October 10, 2016


Holland America Line announces new culinary partnership with America's Test Kitchen during an event at the Institute of Culinary Education on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 in New York. (Photo by Adam Hunger)

After launching a partnership with America’s Test Kitchen TV show, Holland America Line will soon bring new dynamic cooking shows on board ms Westerdam for the ship’s Mexico season from October 18 and ms Nieuw Amsterdam for their Caribbean season from November 13. The program is expected to roll out fleetwide by June 2017.

Designed specifically for Holland America Line, the shipboard shows will be hosted by Holland America Line chefs, trained by America’s Test Kitchen culinary experts. Shipboard cooking demonstrations and hands-on workshops, with topics ranging from shaping Asian dumplings to making the perfect pie crust, will combine foolproof, accessible recipes and cooking techniques that are rooted in the rigorous testing and science based approach of America’s Test Kitchen.


The shipboard Culinary Arts Center will be transformed to replicate the television set where the prominent America’s Test Kitchen TV shows are recorded for broadcast by more than 350 public television stations across the United States. Holland America Line is a sponsor of America’s Test Kitchen and is proud to make this experience possible at sea.

In addition, passengers will experience 24-hour access to episodes of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country television programs in their staterooms.

The planned 45 minute demo courses will feature a mix of video content, live instruction, taste tests and recipe samples. Some of the courses in development include Asian Dumplings, Salad for Two, We Love Chocolate, Everything Salmon, Flavors of the Mediterranean, Meatless Monday Meals and New Italian Favorites. Also planned are 90 minute workshops that focus on teaching a specific skill set. Proposed workshops include Perfect Pies and Handmade Pasta.

m/s Westerdam - Holland America Line

m/s Westerdam – Holland America Line

“This is an incredible opportunity for fans of America’s Test Kitchen, and food lovers in general, to immerse themselves in the Test Kitchen experience,” said David Nussbaum, CEO of America’s Test Kitchen. “The classes on board Holland America Line ships will feature our famous foolproof recipes designed to be repeated and enjoyed long after the voyage has ended. We are excited that Holland America Line is helping America’s Test Kitchen reach more enthusiastic home cooks through this onboard experience.”

America’s Test Kitchen has earned the respect of the publishing world, the culinary world and millions of home cooks who trust its experts for tried and true advice on recipes, supermarket ingredients and cookware. Similarly, the new Holland America Line shipboard shows will present a combination of well tested recipes using consumer available ingredients with kitchen tips and advice on the brands of cookware, utensils and appliances America’s Test Kitchen’s experts have tried and recommend.

America’s Test Kitchen is a fully equipped test kitchen located in Brookline, Massachusetts. A team of more than 50 highly qualified test cooks perform thousands of tests every year. Their goal is to develop the best recipes and cooking techniques, to review and rate the best cookware and equipment and to taste test and recommend brand name supermarket ingredients for the home cook. Recipes are tested 30, 40 and sometimes as many as 70 times to arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time and equipment that yields the best, most foolproof recipe.

Sandra Tiltman



September 11, 2016


Holland America Line’s ms Maasdam will be arriving in Australia for the first time in October this year, giving Australian cruisers the opportunity to experience not only a new ship to our waters but new exotic itineraries as well.

This 1,259 capacity vessel will be joining ms Noordam for sailings around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific throughout 2016 and 2017.


Culinary Arts Centre

Holland America Line is famous for the magnificent artworks and antiques that decorate the interiors of their ships and in keeping with the Line’s tradition of ship themes, ms Maasdam is themed around treasures collected by the merchants of the Dutch East Indies. Reflecting this theme, some of the on board items include a golden gilt bronze figure of a Boddhisattva from China’s Qianlong period (1736-1795), a portrait of a nobleman and charts on the walls depicting maritime navigation of the time.

As always, cruisers will be delighted by the excellent enrichment, culinary and entertainment initiatives that Holland America has become so well known for, including the Culinary Arts Center, Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto Restaurant, Explorations Café and Rembrandt Show Lounge to name a few. The extensive Journeys Ashore™ program will also continue to inform and engage guests at each port throughout their cruise.

Departing Sydney on 16 December 2016 for a 17 day Christmas and New Year cruise, ms Maasdam will make her way to New Zealand via Eden, Melbourne, Burnie and Hobart, before visiting some of the land of the long white cloud’s most spectacular places, including Milford Sound, Akaroa and the Coromandel Peninsula.

