Holland America Line’s president praises “key” Aussie market & agents on inaugural visit

Holland America Line’s president praises “key” Aussie market & agents on inaugural visit
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Holland America Line welcomed its president, Gus Antorcha, to Australia for his inaugural visit to the country as president, reaffirming the cruise line’s ongoing commitment to the local market and Australian travellers.

    Antorcha met with guests onboard the ship Volendam, in Sydney for two days as part of its 94-Day Grand Australia and New Zealand cruise. The visit has allowed Holland America Line to highlight its upcoming itineraries for the 2025/2026 season, offering passengers an array of new destinations and unique experiences. This includes the recently announced 28-day Islands of the South Pacific Legendary Voyage departing from Sydney in 2026. This itinerary sails from Sydney to Auckland, visiting 20 unique ports across seven countries.

    On top of this, Holland America Line has just announced it will set sail on one of its most ambitious Grand World Voyages in 2026. The meticulously planned 132-day cruise will span all seven continents, including a special four-day Antarctic Experience.

    While these longer cruises are designed to provide guests with immersive experiences that go beyond traditional cruise offerings, Holland America Line will also continue to offer shorter 12-16 night itineraries along the Trans-Tasman providing travellers with the opportunity to explore their own backyard with ease.

    Holland America Line’s Volendam, which was in Sydney yesterday

    Antorcha said his cruise line’s longer itineraries meant that agents were particularly important for travellers looking to understand not just the products on offer with Holland, but whether the cruise line is right for them.

    “That’s where the trade so important, it helps really guide the guest on what’s the right brand and product,” Antorcha said.

    Alongside Antorcha was Dan Rough, Vice President, Pricing and Demand at Holland America Line, who atttributed much of the post-pandemic cruising boom to the role of agents.

    “Another reason for the boom and popularity of cruising since the pandemic are our trade partners,” Rough said.

    “We’ve seen a travel agent industry which was really under duress in mid-late 2022 and they’ve come roaring back. We’ve seen distribution widen, we’ve seen new trade partners who weren’t that interested in cruise, didn’t get cruise, didn’t support cruise – they’re getting involved and we’re also seeing it deepen in terms of trade partners.”

    With a focus on destination and itineraries, the visit also showcased Holland America Line’s offerings including its fresh fish program. Sydney is one of 60 ports that are part of the cruise line’s responsibly sourced global fresh fish program, sourcing and serving 80 types of fresh fish native to various regions, with fish going from port to plate in 48 hours.

    The visit also comes at a time when the cruising industry’s economic impact on Australia, particularly in New South Wales, is booming with the industry contributing $2.75 billion per year, according to CLIA. Holland America Line’s presence in the region has been instrumental in driving economic growth, with the cruise line bringing two-thirds of its passengers from America, who fly to Australia for their cruises and are known for extended stays and big spending when onshore in Sydney.

    “I am delighted to be visiting Australia to greet our international guests in Sydney, many of whom are visiting the country for the first time,” said Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line. “We have seen tremendous growth within this region and we are committed to ensuring our Australian passengers are a priority. We’re seeing more Australians travelling with Holland America line locally, with an increased interest in our local itineraries providing endless opportunities for guests to explore their own backyard on our perfectly sized ships.”

    “Australia is one of our key markets, being among the top 10 aspirational cruise destinations for our international guests who choose to explore the country. Australians are equally excited to travel with us, particularly to Alaska, where Holland America Line provides more glacier and wildlife viewing opportunities than any other cruise line,” Antorcha continued.

    Holland America Line’s commitment to the region was recently showcased through the launch of its new PR campaign to boost brand awareness in the Australian and New Zealand markets. The ‘All That’s Missing is U’ campaign puts the ‘U’ back into the brand’s tagline, appealing to local travellers to savour their journey with Holland America Line.

    Featured Image L-R: Dan Rough, Vice President, Pricing and Demand, HAL; Gus Antorcha, President, HAL; Ryan Taibel, Vice President, Sales & Partnerships, HAL

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