Holland America presents virtual tour of Veendam

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SEATTLE -- Holland America Line joined forces with Interactive Pictures Corp. to give cyber-travelers a virtual tour of the Veendam. The tour begins at HAL's Web site, www.hollandamerica.com.

Using Interactive Pictures' technology, which provides views from a 360-degree angle, agents can offer potential clients a feel for the ship by providing a virtual walk through the public rooms and cabins.

HAL officials said the technology should help motivate potential passengers who are not moved to book by brochure photos alone.

Rooms available for cyber- exploration include the ship's Grand Atrium; the Rotterdam Dining Room; the Explorer's Lounge; Ruben's Lounge; the Lido Pool, and the Ocean Spa Gymnasium and Juice Bar. Other areas on the tour are the Penthouse suite; the Penthouse bathroom; a suite with a veranda; a minisuite with a veranda; an oceanview stateroom, and an inside stateroom.

Oak Ridge, Tenn.-based Interactive Pictures uses IPIX imaging technology on the site.

It works like this: You go to HAL's site, go to the virtual reality tour, download a plug-in, follow instructions (or consult with a Net-savvy individual), head back to the virtual tour and click on the area you want to explore.

It will take a few minutes to download and figure out, but it is worth it.

After browsers choose a public area or cabin, they have the ability to zoom in and out of an area and explore minute details. For instance, on a tour of an outside stateroom, you can check out the bedding, what beverages are available and where the fire alarm is located.

Holland America said it has received "positive feedback" on its new Web feature and said it may add virtual tours of other ships in the future.

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