Holland America Line has consistently been a top choice for cruise lovers, striking the right balance between modern amenities and cherished cruise traditions. Ships like the Rotterdam are decked out with the latest features, and the exclusive Club Orange program adds a touch of luxury with benefits like stateroom upgrades and priority access. Whether you want to dive into cooking demonstrations, groove to live music, or just relax and enjoy the ship’s atmosphere, Holland America has something special in store for every traveler.
If you’re wondering which ship to hop on for your next vacation, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll rank the best Holland America ships, helping you find the perfect match for your cruise dreams.
Best Holland America Ships
1. Nieuw Statendam — Overall Score: 9.7/10
Launched in December 2018, the Nieuw Statendam quickly became a standout in the Holland America fleet. The ship’s design, inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments, is a visual treat for travelers. We really like its two-story World Stage, where you can enjoy a variety of performances. The Music Walk area offers a diverse range of live music, from classical tunes to rock beats.
For food enthusiasts, the Nieuw Statendam doesn’t disappoint. The Rudi’s Sel de Mer, a French seafood brasserie, and the Grand Dutch Cafe, which serves Dutch treats and European beer, are among the many dining experiences on board.
Whether you’re planning a family trip or a romantic escape, the Nieuw Statendam is likely to offer a memorable journey.
2. Koningsdam — Overall Score: 9.5/10
The Koningsdam, introduced in 2016, marked the beginning of a new Pinnacle Class of ships for Holland America. Its design is a harmonious blend of classic and contemporary elements. The ship’s central atrium is a sight to behold, spanning three decks and showcasing a stainless-steel sculpture. Music lovers will appreciate the Music Walk, featuring venues like the Lincoln Center Stage and B.B. King’s Blues Club.
Dining on the Koningsdam is an experience in itself. The Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine Magazine, offers interactive cooking demonstrations and classes. Meanwhile, the ship’s main dining room presents a mix of classics and regionally inspired cuisine. Since there are tons of entertainment options and culinary delights, the Koningsdam won’t let you down.
3. Rotterdam — Overall Score: 9.3/10
Rotterdam, the seventh ship to bear this iconic name, made its debut in 2021. It continues Holland America’s legacy of mid-sized ships that focus on classic design elements with modern touches. The ship’s layout emphasizes spaciousness, allowing you to move comfortably throughout. The Rolling Stone Rock Room is a favorite among guests, offering live rock music performances.
When it comes to dining, Rotterdam offers a plethora of options. The Pinnacle Grill stands out, providing you with a chance to savor Pacific Northwest-inspired dishes. Club Orange members get exclusive access to a private dining venue with an expanded menu. With its range of amenities and activities, Rotterdam is designed to cater to both seasoned cruisers and first-timers.
4. Eurodam — Overall Score: 9.1/10
Eurodam, part of the Signature Class, has been gracing the seas since 2008. Over the years, it has undergone significant refurbishments to keep up with modern traveler demands. The ship’s art collection is noteworthy, featuring pieces from classic to contemporary. The Mainstage, Eurodam’s primary theater, hosts a variety of shows, from comedians to live music.
Dining is a highlight on the Eurodam. Tamarind, which serves Pan-Asian cuisine, and Canaletto, an Italian restaurant, are among the top choices. The ship also offers BLEND, where you can blend your own wine. You can expect a well-rounded cruise experience with Eurodam’s mix of entertainment, art, and culinary experiences.
5. Nieuw Amsterdam — Overall Score: 8.9/10
Launched in 2010, Nieuw Amsterdam pays homage to New York City, formerly called Nieuw Amsterdam. The ship’s interiors reflect the glamour and vibrancy of the Big Apple. The B.B. King’s Blues Club is a major attraction, bringing Memphis music to the sea. The ship also features the Billboard Onboard, where live musicians perform chart-topping hits.
For those with a culinary inclination, the ship offers the Pinnacle Grill, known for its premium steaks and fresh seafood. Dive-In, a poolside grill, serves gourmet burgers and hotdogs. And thanks to its New York-inspired ambiance and a range of activities, you’ll have plenty of entertainment options at your disposal.
