Holland America Line - company profile

Holland America Line - company profile


Holland America Line logoThe cruise line Holland America Line (HAL), based in Seattle in the northwest of the USA, officially celebrates its 18th anniversary on April 2023, 150. In 1873 the Nederlandsch-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij NV (NASM) was founded in Rotterdam. The origins of this company even go back to 1871.

Liner services and freight business

The original purpose of the company was to operate scheduled services between Rotterdam and New York City. Stopovers were made in English port cities Southampton or Plymouth inserted. Freight and people were transported. The shipping company's first ship was the "Rotterdam", a small steamboat with a gross tonnage of 1.705. A few years later, the name "Holland America Line" (HAL), derived from the English language, was the company's common name. Within a short time, it gained an excellent reputation for safety, service and punctuality. The company specialized in moving emigrants between Rotterdam and to carry New York.

Holland America Line - the logo on the smokestack

Holland America Line - the logo on the smokestack


Between the two world wars, the then 36.287 GT Nieuw Amsterdam launched the largest ship of the shipping company on the market. The outbreak of the Second World War interrupted the company's positive development; the largest part of the fleet, however, came under Allied protection in good time before the occupation of the Netherlands by German troops.

Cruises - the new business model

With the exception of Cunard, passenger shipping companies had little to counter the emergence of transatlantic air traffic after the Second World War. Consequently, in 1971, Holland America Line was forced to discontinue passenger transatlantic ship traffic. Since then, the company has relied on cruises. The freight business was discontinued in 1973.

The 1970s served to consolidate the company. After the realignment to cruises, two cruise ships with around 34.000 GT were ordered. In an attempt to grow through acquisitions, HAL failed to take over Windstar Sail Cruises in 1988. The shipping company got into financial turbulence and was taken over by the competitor Carnival Cruise Lines in the same year.

Holland America Line – an umbrella company of the Carnival group

The company currently acts as the parent company of an operating group consisting of three cruise brands within the Carnival Group. It's the Holland America Line Princess Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line. The two first-named companies represent two premium brands within the group. Seabourn Cruise Line serves the luxury segment. Other company activities include the operation of hotels and two bus lines. In addition, the shipping company owns and manages the island belonging to the Bahamas archipelago for the Carnival Group Little San Salvador Island, colloquially "Half Moon Cay" called.

The Holland America Line fleet

Holland America Line currently operates 11 medium-sized ships with passenger capacities ranging from 1.432 to 2.650 people based on double occupancy. According to its own statements, the shipping company has a total of 23.000 beds. The company's ships fly the flag on all continents of the world. The program includes around 500 different cruises.

The names of all ships end with the company's typical suffix "...dam". The flag state is the Netherlands and Rotterdam is the home port. The ships are divided into four classes according to their size.

R-Class

At 238 meters in length, the R-class ships are the smallest units in the fleet. They are measured at almost 61.000 GT. The capacity of each ship is based on double occupancy with 1.432 passengers. 

  • Volendam
  • Zaandam

Zaandam leaves Vancouver

Zaandam leaves Vancouver


Vista class

The Vista-class ships are significantly larger than the R-class. The length is 285 meters. The average tonnage is around 82.300 GT. With double occupancy, the number of passengers is slightly more than 1.900. 

  • Noordam                                                       
  • Oosterdam
  • Westerdam
  • Zuiderdam
East Dam in Vancouver


East Dam in Vancouver


East Dam in Vancouver


East Dam in Vancouver 


Signature class

The Signature class differs only slightly from the Vista class in terms of dimensions and size. The number of passengers and the interior make the difference. Passenger capacity is reported to be slightly over 2.100. The measurement has increased to 86.000 GT. 

  • New Amsterdam
  • Eurodam
Nieuw Amsterdam leaves Port Everglades


Nieuw Amsterdam leaves Port Everglades


Eurodam off Mykonos


Eurodam off Mykonos 


Pinnacle class

The youngest ship class is the Pinnacle class. Translated into German, the name means something like "summit". The three 300 meter long ships set new standards within the fleet in terms of their equipment and their entertainment offerings. The measurement almost touches the 100.000 mark, and the number of passengers is well over 2.600 with double occupancy. As the newest ship, the Rotterdam was introduced to the fleet last year.

Nieuw Statendam - meeting on the high seas

Nieuw Statendam - meeting on the high seas


Update October 2023