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Holland America Line partners with AFAR Media to bring expert destination content to guests and travel enthusiasts

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The Destination Guides will be available on Holland America Line's website, giving guests the most comprehensive information accessible to travelers in the cruise industry.

SEATTLE - Holland America Line is partnering with experiential travel expert AFAR Media to help cruisers dream, plan, choose and prepare for the perfect cruise vacation. Through the collaboration, AFAR will provide "Destination Guides" for all of Holland America Line's ports of call and scenic cruising areas - totaling approximately 400.

The Destination Guides will be available on Holland America Line's website, giving guests the most comprehensive information accessible to travelers in the cruise industry. AFAR will utilize its vast network of local experts to curate the content, providing travelers with authentic recommendations for top attractions, restaurants and shopping experiences in each destination.

"Holland America Line guests seek authenticity in travel, and studies have shown that travelers trust and value expert, third-party content above all else," said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line's president. "Our new partnership with AFAR Media will deliver the most extensive destination information to our guests in a way that's never been done before in cruising, ensuring they will have the perfect shoreside experience tailored to their personal tastes and interests."

From the world's most iconic cities to relatively undiscovered ports that Holland America Line is known for, each Destination Guide will contain an overview of up to 20 top picks to see and do in the area; recommended restaurants, cafes and markets; and boutique shopping suggestions.

"To our guests, a Holland America Line cruise is much more than the cruise itself," continued Ashford. "Our guests are passionate about travel; it's a lifestyle for them. So the dreaming and planning are all part of the experience. AFAR will elevate the way we engage with our guests and add value in a meaningful way."

"AFAR is thrilled to be working with Holland America Line on this exciting partnership," said AFAR co-founder, Joe Diaz. "Through the growth of AFAR Custom, we are able to partner with industry leaders such as Holland America Line to create and utilize the power of high-quality content to increase brand affinity across a variety of channels, drive engagement, and inspire travelers to have deeper, richer and more fulfilling travel experiences. Now, no matter where you are sailing to, Holland America Line guests can uncover unique experiences in every port of call."

Holland America Line Collaborates with Software Platform Utrip to Offer the Highest Level of Cruise Vacation Personalization
Selecting the right cruise itinerary and then deciding what to do while in port can be daunting, but Holland America Line's new collaboration with Utrip will give guests the most comprehensive and interactive personalized planning and discovery tool in the cruise industry.

Through integration into the Holland America Line website, the Utrip platform will offer a novel way to personalize content in new Destination Guides being created in partnership with travel authority AFAR Media. Cruisers will be able to browse the information on their own or utilize the Utrip functionality to select desired ports of call, highlights and activities ashore. They will then receive customized recommendations on the line's cruise itineraries, port highlights, as well as shore excursions tailored to their interests.

"Our guests want to experience destinations in their own way, and through our partnership with Utrip they can now personalize their trip in a fun and engaging way, as well as make more informed choices about what to do and see ashore," said Orlando Ashford. "We are thrilled to partner with another Seattle-based company, and we know our guests are going to enjoy exploring the world in a whole new way using the Utrip interface on our website."

Utrip simplifies searching through Holland America Line's thousands of cruise itineraries and shoreside activities by enabling guests to narrow down their options and save specific ports and interests. These are recommended by either a pre-determined profile or a personalized one created with interactive sliders covering History, Art and Culture, Food and Drink, Nature and Outdoors, and Contemporary Life.    

For each destination, Utrip searches top-pick attractions, local dining and shopping options for the best match to personal preferences. Interactive maps allow users to see the location of each suggestion and click for additional information. The interface also will make recommendations for Holland America Line group shore excursions based on preferences.

Another facet of the Utrip platform is that it will enable guests to find cruises visiting specific ports and regions without having to sort through dozens of itineraries in the area. For example, if a traveler knows she wants to visit Europe and explore Spain, Italy and Monaco, and more specifically Barcelona, Rome, and Monte Carlo, Utrip might recommend ms Oosterdam's 12-day Mediterranean Rivieras voyage departing May 24, 2016, or ms Eurodam's 12-day Mediterranean Tapestry cruise departing July 5, 2016.

"We are excited to work with Holland America Line to create a new way for their guests to plan and personalize their cruise," said Gilad Berenstein, Utrip founder and CEO. "Utrip's platform will generate itinerary and shoreside recommendations based on a guest's preferences, so it's much easier to find sailings and activities that are most interesting to them. It simplifies the decision-making process and makes planning their next vacation more engaging and enjoyable."

Users can save the recommendations to their profile so they can easily find them when they are ready to book their cruise.
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