6. Zuiderdam — Overall Score: 8.5/10
Zuiderdam, the first of Holland America’s Vista Class ships, began its journey in 2002. Over the years, it has seen several updates to enhance your cruising experience. The ship’s art collection is vast and varied, with pieces ranging from watercolor paintings to contemporary sculptures. The Mainstage offers a mix of entertainment, from live music to magic shows, ensuring you’re never short of options.
On the culinary front, Zuiderdam offers a range of dining venues. Canaletto, serving Italian cuisine, and Tamarind, with its Pan-Asian offerings, are among the top picks. The ship’s Explorations Café, powered by The New York Times, is perfect if you’re looking to relax with a coffee and a good book. You’re promised balanced cruise experience on Zuiderdam.
7. Volendam — Overall Score: 8.3/10
Volendam, with its garden theme, has been a favorite since its launch in 1999. The ship’s décor features floral designs, and you’ll find beautiful art pieces throughout. The Frans Hals Show Lounge, spanning three decks, is the main entertainment venue, hosting a variety of shows to keep you engaged.
When hunger strikes, Volendam has you covered. The Dining Room offers a mix of classic favorites and regionally inspired dishes. For a more casual setting, the Lido Market provides a fresh, marketplace-style experience. If you’re in the mood for something special, the Pinnacle Grill offers an intimate dining experience with premium steak and seafood.
8. Oosterdam — Overall Score: 8.1/10
Launched in 2003, Oosterdam is one of the Vista Class ships that combines classic charm with modern enhancements. The ship’s interiors are adorned with a vast collection of art, from classic oil paintings to contemporary sculptures. If you’re keen on entertainment, the Mainstage offers a mix of live performances, from comedians to musicians, ensuring you’re entertained throughout your journey.
For dining, Oosterdam offers a plethora of options. The Dining Room serves up a mix of timeless favorites and innovative dishes. If you’re in the mood for Italian, Canaletto is the place to be. For those looking for a more laid-back setting, the Lido Market provides a diverse selection of fresh food. With its range of activities and dining venues, Oosterdam provides a well-rounded cruise experience tailored to your preferences.
9. Veendam — Overall Score: 7.8/10
Veendam, part of Holland America’s Statendam class, offers a more intimate cruising experience with its smaller size. This ship provides a unique charm, ensuring a cozy and personal journey. The ship’s art collection is a visual treat, featuring an array of pieces that range from classical to contemporary. If entertainment is what you’re after, the Showroom at Sea hosts a variety of acts, ensuring there’s never a dull moment.
Dining on Veendam is a delightful experience. The Rotterdam Dining Room serves up a mix of classic dishes and innovative culinary creations. For those wanting a taste of Italy, Canaletto offers a range of Italian specialties. And if you’re in the mood for a casual bite, the Lido Market has a diverse selection to satisfy any craving.
10. Maasdam — Overall Score: 7.6/10
Maasdam, known for its longer, exploratory voyages, offers a unique cruising experience that focuses on immersive travel. The ship’s size allows it to visit ports that larger ships can’t access, giving you the opportunity to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations. Onboard, the Exploration Central (EXC) program provides in-depth information about the regions you’re visiting, ensuring you get the most out of each port of call.
Dining on Maasdam is a treat, with the main dining room serving a mix of classic favorites and regional dishes inspired by the ship’s itinerary. For a more casual dining experience, the Lido Market offers a variety of options, from fresh salads to hand-carved meats. The ship’s entertainment options, while more subdued compared to the larger ships, focus on enrichment and personal growth. Whether you’re attending a lecture, taking a digital workshop, or simply relaxing with a book from the extensive library, Maasdam ensures a fulfilling and enriching cruise experience.
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Best Holland America Ships Ranking Methodology
When ranking the best Holland America ships, we didn’t just go with our gut feeling. Instead, we took a systematic approach to ensure our list is as accurate and helpful as possible. Here’s a breakdown of our methodology:
- Aggregated Customer Reviews: We scoured multiple sources, including cruise forums, review sites, and direct feedback, to gather a wide range of opinions from past passengers. This helped us understand the real-world experiences of those who’ve sailed on these ships.
