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New Photos Show Off Westerdam’s Enhancements Including EXC and Rijksmuseum at Sea

When Holland America Line’s ms Westerdam emerged from a 12-day dry dock at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Palermo, Italy, in late April, the ship debuted major renovations that added many new public spaces and amenities, including two firsts for the fleet: Explorations Central, or EXC, in the Crow’s Nest and Rijksmuseum at Sea. Westerdam also received the popular Music Walk venues Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard, the intimate Gallery Bar, a reimagined Lido Market and The Retreat area with private cabanas.

Newly released photos show the renovations, along with additional upgrades and modifications including suite upgrades, enhancements to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, renovations to youth areas Club HAL and The Loft, and the new Holland America Line logo on the funnels. Deck 10 saw the addition of 25 guest staterooms, including 18 verandah and seven interior staterooms, increasing the capacity of the ship to 1,964 guests.

“We have many innovative new programs and enhancements launching across the fleet, and it’s exciting to see them finally come to life on Westerdam, which is the first Holland America Line ship to get Rijksmuseum at Sea and EXC,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “Holland America Line is moving into a transformative era, and that will be reflected across the fleet in the coming years as our ships go into dry dock and emerge with new venues and programming that are moving our brand forward.”

Rijksmuseum at Sea Introduced on Westerdam
Holland America Line’s partnership with Rijksmuseum — the Museum of the Netherlands in Amsterdam — celebrates the company’s Dutch heritage. With Rijksmuseum at Sea on Westerdam, reproductions of some of the museum’s most famous masterpieces are showcased at a dedicated space located on Deck One of the Atrium. Guests also can view videos about the museum and its collections on the in-stateroom television.

Westerdam's Rijksmuseum at Sea..

Westerdam's Rijksmuseum at Sea..

Westerdam's Rijksmuseum at Sea..

New EXC (Explorations Central) Program Unveiled on Westerdam
Holland America Line is amplifying its destination immersion experiences with the launch of EXC programming on Westerdam. The multifaceted EXC experience combines a wide array of indispensable travel resources with enrichment opportunities for guests making their travel experience more engaging, vivid and meaningful. Much of the EXC experience is featured in the newly created Exploration Central’s hub located in the Crow’s Nest, now a comprehensive resource and engagement center with interactive screens and a Virtual Bridge. EXC programming also offers a full EXC Team to engage with guests, EXC Tours, EXC Destination Guides, EXC Channel and Theater EXC.

Explorations Central.

Explorations Central.

Explorations Central.

EXC on Westerdam.

Explorations Central.

Music Walk Adds Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard
Guests have even more entertainment options with the addition of Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard, complementing the already-existing and wildly popular B.B. King’s Blues Club. Under the exclusive partnership, Lincoln Center Stage showcases an ensemble of world-class musicians performing multiple chamber music programs nightly, while Billboard Onboard features the talents of two pianists performing dynamic shows centered around the interesting facts and figures of the music industry as chronicled by Billboard.

Billboard Onboard.

Billboard Onboard.

Lincoln Center Stage.

Lincoln Center Stage.

Raising a Glass in Gallery Bar
During the dry dock, Westerdam received the intimate Gallery Bar. The sophisticated venue, serving an exclusive cocktail menu created by celebrity mixologist Dale DeGroff, replaces Northern Lights and is adorned with an eclectic and whimsical mix of artwork including portraits, landscapes, still lifes and abstract pieces.

America’s Test Kitchen Receives New Look
America’s Test Kitchen also sports a new look with the room receiving a new color palate and enhancements to the show kitchen featuring gray and red motifs as well as new tables and chairs for guests viewing the cooking demonstrations. Produced in partnership with the namesake, long-running public television cooking program, America’s Test Kitchen features shipboard cooking demonstrations and hands-on workshops — with topics ranging from creating authentic Asian dumplings to making the perfect pie crust — that will combine foolproof, accessible recipes and cooking techniques that are rooted in the rigorous testing and science-based approach of America’s Test Kitchen.

Food and Service Reign at Lido Market
The traditional, casual Lido buffet has been transformed into the Lido Market concept — a marketplace with different themed stations offering a selection of delicious options guests can grab on the go or have quickly made to order. Areas include fresh-baked breads and pastries at Breadboard, classic comfort food at Homestead, dishes from around the globe at Distant Lands, Wild Harvest’s freshly made personalized salads, and sweet treats at Sweet Spot.

Service at Lido Market is enhanced with coffee, juices, water and iced tea served tableside, and in the evening the tables have an upgraded setting with placemats, glassware and cutlery awaiting guests after they have selected their food from the new menu.

Additional Upgrades and Enhancements to Westerdam
To further complete Westerdam’s transformation, 25 new staterooms were added near the top of the ship on Deck 10. The 18 verandah and seven interior staterooms increase the ship’s capacity to 1,964 guests.

