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As part of the company's legacy, it was directly involved in the transport of many hundreds of thousands of emigrants from the Netherlands to North America.
It provided service from its European base to the Americas over the North Atlantic.
The Holland America Group of HAL and Princess Cruises have a letter of understanding to buy the Yukon White Pass Railways from Skagway to the US-Canadian border. April 2009 refit added Lanai, spa and verandah staterooms, Mix lounge, Showroom at Sea, the Retreat aft pool area with shallow pool and movie screen (moved up to Lido deck level), and duck tail for stability.
April 2011 refit updated Retreat area, removing wading pool in favor of several smaller hot/cool tubs.
HAL ended transatlantic service during the early 1970s, leaving the North Atlantic passenger trade for Cunard's RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. It ceased operating as a Dutch line in 1989, when it was purchased by Carnival for 1.2 billion guilders (€530 million).The final R class ship, Amsterdam, like a hybrid of Rotterdam and Volendam/Zaandam, incorporates Rotterdam's twin funnels as well as the Lido deck aft pool.Together, Rotterdam and Amsterdam were considered HAL's flagships.Other services were started to other new world ports, including Hoboken, Baltimore and South America. During the first 25 years the company carried 400,000 people from Europe to the Americas.Other North American ports were added during the early 20th century.
The company was formed as a result of the reorganization of an earlier company, Plate, Reuchlin & Co.