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Holland America Line Continues its Brand Evolution with Revamped Onboard Retail Experience

Holland America Line is introducing a new retail experience on board its ships to better align with its ongoing brand evolution. The multi-faceted retail plan introduces new products and services, including an expanded logo collection, locally cultivated items, a new Fujifilm photo space and new supplier partnerships.

The retail rollout began with Veendam and expands to Maasdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Prinsendam, Rotterdam, Westerdam and Zaandam over the coming months. To launch and oversee the new program, Patrick Kells joined Holland America Group as director of retail, reporting to Kelli Coleman, vice president, onboard revenue, photo and retail.

“Over the past several years we have significantly elevated our entertainment, enrichment and culinary programs to enhance the way our guests experience the global destinations we visit,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “This new retail strategy continues the path of introducing innovative, new shipboard opportunities to exceed the expectations of travelers today and in the future. With more premium products and selections that reflect the destinations they are visiting, plus an interactive and engaging new photo area, our guests will enjoy more meaningful keepsakes from their cruise.”

Partnership with Fujifilm Makes Photo Souvenirs a Snap
Holland America Line is partnering with Fujifilm for a new, interactive, creative photo space on board that will enable guests to immediately print their photos from their mobile phones or memory cards using instant photo machines. Guests also will be able to share cruise memories by creating keepsake souvenirs featuring images from their cruise on product offerings such as photo books, mugs, shirts, keychains, magnets, mousepads and more. Keepsake mementos will be produced offsite and shipped to guests upon returning home from their cruise.

Fujifilm space

Curated Products and Services Offer New Retail Experience
The retail enhancement introduces an expanded Holland America Line logo collection featuring iconic products that will leave guests with lasting memories of their cruise. From custom apparel to locally made artworks, the new items go beyond traditional cruise logo souvenirs. The new shops also will feature co-branded merchandise from some of Holland America Line’s partners including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club, BBC Earth and America’s Test Kitchen.

To bring the destinations on board in an authentic way, the new retail program will showcase unique products from local artisans and designers that capture the cultures visited around the world.

Holland America Line is looking to make shopping more engaging and meaningful, and interactive and enriching events will be offered so guests can see the different items and peruse the space with guidance from helpful yet unobtrusive shop staff.

New Supplier Elevates Products and Services
For the new retail experience, Holland America Line tapped into the expertise of California-based Sofia Fiori, a luxury brand recognized worldwide for its designs, to operate the premium line’s new fine jewelry and watch area. Sophia Fiori is at the forefront of product innovation for jewelry and watches and delivers meaningful guest experiences with its sophisticated operation.

Sophia Fiori is internationally recognized as a jewelry stylist to the stars, with frequent appearances on the Hollywood red carpet including the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes. Sophia Fiori is also a diamond wholesaler and designer, controlling every facet of production including direct sourcing of premium diamonds and gemstones, jewelry design, manufacturing and distribution, allowing Holland America Line guests to truly customize their jewelry right on board.

Patrick Kells Named Director of Retail
Based in the cruise line’s Seattle headquarters, Kells will lead the retail strategy for Holland America Line and oversee the onboard retail experience. He will report to Kelli Coleman, vice president, onboard revenue, photo and retail.

Prior to joining Holland America Line, Kells was with The Coca-Cola Company for 13 years, most recently as global director of retail merchandising. In that role, he was responsible for business strategy development, brand management, product development, store design and construction, visual merchandising and location planning. Previously he was with The Walt Disney Company. Kells holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business management.

  • Arthur A. Francis

    We will be on the Veendam Boston to Bermuda on May 19, 2018. Will there be Catholic Mass? Will out
    Favorite Captain – Noel O’Driscoll be our captain?

  • Julie

    While we don’t have the current captains’ schedule, we can say that all cruises sail with a priest who holds mass.

  • Julie

    While that cruise is still TBA on the captain, we can say that all cruises sail with a priest who holds mass.

  • Lesley

    We are sailing on the Westerdam mid April. Will the new retail rollout have happened by then? Will the shops all be open?

  • Eileen

    Do not like new stores on maasdam. No cute cruise shirts with bling. No tee shirts with destinations on them no 10 items on gala night. Just over priced stuff not interested in.. Others on cruise with me i have talked to were disappointed too. Www nothing from our destintions

  • Julie

    Hi Lesley, the new retail space is already in place on Westerdam and all ships will be open! Happy shopping!

