- Captain Albert's Website and Blog -

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

Current Fleet

My company the Holland America line has 15 cruise ships, one ship on order, expected in 2021 and one ship going out the Prinsendam  (II) ,leaving 01 July 2019.

The details of each ship in the fleet are in this sub-directory but nothing has been completed yet. (Feb. 2019)

Most company’s had naming systems in the old days and Holland America was no exception. They choose the ending Dam as some of the major cities , Amsterdam and Rotterdam, had a name with such as ending and we have kept this tradition ever since.

After 1900, the passenger ships kept the DAM ending and the cargo- only ships which now appeared received the ending DIJK.  As half of the Netherlands is below sea water level there are plenty DAMS and DIJKS out there and thus sufficient names to choose from.  Most of the names that were chosen do exist in reality. But the current Vista class derives its names from the Compass Class from 1938 and those names do not relate to a real town or city.

The same goes for the Prinsendam. One theory is that  the name was chosen to please The Hague, where the houses of Parliament are located. This as the company had already ships called Amsterdam and Rotterdam.  One has to keep the politicians happy as well. The name Prinsendam would then have been derived from the name Princenhof (Court of the Princes) which was an old name for The Hague as that is were the Ruling Royal Family lived.

Ever since 1872 the company has been repeating the names. Hence we have a Rotterdam VI and a Maasdam V etc. This pattern still continues. The Nieuw Statendam is basically the Statendam (VI) but the prefix Nieuw was added to indicate that the new = nieuw ships coming on line with the Koningsdam in 2016 were substantially different in layout and operating philosophy than the ships before.

A quick rundown of the current names background

Amsterdam  (III) named after the capital of the Netherlands

Eurodam (I) name chosen to honor the Dutch and European heritage of HAL

Koningsdam (I) name chosen to honor the King of the Netherlands (Koning Willem Alexander) The Dutch had not had a King since 1898, always Queens, so he is quite special. Very special as one takes into consideration that he will be replaced one day by his daughter, and thus another Queen. As men do not baptise ships (bad luck), Queen Maxima of the Netherlands baptised the ship.

Maasdam (IV) named after the river Maas, which is the river which flows through Rotterdam. The 2nd ship of the company was called Maas and was later renamed in Maasdam.

Nieuw Amsterdam (IV) named after the  Dutch settlement on Manhattan, before it became New York.

Nieuw Statendam (VI) There are four theories about the name Statendam.

  1. The first Statendam (1898) was called after a Dam on one of the islands south of Rotterdam.
  2. It called after a Dam near a town called Oosterhout located to the South East of Rotterdam, where some major shareholders lived.
  3. It is called after Staten Island in New York
  4. It is called after the “Staten Generaal” which is the Dutch Parliament. (Again to keep the politicians happy)

We are still digging in the archives for confirmation.

Noordam (IV) named after the Noordam from 1900 which was named after the river Noord in Rotterdam. There is no town called Noordam. This name was also repeated with the compass class of 1938.

Oosterdam (I) Named in line with the compass class ships of 1938. Although that class did not have an Oosterdam. For reasons unknown the ship which should have been called Oosterdam, was called Zaandam.

Rotterdam (VI) named after the city of Rotterdam, where the company was founded in 1872.

Veendam (IV) named after the town Veendam in the North East of the Netherlands. Name was chosen to honor W.A Scholten who was born there and who in 1874 bought enough shares to finance a complete ship for the company when the company went public.

Volendam (III) Very famous Dutch Tourist town located on the eastern shore of the province Noord Holland.

Westerdam (II) named after a ship which was one of the compass class ships of 1938.  There is no town called Westerdam.

Zaandam (III)  Town North of Amsterdam, also very wellknown by tourists.

Zuiderdam (II) named after a ship which was one of the compass point class ships of 1938. There is no town called Zuiderdam.









  1. Can I subscribe to your reviews when you write them?
    Please send to email: ilovechocolate44@aol.com

  2. Captain, this is the first time I’ve had a chance to look at your site, and it’s just as interesting as my friends on Cruise Critic said it was. I love learning the details of passenger ships, and am becoming something of a ship-spotter. My father loved ships and the sea, and expressed his passion for them by crafting models of the USS Constitution and other tall ships without benefit of any kits. He was working on HMS Victory when he died at 82.

    My husband and I will be taking our fourth HAL cruise to the Sea of Cortez on October 31, on Veendam’s sister Ryndam. I will be a frequent visitor up until that time.

  3. Looking for to our next cruise on the Veendam, less than a month away. this will be our third cruise aboard Veendam, our ship of choice.

    And this time, I will remember to bring Captain Albert’s book!

  4. I have been on many cruises starting when I graduated from high school back in 1973 with my first cruise being aboard P&O Lines ship, the S.S. Oriana from Vancouver to Southampton’ England through the notorious Panama Canal. Other cruises were all successful as being wonderful, but in September of 2006, I boarded ‘ms Veendam’ for her 34 day repositioning cruise from Vancouver to the Carribean via the Amazon River. I had never had a balcony suite before so I thought that since where I am going in the future, my money is only going to burn anyway, why not? Surprisingly enough, the suite that I had on the Veranda Deck, Cabin 212 was very affordable and to say the least, a wonderful expirience with all the comforts of home. Veendam is certainly a “ship with a soul”. She has character with a certain smile on that bulbous bow face. Clean ship and efficient crews were always there when needed and the meals being absolutely supurb. The 34 days were only 3.4 days in my mind, since before I knew it we were gliding into Tampa, Florida with the horrible thought of disembarkation. Certainly the best cruise I have been on thus far. Also may I add that my loving parents’ Mrs. Joyce and Mr. John Lanning were to do this same cruise earlier on before the ‘Veendam’ was delivered into service, aboard the ‘ms Westerdam’, but unfortunately, my Mother took sick and the cruise on the Amazon had to be cancelled at the last moment. My Mother became terminally ill and passed away two months later with my Father joining her less then a year later. So in essence the wonderful cruise aboard the ‘Veendam’ was done in a certain memory of my most loved Parents. I also was able to purchace a second hand copy (in excellent shape) of the book ‘125 Years of Holland America Line’ by H.A Dalkmann and A.J. Schoonderbeek. It was great to sail with Captain Schoonderbeek and I would like to ask that should I sail with the Captain on my next HAL cruise, I will bring this book with me so I may ask that it be signed by the author and Commander himself. My extended thanks to Holland America Line, the Captain, Officers and crew of the beautiful ‘ms Veendam’ for such a memorable cruise. Also many thanks to those new friends I made with my fellow passengers who also made my cruise that much more enjoyable. I will never forget……………

