HAL's New 'Signature Class'



Received in our offices this morning:

SEATTLE, Jan. 9 -- Holland America Line will call its
recently announced pair of new-builds the Signature Class, taking the name
from an integral component of the premium line's branding and the current
US$225 million Signature of Excellence initiative.

With a firm order for one ship due in summer 2008 and an option for
another in spring 2010, the Signature Class marks Holland America Line's
latest class of new build vessels and the largest ever constructed for the
premium line. Previous new-build series include the four-ship Statendam Class
group, four-ship Rotterdam Class, and four-ship Vista Class. The line also
owns and operates the 793-passenger Elegant Explorer, the ms Prinsendam. With
an estimated all-in cost of $450 million each, the new 86,000-ton Panamax
Signature Class vessels will be built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri's
Marghera shipyard. The vessels are unnamed at this time.

"With innovative design and guest offerings, the Signature Class ships
will continue the evolution of Holland America Line's sophisticated mid-sized
ships and further our premium leadership position," said Stein Kruse,
president and chief executive officer. "The two 2,044-passenger ships
represent a 22 percent increase in our capacity and will allow us to achieve a
greater share of the growing premium cruise market."

The ships of the Signature Class will evolve from the line's Vista Class
ships and further define and expand the Holland America Line premium brand
with new concepts such as an innovative topside 144-seat restaurant and
50-seat lounge surrounded by panoramic views overlooking the ocean expanse and
the Lido pool. Other additions are an Explorer's Lounge Bar, a premium
wine-tasting lounge, an elegant luxury jewelry boutique, new atrium bar area,
enhanced and reconfigured show lounge, and a new photographic and imaging

The Signature Class goes beyond the Vista Class, adding decks and 63 new
staterooms. Forty-seven will be verandah cabins and ten will be a new style
of stateroom with ceiling-to-floor and wall-to-wall panoramic windows. Total,
the new Signature Class will carry 1,022 double occupancy staterooms, with
67 percent featuring verandahs and 86 percent outside.

Staterooms will spotlight all the Signature of Excellence premium
amenities of plush Euro-top Mariner's Dream Beds, deluxe waffle/terry cloth
robes, Egyptian cotton towels, flat panel TVs, dvd players, make-up mirrors
with halo lighting, massage shower heads, professional grade hair dryers,
fresh flowers and complimentary fruit baskets.

The Signature Class will continue several much-admired Holland America
Line features, including outside-view, glass elevators at midship; the
Explorations Cafe -- a cyber-coffee house powered by The New York Times; the
Pinnacle Grill and Pinnacle Bar; the innovative Culinary Arts Center presented
by Food & Wine Magazine, where culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations
and intimate classes in a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchens; an expanded
Greenhouse Spa and Salon with thermal suites and hydro-pool, the largest
gymnasium ever built for Holland America Line; and a youth facility that
includes the teens-only Loft.

On the technical side, Signature Class ships will feature the latest
state-of-the-art navigation and safety systems including dynamic positioning
abilities to hold the ship in a precise position. The vessels will be powered
by six diesel generators and propelled by the latest Azipod propulsion

"This new class of ships demonstrates the strength of our brand, the
loyalty of our guests and the dedication of our more than 15,000 employees
worldwide," said Kruse. "The added capacity will provide greater
opportunities for our guests and employees alike."


I agree, Bruce. I still prefer the "smaller" ships. But "different strokes for different folks", I guess...


Thanks for this info, Mary Ann. I decided I'm not a big fan of the Vista class ships, so I can't say I'm looking forward to the Signature Class.


I just don't understand. Why would you mess with perfection and build the Vista class and now the Signature class? Give me the Volendam any day.


I wonder how long it'll be after the Signature-class (and more, later) ships begin that we'll see more posts praising the "oldie, but goodie" Vista-class ones ?!?

Times....they are a-changin'...


HAL is a premium line. How does one offer premium service to 2000+ people all at the same time? I realize cruising is getting more and more popular, but as you add more and more people to a single ship, you make it harder to offer a premium service. Will people still cruise HAL if the service is no better than what you receive on Carnival's Spirit class (the ships are about the same size)? I am not down playing Carnival's Spirit class of ships, I was on the Pride and did not have a single complaint (okay, a week was not long enough, but I don't think that is Carnival's fault). But why pay a $1.20 if you can get the same quality for $1.05?

Krazy Kruizers

I've read about this larger ship. We thought that the Vista class ships were big enough. Now HAL is going bigger and with more passengers.

Just not for us.

Krazy Kruizers

To me, it sounds like HAL is trying to be more like Carnival - bigger ships - shorter cruises - get them on - get them off.


We were on the Maasdam over the holidays and the captain made the announcement about this new class of ships during the Mariner Party. It was news to me then, but may have already been released before that time.
Anyway, the vast majority of attendees applauded loudly when he read the statement about sticking to HAL tradition with smaller ships.
I fail to see how this fits with that philosophy. Is this really considered a "smaller ship" by today's standards?!


Joyce - the announcement of the LARGER ship came as a surprise to us as all we had heard, like you, is that the new ship(s) would be smaller.

Krazy Kruizers

When we were on the Zuiderdam in May, John Deering told us that the next HA:L ship would be like Carnival's Triumph - that's when we first heard about it.

And I did post this information on another site when we returned home.

Krazy Kruizers

If I am correct, HAL hs been owned by Carnival for nearly 19 years??

And for years HAL was able to keep many of their "signatures" in place that many of us (especially suite passengers) have enjoyed. It has become very evident that Carnival is calling the shots as we have seen so many things disappear the last couple of years.