Holland America Line Expands Program on Alaska Cruises

Holland America Line expands its Alaska Up Close onboard program across all sailings in the region this season.

Holland America Line’s “Alaska Up Close” program offers guests immersive Alaska cruises with creative onboard programming—and now, localized drinks, cuisine, and even more enriching Alaskan cultural experiences.

“Alaska Up Close” Guest Experiences Get Even Better

Travelers heading north will experience a cornucopia of Alaska’s wild maritime environment and rich cultural heritage with Holland America Line’s “Alaska Up Close” program, which has just been broadened to include even more inspiring experiences. 

Of course, the “On Deck for a Cause” 5k fundraising walks benefitting Alaska parks will continue as well.

Holland America Line is currently operating six vessels in the Alaska region, including the Pinnacle-class MS Koningsdam, the 86,700-ton MS Eurodam, the Vista class MS Noordam, MS Westerdam (also Vista-class), the MS Volendam Rotterdam-class, and the Signature-class MS Nieuw Amsterdam.

Holland America Line Alaska
Photo Credit: VIDEOVISTAVIEW / Shutterstock

Guests will be able to immerse themselves in educational onboard programming and culinary adventures, indulge in “sea-to-table dining,” as well as embark on award-winning shore excursions. Plus, now they will also get to enjoy even more regional cuisine and cultural experiences—including fancy cocktails made with glacier ice. 

“Since launching Alaska Up Close we’ve introduced incredible programming that brings an authentic Alaska experience to our guests like no other cruise line,” Michael Smith, Senior Vice President, Guest Experience & Product Development, pointed out in a press release.

“This season we’re growing the program to embed Alaskan fresh fish and wildlife spotting into the cruise on an even more expansive scale, from new localized cuisine and cocktails to exciting lectures and wildlife viewing,” Smith also said.

The new perks being added to the “Alaska Up Close” are meant to elevate the Alaska cruise experience. Passengers will be able to indulge in regional gastronomy, an Alaska-inspired brunch, a charismatic Huna Tlingit native showcase, plus a heck of a lot more. 

“Alaska Up Close” Highlights

With the “Alaska Up Close” onboard programming, holidaymakers will benefit from the wildlife knowledge of onboard specialists, who will help them spot native fauna from the ship’s deck. 

Engaging workshops, informative lectures, and Explorations Central (EXC) Talks that share the stories of Alaskan locals are also included in the program, as are dining events celebrating the region’s culinary heritage.

Here are a few more details and highlights included in the “Alaska Up Close” program:

People can enjoy local stories on these cruises and join EXC Talks for captivating narratives and expert insights on “Ancestral Memories,” “Breaking the Ice Ceiling,” “Pacific Giants,” “The Iditarod,” and “We Are Alaska.” Guests will also be able to experience the history of the Tlingit people with a Huna Native Interpreter during their Juneau stay.

Passengers can dive into regional flavors with the Alaska Brunch. They’ll head off on a culinary journey featuring Alaskan Blueberry Pancakes, Salmon & Potato Chowder, Wild Forest Mushroom and Tarragon Crepes, Alaskan Reindeer Sausage, Kodiak Steak and Egg Skillet, Crab and Hot Smoked Salmon Cakes, Biscuits with Gravy, and more.

Holland America Cruise Ship in Alaska
Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line

Glacier Ice-Inspired libations, made with genuine Alaska glacier ice, will be on offer too. Savor the refreshing “Juneau Gin & Tonic,” made with Juneauper Gin, the tantalizing “Black & Blue,” featuring Jack Daniels Black Label, plus a few other cocktails, all prepared with a bit of icy flair.

Spot awe-inspiring wildlife with the guidance of an onboard expert. Folks will be able to rest their eyes upon humpback whales, sea otters, bald eagles, moose, orcas, caribou, black bears, grizzly bears, and more. Daily programs will offer designated times for guests to meet with the wildlife expert on deck for thrilling encounters with animals close to their natural habitat.

Travelers will also be able to elevate their dining experiences at Lido Market (Lido Market Restaurant Buffet) during their Alaskan cruises. They can enjoy special dishes and theme nights celebrating the region’s culinary heritage, including a Salmon Bake dinner, Seafood Boil pop-up—and a Gold Rush dinner offered exclusively on 14-plus day cruises.

Holland America Line’s unveiling of these fresh aspects to its “Alaska Up Close” scheme during the 2023 Alaska travel season should provide a heightened experience and captivating journey for all of the guests onboard.

Holland America got its 2023 season started with special plaque presentations and a few other celebrations in two port cities in early May this year, which is a good indication of how excited the company is about the 2023 Alaska cruise season.


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