Saying ‘Bon Voyage’ to Two Grand Voyages in Style

Saying ‘Bon Voyage’ to Two Grand Voyages in Style

January is always an exciting month for Holland America Line as two Grand Voyages depart, and this year they set sail a day apart from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades terminal: Prinsendam on her 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage on January 3 and Amsterdam on her 113-day Grand World Voyage that departed on January 4.

Prinsendam’s Hotel Director Bart Groeneveld, along with Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford and I greeted enthusiastic guests as they boarded our “Elegant Explorer” January 3. Among the embarking guests were two members of the elite President’s Club. During the circumnavigation voyage around South America the ship will induct two more guests into Holland America Line’s highest loyalty club.

HD Bart, Captain, Orlando, Gerald.

The following day Orlando, Captain Jonathan Mercer, Hotel Director Henk Mensink, Cruise Director Hamish Davis and I greeted guests as they arrived to board Amsterdam for her 2018 Grand World Voyage. First to board on January 4 were 33 members of the elite President’s Club. During the fourth-month cruise, 12 new 5-Star Mariner guests will be inducted into the President’s Club.

HAL President Orlando Ashford, Dolly Smith, Captain Jonathan Mercer and Gerald Bernhoft.

President Orlando Ashford, Annie Scrivanich, Captain Jonathan Mercer, Cruise Director Hamish Davis, Director Mariner Society Gerald Bernhof.t

Director Mariner Society Gerald Bernhoft, President Orlando Ashford, Leiling Leung, Edward Leung, Captain Jonathan Mercer & Cruise Director Hamish Davis.

Seattle based VISIONART decorated the terminal for a proper send-off of these two vessels. Greeting guests as they arrived were tropical floral arrangements on every table and check-in counter, “Welcome Aboard” signs made out of nautical alphabet flags, palms gracing the space and navy blue and white balloon towers at the entrance of the terminal.


Havana, Cuba.


Although rather cold outside for South Florida, the warmth of the décor put smiles on our guests faces and hopefully made them feel special as they embarked on these two grand adventures. One circumnavigating the continent of South America and the other circling the globe.

Bon Voyage to you, Prinsendam and Amsterdam!


Join the Discussion


  1. Patricia B January 24, 2018 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Wonderful post! Enjoy seeing the hard work HAL puts into a wonderfully decorated send-off for these Grand Voyages.

    Thanks to Mr Bernhoft for the great photos and to both him and Mr Ashford for taking time from their busy schedules to take part.

    HAL is the best!

  2. Raul J Rodriguez February 20, 2018 at 9:13 am - Reply

    The Prinsendam with its captain, officers, and excellent crew is truly an exceptional jewel in HAL’s inventory of ships. It is the fourth HAL ship we have sailed in and while all have been very fine experiences, the Prinsendam stands out to the point we have become addicted to it.

  3. Robert March 21, 2018 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    We are having a wonderful time on our world cruise. However, in our most recent stop in Sri Lanka some of us had a miserable time. The issue was they sent way to many passengers, about 60, to a hotel facility with capacity for 20. The overflow was forced to set outside a secure area in an area that was unsafe and where the locals
    we’re constantly harassing you. Not private or relaxing as advertised

    Looking forward to many new adventures

  4. Lynn Ellen Myers April 30, 2018 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    My husband and I just recently returned from the 68-day Grand So America & Antarctica voyage. What an honor it was to be welcomed the moment we stepped on-board by Mr. Ashford and Mr. Bernhoft and to be remembered by our Bart Groenveld whom we had sailed with on the 2009 GWV aboard the ms Rotterdam. It was a wonderful cruise. The crew took excellent care of us, and the food was fantastic! We cannot wait for our next voyage . . .

  5. Joy Rentz March 17, 2019 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Dear HAL, we have had the pleasure of cruising on your beautiful ships, the Rotterdam 30 days to Tahiti etc. etc., the Zuiderdam 30 days the Baltics, the Grand Voyage in 2018 on the Amsterdam. We are booked on the Amsterdam again for 128 days 2020 World Cruise to the
    Antarctica and more.
    MY ONE AND ONLY QUESTION IS THIS: WILL CAPTAIN JONATHAN MERCER BE OUR CAPTAIN, PLEASEEEEEEEEEEE SAY YES, FOR 2020. We really love the Captain, we really love how he operated his ship, we really love how he sailed his ship, we really love how he gave us so much information all through the cruising. He is the absolute BEST we have had the pleasure of cruising with and learning so much. So please answer my question as I will feel
    much better about crossing the Drake Passage
    Thank you
    Joy Rentz

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