Holland America Line quadruples ex-UK sailings in 2011

Holland America Line (HAL) will have three ships operating no-fly itineraries from the UK in 2011, just two years after testing the ex-UK waters with one round-trip mini-cruise from Dover.

The 2,104-passenger Eurodam will be based in Dover from May to August and sail five 12-night cruises – four to the Baltic and one to the Norwegian fjords.

The Baltic cruises will call at Copenhagen, Warnemunde, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm, while the Norwegian fjords voyage will visit Copenhagen, Oslo, Kristiansand, Bergen, Invergordon, South Queensferry and Newcastle.

The 1,400-passenger Ryndam will also be in Dover, sailing a 20-night round-trip Mediterranean cruise on May 1 that will visit Portugal, Spain, France and Italy.

In July and August, the ship will be offering three seven-night cruises to the Baltic and Norwegian fjords to attract passengers who have never sailed with HAL.

The 793-passenger Prinsendam will be sailing two different 14-night, round-Britain cruises from Tilbury, with departures on July 11 and August 29.

Prices have yet to be confirmed but will start at around £699 per person cruise-only for the seven-night cruises on Ryndam. Prices will go live when the cruises go on sale next Monday, January 25.

The cruises will be included in HAL’s main 2011 brochure, which will be out in June, but the UK will be launching a mini brochure for the trade.

HAL managing director UK Lynn Narraway said: “We will start to talk to agents next week about the cruises to secure early bookings.”

The cruiseline offered its first no-fly cruise from the UK in 2009 – a four-night mini-break from Dover on Eurodam – and will have three full-length cruises, also on Eurodam, from Dover this year.

Narraway said: “This increase for 2011 shows HAL’s commitment to the UK market. The three cruises on Eurodam this year are more than 70% sold, with about 25% of passengers from the UK. It’s less than the 50% we were hoping for but there has been strong demand from the US.”

In all, HAL will have seven ships in Europe in 2011, including Nieuw Amsterdam, which launches in July this year.

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