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Monday, December 08, 2008

Holland America Is Transforming Pool Areas Into Upscale Retreats

Five Holland America Line cruise ships will emerge from nearly month-long dry docks with an additional $200 million in investments, and one of the more noticeable upgrades will be The Retreat, a new resort-style pool area on the aft of the Lido deck. Catering to the preferences of today’s upscale travelers, the indulgent retreat is a first for the industry. The five ships, ms Statendam, ms Maasdam, ms Ryndam, ms Veendam and ms Rotterdam are all receiving the new pool upgrades in an attempt to regain popularity as a premium cruise line, lost in some of the low pricing initiatives lately.

The main focus of the new pool experience will be a shallow area with forty-four lounge chairs where guests can relax and dip their fingers and toes in the water. Built-in benches create another place for guests to relax and dangle their legs in the refreshing water.

The Retreat’s pool will be divided into three main sections separated by low, curving walls running the length of the pool. The middle section is 16 inches deep so guests can sit on built-in benches in the water. The two side sections feature lounge chairs in eight inches of water — perfect for cooling off on a hot day. Water falls and spouts enhance the decor. At the aft end of the pool will be a hot tub for soothing relaxation.

Slice, an upscale pizzeria, will be incorporated into the area, serving signature pizzas, whole pies and slices to order. Tables and comfortable, padded chairs under a sunscreen provide an inviting place to dine al fresco. And, in order to provide live music, a stage will be added near the pool. For added entertainment, an LED screen and sound system will be integrated into the ship’s superstructure, providing movies and video to The Retreat.

This $200-million phase in the Signature of Excellence commitment brings the latest innovations at sea to Holland America Line’s Statendam, Maasdam, Ryndam, Veendam and Rotterdam. The first of the extensive dry dock periods begins with the Veendam in spring 2009 and the last will be completed on the Maasdam in early 2011. While in dry dock, ships will expand the aft deck to create The Retreat and a new bar concept called Mix that features separate areas — Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales. Enhancements will be made to all existing staterooms and additional staterooms will be added to the ships. The ships also will introduce 38 innovative lanai staterooms (39 on Rotterdam) with direct access to the Lower Promenade Deck. New spa staterooms near the Greenhouse Spa and Salon will offer special in-room spa amenities. Overall, Holland America Line has committed $525 million to its Signature of Excellence program that redefines premium cruising.

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