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Ocean Liner History and Stories from the Sea, Past and Present. With an In Depth focus on Holland America Line

30 July 2020; Rotterdam VII

I normally do not post during my leave but I am making an exception as what was announced today is very important for the company but also goes right to the core of my belief that strong roots make it easier to go forward. Hence a small blog  with the news, although, no doubt, the news will come from everywhere tomorrow.

Holland America has made the decision to rename our newest ship the ms Ryndam  still under construction, to ms Rotterdam. Thus the Ryndam (IV) as was originally the plan, is now becoming the Rotterdam (VII).  And this is possible as the Rotterdam VI is leaving our fleet.  I am not that easily excited about what is normally announced but this is special. The name Rotterdam, after our homeport the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, has been in our fleet for nearly our whole history.

Rotterdam I  1871 – 1883

The ss Rotterdam I.






Rotterdam II 1886 – 1895 (she was later renamed to Edam when the next Rotterdam came into service)

The ss Rotterdam II






Rotterdam III 1897 –  1906

The ss Rotterdam III






Rotterdam IV 1908 – 1940

The ss Rotterdam IV






Now we get a gap due to the war and the flagship of the fleet became the ss Nieuw Amsterdam (II). But there were tentative plans for a sistership and if the war had not happened that sistership might have been built and guess what the name would have been ??? !!! After WWII the company needed time to rebuilt the fleet and also had to deal with the inroads of the airplane on the North Atlantic routes. Hence it took until 1959 before there was a new Rotterdam. A multiple ship as she was a Traditional North Atlantic Liner but at the same time a modern cruise ship who could change roles, just by opening a few doors. And thus ready for extensive cruising during the off-season in the early years and later permanently.

Rotterdam V 1959 – 1997  (she is still there as a great Hotel in Rotterdam)

The ss Rotterdam V






Rotterdam VI 1997 – 2020

The ms Rotterdam VI






Rotterdam VI 2021 and onwards

The ms Rotterdam VII






As you can see from the list above it is also not the first time that we renamed a ship in relation to having the Rotterdam name available for the newest ship of the fleet.

See below the press release of this morning 30 July 2020 which can also be found on the regular Holland America Line blog.

What might be of interest, if you have an facebook account, our Brand Ambassador Seth thought it was a good idea to get me involved in this whole naming business.


Hopefully we will be able to get the ships out of the warm lay up, not too far in the future and I can start blogging again.

Best regards

Captain Albert

Today’s Press Release:

In honor of some of the most memorable ships in Holland America Line’s nearly 150-year history, the premium cruise line is changing the name of its newbuild from Ryndam to Rotterdam and designating it the new flagship of the fleet. The seventh ship to bear this historic name, Rotterdam will be delivered one year to the date on July 30, 2021, pushed back slightly from its original delivery of May 2021 due to the global health situation.

When Rotterdam is delivered from Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy, it will spend the summer exploring Northern Europe and the Baltic on roundtrip cruises from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Guests and travel advisors with clients who were booked on the ship’s Premiere Voyage in May and itineraries through July 30 are being contacted with rebooking options.

“The first ship for Holland America Line was the original Rotterdam, the company was headquartered in the city of Rotterdam for many years, and the name has been a hallmark throughout our history since 1872 … so clearly the name is powerful and symbolic,” said Gus Antorcha, Holland America Line’s president. “With the current Rotterdam leaving the company, we knew we had a unique opportunity to embrace the name as our new flagship and carry on the tradition of having a Rotterdam in our fleet. Seven is a lucky number, and we know she’s going to bring a lot of joy to our guests as she travels across the globe.”

The History of the Name Rotterdam
Holland America Line’s first ship was Rotterdam, which sailed its maiden voyage from the Netherlands to New York Oct. 15, 1872, and led to the founding of the company on April 18, 1873. Rotterdam II was built in 1878 for British Ship Owners Co. and purchased by Holland America Line in 1886. Rotterdam III came along in 1897 and was with the company until 1906. The fourth Rotterdam joined the fleet in 1908 and also served as a troop carrier when World War I ended. Following the war it made regular cruises from New York to the Mediterranean.

