A LENS ON VANCOUVER'S PAST
Walter Frost's Holland-America Line (1920-1975)
HOLLAND-AMERICA LINE (HAL)
Holland-America Line (HAL) is a British / American-owned cruise line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Today, its fleet of 14 cruise ships offers more than 500 sailings a year visiting all seven continents. Cruises include both popular and less-traveled ports in the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Mexico, South America, the Panama Canal, Australia, New Zealand and Asia; as well as unique voyages to the Amazon, Antarctica and extended around-the-world Grand Voyages.
Founded in 1873, Holland-America Line operated a fleet of passenger and cargo vessels from its homeport of Rotterdam in the Netherlands across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. It offered its first vacation cruise in 1895. A principal carrier of immigrants from Europe to North America until well after the turn of the 20th century, HAL carried over 850,000 people to the New World. It also shipped cargo to the East and West coasts of the USA and Canada and to South America. While its ocean liners steamed back and forth across the North Atlantic, HAL’s smaller cargo ships brought passengers all the way up the Pacific Coast to Vancouver, travelling via the Panama Canal.
Although passengers and cargo were the primary sources of revenue until the early 70’s, the advent of jet airliners as well as standardized shipping containers in the 60’s resulted in a sea change. Holland-America Line suspended its transatlantic passenger trade in 1971, sold its cargo shipping division in 1973 and transformed into a cruise-only fleet. In 1975, the MS Prinsendam – photographed by Walter E. Frost at the Port of Vancouver’s C.P.R. Pier B-C – completed HAL's first Alaska cruise on the Inside Passage itinerary. To date, HAL has carried more than 16 million passengers to vacation destinations across the globe, many departing from Vancouver’s Canada Place.