With the news that Holland America’s mid-size ship ms Maasdam will not only spend this wave season homeporting in Australia for the first time, but will be returning for the 2017-18 season too, Australians are keen to get to know our new visitor.
Representing Holland America along with the newly refurbished Noordam, also here for another season, it seems that the smaller, more laidback-styled Maasdam is set to make a greater commitment to the Australian market than her fleetmate Volendam. The classically styled Volendam stayed with us for only one season and will head to Asian waters instead.
“[Maasdam is] a much loved ship, and one, in fact, that Holland America Line mariners consistently name as one of their favourites in the fleet,” says Tony Archbold, Holland America Line Director of Sales in Australia and New Zealand. “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 the Maasdam be the first of our ships to sail the new Pacific Explorer itinerary,” he adds, speaking of the comprehensive 31-day journey from Sydney through New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa and Niue, making its debut in November 2017. The itinerary typifies the ship’s generally longer itineraries, ranging from 14 to 43 nights.
For now, the Maasdam is setting off on its sold-out transpacific repositioning cruise from Vancouver at the end of this month, arriving in her new homeport of Sydney on 20 October.
The Maasdam is an S-class ship, Holland America’s second-smallest type of vessel that carries about 1,250 passengers. She was built in 1993 and was among the first to have signature features such as the two-deck dining room, the atrium and the indoor/outdoor Lido pool. Her 2011 refurbishments added the alternative dining option Pinnacle Grill and a lounge/bar upgrade, two new cabin types, a dinner-only Italian eatery and a total upgrade on soft furnishings and carpets.
Interestingly, P&O’s Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden started their lives as S-class Holland America ships, and past passengers of these will find the Maasdam hauntingly familiar, especially in terms of overall layout.
Cabins onboard are some of the more spacious in the market, with every suite enjoying a balcony but only a quarter of her staterooms having one – perhaps a sign of her older build. Every cabin includes a bathtub with shower in their bathroom except for inside cabins that have only showers.
Onboard diversions mix the old with the new: formal nights, ballroom dancing and a collection of historical artefacts combine with the thoroughly modern Culinary Arts Centre show kitchen, Microsoft Digital Workshops and quality contemporary art such as the arresting ‘Totem’, crafted from nearly 2,000 pieces of glass and setting the elegant scene in Maasdam’s three-storey atrium.
Dining options are very typical of Holland American ships in general, with the main Rotterdam restaurant, smaller Pinnacle Grill, Lido buffet with the Canaletto Italian restaurant annexed on and the Terrace Grill fast-food pool bar to choose from. Once per cruise, the Pinnacle Grill turns into ‘An Evening at Le Cirque’ as a kind of pop-up for New York City’s famous French eatery.