Rotterdam V, also known as “The Grande Dame,” set sail in 1959 and began sailing transatlantic crossings with two classes of service. It later converted to a one-class ship in 1969. She sailed with Holland America Line for 38 years until 1997, including several Grand World Voyages, and currently is a hotel and museum in the city of Rotterdam. Rotterdam VI, the most recent to cruise for Holland America Line, was introduced in 1997 and the first ship in the R Class.

Inaugural Season to Explore Mediterranean, Baltic and Norway
Cruising aboard Rotterdam VII begins Aug. 1 with the ship’s seven-day Premiere Voyage departing from Trieste, Italy, to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, with port calls throughout the Adriatic Sea and southern Italy. The ship sails Aug. 8 from Civitavecchia on a 14-day cruise through the western Mediterranean and on to Amsterdam.

From Aug. 22 through Oct. 10, the ship will sail roundtrip from Amsterdam on three seven-day itineraries to Norway, one 14-day to the Baltic and one 14-day to Norway, Iceland and the British Isles. A trans-Atlantic completes the inaugural Europe season with a 14-day voyage from Amsterdam to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

To accommodate guests booked on cancelled itineraries of Ryndam from May through July, Nieuw Statendam cruise itineraries also will see some changes to match up as much as possible with former Ryndam sailings.

“Guests and travel advisors will be notified today of this news and coming changes to current itineraries,” added Antorcha. “We ask everyone, though, to please bear with us just a few weeks for all of the details as we rebuild itineraries and put the finishing touches on several desirable alternatives. We will follow up with specific details very soon so everyone knows their options.”

Guests booked on the originally scheduled Premiere Voyage will be rebooked on the Premier Sailing for Rotterdam, departing August 1, and will receive a $100 per person shipboard credit. All other guests who were booked on impacted Ryndam or Nieuw Statendam cruises will be automatically rebooked to a similar future cruise date during the summer at the same fare paid. Guests will receive a $100 per person shipboard credit for cruises 10 days or less and $250 per person for itineraries of 12 days or more. Guests are asked to wait until they receive updated booking confirmations in the next several weeks before contacting Holland America Line for additional changes to the booking.



  1. We are looking forward to the new premiere voyage itinerary on Rotterdam. I hope you will be onboard, as well, Captain Albert!

  2. Wonderful news, good information as always.
    Enjoy your leave,

  3. Katherine Drew

    July 30, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    Yeah! Holland America would not be Holland America without a ship named Rotterdam. I look forward to sailing on it!

  4. We were delighted to see that the new build would be renamed Rotterdam VI; we were privileged to have made 3 journeys aboard the Rotterdam VI, making many memories and lots of new friends on each one. We look forward to spending more time on her newest version. Stay safe, Captain!

  5. I was so happy to see your name pop up in my in-box with this email about the newest Rotterdam. I hope some day soon to sail on her. Thanks for the update.

  6. Cant wait to board her booked a long time ago with friends.

  7. Rotterdam VI or Rotterdam VII

  8. Robert Pressrich

    July 30, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    How appropriate it was for you to be on the “Good ship” Rotterdam as she sailed with her last guests earlier this year. I can’t understand the company selling her and especially Amsterdam, but then this is unprecedented times.

  9. Miss your post! Maybe you could do a history of how people got the knowledge to captain a ship …

  10. Welcome back captain and the newest Rotterdam!

  11. Hi Kaptein – Did you mean to say Rotterdam VII (seven), since VI (six) is going to Fred Olson. Enjoy the leave and be safe!!

  12. Thank you for the update. And it’s so good to hear from you. My email inbox is never as interesting as when you are updating us on special news or activities abroad ship.
    As you, I am hoping service can resume soon so we can once again sail the high seas.
    Stay well and thank you again for you historical and current news.
    Stay well!!!