  • Julie

    Thank you for your feedback, Eileen. We have passed along your comments to the appropriate team for review.

  • Sandy

    Will the photo sales area be ready on the Zandam by mid april? We are taking the repositioning cruise mid april,and it would be great to put together a book as we travel from the carribean to Alaska.

  • Julie

    Sandy, we do not have a confirmed schedule just yet, but when we do we’ll let you know! It would be lovely to make a book as you travel!

  • Suzanne Moulton-Gertig

    We’ve traveled enough with the company now as three-star mariners that we have a few of the great ship-specific tee shirts that the HAL signature shops sell, for instance from the Koningsdam and the Westerdam in traditional tee style or V neck ladies, but during our last two voyages, we’ve not been able to find these for the ships on which we’ve sailed. Anytime we wear them onboard, guests and even staff, have commented. Even back home, we get comments and inquiries about the company. It’s GREAT publicity for the line. What’s going on? Seems that you are missing an inexpensive way to advertise the company.

  • August Hasbrouck

    The “new ” stores are terrible . Overpriced merchandise that is not very cruise worthy as others on this blog site have noted. I agree . No real sales and we are into day 9 of a 14 day cruise and NO deck sale and no jewelry sales and not a thing on sale in the gift shop. No raffles , the stores are empty and it looks like no special sales are coming from what the staff have been saying . WOW what a wonderful change for the worse ! What are you guys in marketing thinking ?

  • Julie

    Thank you for your feedback, August. We appreciate you taking the time to let us know your thoughts and we will pass them along to management.

  • Soraya

    Gift shops with “mall merchandise” is a missed hit. Need to offer items with cruise memorabilia. Tshirts and items with ports of call are items wanted by guests. I can go to the mall any time for overpriced clothing.

    Perhaps the marketing department may need to rethink the new strategy.

    “No deck sale with port of call tshirts” is a statement repeated many times by guests onboard.

  • Martin Bloom

    I fully agree with the comments about the new gift shops. We sailed on the Nieuw Amsterdam last October 2018 & the Zuiderdam this month (December 2018). The new gift shops just don’t sell the “cool” memorabilia with the HAL logo and/or ship names. Who doesn’t want a great T-shirt or hats which the Zuiderdam had. There were better sidewalk sales & a superb Johnny Walker Scotch tasting. I made a post like this on the last cruise with several general recommendations about other aspects of HAL. Management responded to my post in person on the ship, but removed my post from the blog. I was hoping that other concerned passengers & management ashore would of had an opportunity to see my post & the comments made by the ship personnel. Please note: We love HAL & just want it to be all it can be – the best.

  • Julie

    Thank you for your comment. We pass along all comments of this nature to the appropriate department for review, as we value all feedback. Your last comment was passed along, and we’ll do the same with this. We appreciate you taking the time to write.

  • Charles Betz

    Agree with Eileen. New shops a real downgrade, just like web site and new Navigator.All are well below previous offerings.

  • Lee Sheridan

    Keen to have souvineer pins both with ship name and ports of call. Hopefully they at the very least have clothing with holland america line maasadam on it and a souvineer pin with the ship name. Ie a pin in shape of ship with holland america line maasdam on it.

  • Kenneth Dick

    Noticed same issue last November/December on MS Westerdam. Wanted HAL and ship logo items – little or no selection. The retail staff blamed it on change of retail contract and not receiving new stock. Yes, understand reason for devoting space to upscale & duty free. But, many passengers (us included) want HAL/ship souvenirs. If you need space for more retail get rid of art auctions – such a waste.

  • Kenneth Dick

    Not sure how long review of reply/comments takes; or if it’s a form of censorship, but my Day 5 (4 Feb) comment not posted. It’s now Day 14, and it appears we’ve seen all the MS Zaandam merchandise (polo shirt, magnets); theme (South America t-shirt/sweatshirt); generic HAL logo sweatshirt we’re going to see. Nothing Antarctica-related (except t-shirt with a couple penguins) available. Apparently someone analyzed the data & decided there was more profit in mall-type merchandise. But, based on comments above, there are passengers who want HAL/cruise theme related items. One of my cherished HAL souvenirs in a “DAM” ships t-shirt (now quite faded). Hopefully your Director of Marketing will review our comments and re-think this policy and expand HAL themed items. The irony is that the traditional Captain’s toast at the Mariners luncheon refers to the “DAM” ships and yet your stores no longer carry merchandise that proudly identifies who you are.

