Sustainable Seafood: Holland America Earns Two More Certifications

Rudi's Sel de Mer, a specialty restaurant on Holland America's Rotterdam. Photo by Susan J. Young.

In one 2022 survey, 80 percent of travelers responded that sustainable tourism was important to them, according to Statisa, a global research company. So, it’s of interest to know this new fish/seafood factoid: Holland America Line, which already has an industry-leading Global Fresh Fish Program, is now further expanding its sustainability reach when it comes to fish and seafood served on its vessels. So, if you’re looking for sustainable seafood on vacation, the premium line is a good option.

Now, Holland America is newly certified globally by both the Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council. The news was announced by Gus Antorcha, Holland America’s president, during an event Sunday on Nieuw Statendam at Port Everglades, FL.

(Shown in the photo above is Rudi’s Sel de Mer, a specialty fish/seafood restaurant on Rotterdam. Photo by Susan J. Young.)

Sustainable Seafood: First Line to Earn Both Certifications

Holland America, the first global cruise line to receive both certifications, says it’s committed to serving guests the highest quality sustainable seafood when wild-caught or farmed “responsibly.”

The Marine Stewardship Council’s focus is on sustainable wild-caught seafood. In turn, Aquaculture Stewardship Council works to foster responsibly farmed seafood, helping ease pressures on wild fish and seafood populations. Both groups seek to minimize environmental impacts.

The two certifying organizations are widely considered to have the most credible standards worldwide for certified seafood. “Our guests care about the quality and sustainability of the fresh fish we serve, and so do we,” emphasized Antorcha. He said the line’s commitment to guests is to bring regionally inspired fresh seafood dishes from port to plate in 48 hours.

Sustainable Seafood: Onboard Dining and Experience

Now, all 11 ships in Holland America’s fleet are “Chain of Custody” certified. That means they can serve seafood both certified and labeled by the two stewardship organizations. The full roll-out will start across five Holland America ships in May 2024 at the beginning of the Europe and Canada/New England season.

That includes Volendam in the Canada/New England region, and Rotterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Zuiderdam and Oosterdam in Europe. Holland America Line’s six ships sailing Alaska waters already serve 100 percent sustainable seafood under its Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification.

Rotterdam in the Netherlands during Holland America's 150th anniversary. Photo by Holland America Line.
(One of the first Holland America ships to offer certified seafood is Rotterdam, shown in the Netherlands. Photo by Holland America Line).

Guests will find the certified seafood dishes in both Holland America’s main dining room, as well as the Lido Market and onboard specialty restaurants. Certified seafood from nine regions worldwide — Asia, Australia, Canada/New England, Mexico, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Hawaii — will be incorporated into the line’s seafood offerings.

Where to Experience?

So, if you’re wondering about some options for sailing and chowing down on fresh seafood that’s certified, The Meandering Traveler has picked two  upcoming Holland America voyages to discuss with your personal travel planner. There are many others as well, but these two provide a sense of the range of the options.

Canada and New England Discovery: The 1,432-passenger Volendam will set sail on a seven-day itinerary between Boston, MA, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada. on multiple departure dates between May and late June 2024.

So, if you’re hankering for a close-in cruise, on one of the line’s smaller ships, and with great seafood, this is one good option. At press time, prices for the June 21, 2024, sailing, for instance, started at $829 per person, double occupancy.

The Arch of Constantine with the Roman Colosseum in the background. Photo by Susan J. Young.
(The Arch of Constantine with the Roman Colosseum in the background. One 23-day Oosterdam itinerary will take guests to the Eternal City. Photo by Susan J. Young.)

Italian Splendors and Ultimate Mediterranean Explorer: For those seeking a Europe voyage this summer that’s a lengthier, robust Mediterranean option, check out this 23-day itinerary.  On July 5, 2024, the 1,964-passenger Oosterdam will sail from Trieste (Venice), Italy, to Civitavecchia (Rome – see photo above), Italy.

Guests will sail to destinations in Italy, Montenegro and Greece. Prices at press time started at $4,284 per person, double occupancy. Contact your personal travel planner today.

So, how will guests know something is certified. Well, onboard menus will indicate the type of certification with a symbol marked next to the dish using either the Marine Stewardship Council blue fish, Aquaculture Stewardship Council sea green, or Responsible Fisheries Management logos.

No, right now not all seafood species served aboard Holland America Line are currently certified. But the cruise line is working toward 100 percent accreditation of species that are eligible to meet the organizations’ standards.

Falling under that umbrella are the following: Asian Barramundi, Tasmania Atlantic Salmon, Canadian and New England Haddock, Hawaiian Swordfish, Mediterranean Sardine, Mexican Tuna, Northern European Dover Sole, and South American Chilean Seabass, to name a few.

Global Fresh Fish Program

The new certifications are the latest achievements for Holland America’s Global Fresh Fish Program. That pioneering initiative engages a global network of 60 ports to source and serve 80 types of fresh fish — from port to plate in less than 48 hours — in all restaurants on board.

Holland America chefs learn techniques and fresh seafood recipes from Chef Chef Masaharu Morimoto, the line's fresh fish ambassador. Photo by Holland America Line.
(Holland America’s chefs learn techniques from Chef Chef Masaharu Morimoto, the line’s fresh fish ambassador. Now, the line has new sustainable seafood certifications. Photo by Holland America Line.)

So, guests will find fresh fish and ingredients native to various regions where the ships sail. “Overall, Holland America is striving for more ‘destination-inspired menus’ and local specialties,” says Shelby Steudle, president, Pavlus Travel. “The goal is to tell the story of each itinerary’s ports of call through onboard cuisine.”

Additionally, the Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council certifications follow Holland America’s move to become the first major cruise line to serve 100 percent fresh, certified sustainable and traceable wild Alaska seafood on board its six ships sailing Alaska voyages.

That falls under the line’s Responsible Fisheries Management certification.

Timing-wise, this Holland America news about additional sustainable seafood certifications is one of the first announcements from a major cruise line during the week of Seatrade Cruise Global in South Florida. That the cruise industry’s most important conference annually, and it kicks off today in Miami Beach.

Now on site at Seatrade, The Meandering Traveler will keep readers posted with a roundup of tidbits from the show during a future blog.

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