In 1958 the Holland America Line loyalty program was launched: the Society of Honorary Mariners. From 1993 the fleet was expanded and thereby the loyalty program was also revived. One automatically becomes a member of the current Mariner Society once a cruise is made. In 1995, the Holland America Line under the Mariner Society Rewards Program initiated the issuance of tiles to its guests. The Mariner Collection exists now of 150 tiles. All tiles have a size of 4″ x 4″.
The 1995 series consists of 7 vintage windmill tiles.
The 1996 series also consists of 7 tiles with windmills; however, the year is replaced by a flower. According to the website series list of the Holland America Line, it concerns eight tiles. It is questionable whether the windmill tile of the Ryndam was ever launched from “the ceramic wharf”. I have never seen the tile, and Holland America Line, the Mariner Society and Royal Goedewaagen could not confirm the production and issuance.
The 1997 series consists of 9 tiles with cityscapes, inspired by the Makkum tiles from the 17th century. Two tiles with the designation Rotterdam were issued because in that year both the old ss Rotterdam (V) as the new ms Rotterdam (VI) were in service. The first of those two tiles seems to be an odd exception. The image seems to be a combination of this series with those of 1999 on which old sailing ships are depicted prominently.
The 1998 series is the first set of tiles (8 pieces) depicting earlier Holland America Line ships. It is striking that from the tile with the image of the Nieuw Amsterdam II two copies exist: one with the designation “Nw Amsterdam II” and one labeled “ss Nw Amsterdam II”. The second tile is not on the series list. From the tile with the image of the Ryndam I also exist two copies. The second one most probably is a misprint. These tiles are placed at the bottom of this menu as “deviating tiles”.
In addition the Statendam is wrongly marked as “ms”, actually, the ship was a steam ship. That mistake also occurs in the 2002 and 2005/2006 series.
The 1999 series consists of 9 tiles. The tiles are inspired by tiles such as those made between 1650 and 1680 in Harlingen (The Netherlands): images of ships of the Dutch East India Company.
The 2000 series consists of 11 tiles with images of Dutch traditional costumes.
The 2001 series is the second set of tiles (10 pieces) which depicts the Holland America Line ships (past and present).
The 2002 series is the third set of tiles (12 pieces) which depicts ships of the Holland America Line (past and present). This time in compass form. It is the first series in which the now 29-year-old Prinsendam occurs (formerly Royal Viking Sun and Seabourn Sun) with 37.848 brt. the smallest ship of the fleet. Because of the high number of repeaters and the exotic destinations, the Prinsendam is nicknamed “Elegant Explorer”.
De 2003 series is the fourth set of tiles (12 pieces) on which ships of the Holland America Line (past and present) are depicted.
The largest series is issued in 2004. This series consists of 13 tiles and is the fifth set of tiles on which ships of the Holland America Line (past and present) are depicted.
Also the 2005/2006 series consists of 13 tiles. It is the sixth set of tiles on which ships of the Holland America Line (past and present) are depicted.
In 2007 the first series of 4 tiles is issued with images of advertising posters from earlier years. Left: the poster by Frans Mettes from 1955. Right: the poster by Reyn Dirksen from 1956. Below: tiles inspired by posters of the ss W.A. Scholten from 1880 and the ss Statendam from 1928, of which a second copy exists that is not in the list of the HAL series. It concerns a cut out. That tile is placed at the bottom of this menu as “deviating tiles”.
In 2008 the second series of 4 tiles is issued with images of advertising posters from earlier years. Left: the poster by Cassandre from 1928. Right: the Wim ten Broek poster from 1938. Below: tiles inspired by posters from 1948 and 1953.
In 2009 the third series of 4 tiles is issued with images of advertising posters from earlier years. Left: the poster by Jan van Beers from 1898 with an image of the (exalted) ss Obdam (1889-1898). Right: the poster by Adriaan van ‘t Hoff from 1928. Below: tiles inspired by posters of the ss Statendam from 1929 and the “Big Three” from 1959.
