Holland America Cruises has announced the transfer of two of the smallest ships in its fleet- the still substantial, 50,000 ton sister ships, Statendam and Ryndam- to fellow Carnival Corporation affiliate, P&O Cruises Australia. The two vessels will join the Australian operation in November, 2015.
It is being stressed that the two ships are not, in any way, replacements for any of the current P&O Australia trio- Pacific Dawn, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Jewel. With the numbers of Australian cruisers expected to climb to over a million by 2016, a five ship fleet is viewed by the company as a realistic venture.
The two ships join an already impressive roster of Carnival tonnage ‘down under; including the Sapphire Princess and Carnival Spirit. A second Carnival ship- Carnival Legend- will sail from Tampa in August to further boost capacity out of Sydney.
Statendam joined the Holland America fleet in 1992 as the first of a similar, four ship class. Sister ship, Ryndam, has for many years been a popular mainstay on the ex- UK cruise circuit, offering summer cruises to the Fjords and Scandinavia out of Dover. It is not clear yet if she will be replaced by another vessel in the seasonal British market.
Of the other two- which must surely now also be on borrowed time as HAL members- the 1993 built Maasdam offers summer cruises along the eastern seaboard of the USA. Meanwhile, the fourth ship- Veendam- will resume some week long Bermuda sailings from Boston for Holland America in the summer of 2015.
The ability to redistribute tonnage for HAL arises as a result of the coming February, 2016 debut of the new, Project Pinnacle class ship to the line. At 100,000 tons and with a capacity for some 2,660 passengers, the as yet nameless new ship will more than replace the capacity of Statendam and Ryndam at a single stroke.
The arrival of the four Statendam class ships marked a major expansion for Holland America at the start of the 1990s, and preceded the takeover of the line by Carnival Corporation by a full five years.
Beyond those four ships, the line has steadily expanded into operating highly styled mega ships such as the four ship, Oosterdam class, as well as the mid sized braces, Volendam and Zaandam , and Rotterdam/Amsterdam.
Smaller and older still, the 1989 built Prinsendam, known as the company’s ‘Elegant Explorer; continues to remain as a staple of the Holland America Line fleet for the present, despite being consistently linked with companies such as Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and, more recently, the German owned Phoenix Seereisen.
For further developments, please stay tuned.