Orlando Ashford

Orlando Ashford, president, Holland America Line

For Saying It with Music & Dance 

Holland America Line’s evolution during the past five years is mind boggling. Chalk that up to the creative vision of Orlando Ashford, the line’s president, honored by Seattle Business Magazine with a 2019 Executive Excellence Award. Since assuming Holland America’s helm in 2014, Ashford has made “innovation” the norm.

He’s tapped into Oprah Winfrey’s celebrity brand power and formed a partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine. He’s inked a BBC Earth partnership to create captivating nature video programming. And, he’s created diverse, high-profile, music partnerships, so guests enjoy “live” performances at Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard, B.B. King’s Blues Club or Rolling Stone Rock Room, varying by ship. The newest ships have an extensive Music Walk with all of those.      

New this year, the new Step One Dance Company, a group of six elite dancers, is entertaining guests by performing works from notable dance choreographers, coupled with state-of-the-art technology effects. Separately, Ashford has introduced a new Club Orange program extended fleet-wide this year, providing exclusive, complimentary benefits to Neptune and Pinnacle Suite guests, plus a limited number of other guests (who purchase it). 

Today, Holland America Line, founded in 1873 as Netherlands-American Steamship Company, is drawing new generations of guests. But Ashford also is carefully preserving traditions that Holland America’s loyal past guests expect. Debuting in May 2021, the line’s newest ship will be named Ryndam in homage to predecessor ships with the same name.

Orlando Ashford

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