For those looking for a slightly shorter cruise, the 13 day Australia and New Zealand sailing is sure to suit. Departing Auckland on 2 January 2017, ms Maasdam will make her way down the eastern coast of New Zealand with calls to Napier, Wellington and Akaroa before embarking on scenic cruising through the incredible Fiordland National Park. From here, she makes her way across the Tasman to Hobart, Melbourne and Burnie before sailing into Sydney Harbour.

hal_table-266Tony Archbold, Holland America Line’s Director of Sales, Australia and New Zealand said “We’re so pleased to be welcoming ms Maasdam to our region for the upcoming season. She’s a much loved ship, and one, in fact, that Holland America Line Mariners consistently name as one of their favourites in the fleet. It’s also great news that she’ll be back again later in 2017 for the 2017/18 season. With this is mind, we felt it only fitting that Maasdam be the first of our ships to sail the new Pacific Explorer itinerary. We know our guests are going to be delighted and excited by this culturally rich and spectacular sailing.”

In a brand new itinerary for Holland America Line, ms Maasdam will be departing Sydney on 22 November 2017 for the inaugural 31 day Pacific Explorer. This will be a highlight of ms Maasdam’s stay, with the itinerary taking guests on a journey to some of the region’s most beautiful destinations such as Tauranga, Nuku’alofa, Moorea and more. There will be no shortage of pristine landscapes, crystal clear waters and cultural experiences on the month long sailing and overnight stays in many ports will ensure cruisers have ample time to explore and experience them all.

Sandra Tiltman


January 18, 2016
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Famous for the magnificent artworks and antiques which decorate the interiors of their ships, Holland America Line has now raised the bar even higher, with their latest programme which will feature a “museum at sea” with art reproductions, cultural activities and more.

ms Oosterdam at Sea

ms Oosterdam at Sea

Holland America Line is celebrating its Dutch heritage in a new partnership with Rijksmuseum, the most visited national museum in the Netherlands, as well as becoming a new sponsor of the Rijksmuseum. Through the collaboration, the “Rijksmuseum at Sea” created by Rijksstudio will be installed on ms Oosterdam during its scheduled dry dock in April 2016 and then move fleetwide over the next few years.

Reproductions of some of the museum’s most famous masterpieces will be showcased throughout ms Oosterdam and a dedicated space onboard will allow guests to explore their own creativity through guided art workshops. Videos about the museum and its collections will be screened on the in-cabin television and guests will also have the opportunity to purchase special branded Rijksmuseum merchandise in the onboard shops.

Enrichment programs and presentations by Rijksmuseum staff will be available on select cruises.

On Board Art

On Board Art

Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague, the Netherlands, in 1800 and offers a representation of Dutch art and history, as well as European and Asian art from the Middle Ages to today. Rijksmuseum moved to Amsterdam in 1808 and was located in the Royal Palace, moving to its current location in 1885.  In 2003, the main museum closed for a ten year renovation and reopened in April 2013. Today the museum hosts nearly 2.5 million visitors. Rijksmuseum has a collection of a million objects dating back to 1200, with 8,000 works currently on display. Museum visitors can see masterpieces by Dutch painters including Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer and Jan Steen.

Pinnacle Grill

Pinnacle Grill

“Both Rijksmuseum and Holland America Line are historic brands with proud Dutch heritage.  We’re grateful that through our new partnership, Holland America guests from around the world will be able to experience our impressive collection at the Rijksmuseum at Sea, created by Rijksstudio,” said Wim Pijbes, General Director of the Rijksmuseum.

Sandra Tillman relaxing on shipboard art

Sandra Tiltman relaxing on shipboard art

Holland America Line’s fleet of 15 ships offers more than 500 cruises to 415 ports in 98 countries. Fleetwide, the company features Signature of Excellence enhancements, a commitment totalling more than $500 million, that showcases the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine, a state of the art onboard show kitchen where more than 60 celebrated guest chefs and culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes, Explorations Café powered by The New York Times, Digital Workshop powered by Windows, teens only activity areas and all new stateroom amenities highlighted by flat panel TVs and plush Euro-top Mariner’s Dream Beds.

Sandra Tiltman    Photos: John Pond


June 15, 2014

Lanai Stateroom

Holland America Line’s ms Volendam is a favourite amongst Australian and New Zealand cruisers. Whether sailing around the South Pacific region during her summer cruise seasons or in other parts of the world, those who sailed aboard ms Volendam, have fond memories of their time spent on this beautiful ship.

In December 2014 ms Volendam will emerge from her time in dry-dock with some incredible enhancements, making her an even more desirable ship for those who love to cruise in style and comfort. Featured enhancements will be 21 new exclusive lanai staterooms, the contemporary bar area Mix and updated bathrooms in all suites and selected other stateroom categories.

The unique lanai accommodations will feature large sliding glass doors with direct access to the Lower Promenade wrap-around teak walking deck. To ensure privacy, the sliding glass doors will have a one-way mirrored coating and each lanai cabin will also include reserved deck chairs.

