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Gus Antorcha of Holland America Talks Rotterdam, New Excursions

Holland America Line's new President on keeping tradition while cruising to the future.

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When former Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford stepped down earlier this year, Carnival Corporation decided to promote from within, naming Carnival Cruise Line COO Gus Antorcha the new president. What made Antorcha the right man for the job was his nine years of experience at Carnival Corporation in leadership roles managing key components such as guest services, commerce and on board operations. 

Antorcha recently joined Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff for an interview where the discussion touched on the latest happenings at Holland America Line, why the line decided to name their new ship Rotterdam, and what guests can expect when they finally get back on board a Holland America ship. 

Interview with Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha

One of the first things guests notice when they step on board a Holland America Line ship is the attention to detail. From the design themes to the artwork, everything is chosen for a reason. We heard that the upcoming Rotterdam will have a particularly impressive art collection and we asked Gus his thoughts on selecting art for a cruise ship. 

“What I like so much about it, it’s very thematic and there’s a story and a reason for the art pieces. It really revolves around music, certainly on the pinnacle class its around music and different interpretations of music through a different form of art. So from the atrium sculpture to what you see in the elevator landings to whats in the cabins, it’s very purposeful,” he said.

Holland America Line

The atrium sculpture on board Rotterdam | Photo: Holland America Line 

Art lovers excited to view the collection will have to wait until the summer of 2021 when the ship enters service to check it out!

The name Rotterdam should be very familiar to Holland America Line cruisers. The name of the very first ship in the fleet has been reused for newbuilds seven times now and we asked Gus why that was the case. 

“There’s a very long tradition within Holland America to have a ship in the fleet named Rotterdam. It was the first ship 150+ years ago and so there’s always been a Rotterdam. When I joined he [ ] called me and he said ‘Look I think we may exit the Rotterdam how do you feel about naming the new ship the Rotterdam?’ and I loved it. I think particular for this brand, all cruise brands have a history, but this brand in particular is so rich in history,” he said. 

The new Rotterdam features a ton of awesome amenities that weren’t around 150 years ago and we can’t wait to get on board to check them out!

Holland America Line Rotterdam

A rendering of Rotterdam | Photo: Holland America Line

When asked about the decision to delay cruising further, Gus explained that it was all about ensuring guests and crew feel safe on board and that listening to regulatory bodies was important. 

“We’re as frustrated and I hear from guests as anyone else around having to delay the start and cancel voyages but we’re doing it because we don’t want to start without making sure that we feel we’re safe and the relevant regulatory bodies also feel we’re safe,” he said. 

Let us know your experience sailing with Holland America Line and check out the full interview with Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha below!

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