The McKinley Chalets Hotel in 2010 // Photo courtesy of Holland America Line
Travel Agent recently returned from the Alaska Media Roadshow, where we got the lowdown on Holland America Line’s latest moves in Alaska.
The line is expanding its land-based offerings with the acquisition of the McKinley Chalets Hotel in Denali National Park. Holland America intends to completely renovate the resort, turning it into what Director of Public Relations Erik Elvejord likened to a “private island experience.” Renovations to the 68 acre campus will include room updates, upgrades to soft goods and hotel décor, new culinary experiences in the restaurants and even moving some of the buildings from the top of the hill to the riverfront. Holland America Line intends to announce a new name for the resort, which is expected to open for business in May of next year, soon.
The line is also rebranding its Alaska CruiseTour program under the new name Land+Sea Jounreys.
“The idea is to focus on what you’re experiencing instead of how you’re getting there,” Elvejord said.
Along with the rebranding, Holland America is updating its itineraries to reduce travel time between destinations. The line is now offering a one-hour 737 flight between Fairbanks, Alaska and Dawson City, Yukon, replacing up to two days of motorcoach travel and a hotel overnight. Additionally, departure times for the dome rail cars between Anchorage and Denali have been changed – leaving Anchorage later in the morning and arriving in Anchorage earlier in the evening from the other direction – in order to allow for more destination time.
Holland America is also making some ship moves for the 2014 season. The Vista-class ms Oosterdam is shifting to the Glacier Discovery itinerary between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seward, Alaska, in order to increase the number of verandah staterooms in the Gulf of Alaska. ms Amsterdam will sail seven- and 14-day itineraries including the Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord, as well as Alaskan Explorer cruises roundtrip from Seattle, Washington.
For travel agents, the line is rolling out new agent tools, including a streamlined website, new brochure, travel videos and expanded tools at www.travelagentheadquarters.com.
Stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for the latest news from the Alaska Media Roadshow as part of our upcoming interactive Alaska travel guide.