September 28, 2001
Holland America weighed in today with changes in fleet deployment, beginning in January. According to David Giersdorf, the line’s marketing head, while the terrorist attacks earlier this month have had a “pretty dramatic impact...the majority of booked customers are continuing with their trips.” Giersdorf cites Zaandam’s sailing last week in Alaska which, he says, was 95 percent full. At the same time, he says that a Holland America line survey of customers shows that most want to stick pretty close to home. Says Giersdorf, “home, safety and security are top of mind.”
Beyond itinerary changes noted below, which represent 15 percent of the fleet’s cruises in 2002, key points in today’s press conference included:
* Holland America’s just-announced deployment emphasizes ports with drive-to capabilities. 90 percent -- that’s 360 out of the line’s 400 voyages for 2002 -- will now operate within a half-day’s drive of 40 percent of the households in the U.S. The criteria is based on the port’s being within a half-day’s drive. Brand new ports: Seattle, which will serve as home port for Amsterdam, which has been transferred from its European itineraries to Alaskan ones, and Port Canaveral, from which Zaandam will sail Caribbean trips. Other key ports of embarkation and disembarkation include the usual, such as Ft. Lauderdale, San Diego, Boston, New York, and Tampa.
* In the wake of one major cruise line’s operational halt -- Renaissance -- and the threat bandied about of more to follow, Giersdorf stressed the line’s “financial integrity,” noting that Holland America Line as part of Carnival Corporation has an operational reserve of $1.2 billion in cash on hand and $1.6 billion available in ready credit. “Travelers will look more than ever for companies that reach for the pinnacle of financial integrity,” he says.
*The line is aggressively recommending that travelers purchase trip cancellation and travel protection insurance. Giersdorf, naturally, emphasizes his own company’s product -- and promotes its unique-to-the-industry cancellation insurance that allows passengers to back out, no questions asked, 24 hours in advance of embarkation.
*Regarding heightened security, onboard and off, Giersdorf says the line has taken increased measures onboard and is complying with the 280 different ports, which are responsible for their own security.