  13. Best news of the day. I hope you will be joining the ship again for the Premiere.
    Stay safe .

  14. So nice of you to take from your Honey do List to fill us in on all the News. We are in withdrawal from sailing with HAL. Hope to hear from you soon or run into on a ship.
    Carol & Ted Heap, FL

  15. Brilliant move on HAL’s part. There should always be a Rotterdam in the fleet. Hope all is well with you and your family Capt. Albert. Stay safe!

  16. Firstly, I am glad to hear from you again. I hope you have been well during these sad and stressful times. Secondly, I am so pleased that the Company has decided to give us another ms Rotterdam. When I heard that our “old” Rotterdam” was leaving the fleet, I said to my daughter Tessa “Darn, now I won’t have a chance to sail on the Rotterdam out of Rotterdam (the city of my birth)” Funnily enough she said:” Oh Mom, maybe there will be another ms Rotterdam sometime down the line” To which I replied:” If I live that long and am still able to cruise” Sometimes predictions will come true !!
    Kindest regards, Gerdina

  17. Stephen Ferrell

    July 31, 2020 at 12:32 am

    what is to become of the current Rotterdam?

  18. It is great to hear from you. I hope you and your wife are safe and healthy.
    Thank you for sharing this milestone post with us.
    We all look very much forward to hearing from you again soon under more normal circumstances. Best Regards.

  19. Gosh. It is so good to hear from you Captain Albert. We have missed you. And also amazing company that is Holland America. We can’t wait to get onboard a HAL ship as soon as it is possible.

  20. Captain Albert,
    So happy to hear from you and to get your perspective on this momentous occasion. We all want nothing but the best and all success for Holland America and this just confirms our sentiments. I cannot wait to sail on Rotterdam VII. I may have to wait until the Ft . Lauderdale route takes place, alas.
    Best wishes from a forever fan,

  21. Hello, My father went to sea in 1920 at age 18 as an engineer for the Holland America Line aboard Amsteldijk. During the Great Depression he went back to Marine Engineering College to complete his qualifications whilst living off his savings and retirement funds. I still have his diplomas from Marine Engineering College in the Hague.

    Eventually he moved to the KPSM line just before WW2.

    His ship was torpedoed two months before the Netherlands was at war coming out of the Thames Estuary on the evening tide …..but he was not on board! He had transferred with the Chief Engineer of its sister ship so that he could stay in London to complete moving and warehousing the line’s spare parts.

    My father sailed back to the Netherlands the next morning on the sister ship…through the wreakage of what ha been his ship the previous day.

    His ship was reported as a total loss on Radio Netherlands….which my mother heard….just as dad walked through the front door!

    By the way he did mention a lot of the names of HAL ships he served on including Rotterdam …probably IV.

  22. Delighted to hear from you & the history of the Rotterdam. Looking forward to sailing aboard her or any Dam ship 😊 take care & keep safe!

  23. We are looking forward to the new “Rotterdam”

    Petrus and Sylvia Huijgen.
    Stay safe‼

  24. Thank you captain, what a great news!! In Rotterdam we are all delighted, big news, a number VII is coming!!!
    Isn’t it just unthinkable there won’t be a Rotterdam sailing the world???🙄😜
    Best regards, stay safe!

  25. Wat een geweldig bericht en ook wat fijn om weer van u te horen. Hopelijk blijft de volgende post niet lang uit.

  26. If only the departures would be from Rotterdam instead of Amsterdamn….

  27. Wow, this brilliant move takes many burdens away!

  28. Your post has made my day! We had sailed on ms Rotterdam VI on numerous occasions since 2000 and to have it sold without the option of a final cruise was very disappointing. The decision by HAL to rename the new build Rotterdam VII was outstanding and my wife and I hope to cruise on her from the USA in the future.

