MAC Chat: An interview with Paul Allen, Holland America Line

by Jessica 8/12/2009 8:35:00 AM

Today's featured MAC Chat interview is with Paul Allen, Vice President of Sales of Holland America Line.


Paul Allen
Vice President of Sales

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Jessica: Welcome to MAC Chat Paul! Holland America Line is nominated for 2 categories in this year's MailPound Agents' Choice (MAC) awards. Congratulations! How many ships are there currently in the Holland America fleet and can you tell us a little bit about your most popular itineraries?  
Paul: It is hard to believe that in 2010 we will bring on our fifteenth ship,  the Nieuw Amsterdam.  When I started with Holland America in 1981, we had four ships and 3,400 berths.  The new ship will take us over 23,000 beds, all on mid-sized ships ranging from 800-2100 beds.  As most new ships for other lines are arriving with 3,000 to 5,000 beds, our ships can maintain their distinctive premium service levels serving fewer guests.  Holland America has always had one of the most extensive selections of itineraries.  We sail to all seven continents.  We have Grand Voyages from 35 to 114 days that really celebrate cruising in high style.  We have distinctive itineraries of 20 to 35 days that provide some great exotic vacations with roundtrip travel from US ports.  Our cruises to Europe, South America, and Asia make every major cruise destination accessible.  And our North America cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, Alaska and Eastern Canada offer incredible value at a time when vacation dollars are being stretched.  We have something for everyone in cruise travel.

Jessica:  One of your nominations is for "Best Cruise Line for Families" which has 6 cruise lines nominated. What do you think makes the Holland America cruise experience stand out as an ideal choice for families?  
Paul:  Family reunions have become a big travel trend since 9/11.  While your first inclination is to worry about the kids, reunion planners eventually realize that these trips are more important for the seniors, who will cherish them, than the kids, who will forget them.  No one takes care of the whole range of guest ages like Holland America.  In fact, teens love our private Oasis, with its waterfall, hammocks, Astroturf, and privacy.  We even have a group program designed to accommodate a Family reunion.  It’s a great way to gather together where no one has to cook or clean!

Jessica: You were also nominated for "Best Large Cruise Ship Fleet." Speaking of which, I heard about the Signature of Excellence Enhancements program. Can you share with us some details about this program?  
Paul:  While new ships are always exciting, the investments we have made with our current ships have been just as interesting.  In the first phase, we introduced the Culinary Arts Center sponsored by Food & Wine Magazine, the Explorations Café powered by the New York Times, The Greenhouse Spa, and the Pinnacle Grill.  In the latest phase, we are adding the Digital Workshop powered by Windows, a very popular learning program.  We have new facilities like the three beverage areas of Mix, upscale jewelry shopping at Merabella, the all-hours hand-made pizza at Slice, the new pool concept of the Retreat, Spa staterooms, and Lanai staterooms.  We keep improving our accommodations, the onboard experiences, and the service.  It’s a very exciting time.


Jessica: Do you have any current promotions you would like to share with our travel agents?  
Paul:  Our biggest news is the Double GAP program we have for most of our 2010 cruises.  Register your group space using POLAR Online by 8/31/09 and get DOUBLE GAP POINTS for your group promotion.  All 2010 products are available for registration.  Make sure you take advantage of this program..  Call your sales representative if you need any help selecting cruises or registering online.

Thank you Paul for taking time to share more about Holland America Line with us.   

Please feel free to submit comments below. Have an excellent day!


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