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O’s Reading Room Goes Fleetwide & Features Oprah’s Book Club’s Latest Selection “An American Marriage”

Due to its overwhelming popularity, Holland America Line is bringing O’s Reading Room to all 14 ships in the fleet around the world. By May 2018, guests on all ships regardless of cruising region will have the opportunity to read the latest book club selection and participate in discussions on board. O’s Reading Room was introduced as part of special onboard programming developed in partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine.

The first novel to go fleetwide – “An American Marriage” by award-winning author Tayari Jones – was recently announced as the latest selection in Oprah’s Book Club. Guests on board Holland America Line ships will share the same experience with millions of readers.

“Our guests are fanatical readers, and O’s Reading Room quickly became one of the most popular activities on ships with O, The Oprah Magazine programming,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We’re excited that we can now offer this experience to all of our guests. Oprah’s personal passion for reading is evident by the books she chooses, and we’re privileged to feature the same selection as Oprah’s Book Club.”

Jones is the author of several other novels, including “Leaving Atlanta,” “The Untelling” and “Silver Sparrow.” Her writing has appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times and Callaloo. A member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, she is a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lifetime Achievement Award in Fine Arts from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship.

Jones will join Holland America Line’s March 3, 2018, “O, The Oprah Magazine’s Adventure of Your Life Cruise” to the Caribbean aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. She embarks with a collection of the magazine’s editors and visionaries who will share stories, inspire guests and impart their knowledge through special programming. O, The Oprah Magazine’s Books Editor Leigh Haber will be on board to lead the discussion of “An American Marriage” with Jones during O’s Reading Room.

On non-theme cruises, guests who are interested in participating in O’s Reading Room can bring “An American Marriage” on board. Book club discussions are led by a member of the ship’s staff, and selections change periodically throughout the year. The latest O’s Reading Room selection is listed on Holland America Line’s website on the O, The Oprah Magazine’s Year of Living Well page.

19 Comments
  • T Compton

    I like to make my own decisions about what to read and I want a real library on board every ship. Stop turning HAL into some celebrity driven, interactive screen nightmare.

  • Julie

    Whoever thought Oprah was regarded as so eone to recommend reading material to the wide community of cruisers is very mistaken. Oprah owns ‘O’ and doesn’t answer to anyone. She can recommend anything she enjoys or gets paid to recommend.
    I cannot believe that HAL thinks that this is a substitute for the beautiful libraries (especially on the Noordam) that they had previous to this latest upgrade.
    Does HAL ever listen to it’s devoted returning passengers? There is a reason we return. Why do you have to change?

  • Julie

    Thank you for sharing your feedback. The rollout of the O’s Reading Room program fleetwide is not connected to the transition of our libraries onboard. It is one of many optional activities that guests can take part in, and is simply a book club discussion that will be held onboard for those who wish to participate. The evolution of our libraries is a direct result of the majority of travelers now sailing with e-readers or their own books. The evolution of our onboard product always follows general consumer trends shoreside such as the popularity of e-readers. We regret if this particular change doesn’t meet your expectations and hope that our world-wide itineraries, award-winning service, top-notch cuisine and breadth of other activities to choose from continue to appeal to you. We are constantly reviewing guest feedback and evaluating our onboard offering so we appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

  • Julie

    Thank you for sharing your feedback. The rollout of the O’s Reading Room program fleetwide is not connected to the transition of our libraries onboard. It is one of many optional activities that guests can take part in, and is simply a book club discussion that will be held onboard for those who wish to participate. The evolution of our libraries is a direct result of the majority of travelers now sailing with e-readers or their own books. The new Explorations Central (EXC) features in the Crow’s Nest – including the interactive touch screens – support our guest feedback to provide more robust content about the destinations and cultures they are sailing to. The EXC programming has many components, along with the Explorations Central area in the Crow’s Nest on several ships. The evolution of our onboard product always follow general consumer trends shore side such as the popularity of e-readers, and our EXC features have been very well-received by our guests. We regret if these particular changes don’t meet your expectations and hope that our world-wide itineraries, award-winning service, top-notch cuisine and breadth of other activities to choose from continue to appeal to you. We are constantly reviewing guest feedback and evaluating our onboard offerings so we appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

  • Dallas

    It’s wonderful that Oprah is a reader and recommends books, but I was never so disappointed when we boarded the Koningsdam last year to find there was no library. We have sailed HAL many times but from now on we’ll only sail on a ship with a library.

  • Jane DuMond

    Having a discussion of a popular book, especially one from the Oprah book club may turn out to be a good idea. Only time will tell. The thought of no more ship libraries, especially the Noordam or the nice Crows Nest library on the Zuiderdam makes me sad. My husband and I recently cruised on the Noordam for 27 nights. We each read 2 or 3 books from the ship library. Our friends made use of it, too. Having a peaceful place to read and have coffee was so nice.