Lanai is a term not commonly used in Australia. It is a Hawaiian word meaning terrace or veranda and is also the name of the sixth largest of the Hawaiian Islands. With the conversion of existing outside cabins to the new lanai accommodations, ms Volendam’s guest capacity of 1,432 will not change. Lanai cabins have already been installed on three ships in the Holland America Line fleet, the ms Maasdam, ms Rotterdam and ms Veendam.

During ms Volendam’s time in dry dock, all suite bathrooms will also be updated to feature new whirlpool bathtubs, stone vanities, lighted mirrors, Grohe fixtures, floors, walls and sinks.  Several additional categories, including the new Lanai cabins, will also receive new bathroom appointments and walk-in showers

Martini BarAnother exciting enhancement for ms Volendam will be the reconfiguring of her centrally located bars to feature Mix, a space that incorporates three specialty theme bars, Martinis, Champagne and Spirits & Ales.

Martinis will serve 19 Grey Goose martinis in individual shakers, as well as a full range of cocktails. A martini flight made up of several mini martini concoctions will be available. A featured cocktail is Holland America Line’s signature martini, the Yellow Tulip, a mixture of Grey Goose vodka, lychee juice, pineapple juice, guava juice, coconut cream and fresh lime juice

Champagne will serve a selection of 20 champagnes and sparkling wines from around the world. This venue will offer events such as late champagne breakfast, pre-lunch Mimosa and Bellini hour, champagne tea time and pre-dinner champagne hour with caviar canapés. Sounds like my kind of place.

Spirits & Ales will feature an international selection of beers, as well as a wide array of beers on tap, premium whiskeys and brandies.

These enhancements will certainly make sailing aboard ms Volendam even more enjoyable.

Sandra Tiltman


February 15, 2014
Sandra Tiltman in Pinnacle Grill

Sandra Tiltman in Pinnacle Grill

I was on board Holland America’s “ms Amsterdam” recently, which was in Sydney for an overnight stay as part of her world cruise. A special announcement was to be made of who was going to be Holland America Line’s first Australian Culinary Council Member.

Over cocktails, I tasted some of the best canapés I have had the pleasure to eat, absolutely delicious.  Beetroot macaroons filled with fois gras were a stand out.

Philip Engelberts with Chef Mark Best

Philip Engelberts with Chef Mark Best

In the Culinary Arts Centre, Joe Slattery, Holland America Line’s Vice President of International Sales & Marketing, kept us in suspense before raising the curtain to reveal Chef Mark Best of Marque Restaurant, who he announced was to be the first Australian member of Holland America’s Culinary Council.

Following the announcement, dinner was served in the Pinnacle Grill where we enjoyed a four course menu with matching wines, prepared by Mark.  The first course of Smoked Eel was absolutely wonderful and had me looking forward to the Bass Grouper with Potato Paper.  I was amazed to see that potato could be served as a flat transparent sheet – sensational. The next course of Red Gate Farm Quail with Carrots and Miso showed off Mark’s blend of unconventional flavours. Dessert of Mango Mustard and Coconut had everyone talking about this unique combination of ingredients, which was actually very enjoyable.

First Course of Smoked Eel

First Course of Smoked Eel

At age 25, Mark Best changed careers as an electrician in the Western Australian goldfields to commence his culinary career with an apprenticeship at Sydney’s Macleay Street Bistro.  After opening his own restaurant in 1995 he decided to further his study of French cuisine, working at several restaurants in Paris and at Raymond Blanc’s UK restaurant.  After returning to Australia, Mark opened “Marque” in 1999. Among his many awards are Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.

Cruisers world wide are the beneficiaries now Chef Mark Best has joined Holland America Line’s Culinary Council.

Sandra Tiltman   Photos: John Pond


June 28, 2013

ms Oosterdam at Sea

Two of Holland America Line’s popular vessels, Oosterdam and Volendam, both favourites amongst Australian travellers, will be returning for the 2013-14 cruise season.  Their planned sailings will visit more than fifty ports of call around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific islands.

Between October 2013 and March 2014 there will be multiple departures offering round trip sailings from Sydney, or Sydney to/from Auckland, visiting ports such as Wellington, Napier and Tauranga plus Fiordland National Park and Bay of Plenty, some of the most amazing scenic cruising in the world.

“Over the past few years the popularity of the Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific region has grown tremendously because of its beauty and diversity,” said Richard Meadows, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs for Holland America Line. “Our array of itineraries includes popular ports, stunning island visits, extended stays, overnight calls and enticing pre- and post-cruise options to make the trip in this spectacular region a memorable experience.”

