O’s Reading Room Goes Fleetwide & Features Oprah’s Book Club’s Latest Selection “An American Marriage”
Due to its overwhelming popularity, Holland America Line is bringing O’s Reading Room to all 14 ships in the fleet around the world. By May 2018, guests on all ships regardless of cruising region will have the opportunity to read the latest book club selection and participate in discussions on board. O’s Reading Room was introduced as part of special onboard programming developed in partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine.
The first novel to go fleetwide – “An American Marriage” by award-winning author Tayari Jones – was recently announced as the latest selection in Oprah’s Book Club. Guests on board Holland America Line ships will share the same experience with millions of readers.
“Our guests are fanatical readers, and O’s Reading Room quickly became one of the most popular activities on ships with O, The Oprah Magazine programming,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We’re excited that we can now offer this experience to all of our guests. Oprah’s personal passion for reading is evident by the books she chooses, and we’re privileged to feature the same selection as Oprah’s Book Club.”
Jones is the author of several other novels, including “Leaving Atlanta,” “The Untelling” and “Silver Sparrow.” Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she is a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship.
Jones will join Holland America Line’s March 3, 2018, “O, The Oprah Magazine’s Adventure of Your Life Cruise” to the Caribbean aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. She embarks with a collection of the magazine’s editors and visionaries who will share stories, inspire guests and impart their knowledge through special programming. O, The Oprah Magazine’s Books Editor Leigh Haber will be on board to lead the discussion of “An American Marriage” with Jones during O’s Reading Room.
On non-theme cruises, guests who are interested in participating in O’s Reading Room can bring “An American Marriage” on board. Book club discussions are led by a member of the ship’s staff, and selections change periodically throughout the year. The latest O’s Reading Room selection is listed on Holland America Line’s website on the O, The Oprah Magazine’s Year of Living Well page.
I like to make my own decisions about what to read and I want a real library on board every ship. Stop turning HAL into some celebrity driven, interactive screen nightmare.
Whoever thought Oprah was regarded as so eone to recommend reading material to the wide community of cruisers is very mistaken. Oprah owns ‘O’ and doesn’t answer to anyone. She can recommend anything she enjoys or gets paid to recommend.
I cannot believe that HAL thinks that this is a substitute for the beautiful libraries (especially on the Noordam) that they had previous to this latest upgrade.
Does HAL ever listen to it’s devoted returning passengers? There is a reason we return. Why do you have to change?
It’s wonderful that Oprah is a reader and recommends books, but I was never so disappointed when we boarded the Koningsdam last year to find there was no library. We have sailed HAL many times but from now on we’ll only sail on a ship with a library.
Having a discussion of a popular book, especially one from the Oprah book club may turn out to be a good idea. Only time will tell. The thought of no more ship libraries, especially the Noordam or the nice Crows Nest library on the Zuiderdam makes me sad. My husband and I recently cruised on the Noordam for 27 nights. We each read 2 or 3 books from the ship library. Our friends made use of it, too. Having a peaceful place to read and have coffee was so nice.
Why does HAL keep making poor decisions concerning their new ships and their current fleet. First you take away the chairs on the promenade deck. Then you take away the library and mess up the crows nest. They you proclaim that your guests are “avid readers”, after removing the library and replace it with an Oprah book of the month club? Why push such a polarizing character on your cruise line? Another big mistake.
As well-educated well-traveled seniors, we’ve long-chosen HAL as our preferred cruise line. The library was always the social enter of the ship, where we’d meet and talk with like-minded passengers. It seems clear that Holland is no longer interested in marketing to such as ourselves, a decision that makes no sense to this MBA-Marketing retiree, especially given that ours is a growing market base. C’est la vie. There are other cruise lines, and we will be sailing on them.
We’ve just returned from an 11-day Caribbean Cruise on the Zuiderdam. When we went up to Deck 10 to visit our favorite public place (the library), we were shocked by the Vast Emptiness. No floor to ceiling walls of bookcases, filled with categories like “biography,” “best sellers,” “travel,” “novels,” etc. No comfy couches and chairs to curl up on. Even the espresso bar with its variety of snacks (open faced smoked salmon mini-sandwiches, rich brownies, tiny fruit plates) was gone.
The Ziederdam library was an intellectual and social meeting place where book lovers gathered and visited about books, authors, travel. Most of us who love books have Kindles in our suitcases. We go to the library to seek new treasures, to find something we don’t have on our Kindle. And to interact with others who love books.
The first time I stepped into the mostly-empty space that used to be the library, I felt like a good friend had been murdered. It was a deeply disturbing experience.
HAL’s rich and varied libraries placed it a couple of steps above the average cruise line. Now, there’s not much to set it apart. Why pay more for an experience that doesn’t offer more? Other lines offer excellent service, good food and wonderful destinations. But they lacked the warmth and intellectual stimulation of a good library, so we always chose HAL ships. Now HAL also lacks the allure of a good library.
The loss is not only ours, I suspect it will also be HAL’s as guests who have cruised for years with Holland America choose other lines of travel.
