For incentive qualifiers who love cruising — and who doesn't? — here's a fresh option: Holland America's ms Maasdam's seven-day Canada and New England cruises during spring, summer, and fall.
My week on the Maasdam in late May was interesting, fun, and, best of all, a relaxing, hassle-free travel experience. We enjoyed the spectacular scenery, diverse cultures, and six different ports of call in New England, Nova Scotia, and Québec.
The elegant Maasdam is the 12th vessel in the five-star Holland America line to be renovated with the company's Signature of Excellence enhancements, a $225 million investment. The upgrades include a Culinary Arts Center, featuring a state-of-the art show kitchen; a comfy Explorations Café, with an expansive library and many computer stations; an expanded Club Hal youth program and upgraded facility for children aged 3 to 17; and an enlarged fitness facility and Greenhouse Spa and Salon.
The staterooms are spacious and up-to-snuff for top producers, with plush Euro-top beds, flat-screen televisions, DVD players, and robes. The cabin bathrooms are also upscale, with bathtubs, massage shower heads, and magnifying make-up mirrors.
With a passenger capacity of 1,258, the relatively modest size of older ships like the Maasdam (launched in 1993) also make it an attractive charter opportunity for large groups. Full-ship charters, says the ship's hotel manager Kees Streuding, are a growing trend. One of the most popular group activities is a custom cooking class, but “we can do just about anything you can do at hotel meetings, and also arrange special shore excursions,” he says. This goes for smaller groups who join the ship on a regularly scheduled sailing as well as for full-ship charters. And there's plenty of space for meetings among Maasdam's 14 public rooms, which include a small dedicated conference room, a show lounge, and a theater.