Is it true to the brand?’

He said the appeal of HAL’s mid-sized ships rests on personal service, ample premium space per passenger, and the intimacy of the cruise experience, as well as a huge palette of port calls, including many smaller, more remote destinations.

At 86,273gt and with capacity for 2,106 passengers, Nieuw Amsterdam and its sister Eurodam are now the largest vessels in HAL’s fleet. As Kruse noted, however, ‘this ship cannot get to Montréal because of issues with the turning basin and height restrictions.’

Building too big, he said, would threaten the basis of HAL’s brand appeal so any judgment must be finely calibrated. ‘The ultimate danger to the cruise business in general is if it becomes commoditised. I don’t want to see our industry go that way. But so far Carnival has been brilliant at well-communicated brand differentiation.’


Forever Remembered
Personal opinion only - I've cruised several times on Star Princess, also Sapphire Princess. Both are beautiful ships, but FAR too large for my taste.

Professionally, most of my Clients want nothing to do with the larger ships.

Krazy Kruizers

Holland America Specialist
Mary Ann -- I can understand how they feel. We used to love the smaller ships -- but when we were on the Veendam in 2008 the air conditioning was very poor in the public areas and Joe had problems with the heat and his medications. Also we had some plumbing issues.

HAL needs to address these issues on the older ships.

Krazy Kruizers

Holland America Specialist
Earl -- I have been told by a couple of Hotel Managers that the S class ships is losing money. People are willing to spend more money on the larger ships that do 7 day cruises.


Forever Remembered
Yonnie - that's why they're doing the SOE upgrades. Plumbing, unfortunately, will be an issue even with the newest of ships if inconsiderate people throw articles down toilets that shouldn't be tossed there.

Volendam had serious air conditioning problems when we sailed her in November 2007. She had a major drydock afterwards - all was well with the a/c (and plumbing) when I sailed her last month, and I'm very sensitive to air conditioning (I like it ice locker temperature!!!). None of my Clients have reported problems recently on the "older" ships.

Earl - yes, there's an economy of scale on larger ships.

Krazy Kruizers

Holland America Specialist
I have friends who have sailed on the S class ships recdently -- especially after their latest dry docks and plumbling and air-conditioning issues were not addressed.

red stripe

Well-Known Member
This has been in the Trades for awhile.

I guess they don't listen to their past passengers (Mariners).

Mary Ann.. and they also do not keep to the announcement they made to a bunch of us mariners on a cruise not so long ago.. when they stood there and did the "infomercial" on themselves before introducing the "gong holders" .. and said that HAL was NOT going to go the "bigger" route, and would hold to the sizes that their loyal pax loved.

The bottom line is always ..the bottom line

Keith & Rita

Well-Known Member
We've cruised on the Veendam, Maasdam, Statendam, Zaandam twice, and the old Westerdam. One of the main attractions drawing us to HAL is the smaller ship size. We hope they do not get carried away like some of the other lines with these mega size ships.
It's hard to believe our next two booked cruises is on the big ships. We let past cruise friends and forum friends talk us in to booking. However, no one twisted our arms!:whistle::whistle:


Active Member
When HAL talks about ships for the new Panama Canal, they are talking about ships larger than the HAL Vista/Carnival Spirit class ships.
Vista/Spirit ships were designed to be as large as possible and still go through the present canal. I personally enjoy that class of ship no matter what color the hull is painted.

Krazy Kruizers

Holland America Specialist
Until HAL realizes that all the millions they are spending on the S class ships to make what HAL thinks is an updated ship while still losing money, there will not be any new builds for HAL.

For all the wasted money that HAL has spent on the recent "improvements". HAL could have had a good start on a new ship.