    Jane

  • Randy Lollar

    Why does HAL keep making poor decisions concerning their new ships and their current fleet. First you take away the chairs on the promenade deck. Then you take away the library and mess up the crows nest. They you proclaim that your guests are “avid readers”, after removing the library and replace it with an Oprah book of the month club? Why push such a polarizing character on your cruise line? Another big mistake.

  • Julie

    Thank you for sharing your feedback. The rollout of the O’s Reading Room program fleetwide in 2018 is not connected to the transition of our libraries on board. The evolution of our libraries is a direct result of the majority of travelers now sailing with e-readers or their own books. The evolution of our on board product always follow general consumer trends shore side such as the popularity of e-readers. We regret if these particular changes don’t meet your expectations and hope that our world-wide itineraries, award-winning service, top-notch cuisine and breadth of other activities to choose from continue to appeal to you. We are constantly reviewing guest feedback and evaluating our on board offering so we appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

  • Julie

    Thank you for sharing your feedback. The rollout of the O’s Reading Room program fleetwide in 2018 is not connected to the transition of our libraries on board. The evolution of our libraries is a direct result of the majority of travelers now sailing with e-readers or their own books. The evolution of our on board product always follow general consumer trends shore side such as the popularity of e-readers. We regret if these particular changes don’t meet your expectations. We are constantly reviewing guest feedback and evaluating our on board offering so we appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

  • Al Lockwood

    As well-educated well-traveled seniors, we’ve long-chosen HAL as our preferred cruise line. The library was always the social enter of the ship, where we’d meet and talk with like-minded passengers. It seems clear that Holland is no longer interested in marketing to such as ourselves, a decision that makes no sense to this MBA-Marketing retiree, especially given that ours is a growing market base. C’est la vie. There are other cruise lines, and we will be sailing on them.

  • Sunny Lockwood

    We’ve just returned from an 11-day Caribbean Cruise on the Zuiderdam. When we went up to Deck 10 to visit our favorite public place (the library), we were shocked by the Vast Emptiness. No floor to ceiling walls of bookcases, filled with categories like “biography,” “best sellers,” “travel,” “novels,” etc. No comfy couches and chairs to curl up on. Even the espresso bar with its variety of snacks (open faced smoked salmon mini-sandwiches, rich brownies, tiny fruit plates) was gone.

    The Ziederdam library was an intellectual and social meeting place where book lovers gathered and visited about books, authors, travel. Most of us who love books have Kindles in our suitcases. We go to the library to seek new treasures, to find something we don’t have on our Kindle. And to interact with others who love books.

    The first time I stepped into the mostly-empty space that used to be the library, I felt like a good friend had been murdered. It was a deeply disturbing experience.

    HAL’s rich and varied libraries placed it a couple of steps above the average cruise line. Now, there’s not much to set it apart. Why pay more for an experience that doesn’t offer more? Other lines offer excellent service, good food and wonderful destinations. But they lacked the warmth and intellectual stimulation of a good library, so we always chose HAL ships. Now HAL also lacks the allure of a good library.

    The loss is not only ours, I suspect it will also be HAL’s as guests who have cruised for years with Holland America choose other lines of travel.

  • Julie

    Thank you for sharing your feedback. The evolution of our libraries is a direct result of the majority of travelers, like you, now sailing with e-readers or their own books. The evolution of our on board product always follows general consumer trends shoreside such as the popularity of e-readers. We regret if these particular changes don’t meet your expectations. We are constantly reviewing guest feedback and evaluating our on board offering so we appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

  • Margaret

    We have recently returned from a 21 day cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam and found many of the renovations on the ship pleasing. As long time Holland America cruisers, we looked forward to spending time in the library. Imagine our intense disappointment to find a cold hardly used room instead of the warm atmosphere of the library and Exlorations Cafe where you could have a gourmet snack with your coffee as you read a book from the excellent selection. I realize some people bring an e-reader but many others like ourselves still like to peruse and read from the ship’s collection. My personal favourites were the history books on the regions we were visiting. My hope is that Holland America will realize that HAL clients, especially on long cruises, are readers and that a proper library is necessary.

  • Faye Roue

    I will be on the Eurodam in December 2018. I would like to read the book club choice before the cruise. Could you please let me know what book will be discussed.
    Thanks

  • Julie

    Hi Faye, the book club pick for December hasn’t been announced. Please check back on the HAL site in the O Magazine area under Activities for updates!

  • Marilyn

    We leave on the Westerdam Sept 30. Can we tell me the book that will be discussed?

  • Julie

    It is still An American Marriage. Enjoy!

  • Christy Vanoss

    What is the book for October? I leave on a cruise in 2 weeks.

  • Julie

    It is still An American Marriage.

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