During the 2013-14 season Oosterdam will sail four 14 day cruises from Auckland to Sydney or reverse, as well as three 14 day New Zealand Discovery voyages round trip from Sydney.  There will also be five round trip sailings from Sydney of the 14 day Pacific Treasures cruise, visiting New Zealand and the South Pacific including Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji.

SA06-05110For those who want to spend more time at sea, Volendam will depart Sydney on 20 October 2013 for a 34 day round trip Australia Circumnavigation, featuring more than 20 ports.  Ports on the counterclockwise trip around the continent include Brisbane, Hamilton Island, Townsville, Cairns, Darwin, Exmouth, Fremantle (Perth overnight), Esperance, Port Lincoln, Adelaide (overnight), Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, Burnie and Hobart.  Highlights on the voyage are Komodo Island and a beautiful sunrise call at Lizard Island and sunset call at Booby Island off the coast of Australia.

Departing 20 November 2013, passengers will have the opportunity to travel Melbourne to Singapore on board Volendam.  As well as featuring two days of scenic cruising in The Great Barrier Reef, the 19 day cruise will have stops at Sydney, Burnie, Hamilton Island, Cairns, Darwin, Komodo Island and Semarang, before arriving in Singapore.

One of a kind itineraries are also offered at the beginning of the season with sailings from North America to Sydney.  Volendam’s 21 or 24 day South Pacific Crossing departs Los Angeles or Vancouver on September 25 and September 28, 2013.

Oosterdam’s 24 or 27 day South Pacific Crossing departs Los Angeles or Seattle for Sydney on September 29 and October 2, 2013 and includes an overnight call at Honolulu.  Oosterdam returns to North America on a 28 or 29 day South Pacific Crossing from Sydney to Seattle or Vancouver on April 13, 2014.  The repositioning cruises provide an excellent opportunity to visit the South Pacific and Hawaii, as well as enjoy more relaxing days at sea.

Collectors’ Voyages on Oosterdam and Volendam offer combined back-to-back itineraries from 28 to 58 days covering Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific and are perfect for those who seek a more extensive cruise experience.

Cruisers wishing to make the most of their time in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific can add a three or five night pre or post cruise land tour to the Great

Barrier Reef, Uluru National Park or the Blue Mountains National Park, home of the famous “Three Sisters” rock formation.

Sandra Tiltman    Photos:  Courtesy Holland America


February 26, 2013

Prinsendam 800

Holland America Line, a division of Carnival Corporation, has a fleet of fifteen ships offering cruisers exciting itineraries visiting all seven continents.  Highlights include Antarctica, South America, Australia/New Zealand and voyages to Asia.  Some of their most popular sailings are to ports in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Alaska, Mexico, Canada/New England, Europe and Panama Canal. They even offer a Grand World Voyage.

Their elegant ships, whose names all end in “dam”, offer guests many luxurious features in their ‘Signature of Excellence’ enhancements, a commitment totalling more than $500 million, that showcases the Culinary Arts Center, a state of the art onboard show kitchen where more than sixty celebrated guest chefs and culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes across their fleet.  The Explorations Café powered by The New York Times, Digital Workshop powered by Windows and teens-only activity areas are some of the features which make guests keep coming back to cruise again on this line.  All new stateroom amenities highlighted by flat-panel TVs and plush Euro-top Mariner’s Dream Beds ensure guests’ comfort is always at the forefront.

Wintergarden banquette - PrinsendamPrinsendam, a popular ship in Holland America Line’s fleet, recently completed the transformation of the Lido Terrace, located at the aft end of the ship, into an enclosed Wintergarden, along with the addition of the casual Italian restaurant Canaletto.  The new area increased the dining capacity of the Lido and provides the venue for Canaletto.  Named after the famous 18th century Venetian artist, the award winning Canaletto, located in the Wintergarden, which is adjacent to the Lido dining area.  Open for dinner only, the restaurant serves classic Italian fare with tableside service.  With the addition of the eatery on board Prinsendam, Canaletto is now on all fifteen ships in the Line’s fleet.

Prinsendam also received other cosmetic enhancements during its dry-dock in Freeport, Bahamas, including new balcony decking and balcony dividers.

“We continue to invest in our fleet and the onboard experience to offer the best premium cruise experience,” said Richard Meadows, Executive Vice-President, Marketing, Sales and Guest Programs. “Prinsendam has one of our most loyal followings, so the new Wintergarden and popular Canaletto will certainly be appreciated by our guests.”

Holland America will add to their fleet when, in Autumn 2015, they take delivery of one new ship which is currently on order from Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

I have sailed on this cruise line aboard Westerdam and Statendam, both in Europe and Asia, and would recommend it to those travellers who enjoy elegant surroundings, good food and service, great entertainment and all in all, the finer things in life.  Sandra Tiltman