One cruise line has decided to lean hard into a popular new activity.
The sport of pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island in Washington state as a game that could be played by people of all ages.
It gained popularity in the state throughout the 1970s and began to increase in popularity throughout the Pacific Northwest in the 1980s and 1990s.
It is played similarly to tennis, but with paddles and plastic balls with holes in them, much like wiffleballs. The court pickleball is played on is the size of a badminton court, much smaller than a tennis court.
It is the smaller size of the court and the ease with which the plastic balls can be controlled by the paddles that make its difficulty level attainable for children and older folks alike.
Since 2000 its national following has expanded quickly, to the point that in 2021 and 2022 it was named the fastest-growing sport in the United States by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association. Throughout the U.S., the game at the time had grown to have more than 4.8 million players, the association said.
Holland America Line Teams up with the PPA
Cruise ship company Holland America Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation (CCL) – Get Free Report, has U.S. headquarters in Seattle and also has a tradition of featuring pickleball courts and games on its ships.
The company has recently announced it was named the exclusive cruise line partner of the Professional Pickleball Asssociation (PPA). It said pickleball courts, complimentary lessons and tutorials would be featured on all of its ships by April 2023.
“We like to say that travel unites us, but sports do that as well, and Holland America Line is proud to be the first and exclusive cruise line partner of the PPA. We’re excited to offer our guests an elevated pickleball experience as they travel to spectacular and scenic cruise destinations,” said Kacy Cole, vice president of marketing for Holland America Line, in a press release.
“Mirroring its rapid growth as the fastest growing sport in the U.S., pickleball is the most popular sport on our ships,” she continued. “It’s wonderful to see guests bond over their shared love of the game — and the ever-changing scenery makes the perfect pickleball backdrop.”
The company said its top deck courts will feature the PPA Tour logo as well as its own as a representation of the partnership.
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The PPA Remarks on the Partnership
“Pickleball has become immensely popular among travel and leisure business categories, because it is uniquely accessible, compatible with a variety of brands, and transcends a wide spectrum of age groups and lifestyles,” said Connor Pardoe, commissioner and CEO of the PPA Tour, in the press release. “Holland America Line has embraced and committed to pickleball in a very exciting way and will bring engaging, 360-degree collaborations between its cruise line and the sport we all love.”
The Professional Pickleball Association Tour (PPA Tour) calls itself the professional tour of pickleball.
“The tour consists of 20 stops, in 13 states and even expounds internationally with exposure in Canada,” according to the PPA Tour website.
“The PPA Tour is an unforgettable sporting experience, where amateurs can play where the pros play,” the website continues.