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Stein Kruse – Holland America Line

with 3 comments

I just returned from my brief trip to Seattle this morning. I attended a GAMP/Gonzaga Business School Forum speaker event at the World Trade Center. Stein Kruse, CEO and President of Holland America Line, gave a phenomenal talk about the history and culture of the cruise line/tourist emporium. Holland America, which has been around for over 130 years, has a history of excellence and tradition that touches every continent around the globe.

Holland America, which owns and operates 13 vessels (several more have been ordered recently) sail to over 280 ports of call. Stein Kruse’s talk was centered around the history of the business, as well as outlining the mission and culture of the Seattle based firm. Holland America has received several awards for its program of excellence as well as its groundbreaking advancements in the areas of environmental protection and ethical corporate conduct.

Mr. Kruse made a convincing case for Holland America Line’s policy of excellence, in both corporate conduct and innovation. Ever since, Stein Kruse took over at the helm of the company in late 2003, he has fostered an environment that favors innovation and change, making Holland America Lines one of the most consistently ranked top cruise-liners. He has also, in corporation with his management team, developed the current mission, which is symbolic of the culture at Holland America.

“Through Excellence, we create once in a lifetime experiences every time.”

Mr. Kruse also addressed some of the difficulties he believes the cruise-industry will be facing, as the market continues to mature and ports of call begin to reach their capacities. He talked about the growth that the cruise-industry has been experiencing and is expected to experience in key markets. He noted that the American market is beginning to show signs of becoming a mature market, while at the same time the European market is promising tremendous growth potential.

Overall, the talk was a great opportunity to learn more about Holland America Line and the challenges and opportunities the company is facing. I enjoyed meeting Stein Kruse and appreciated the chance to talk with him personally for a few minutes after his presentation.


Written by markusw

February 21, 2007 at 9:18 am

3 Responses

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  1. As a voice over artist for tv, radio, industrials, infomercials etc, I have at times read companies advertisements in magazines to glean information and to change the ads into a voice over script for various voice demos I do. On my website I did a voice demo of one of your ads for your cruise line.
    I get many favorable comments on it from people who visit my website. Just thought I would let you know. Alot of them from people saying I want to try Holland American after hearing your demo. thanks

    George Fiderio

    George Fiderio

    February 7, 2008 at 12:38 pm

  2. Recent Amsterdam, March 1 cruise, beautiful trip, Stateroom 2709. Entire cruise no heat, no a/c, told crew the thermostat was not functioning but ignored,toilet malfunctioning 50% of time. We had mechanic visit 4 times without success. Gave up. No longer a Holland America customer. Thought you should know how this ship’s excellence is sub par for this stateroom. As a marketing Economist I’m telling all our cruise friends about the terrible room problems. This can hurt your image and I know that you would want to correct this problem.

    Dr Robert Eckles, Mkt Consult

    March 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm

  3. Mr. Kruse should spend less time talking about excellence and more time on the delivery thereof.To whom it may concern:

    My daughter and I just arrived from a cruise on the EuroDam and though there were some wonderful high points, there were a few snags along the way that,literally, dampened our trip and I didn’t know who to complain about them to so Holland America could better their service.

    It all started the moment we arrived: our room keys were not ready and my daughter and I were asked to step aside because they had “other guests to help”. I felt it could have been handled better especially since we waited for a half hour before I finally got fed up and explained my situation to a port agent who quickly resolved the problem for me which left me wondering why one of Holland America’s own employees weren’t willing to do the same, but I didn’t want that to spoil the trip so I let it go.

    Then, Holland America failed to give me a pair of tickets to an excursion that they claimed was sold out so I told my daughter we’d just venture into the city on our own, no big deal; except when the bill arrived that morning, I noticed I was charged for those two tickets so I went to our very nice concierge to inquire about it and he was just as disappointed , not to mention embarrassed, that I hadn’t even been notified about this change. Again, I didn’t want it to spoil our trip and planned to let it go and enjoy our excursion instead. Here’s the kicker that brought about me emailing you this complaint: from the moment I had boarded the ship, I explained to the concierge that I had an 11:50 am flight on the day we disembark and was very worried about missing it. Ian and Laverne, GREAT people, assured me that I would be placed on their expedited disembarkation list, not to worry. True to their word, we were placed on their expedited list and was told to keep our luggage and wait in the room till called. No problem.

    The night before disembarkation, I called the front desk just to assuage my anxiety about missing my flight and the gentleman was very nice, very professional and he told me I should be called to disembark around 6:30 but to wait in my room till the announcement was made or we were called to our room; he wasn’t sure exactly how it would be handled but he did know that there was an early shuttle for seven of us and I was on the list. Great. I went to bed, woke up at 4 am and was ready by 5am. At 6am I asked the front desk for the expedited procedure and was told to wait in my room. At 6:15 am, I called the front desk and explained my concerns to Kathy(? same girl but her accent was pretty thick, couldn’t quite understand) and asked her when I should be in the gangway for my extra early disembarkation. She sounded annoyed and told me to stay in my room till the announcement was made. Okay. I called again at 6:30 and told her I was worried and starting to freak out since I had to check in at Heathrow (2-3 hours away) to check in for my flight by 9:50. She was now curt, told me to stay in my room and that only quarantined guests were being allowed to disembark at that time . Understandable, I figured. Now it’s 7 and I call again. This time I tell Kathy to pass me her supervisor and she then tells me to go down to the gangway to see what they tell me and hangs up on me. Now, I’m freaking out.

    My daughter and I race to the 3rd floor and notice that everyone is disembarking. We rush as fast as we can oustide and I ask one of the Holland America ladies about my shuttle and they look shocked. They tell me that they had the front desk call my room various times and made announcements for me and they couldn’t wait any longer and the shuttle left without me. NOW I’M PISSED!!!

    I’m pissed because no such call was made nor announcement because I was in my room the entire freakin time and I kept my door opened since the speaker wasn’t working in our room nor some of the lights. Wait, it gets better. SO, we’re escorted to a bus they say will leave in fifteen minutes and when I inquire about taking a cab they lie to me and say it’ll cost 350 lbs and not to bother, they’ll get me there. Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, I no longer trust anything the Holland AMerica staff has to say. They grab my bags and load us on the empty bus (only five people on board) I don;t even sit down. I get off the bus and tell the lady with the clipboard that I’d like to file a complaint and she smiles and says that she has no idea how to help me with that and waves over her supervisor who laughs off my complaint and treats me like I’m some silly little girl, told me not to worry because he’s going to baby me the entire way from here on out and ushers me back on the bus. I take a seat next to my daughter and watch them all laugh it up and I can hear them talking about me–Totally unprofessional even though I know they didn’t mean for me to hear them. I get off the bus again and ask the bus driver when we’ll be leaving and he tells me as soon as the bus fills up. It’s now 7:30. I lose my cool and all respect for Holland America at this point. I tell the bus driver to unload my bags and ask the attendant what terminal Continental is located at, she tells me terminal 3 and we get a cab who only charged us 198 pounds plus a tip and he sped us to the airport, made it to terminal 3 at 9:30. Guess what? Wrong terminal. Had to catch another cab to terminal 4 which was 23 minutes away for 22 pounds plus a tip. We barely managed to make our flight.

    During my trip, I had emailed my husband telling him that we should use Holland America for our trip to Africa, but why take a chance? I’ve never been treated so poorly on a cruise line before, ever! It almost felt like a running joke that turned out not to be very funny at all. And I’ll tell you, many first time guests were complaining about the service at the front desk as well during our entire trip. Holland America left a very poor if not cheap impression on us.


    June 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm

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