Holland America Line’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea theme cruises have proven to be a winner for both the cruise line and its guests. The first of these voyages took place in February on the ms Eurodam and received rave reviews. I recently returned from a Canada/New England Dancing with the Stars: At Sea cruise aboard the ms Veendam and it was a huge success. The Veendam’s guests brought their dancing shoes (literally) and were ready to show off their best moves.
There was so much excitement built up around the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea theme, both before the sailing and onboard the ship. Many guests told me that they had chosen their sailing specifically because of the voyage’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea theme. Others weren’t familiar with the show before the sailing and became fans while onboard. It was fun to see so many people participating in the events.
Our sailing had four professional and celebrity dancers from ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” television show onboard. The dancing professionals were Chelsie Hightower and two-time mirror ball trophy winner Mark Ballas. Celebrity performers included Olympic gold medalist and mirror ball trophy winner Shawn Johnson and Joey Fatone of ‘N Sync fame. Almost all of the themed activities were held in the Veendam’s Showroom At Sea Theater and audiences packed the room at every event.
Holland America’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea production shows are similar to what audiences see on the television show. Fans will be familiar with the music, the lavish costumes, and the judges featured in taped clips in between the productions’ dancing segments. Holland America has added quite a bit to these theme cruises, however, making them even more special for guests.
Here are just a few reasons why Holland America’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea cruises are such a big hit:
Interaction with the Stars. Aboard Holland America’s intimate ships, fans have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the stars they’ve grown to love on “Dancing with the Stars.” Guests saw Mark Ballas, Chelsie Hightower, Joey Fatone and Shawn Johnson all over the ship on my recent cruise. We’d spot them at breakfast in the morning, having a drink at the Ocean Bar later in the day, and up in the Crow’s Nest at night. They truly seemed to enjoy the chance to interact with their fans. Holland America provided opportunities for guests to have their pictures taken on the red carpet with the stars and even have their photos and memorabilia personally autographed later in the cruise.
Fun Events for Everyone. Anyone who enjoys having a good time can participate in Holland America’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea events. Guests don’t have to be pros, or even remotely talented dancers, to get out on the floor and have fun. In fact, some of the participants who were “strong & wrong” (enthusiastic participants and entertainers with less than perfect footwork) were the ones initially chosen to compete. Audiences loved them. In addition to the dancing events, our theme cruise also included a fun “Dancing with the Stars” fashion show. This event gave Veendam guests the chance to get a closer look at some of the incredible costumes worn on the television show, all beautifully modeled by members of the Dancing with the Stars Dance Troupe. Emmy-nominated Mark Ballas, a world-class dancer who also happens to be a talented recording artist, entertained guests with musical performances in the evening as well.
Opportunities to Compete and Win. Guests on Dancing with the Stars: At Sea cruises have the opportunity to learn the jive, samba, cha cha and tango at events throughout the voyage. After being taught the routine, participants can show off their moves and possibly be selected for that step’s dance competition. Hundreds of Veendam guests showed up to watch as well. Guests don’t need to come to dance events with a partner to learn the moves or be chosen, although they do need to be 21 years of age to be a Dancing with the Stars: At Sea finalist. The top six winners from each of the week’s events participate in the sailing’s finale where the cruise’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Cruise Champion is chosen.
Insights for Fans. Show fans love to get the inside scoop on what goes on behind the scenes when the cameras aren’t rolling. At Holland America’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Q&A session, guests have the opportunity to find out what it’s like to be part of the popular “Dancing with the Stars” show. In a packed hour-long session aboard the Veendam, Cruise Director Jason Venner conducted a candid interview with our sailing’s dancing pros and celebrities. In addition, many guests had the chance to ask their own questions and find out things they’ve always wanted to know. Popular topics included how dancing professionals and celebrities are matched, who has a say in designing and selecting celebrities’ costumes on the show, and why “Dancing with the Stars” judges sometimes say those outrageous things.
Holland America’s Cruise Experience. Classy Holland America Line and ABC’s elegant “Dancing with the Stars” are perfect theme cruise partners. Many Holland America guests enjoy the ballroom dancing experience and give the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea stars a warm reception. While guests flock to the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea events, they also appreciate all of the standard aspects of cruising that are hallmarks of Holland America Line. Guests rave about Holland America’s food and attentive service as well as other onboard activities including cooking shows in the Culinary Art Center, Digital Workshops, Greenhouse Spa treatments, and the Club HAL programs for kids and teens.
Holland America currently has two more Dancing with the Stars: At Sea theme cruises scheduled. The next theme cruise takes place on January 5, 2014 in the Eastern Caribbean aboard the ms Nieuw Amsterdam. The following week, the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Champions Cruise sets sail.
It’s important to note that Holland America’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea theme cruises are part of a larger fleet-wide program taking place on Holland America ships this year. On every Holland America cruise, not just the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea theme cruises, guests can participate in free dance classes with routines from ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Each of Holland America’s voyages includes a Dancing with the Stars: At Sea competition, with finalists being selected to appear in the sailing’s finale show. The performer with the highest combined total of points from the three judges and audience participation score is selected as the voyage’s Cruise Champion.
Cruise Champions with the highest total score from each Holland America ship will be invited to sail with a guest free of charge and compete as one of 15 finalists on Holland America’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Champions Cruise in January, 2014. In order to be considered for participation in the Dancing with the Stars: At Sea Champions Cruise, guests must sail on an eligible cruise by November 25, 2013. See Holland America’s website for more information and complete details.
Do you have what it takes to win Holland America Line’s mirror ball trophy? Book a Holland America cruise and find out. No matter whether you’re “in it to win it” or simply want to watch and enjoy all the fun, you’ll still have a great time. To find out more about Holland America’s Dancing with the Stars: At Sea program and its theme cruises, visit the cruise line’s website at www.hollandamerica.com.
Nancy Schretter is the Managing Editor of the Family Travel Network.
Photo credit: Nancy Schretter