- Ship Amenities and Offerings: Different ships offer different amenities. We looked at dining options, entertainment, onboard activities, and special programs to gauge the overall experience a ship offers.
- Ship Age and Renovations: While older ships have their charm, recent renovations can significantly enhance the onboard experience. We considered the age of the ship and any recent upgrades it might have received.
- Itineraries and Destinations: The destinations a ship visits can greatly influence a cruiser’s experience. We took into account the variety and uniqueness of itineraries each ship offers.
- Personal Experience: While we’ve only been on a few Holland America ships, our firsthand experiences provided valuable insights. However, we ensured that personal biases didn’t overshadow the broader data.
- Safety and Maintenance Records: A ship’s safety record and maintenance history play a crucial role in our rankings. We believe that safety should never be compromised.
Our goal was to provide a comprehensive and unbiased ranking. While individual preferences may vary, we believe this list offers a solid starting point for anyone looking to experience the best of Holland America.
Choosing the Best Holland America Ship for You
Selecting the perfect Holland America ship for your cruise adventure can be a tad overwhelming, especially with so many fantastic options available. But don’t fret! Here are some considerations to help you make an informed choice:
- Your Travel Group: Are you traveling with family, as a couple, or solo? Some ships are more family-oriented with kid-friendly amenities, while others might cater more to couples with romantic dinners and adult-only zones.
- Duration of the Cruise: If you’re short on time, you might prefer a ship that offers shorter itineraries. Conversely, if you’re looking to truly unwind and explore, longer voyages on ships with expansive amenities might be more up your alley.
- Preferred Destinations: Each ship has its unique itinerary. If there’s a specific destination you’re itching to visit, make sure the ship you’re considering sails there.
- Onboard Activities: Are you a foodie eager to indulge in gourmet experiences? Or perhaps you’re keen on live entertainment or spa treatments? Choose a ship that aligns with your interests.
- Budget: Holland America offers a range of experiences across different price points. Determine your budget and find a ship that offers the best value for your money.
- Ship Size and Crowd: Some travelers prefer the intimacy of smaller ships, while others enjoy the buzz of larger vessels with more amenities and entertainment options.
- Recent Renovations: Newly refurbished ships often come with upgraded amenities and contemporary designs. If having the latest features is important to you, consider ships that have been recently renovated.
Remember, the best ship for you is the one that aligns with your personal preferences and expectations. Take the time to research, and you’re sure to find a Holland America ship that promises an unforgettable journey.
FAQs on the Best Holland America Ships
What is the best Holland America Ship for families?
The Nieuw Statendam is often recommended as one of the best Holland America ships for families. It offers a variety of family-friendly amenities, including Club HAL for kids, where children aged 3-17 can engage in age-appropriate activities. The ship also features family staterooms designed to accommodate larger groups comfortably. Additionally, the Lido Market offers a diverse range of dining options to cater to even the pickiest eaters. With its blend of entertainment options suitable for all age groups, from live music at Music Walk to interactive workshops and games, Nieuw Statendam ensures a memorable cruise experience for the entire family.
What is the largest Holland America ship?
The largest ship in the Holland America Line fleet is the Rotterdam. Spanning 984 feet in length, it boasts a tonnage of 99,935 GRT and can accommodate 2,668 passengers. Rotterdam is a hub of entertainment and relaxation. With multiple dining venues, expansive entertainment options, and a range of staterooms, it ensures a memorable journey for everyone on board.
Holland America Line stands out in the cruise industry, offering both classic charm and up-to-date features. Their fleet has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a cozy, smaller ship vibe or the buzz of a larger vessel. If you’re into great food, fun activities, or just exploring new places, Holland America has a ship ready for you. As you think about your next cruise, take a moment to see what each ship brings to the table and pick the one that fits your travel style best. Here’s to your next adventure on the seas!
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