Dec. 6 Champions Cruise with 15 guest finalists held aboard ms Westerdam

Seattle, Wash., Dec. 29, 2014 — During the Dec. 6 Champions Cruise aboard ms Westerdam, Holland America Line crowned guest Brenton Mitchell of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the line’s second “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Champion. Mitchell, who represented ms Neiuw Amsterdam, triumphed over 14 other guest competitors to claim the title and take home Holland America Line’s coveted “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” Mirrorball Trophy.

A self-described amateur ballroom dancing hobbiest, Mitchell danced in the ship’s main show lounge in three elimination performances before making it to the finals where he executed a waltz and tango with shipboard dancing partner Whitney Szabo in front of a judging panel that included “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancers Kym Johnson, Artem Chigvintsev and Sharna Burgess and actress Sabrina Bryan.

“We’ve been building up to the Champions Cruise all year and it was an exciting and challenging week for all 15 guest competitors, who each deserve to be congratulated,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Special praise goes out to Brenton for winning the title and dazzling a judging panel of professional dancers.”

Before Mitchell was named champion in the final round, three elimination rounds were held to whittle the 15 competitors down to three finalists. Ian Alldritt of Nepean, Ontario, Canada, representing ms Zuiderdam, and Matthew McGloin of New York City, representing ms Eurodam, also advanced from the early rounds to dance in the final evening’s competition.

The 15 Champions Cruise competitors represented each of the ships in the Holland America Line fleet and are from their respective ship’s “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” dance competitions that were held onboard every cruise throughout the past year.

Joining the Champions Cruise to perform in a special production show were ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” professional dancers: two-time “Dancing with the Stars” champion Kym Johnson, Sharna Burgess and Artem Chigvintsev. Celebrities who have previously appeared on the hit television show and performed onboard included actress Sabrina Bryan and television personality Carson Kressley.

Additional events on the cruise included a special fashion show featuring the glamorous show costumes, a chance to meet the dance pros and celebrities, and a question-and-answer session.

The Dec. 6 Champions Cruise visited the eastern Caribbean, sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with calls at Half Moon Cay, the line’s award-winning private island in the Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos.

Holland America Line’s partnership with ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” features the shipboard program through the 2015-16 sailing season, culminating with another Champions Cruise guest dance-off competition on the Jan. 10, 2016, western Caribbean sailing of ms Nieuw Amsterdam. Winners from cruises throughout the year could be chosen to win a free cruise to represent their ship on the next Champions Cruise. Complete rules on the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” dance competition are posted on www.hollandamerica.com.
                                   
The 2015 schedule also will continue to feature “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” programming on every cruise throughout the year, in addition to six special “Dancing with the Stars” theme cruises featuring the show’s professional dancers and celebrities. Celebrities and professional dancers for 2015-16 will be announced in the coming weeks.

For more information about the “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” theme cruises, consult a travel professional, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com. Blog posts on all the competition aboard the Champions cruise can be found at www.hollandamericablog.com.

Editor’s note: Photos from the Champions Cruise featuring Mitchell and other dancers are available here: http://www2.cleanpix.com/cleanpix/portal/W1kkT-NbH-NGs.

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