By Gene Sloan, USA TODAY
Holland America says it will be contracting with stars from TV’s American Idol as well as veterans of New York’s Broadway to perform on its vessels.
The line says the move is part of a new effort to bring more intimacy to evening shows on its 15 ships that began last month with the debut of the 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam.
Holland America isn’t yet saying which American Idol or Broadway entertainers will be heading to sea, but it points to the debut of singing group Cantaré on the Nieuw Amsterdam as an example of the shift to more intimacy in entertainment. The all-male quartet is a headline act on the vessel, performing pop music from several eras.
“With this new approach we’ve focused on getting top-notch performers, and you’ll see more faces from Broadway, American Idol and other well-known performance outlets gracing our stage,” executive vice president Richard Meadows says. “We’re looking to share meaningful entertainment experiences with our guests.”
The new approach to entertainment at Holland America comes as several other lines launch big name acts on ships. Norwegian Cruise Line rolled out performances of Las Vegas’ Blue Man Group last month on its newest vessel, the Norwegian Epic, and Royal Caribbean’s latest ship, Oasis of the Seas, features performances of Broadway’s Hairspray.
Holland America notes the Nieuw Amsterdam is one of a growing number of the line’s ships to have a “Showroom at Sea” — a modern-day take on the classic nightclub that features state-of-the-art technology and a different show and themed atmosphere nightly. The line has added the showrooms on four ships — the Veendam, Rotterdam, Statendam and Ryndam — during recent dry dock overhauls.
Taking the place of an older lounge area, the new Showrooms at Sea feature a completely redesigned main stage, new seating layout, enlarged dance floor, new sound system, enhanced lighting and a high-tech video projection system.