It's your first Holland America cruise, and you're uncertain what to pack. Check out Cruise Critic's general cruise packing list and then add the following specific-to-HAL items to create the ultimate Holland America packing list. You'll be ready to go, with no last-minute "oops!" or supply run needed in port.
You've heard of White Parties, but Holland America puts its own spin on this cruise tradition with an Orange Party to celebrate its Dutch heritage. If you -- like us -- don't normally travel with orange attire, consider picking up an orange shirt or dress to wear that evening.
Holland America's keycards serve as your room key, onboard credit card and shipboard ID, so you'll never want to be without it. Wisely, Holland America prints all keycards with a long-and-skinny hole at the top, just the right size to attach to the clip of a lanyard, so you can wear the key around your neck. Ships sell lanyards in their onboard stores for outrageous prices, so throw an old one from a work conference into your bag or buy a fun lanyard online before your trip.
Holland America may attract an older crowd, but that doesn't mean a cruise has to be a sedentary experience. All Holland America ships feature a wraparound promenade, perfect for walking laps, as well as the once-per-cruise On Deck for a Cause onboard walk to raise money for cancer research. Make sure you pack sneakers or sturdy walking shoes for these activities, as well as any walking you plan to do onshore.
Also, ships with the B.B. King's Blues Club are known for toe-tapping music, and passengers do get down on the dance floor. Make sure whichever pair of shoes you pack to go with your evening attire is comfortable enough for dancing. You'll regret wearing the stiletto heels that give you blisters.
Holland America has reasonable policies about bringing your own beverages onboard. You can bring one bottle of wine or Champagne onboard with no corkage fee (if consumed in your stateroom); you can bring more than that, but each subsequent bottle will incur an $18 corkage fee, regardless of where you drink it. If you take a ship-sponsored culinary shore excursion (such as a trip to a winery) and purchase a bottle of wine, the corkage fee will also be waived for one bottle of wine per person, per tour.
In addition, passengers are allowed to bring a "reasonable" amount of soda or bottled water onboard, free of charge, at embarkation or in ports of call, as long as you carry them on. If you must have your daily La Croix or Diet Pepsi (Holland America ships serve Coke products), grab some in town before heading to the cruise port.
Not all Holland America cabins come with mini-fridges, and while you can rent them for a couple bucks per day, Cruise Critic members report they're not the best at keeping things cool. Better to pack your own soft-sided cooler and ask your cabin steward to keep it full with ice.
Holland America has quietly removed self-serve launderettes from its ships, meaning that passengers either have to pay to have their laundry done onboard or hand wash small items in in-cabin bathrooms. If you prefer to pack enough clothes and perhaps wash out bathing suits and intimates in your room, pack some travel-size pouches of detergent.