March 11, 2003
Holland America has announced a three week delay for the launch of Oosterdam, its newest ship. Originally slated for a July 10th maiden voyage (not to mention a follow-up cruise on July 22, which is also canceled), Oosterdam's new inaugural is set for August 3. The company's announcement today didn't specify a reason for the delay and it would be natural, in these times, for the skeptic to assume that Holland America is nixing a couple of cruises due to the lackluster sales, felt industry-wide, for Europe-based itineraries. No way, says spokesman Erik Elvejord. "It isn't about summer ship sales but about making sure the ship is ready and delivered properly." The good news for inaugural devotees is that there's plenty of space, according to Elvejord, on the 1,848-passenger ship's "new" premiere cruise, a 12-day London (Harwich) to Copenhagen itinerary. Plus, the incentives offered to all passengers displaced from Oosterdam's two canceled sailings include a $500 per cabin credit and a two-category upgrade. In addition, Holland America's extending the offer to include any seven-day-or-longer voyage on Windstar's three ships. The 85,000-ton Oosterdam will now sail a total of four Baltic cruises between London and Copenhagen with departures through Sept. 8. Its 12-day itinerary includes Oslo, Norway; Arhus, Denmark; Warnemunde, Germany; Visby, Sweden; Estonia; St. Petersburg; Helsinki; and Stockholm. On Sept. 20, the Oosterdam offers a 12-day "European Capitals" cruise from London to Rome, followed by four Western Mediterranean sailings between Rome-Lisbon or Venice-Lisbon on Oct. 2, 14, 26 and Nov. 7. The Oosterdam concludes its Europe cruise season with a 14-day transatlantic sailing Nov. 19 from Lisbon to Ft. Lauderdale.