  • Kenneth Dick

    Know the pandemic has put a hold on HAL cruises. And, know much of the shore-based staff laid off, furloughed, or had hours reduced. I assume this includes the staff that purchases for the on-board stores. As you’ll note above, there’s a market for “Dam ships” merchandise. I rec’d email response from marketing VP that you’d review. Have you? Result? Hopefully there will be more HAL-specific merchandise & less mall merchandise on Noordam, Nieuw Statendam, & Niuew Amsterdam in 2021.

  • Kenneth Dick

    Julie – if you’ve not been furloughed/laid off hopefully you will address my question/request (and that of several others above): When/if HAL is going to expand selection of HAL-related/destination-themed merchandise onboard? If there isn’t space in the mall merchandise filled shops, then perhaps a pool-side or shop-side pop-up once or twice per cruise.

  • Julie

    Hi Kenneth, thanks for your comment. While I don’t have an answer, I can pass it along so the retail team can see your desire for more HAL and destination merchandise.

  • Kenneth Dick

    As our September Alaska cruise was canceled, I won’t know until late January (hopefully) if anyone in Marketing is reading your blog, and recognizes that there is an unmet retail opportunity. I‘ve emailed Dufry & the HAL marketing guru as guest services suggested – crickets. Perhaps you have an update, Julie; are we going to see “Dam ships” merchandise soon?

  • Julie

    Hi Kenneth, your emails have been passed along. Once operations start to get back to normal, other areas of operation will be looked at again more closely. Unfortunately, I believe the retail team has been furloughed at the moment.

  • Barb Lacher

    I would hope whoever is in charge of retail shops on board would listen to what the clients want. If you didn’t have the tea shirts, jackets, etc. on my two week cruise to the Baltic, luggage lost in London, I don’t know what I would have done!

  • Barbara Lacher

    I would hope whoever is in charge of retail shops on board would listen to what the clients want. If you didn’t have the tea shirts, jackets, etc. on my two week cruise to the Baltic, luggage lost in London, I don’t know what I would have done!

  • Kenneth Dick

    Julie – any update or response to any of the emails you forwarded to whatever department(s) involved in selecting the merchandise sold onboard? Hopefully when we sail on the MS Noordam in March we’ll find that there will be a selection of HAL & “Dam” for purchase.

  • Julie

    Hi Kenneth, I sent it along to the onboard revenue department. I will follow up to see if they plan on changing the items available in the shops to include “dam” shirts again.

  • Kenneth Dick

    Any update from the onboard revenue department on whether or not they’ll be offering “Dam” ship merchandise either in the Shops or as a pop-up during cruises? I guess I’ll find out during our 2022 cruises, but if you hear before then I’d like to know what you find out. Thanks.

  • Julie

    We’ll let you know as soon as we hear anything!

  • Kenneth Dick

    I see HAL is changing retail sales manager. Do we know whether the concerns above were passed on to them. I read the news release and it sounds like there might be some sort of itinerary-based merchandise, but nothing very specific. So, when I cruise next June can I expect any “Dam ships” kind of merchandise (either in the shops or as “pop-up” Lido pool-side sales?

  • Julie

    Hi Kenneth, yes, we just started with Starboard for our onboard retail. I will pass along your request for “Dam Ships” merchandise, and I recommend you reach out as well. The more guests who voice their desires, the better!

  • Kenneth Dick

    I found an Customer Service email for Starboard Retail on their website. I expressed my concerns/issues (with blog screenshot). Is there a better email or point of contact I should use?

  • Julie

    That’s a great route to take.

  • Jim

    My wife and I just finished 21day Caribbean cruise on Nieuw Statendam, our first cruise since the pandemic. Good to be back onboard but very disappointed in “mall type” shops. We were looking forward to buying “Dam” ship items and others HAL items but nothing available so we didn’t buy a “Dam” thing! We noted this on review of the cruise.

  • Kenneth Dick

    Cruised on the Nieuw Amsterdam in June. Noted a small improvement in HAL-related merchandise, but still a pretty small selection. No “Dam Ship” items; limited ship specific merchandise; and everything overpriced. So, still disappointed. Three cruises booked next year, maybe more variety and more price variety.

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