We have recently returned from a 21 day cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam and found many of the renovations on the ship pleasing. As long time Holland America cruisers, we looked forward to spending time in the library. Imagine our intense disappointment to find a cold hardly used room instead of the warm atmosphere of the library and Exlorations Cafe where you could have a gourmet snack with your coffee as you read a book from the excellent selection. I realize some people bring an e-reader but many others like ourselves still like to peruse and read from the ship’s collection. My personal favourites were the history books on the regions we were visiting. My hope is that Holland America will realize that HAL clients, especially on long cruises, are readers and that a proper library is necessary.
I will be on the Eurodam in December 2018. I would like to read the book club choice before the cruise. Could you please let me know what book will be discussed.
We leave on the Westerdam Sept 30. Can we tell me the book that will be discussed?
What is the book for October? I leave on a cruise in 2 weeks.
Has a new book for 2019 been chosen as yet?
Has a book been chosen for 2019? We are cruise in April and hope to participate.
I am so disappointed in finding out the new ship we are sailing on in April 2019 does not have a library. We love the library. It was such a quite relaxing place to select and enjoy a good book. Some of us seniors still love a good book in our hands. I am so tired of electronic. I have a iPhone but I like my books on paper. I am so disappointed. We are Bronze members and are losing some of the reasons we sail with HAL. ☹️
What is the book club choice for Noordam on the Alaska cruise -May 26 2019 departure?
Looking at a 6 week HAL cruise with multiple sea days. This is very disappointing. Finding time to read on sea days is an important reason we enjoy cruising. No, having Oprah (or anyone else) decide what I am to read does not interest me. I can bring only a few books and opportunities to purchase abroad are limited. A well-stocked book exchange or library is important. It’s also what I expect from a cruiseship that is more than just another party boat. E-reader sales peaked years ago, user penetration is only 11% (most prefer paper) and suitcase space/weight are limited. If non-returned books was a problem, book exchanges should settle that. Otherwise, since everything is monitored on the boat, could they not be checked out on a room key (with fine in case of non-return)? Of all the changes a cruiseline could bring, this somehow got approved? Weird, considering your “guests are fanatical readers”.
I agree with all the comments about the unise policy of removing the library – THE HEART OF THE SHIP FOR MAJORITY OF SENIORS. It is a very bad policy which I think HAL will regret.
Read statistics… More people have returned to “real” paper books, and turned away from electronics.
We are leaving for Canada on the Zuiderdam in two days and I am heartbroken to find that the library is gone. On previous cruises we have spent most of our time there, reading, relaxing, meeting like-minded passengers, working on puzzles, and having specialty coffees. Now I’m not sure what we’re going to do. It sounds like we’re in for a long cruise with nothing to do on board.
I have been on many Holland America cruises. There were excellent libraries on the Niew Amsterdam, Eurodam and I was told by friends on the Zuiderdam. It us extremely disappointing that the libraries gave been replaced by the Crow’s Nest. I am not necessarily interested in readingbbooks chosen by Oprah, I would rather read a book of my own choosing. I always bring a few paperbacks with me, but I am limited in how many I can bring in my luggage because of their weight. When we sailed on the Koningsdam the first time, there were a few shelves with books that had been left by passengers. This I felt worked very well. Leave a book take a book. These shelves were no longer available the second time we cruised on this ship. The books in the Crows Nest provided by Holland America are all informational. I personally like to read about history and about the areas we will be visiting, however I don’t like to do this on the entire trip especially a lengthy one. I have complained about this for the past few years and I have also been told that passengers bring e-books. I personally cannot read e-books because they cause headaches. When I sailed on the Konningsdam I would count 30-50 people reading books when I walked the Promanade Deck. I was astounded by the multi-lingual libraries on the Celebrity cruise ships I have sailed. They also had a table for passengers who wanted to bring a book take a book. I will be sailing on the Zuiderdam soon and I will again be disappointed that the library has been removed. It appears that Holland America isn’t willing to rectify the mistake they’ve made by removing their libraries.
I’m glad I found this site. So, I have to figure out how to download books onto a kindle and haul it in my luggage, since Holland America cruise ships no longer have libraries. This is a major disappointment. I let a friend talk me into my first cruise–this was before Covid–and one thing I looked forward to was a ship’s library. Our cruise, of course, has been cancelled and rescheduled many times because of Covid 19–as well as having ships changed on us.
Bring back the libraries–and the heck with Oprah’s selections.
Oy, so sad. The last time I cruised was way back in 2014. The HAL ship (the Rotterdam, I think, or maybe the Westerdam, I forget) had a charming library and reading room with comfy chairs, some board games, a terrific little coffee and snack bar. It was my morning ritual to go there, get a capuccino, maybe a small helping of muesli with yogurt and fruit, and browse books. It’s true that many people now have e-readers and tablets, but a library is a place of intellectual discovery, of civilized refuge, a place to relax, think, maybe have a conversation with the librarian, or a fellow passenger. My next cruise is possibly going to be in April, 2023, also with HAL, because of the fond memories. Alas, my memories are mainly of the lovely library, and the beautiful wrap around promenade, wide enough for lounge chairs and people walking, where I breathed in the sea air in grateful gulps, rested my eyes on the ocean, and went for brisk walks. Time marches on, I guess, but I don’t think doing away with the library lounge, or the promenade, will make you any younger or hipper, HAL. Who’s really got the time and some money tucked away to travel on cruise ships? Us 55+ folk, that’s who. And many younger travellers also appreciate libraries. Please reconsider.