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Known for mid-size “dam” ships, Holland America Line history dates to an 1873 founding as the Netherlands-America Steamship Company, later known as Holland America after its transatlantic service started to the Americas. In addition to European cruises, Holland America (a Carnival Corporation premium brand) operates seven-, 10- and 14-day Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral and Tampa along with sailings in the Panama Canal, Asia/Pacific, and Canada/New England, plus a powerhouse roster of Alaska sailings. Vessels, including flagship Rotterdam VI, carry names of predecessors from Amsterdam to Zaandam. In 2004, HAL’s 500-plus sailings on 13 ships from 23 home ports include departures from Norfolk, Va. and Baltimore, Md.
The Oosterdam, second of Holland America’s Vista-class ships and set for a big summer 2004 cruising in Alaska, boasts 85 percent of staterooms with ocean views, 67 percent with verandas. A new value-priced stateroom category – Deluxe Verandah Outside – ranks as an outstanding value. Exterior elevators, two promenade decks, a multi-tiered show lounge, and varied dining options have add-on appeal, yet Vista class ships retain the look and feel of others in the fleet, delivering traditional on-board "HAL-marks." Oosterdam’s understated, elegant décor provides a backdrop for multi-million dollar collections of artwork and antiques. Art reflects the 17th century, when the Dutch East India Company (VOC) explored spice routes to Asia and the Dutch West India Company (WIC) operated in West Africa and the Americas. Oosterdam’s atrium, functioning much like a fine hotel lobby, has a dramatic Waterford crystal globe of the world suspended from three decks above. Elaborate elevator doors are inspired by Art Deco designs from New York City’s Chrysler Building. In the art gallery opposite the Explorers Lounge is a reproduction of a rare Indian necklace from Rajasthan dating from the 19th century. Two elaborately carved wooden doors from Gujarat, India flank the necklace. Near the pool, sculptor Susanna Holt has created a grouping of penguins standing on an iceberg as if ready to take a plunge. At the aft swimming pool, Dutch artist Jan Snoeck has created a set of four glazed ceramic chairs capturing the whimsy characterizing much of his noted work. HAL’s little extras add up to great values at sea, with Oosterdam, like all the line’s ships, featuring traditional wooden deck chairs, terry fingertip towels in public washrooms, free shoe shines, and white-gloved stewards personally escorting all guests to staterooms.
Year entering service: 2003
HAL Vista class ships including the Oosterdam offer ambiance and intimacy not found on megaships with a space ratio of 46, greater than spacious existing ships in HAL’s fleet. Oosterdam has two interior promenade decks and a covered exterior promenade.
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