Holland America Line’s partnership with AFAR, the leaders in experiential travel guides, is helping cruisers dream, plan, choose and prepare for the perfect cruise vacation. By creating comprehensive Destination Guides that are found on our website, AFAR is able to provide recommendations tailored to our guests’ itineraries and interests for our ports of call and scenic cruising areas.
The roll-out is underway, and currently guests are able to browse the Destination Guides for cruises to Alaska, Asia, Canada/New England, Europe, Grand Voyages, Panama Canal, South America/Antarctica and Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific. Once all guides are available, guests will be able to tailor their visit at approximately 400 ports.
The guides, accessed on Holland America Line’s website, are highly customizable, allowing users to toggle sliders according to their interests and find attractions that interest them. Guests can download the guides so they can take them with them on their cruise and know exactly where to go and what to see on their adventures.
Destination Guides are broken down by region and port. For example, if a user selects Asia, they’ll have the option between China, Japan & Korea, or Southeast Asia. They can stop there and hit “Start Exploring” and see the featured ports in either of those regions or select a specific port.
The port guides begin with a summary about a specific port of call. In just a few sentences, the summary captures the essence of a destination — its most important landmarks, tidbits of history and what it is most known for.
As users scroll down, they will find “AFAR TOP PICKS.” These are recommendations from AFAR on a destination’s best attractions. For example, at Québec City, Québec, AFAR recommends Place-Royale, Dufferin Terrace and Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac and the Old Quebec Funicular. In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, AFAR’s top picks include the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House and a canal cruise.
To further enhance the customization, Holland America Line collaborated with Utrip so guests can scale their interests in five categories: contemporary life, art, history, nature and food & drink.
Each category has a slider so guests can increase or decrease their preferences, and options favor their interests. Those who want to let AFAR do the work can use the drop-down menu that allows users to select between “Top Picks,” “For First Time Visit” and “For Returning Visit,” and AFAR will handle the sliding.
Once users finish tweaking the sliders or selecting from the drop-down, Utrip will search top-pick attractions, local dining and shopping options for the best match. Users will see an extensive list of these highlights on the left, and to the right a map will give an idea of where they are located.
Users can click on the heart next to the attractions that they’re interested in and a pop-up bar powered by Utrip will recommend specific cruises visiting that port of call and Holland America Line tours that include the attraction. Clicking on the Journey Ashore tour opens a pop-up window with a full description of the tour.
Guests can find Holland America Line’s new Destination Guides at http://destinationguides.hollandamerica.com.
How do you scale your preferences? Do you prefer art, history or checking out the local cuisine?