From steel drum lessons in the Caribbean to tai chi on deck with a master in Asia, Holland America Line is bringing local culture and cuisine on board like never before through its new “On Location” program. The itinerary sets the scene for guests to indulge in localized experiences that make time on board as culturally enriching as visiting the ports of call.
On each cruise, a Location Team from the region either visits the ship or sails on board and shares unique, personal insights with guests through lectures, demonstrations and performances. They provide information about local customs, the way of life, off-the-beaten-path port highlights and secrets that only a local would know.
“Our guests are global explorers, and the On Location program enables us to offer exclusive and intimate cultural experiences that become an indelible part of the overall cruise experience,” said Richard Meadows , executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest programs for Holland America Line. “With the On Location events on board, our guests will enjoy ports of call with a deeper understanding of local customs and the unique nuances of the area.”
Through the end of the year, the On Location program will roll out across the fleet in destinations around the globe. Each region will feature specialists and experiences that are deeply connected to that part of the world such as stargazing with an astronomer in the South Pacific, learning to tango with a professional in Argentina or playing a didgeridoo in Australia. For example, guests on cruises to Hawaii might learn how to hula, make a fresh flower lei or get a ukulele lesson from a local, while cruisers on voyages to Mexico are entertained with an authentic mariachi band during a Mexican fiesta on deck.
When it comes to getting a taste of local flavor, nothing brings a culture to life more than live entertainment. From fiddlers in the Canadian Maritimes and Balinese dancers in Indonesia to the drums of Polynesia and the gauchos of Argentina, through the On Location initiatives Holland America Line will enhance its program of showcasing the finest entertainment from around the world.
On Location experiences won’t stop with the onboard enrichment and entertainment programs. Guests on each itinerary will be delighted with an array of regionally focused food and drink options before even stepping ashore. Each day Holland America chefs will create local dishes with regionally sourced items. Food lovers can indulge in a bowl of freshly steamed mussels after a cool autumn day in Canada or get adventurous in Scotland and sample haggis. Bars and lounges will feature famous local drinks like a caipirinha in Brazil, limoncello in Italy, ouzo in Greece or sake in Japan.
Holland America Line ‘s award-winning Culinary Arts Center will also come alive like never before as visiting chefs from along the route add local flavor to cooking demonstrations and hands-on classes. Guests can prepare the perfect salmon in Alaska, roll sushi in Asia or enhance dishes with the spices of the Caribbean. Wine lovers can pair food with the ideal bottle as experts from the vineyards in which they are produced host tastings throughout Europe, Australia and Chile.
And guests should not be surprised if they are greeted by shipboard staff with a bonjour, hola, ciao or konnichiwa rather than “hello,” depending on the region where the ship is sailing.