  5. Dear Captain Albert,
    My apologies for sending you an e-mail during your holidays. Should you have some time to answer your inbox, would you please answer my 2 questions (for now)?
    Do Chief Officers (1st stuurmannen) working for HAL have the same privileges as Captains with regard to holidays? Meaning – do they also have ” shifts” of 6 months off and 6 months on?
    Are Chief Officers also assigned a ship or can they “bid” on other ships to work on?
    I am a retiree from Air Canada but have always been interested in the organization of merchant shipping companies from the time I sailed on the Johan van Oldenbarneveldt from Soerabaja to Amsterdam!
    Many thanks and have good holidays


  7. The Veendam is still my favorite ship . I was just on the Noordam 2/16/08 cruise round trip out of NYC 11 day’s .The Noordam like the Veendam i fine to be the best in there class! Being the last one’s built .Captain i go way back with HAL .Growing up in Hoboken NJ .Watching all the old HAL ships come in at the old 5th st pier !! I saw the Statendam of 1957 come in for the first time also the Rotterdam of 1959! My grandfather is Dutch so i got to go on all the ships with him for visits .He had alot of friends who work for HAL .And some Captains he went to school with .They would sometimes stay at our house .At that time ships didn’t come & go in the same day !! My all time favorite ship is the Neiw Amsterdam of 1938 .Maybe the best Art deco ship ever !! I could tell you story’s of the 5th st pier .When movie stars former Paz. would come to Hoboken to board a HAL ship ! It was alway a big deal when a new HAL ship would come in .I remember how sad it was when HAL moved to pier 40 in NYC !! Thanks alot for this great web site .
    Mr Veendam Bill Miller is also from Hoboken .I know him .He”s done books on HAL .He went to school with my older brother in Hoboken .HAL is his favorite line too !!


    The Spottiest fleet !!

  8. Greetings Captain;
    We are taking our first cruise in June and we will be on the Veendam. Your writing is interesting and well done.
    If you have time, can you answer a question as I have a very curious husband. He is an old school mechanic and loves to tinker when he has a chance on old cars. My question is how much fuel does the Veendam use on a trip from Canada Place to Seward?
    Have a good day and we look forward to our cruise.

  9. Roger Tollerud

    May 12, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Dear Captain Albert
    My wife and I cruise often on Carnival and though we have never cruised on HAL I really enjoy the inside information you provide to us cruisers who are interested in how the ship works.

    Thanks so much.

    I wish you fair winds and following seas.

    Roger T

  10. Captain,
    I stumbled across your blog researching the Veendam. Fascinating! I am looking forward to joining you on the June 13th northbound voyage. I hope the weather improves in the next month. I will certainly be paying more attention to route, berths and tides than usual. Thank you for sharing with us.

  11. Steve Chisholm

    July 9, 2008 at 9:09 am

    I love the “S Class”. Perfect size I think. I cruised on the Statendam in 1994 just after she completed her inaugural world cruise. I took the Grand Mediterranean and Black voyage from NYC to London. It was wonderful. I’ve sailed on her several times since. Hawaii and Alaska…

  12. Arthur Rosenberg

    August 19, 2008 at 6:55 am

    I know we cruised with you to Alaska on the Maasdam. You don’t mention being on that ship.

  13. Dear Captain Schoonderbeek

    As I was looking through our picture album of our East Coast cruise from Monteal to Tampa last fall, I noticed for the first time a reference to your blog website. I read all your behind the scenes comments and your battles with tides, currents, gulfstream and the like. Absolutely fascinating reading. You are an excellent writer. Thank you.

    It was also humorous to read your comments on judging the ship-building contest. We participated in that, you may recall the cardboard Viking ship with the barbie figurehead. We had a blast.

    Although our first Veendam cruise, we have cruised HAL several times before and always enjoyed it. Keep writing, I will check your blogs faithfully.

    Ruud and Barbara Hartog, Tierra Verde, FL

  14. Captain Albert, I was on the Veendam in the month of Sept. 2008. I was greatly disappointed that you were not the captain at that time. I was looking forward to meeting you. I had read all your blogs after subscribing a few months earlier.
    I loved sailing on the Veendam to Alaska on the 14 day cruise. What a wonderful ship – and just the right size. I had sailed the year before on a different line – a much larger ship – and I liked the attention given to me by the crew on the Veendam – much more than I ever expected. I plan to cruise many more times on the Veendam as well as the other ships of Holland America.
    I love your blogs!

  15. Hello Captain,
    I was in my early 20’s and part of the entertainment team on the 1976 world cruise when the SS Rotterdam was compromised by a 100 ft wave. I have a 6 page letter I wrote on February 1 (the day after) to my parents explaining what happened. Some of the statements in your blog are not correct. The ship never docked in Casablanca and went straight to Villefranche.
    I would be happy to send you the letter I wrote at the time.
    Best regards.
    Bonnie Cullen

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