Additionally, the suites on board received the fleetwide suite upgrades. The main living area was refreshed with a new headboard, new carpet, wall coverings, a privacy curtain, drapery, bed runner and bed skirt. New quartz-stone surfaces were added to the desk, dresser, nightstands and makeup vanity which, along with new vanity lighting, enhance the cosmetic transformation. Electronic upgrades include a new USB outlet added to the bed’s headboard, bedside LED lights, upgraded electrical outlets and a lighted closet rod. Suite bathrooms also were upgraded, including a wall of designer glass tile, new vanity area, stylish floor tiles and a nightlight.

A new interactive television system was installed throughout the ship, featuring large LED flat-screen TVs with complimentary movies and popular TV shows on demand as well as easy access to the daily program and shipboard information including restaurant overviews, spa services and guest billing.

Outside on Deck 11, The Retreat was relocated from Deck 10, providing a quiet lounging area and 15 private cabanas available for rental that offer a relaxing oasis on deck.

The Retreat.

Various other public spaces around the ship received new soft furnishings including carpets, drapery, chairs and sofas, while additional outside enhancements include new pool deck loungers and teak decking.

9 Comments
  • Daryl White

    I cannot believe HAL would put obstructions (TV sets) and a brochure rack in the front windows of the Crows nest. Someone wasn’t thinking. That is the prime forward viewing space. Hardly and improvement.

  • dina pow

    still don’t understand why you would install a TV above a couch which means it is of no use to sit on and watch TV……and then there is still little seating left for others to sit on to watch TV. So once again I am sitting/laying in the bed since there is not sufficient seating despite paying much more money than a plain verandah room?? Wish my travel agent had advised me about this ahead

  • Dave Dex

    Loving the new enhancements on the westerdam except what has been done to the crows nest. This used to be an area where you could sit and watch the forward view whilst enjoying a drink and chatting to other passengers or doing a trivia quiz. A lot of seating has been taken away leaving the area feeling not as welcoming now.

  • Anne Dodge

    I agree with Dave Dex about the placement of a TV in the Crows Nest. If I wanted to watch TV I would stay home. If I want to enjoy the experience of sailing on the ocean I will take a HA cruise and spend evenings in the Crows Nest for sundowners and trivia with friends.
    Fabulous views…no TV!

  • Dan Morrison

    Hate what has been done to the atrium especially. Why remove that beautiful crystal chandelier? And the staircase?? New chairs in the different areas (dinning, lounges, etc.) are fine except I thought the old ones were all nice too and probably had more unique style to them. Please don’t do this to the others, especially the Noordam. Sailed on both ships and loved them as is. Maybe a few updates and enhancements (new carpet, upholstery in keeping with the original bones) but don’t take out the soul of these ships. Do like the gallery lounge in place of the nightclub as I found that space was under utilised.

  • Dan Morrison

    Forgot to mention the beautiful atrium ceiling that was removed and replaced with something cheap and cold looking like went into the Konningsdam. Didn’t think much of the Konningsdam decor and those I know who have been on her agree. I can understand putting something cheaper (and yes maybe more modern) on a new build but why destroy a beautifully done ship and replace expensive looking things with much cheaper looking ones. The Atrium which should be the heart of the ship could have perhaps done with some lighting up and increased functionality which surely could have been done with new soft goods, colours, and activities planning. Now it looks like a cross of something from an office building and public library not a unique, warm, inviting, classy yet funky space it was.

  • Jill Cook

    I thought the enhancements to the Westerdam were outstanding and the decor tasteful, particularly the bed runner and curtain colors in the Staterooms.
    The Rijksmuseum at Sea was wonderful, a beautiful presentation of fabulous art, a vast improvement in the Front Desk area, and such happy and helpful staff at the Front Office!
    I like the new look Crows Nest, so modern and attractive, however I do agree that the placement of the Sea Monitor Screens, though interesting should have been placed against a wall and not in front of the windows.
    My only wish is that Noordam had been refurbished and upgraded in time for the Summer season in Australia & NZ this year. December will be our 3rd Christmas sailing on Noordam, and although a lovely HAL ship, she has been a tired ship for the past 3 years, and deserves an upgrade. A real shame we will experience a tired ship downunder once again when so many Australians are cruising locally and overseas. Australians were the largest number of guests on our Westerdam cruise in the Med in August!

  • Kaye Cochrane

    Recently on the Westerdam and I (and many others) was very annoyed at the absence of a library on the refurbished ship. The screens in the centre front of the Crow’s Nest are a ridiculous idea, and the changes to this part of the ship have destroyed the atmosphere it had. The Observation Deck was no longer accessible: sometimes I wonder if the people who plan the renovations spend any time observing the way passengers use the ship. Many of us don’t mind the wind blowing in our hair (or where it was) and enjoy being up on top of the ship.
    The new colours look very fresh and modern.

  • Harold Brandner

    Oct.2017
    I am on the Westerdam now, have reserved one week Retreat Cabana but do not like the new layout. There is no more regular table with 2 small chairs, just a coffee table, a sofa, therefore no more room for the 2 lounge chairs inside the Cabana, those are now outside in the sun facing the ship and not the ocean.
    HAL please reconsider and go back to the old layout.

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