Friday April 9, 5:31 pm ET
Signature of Excellence Initiative Brings More Ways to Enjoy Half Moon Cay, the Renowned Private Island Paradise
SEATTLE, Wash., April 9 -- Holland America Line announced today that, as part of its Signature of Excellence initiative, the leader in premium cruising will add several exciting activity choices to Half Moon Cay, the exclusive private island paradise available only to Holland America and Windstar guests. Enhancements such as a horseback riding and swimming tour, a stingray adventure program, a WaveRunnerÂ® park and an aqua park will fuel guests' sense of adventure. These new activities provide even more ways for guests to experience the warm sun, white sandy beach and turquoise waters of this Caribbean island retreat and enjoy exciting sporting activities. All of these activities are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2004.
The highest rated port of call on Holland America's Caribbean itineraries, Half Moon Cay is located on 45 acres of the 2,400-acre Little San Salvador Island, an international sanctuary for bird-watching. It is a destination on all Caribbean itineraries and on Panama Canal cruises sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. For the past four years, Half Moon Cay has won the Annual Editor-in-Chief Award for "Best Private Island" from Porthole Cruise Magazine.
Holland America Line goes to great lengths to help protect the natural ecology of the island. The cruise line worked directly with the Bahamian government to ensure that the new facilities were designed to minimize the environmental impact and preserve this island paradise in a manner consistent with its natural beauty.
"Holland America Line developed Half Moon Cay to provide our guests the ultimate Caribbean private island experience," said David A. Giersdorf, executive vice president, marketing and sales. "These new activities were designed to offer a sense of exploration, discovery and adventure that helps bring this exclusive, unforgettable destination to life."
Beginning this fall, a new Horseback Ride 'n Swim excursion will allow guests to explore the island's natural beauty on trails that are accessible only by horseback. Guests will be taken by jitney to stables at the center of the island where they will get a brief orientation before saddling up on these specially trained horses. During the ride, guides will share insight on Bahamian history, people and culture. The trail will lead guests to a deserted beach where they enjoy refreshments and can take an unforgettable swim in the sea with the horses.
For those who prefer to get a closer look at the island's incredible sea life, the new Stingray Adventure Program will offer guests the opportunity to swim or snorkel with these gentle and mysterious creatures in a secluded cove, which is part of a beautiful 700-acre lagoon. The program will start with an informative session from an expert lecturer on the Southern Stingrays and other marine life living in the lagoon. Under the direction of tour guides, guests can interact with and feed the stingrays. The Stingray Adventure Program will also be available by fall of 2004.
This summer, a new WaveRunner tour will take guests along the island's picturesque shoreline, navigating around natural reef locations and stopping at a sandy beach for refreshments and a discussion of the region's rich history and culture. The tour will continue to an active reef where guests can swim with and feed schools of beautiful tropical fish. A highlight will be the new WaveRunner park that includes a series of courses that allow guests to test their skills. This park will be located in a separate area of the beach that is removed from the island's other activities.
Half Moon Lagoon, designed especially with kids in mind, is a fun-filled aqua park conveniently located on the shore of Half Moon Cay's main beach that will provide Island-themed action and adventure in the sun. Half Moon Lagoon will be ready for action by the end of 2004. These new activities augment Half Moon Cay's extensive array of existing excursions including scuba diving tours to explore the marine life, catch-and-release deep sea fishing trips in the island's beautiful waters, eco tours by glass-bottom boat or kayak and parasailing. Other features for guests to enjoy on Half Moon Cay include an aqua-sports center, a fully-equipped Club HAL children's playground, beach chairs, volleyball, shuffleboard, basketball, a network of nature trails and a designated wild bird reserve. Guests can also rent an air-conditioned, private beach-front cabana for the day, have a beachside massage, and then enjoy traditional barbecue fare.
About Signature of Excellence
As the premium cruise leader, Holland America Line is investing $225 million in the Signature of Excellence initiative to provide unparalleled product and service enhancements to its fleet of five-star ships. Signature of Excellence will build on Holland America's renowned tradition of excellence by significantly raising the standard in premium cruising. The comprehensive enhancements will focus on five areas central to the Holland America Line guest experience: spacious, elegant ships and accommodations; sophisticated five-star dining; gracious, unobtrusive service; extensive enrichment programs and activities; and compelling worldwide itineraries. Enhancements have been started and are expected to be completed by the end of 2006.
About Holland America Line (a division of Carnival Corporation and plc (NYSE: CCL - News and CUK - News)
In 2004, Holland America's fleet of 13, five-star, premium ships will offer nearly 500 sailings from 15 North American home ports, including new departures from Norfolk, VA; Baltimore, MD; and Boston, Mass. Recent additions to the fleet include the 1,848-passenger Vista ships, ms Zuiderdam and ms Oosterdam. In April 2004, the third Vista sister, ms Westerdam joins the fleet. The fleet will visit all seven continents in 2004, while increasing the number of cruises to popular destinations like Alaska (139 cruises scheduled), the Caribbean (191), Europe (58) and Canada/New England (26).
Holland America Line excels in service, amenities and special programs. Known for consistent and attentive service, its ships have one of the highest staff members to guest ratio. Spacious staterooms average 25 percent larger and verandahs twice as large as those on other lines' ships. Menus are among the most extensive at-sea. Dining choices include formal elegance, alternative specialty dining in the Pacific Northwest-themed Pinnacle Grill, casual fare and complimentary 24-hour room service.
The winner of the 10th consecutive "Best Overall Cruise Value" award from the World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society (WOCLS), the line offers the only trip cancellation program in the industry that offers cash back for canceling for any reason prior to 24 hours before departure. For more information, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit http://www.hollandamerica.com .
World's Leading Cruise Lines
The highest-rated premium cruise line in the world in the 2003 Travel & Leisure magazine "World's Best" Awards, Holland America Line is a member of the exclusive World's Leading Cruise Lines alliance, which also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, Costa Cruises and Windstar Cruises. Sharing a passion to please each guest and a commitment to quality and value, the member lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. The World's Leading Cruise Lines offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world's most desirable destinations. Conde Nast Traveler magazine readers also ranked Holland America Line as the top premium cruise line in the world in the much-anticipated 2003 Readers' Choice Awards.
Contact: Rose Abello
206-313-7673 international cell phone