Meet Paul, Our Itinerary Visionary

View of Holland America Line vice president of planning on deck of cruise ship.

Breathtaking sights. Awe-inspiring adventures. Unforgettable journeys. These are some of the ways you could describe a Holland America Line cruise. From the glistening glaciers of Alaska and the towering fjords of Norway, to the captivating and diverse landscapes of Australia and New Zealand, we help you see the world from your doorstep and dive deeper into destinations across the globe. It all starts with an incredible itinerary that has been researched, curated and customized to present unique opportunities for guests from ship to shore, and our deployment planning and analytics team is responsible for putting those incredible itineraries together. The visionary leader at the helm is the one and only Paul Grigsby. 

Though he serves as the vice president of planning and analytics today, he joined Holland America Line at the turn of the century in 2000 as a pricing manager. Before that he worked in marine transportation for an Alaska steamship company. When asked about his career journey and the moments that led to where he is today, you quickly realize there’s a common thread that unites every key moment in his timeline – his love for the sea. 

“My father inspired me when I was young,” Paul said. “He was in the coast guard and similarly influenced by the sea, so I grew up around boats. It was always in my blood.” 

His love for traveling across the ocean isn’t the only thing in his blood. Paul has a heart for history, and that passion shines when he’s working with his team to cultivate unimaginable itineraries. He’s not alone. The team loves researching historical itineraries and resurfacing them for milestone moments.

View of Holland America Line vice president on a cruise ship when he first joined the company in the 1990s.

When you work for a cruise line that has been navigating the seas for more than 150 years, you can’t help but discover those historical gems and then try to recreate them for our guests today. 

“The transatlantic crossing is one example. We couldn’t help ourselves! We had to try and match the original 1872 crossing on the very first Rotterdam from the Port of Rotterdam to New York City in October 2022 in honor of our 150th anniversary. Of course, we wanted to do this cruise on our newest Rotterdam with stops at historical ports. A lot of people out there are interested in our line’s history and the itineraries we craft – then and now.” 

Given he’s an itinerary visionary, we couldn’t help but ask about his favorite one. Becoming quite animated with a contagious smile, he responded: “That’s like asking if I have a favorite kid!” All joking aside, Paul said his favorite itinerary is the one he hasn’t cruised yet. One that has piqued his interest takes guests to the Coral Triangle with scenic cruising around volcanoes – an itinerary he researched with a marine biologist. Others include cruises to Antarctica, Greenland and the Amazon. 

“We go to all seven continents. What haven’t you done yet? That’s where you go.” 

As for the cruises he has taken, Paul can check Europe, Alaska, Mexico, Panama Canal, the Caribbean, Canada and New England, the South Pacific and South America off his list. Of course, he wouldn’t hesitate to visit them again.  

He also didn’t hesitate to share his advice for those considering a career in the cruise or maritime industry. “Think about where you want to be – on the ship or on the shore. Either place can offer a rewarding career. Study commerce, pay attention in geography class and explore nautical schools if you want to sail the seas professionally.”  

Overall, his sentiment is this: Keep your mind open to new experiences. There’s a whole wide world out there just waiting to be part of your adventure – professionally and personally. 

Quick Cruise Q&A with Paul: 

Favorite thing to eat on board: “Salmon. I fished salmon commercially in Alaska one summer, so I’m particular about it. Anytime I order it on a Holland America Line ship, the quality and preparation are always first rate!” 

Favorite onboard entertainment: B.B. King’s Blues Club 

Best part of working for Holland America Line: “Working with incredibly talented people with such great cultural diversity. Our field is the world. It never gets old.” 

Do you have a favorite cruise itinerary with Holland America Line? Share your favorite destinations in the comments below.


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One Comment

  1. Mary Nichols February 16, 2024 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I’m really looking forward to 14-DAY BALTIC & SCANDINAVIAN CAPITALS: LITHUANIA & LATVIA. The ports look incredible, most I’ve never been to before. I feel as if you dreamed this up just for me.

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