In 2010-2011 the fourh series of 4 tiles is issued with images of advertising posters from earlier years. Left: the Wim ten Broek poster from 1936. Right: the poster by Ad Werner from 1950. Below: tiles inspired by posters from 1890 and 1948.
The 6 tiles from the 2012-2014 series are images based on work by the maritime painter Stephen J. Card, whose paintings adorn the main staircases of the current fleet. The tiles are arranged according to class.
For the 2015-2016 series the Holland America Line has once again chosen for images based on works from Stephen J. Card. However, the corner ornaments are more adapted to the standard corporate image of Delft blue, while the waves are reflected more graphically than in the previous series. Again the tiles are ordered by class.
After the ms Statendam and the ms Ryndam were sold in November 2015 to P&O Cruises Australia, Holland America Line has extended the 2015-2016 series with a tile on which both ships no longer appear.
After the two previous series, issued as Delft blue reproductions of oil paintings of the present cruise fleet by maritime painter Stephen J. Card, the Holland America Line has choosen again for more progressive graphic designs from Goedewaagen designer Sander Alblas for the 2017-2018 series (7 pieces). In these new designs Alblas has incorporated in a playful manner ship portraits of the different cruise classes together with the constant changing line profile of hotel New York, the former headquarters in Rotterdam.
Below the newest tiles from the Mariner Collection 2019. A new edition of the 2017-2018 series will be issued, this time without the indication “ms”. In both series a shift in tonality is visible; thereby, it concerns a somewhat lighter blue, an esthetic choice. Personally, I find greyblue which corresponds to the earlier editions nicer; however, this is a company policy and ultimately Holland America Line’s choice.
Only the tile of the Nieuw Amsterdam II appears on the series list of the Holland America Line (series 1998, 8 pieces) and not the same tile with the addition “ss”. That is curious, because all other tiles in this series have the designation “ss” or “ms”. It would have been obvious that precisely the second tile would be part of this series.
In the same series only the tile of the ss Ryndam I appears on the series list of the Holland America Line. On the second tile the ship is inaccurately presented as “ms” (motorship). This tile is a misprint; only a few of them are in circulation.The tile from the ss Ryndam I is correctly represented on the series list with the indication “ss” for a steamship.
The first tile of the ss Statendam III is part of the 2007 series (4 pieces). The second tile is a cut out and does not appear on the series list. It is not known on which occasion this tile is issued. Based on the type of bisque (unpainted, unglazed baked ceramic ware), one can conclude that it concerns a Royal Goedewaagen tile. It is probably a try-out that was not chosen by Holland America Line.
The next two tiles are pendants of the tiles from the Mariner Collection series 2007 and 2009, respectively. They again depict the ss Statendam III (1929-1940), the first and only ship from Holland America Line with three smokestacks.
In contrast to those from Royal Goedewaagen, the first tile has rounded corners and a glazed back. It concerns most probably a test tile made by Westraven, the operating subsidiary from Porceleyne Fles.
The second tile with the characteristic two lions greatly resembles the Royal Goedewaagen tile from the Mariner Collection series 2009 painted by Sander Alblas and is probably painted from that design (as shown on the last picture). The tile also makes use of a different colour blue and is painted on bisque (unpainted, unglazed baked ceramic ware) from Mosa (Maastricht, The Netherlands). As mentioned in my contribution in HALLO 5/2014, Holland America Line links their corporate image in this tile program to the Dutch Delft blue; however, not in this particular case. It also concerns most probably a tile made by Westraven.
Due to the fact that Royal Goedewaagen has compiled the shipping history of HAL since 1993, one might thereby assume that only a few of these tiles are in circulation.
The total production of 4″x 4″ Mariner Collection tiles is currently unconfirmed 350.000 units per year. Sander Alblas used to be the designer for this tile program between 1993 and 2010. He designed the tile panel from 1998, which decorates the staircase of the ms Rotterdam (VI) between the Dolphin and A deck. The tile tableau is a gift from “Vereniging De Lijn” association on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the Holland America Line.