Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford boarded Amsterdam in La Possession, Reunion, March 27 to host the President’s Event on the 2018 Grand World Voyage. Orlando was joined by Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald, along with Holland America Line Director, Mariner Society Gerald Bernhoft; and Manager, Corporate Giving Pamela Baade.
The President’s Event is a highlight of each world cruise. Over the course of eight days this year, guests and crew had plenty of opportunities to interact with Orlando while enjoying special activities that aren’t offered on any other sailing.
The pinnacle event was the presentation of the first-ever Holland America Line Shared Humanity Award to Archbishop Desmond Tutu in recognition of his lifetime spent championing equality, inclusion and peace. On the second day of the ship’s three-day stay at Cape Town, South Africa, Tutu came aboard to receive the award.
Holland America Line established the Shared Humanity Award to further strengthen its commitment to the transformative power of travel and the belief that bringing together people from different cultures opens minds, builds connections and inspires shared humanity.
In addition to the special award ceremony, Orlando, Gerald and senior ship’s officers hosted a Top Mariners Luncheon in the La Fontaine Dining Room for guests with 900 or more days on Holland America Line. Guests dined on a menu of sea scallops, Alaskan crab, roasted duck breast, grilled tuna, and coconut mousseline tart. The next day, Orlando and Gerald hosted a special luncheon for guests with 500-899 days on Holland America Line.
On another evening, Pinnacle Grill was the scene for an exclusive dinner for guests in Neptune and Pinnacle Suites. The “Neptune Suite Dinner” was hosted by the Holland America Line executive team and Amsterdam’s senior officers.
Continuing the celebrations, Orlando inducted 14 new members into the President’s Club – Holland America Line’s elite guest loyalty group – on the 2018 Grand World Voyage. They joined 33 members of the President’s Club who were sailing on the full Grand World Voyage or various segments. Members enjoyed cocktails in the Piano Bar before being escorted to a private dinner in their honor in Pinnacle Grill.
The President’s Club dinner was hosted by Arnold, Orlando, Gerald, Captain Jonathan Mercer, Hotel Director Henk Mensink and other officers. Stunning flower arrangements created by Amsterdam florists Eddy and Calista towered over guests’ heads.
Gerald created a memorable keepsake for each attendee: a commissioned crystal votive from Tiffany & Co. that was a near-replica of the silver-and-crystal hurricane candle holders that graced dining room tables aboard Holland America Line ships from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Gerald even brought along an original, which gleamed in a lighted display case at the entrance to the Pinnacle Grill. Holland America Line Master Chef Rudi Sodamin created the evening’s menu, and everyone had a wonderful time.
On the afternoon of March 30, Orlando and Gerald delivered a presentation to guests on what’s new with Holland America Line, as well as Grand Voyage itineraries through 2020. After the presentation, the floor was opened for questions, and Captain Mercer and Henk joined Orlando and Gerald on stage.
The day ended with two President’s Cocktail Parties in the Queen’s Lounge – each prior to the early and main dinner seatings. At each event, Orlando and Arnold took time to recognize employees who were celebrating milestone service anniversaries. Gerald and Amsterdam Purser Peter Wallis both were honored for their 41 years of service to the company!
If you want to be a part of exclusive moments like the President’s Event, take a look at the 2019 Grand Voyages, including the Grand World Voyage.