    Stay healthy and I hope to see you onboard a HAL ship in the near future.


  29. Love the Rotterdam name. We sailed on the last one 4 times and loved the smaller spaces all over the ship. I will miss my Lanai room. That was my favorite. Looking forward to a brand new Rotterdam.

  30. George Murray

    July 31, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Thank you once again Capt Albert for such an informative and historic view of the upcoming new ship.. My wife and I really enjoyed your live interaction with Seth on FaceBook.. So great to hear your voice after so long in reading your blog.
    Many thanks…

    George Murray

  31. That’s great news that HAL is continuing to expand and renew. I was concerned that the virus would damage or even destroy the cruising industry. I would very much like to hear from you how HAL is operating during the pandemic as it would certainly reassure future passengers. Also, I have always read that it’s bad luck to whistle on a ship, and it’s very bad luck to change a ship’s name~!! Any thoughts there~??

  32. Deanna L McCarthy

    July 31, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    Thank you so much for interrupting your time off to give us this exciting update! Our first HAL cruise was with you on the Statendam Panama Canal Cruise 10/14/2011. And there have been several more cruises since then. We would love to cruise with you again in the future! Best wishes to you!
    Deanna & Dave McCarthy

  33. Margot Villanova

    August 1, 2020 at 3:14 am

    The name change to Rotterdam VII is a wonderful idea. I also hope HAL reinstates the Half Moon on the logo.
    We look forward to meeting her and sailing on her inaugural voyage next August!!
    Enjoy your time off and stay safe!!!

  34. Wow! Love this post!

  35. Seeing your name in my inbox made me so happy. Thank you for the update. Reading your blog is a touch of normalcy as I am not currently in Iceland as I had planned to be. Sigh. Calmer seas ahead.

  36. As long as it has a full walk-around promenade deck, HAL can call it whatever it wants.

    • Sadly it will not be so, it will be cramped and horrible like the so called “walk around decks” on the Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam. Cramped, tight, single file among the lifeboats, no room to walk, let alone sit on the lounge chairs as you could on Rotterdam VI and the other HAL ships they have just sold. HAL have lost the plot, bigger is not better!

  37. I agree with Molly’s post above re: the new Rotterdam and the Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam.
    Both have no room to walk, in many areas there is barely enough room for 1 person to walk.
    No sea view, only lifeboats and ship superstructure.
    No deck chairs.
    No regard for what had made HAL so wonderful .
    Also, these large ships cannot go into the smaller interesting ports, canals, fjords etc. Plus the nightmare of going ashore with thousands of others…….
    No more cruises on HAL for us after the sale of these last 4 ships!
    Hello Fred Olsen, for our next cruises.
    Goodbye HAL from a former 5* mariner.

  38. Captain Albert,
    The Smithsonian TV channel aired an episode of Mighty Cruise Ships last night December 5, 2020.
    The MS Koningsdam was on a Norwegian cruise. Beautiful ship and beautiful scenery. The camera work was superb. We enjoyed every minute of the show.
    Thank you for your blog.


    • Captain Albert

      December 8, 2020 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you for your post.

      yes Captain Werner did a good job and the film crew captured it all without trying to find a “dramatic and exciting” angle….. the scenery and the ship provided a really good view of what Norway cruising is like. Hopefully we will be back next summer.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  39. Valerie Lonneville

    February 10, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    We were booked on the Rotterdam for the May 8th sailing for this year… 21 glorious nights in the land of the midnight sun.
    As loyal cruisers, we were really looking forward to the cruise.

    Then we received the message that the ship had been sold. That was a shame, but we do understand marketing.

    Imagine our disappointment when some time later the very next note from HAL was to say that there was a NEW Rotterdam…”Book NOW”. Think of everyone’s disappointment that upon receiving notification of the selling of the ship, we had not been offered a chance to rebook on the new Rotterdam in advance. To perhaps get similar cabins or suite in similar locations.

    We called immediately, but was too late.

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