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

Category: News (page 1 of 2)

2021 Dec. 23; Holland America press release Zuiderdam returns to service.

Zuiderdam Resumes Service from Port of San Diego; Second Ship from California and Sixth Back to Cruising

Click to Tweet: .@HALcruises’ Zuiderdam resumes #cruising from the West Coast. Ship departs San Diego Dec. 23 and will sail roundtrip through April 2022. Three additional HAL ships also to cruise from San Diego in the coming months.

Seattle, Wash., Dec 23, 2021 — Holland America Line’s Zuiderdam returned to service today from Port of San Diego in California, the second Holland America ship to resume service in San Diego since the industrywide pause.

 Zuiderdam’s crew celebrated the return in holiday spirit with sleighbells ringing and Santa and his elves on hand to open embarkation and welcome guests back on on board. Zuiderdam joins Koningsdam, which resumed service in San Diego Oct. 10. Holland America Line now has six ships cruising again in the Caribbean, Mexico and along the Pacific Coast of the United States.


Zuiderdam Hotel General Manager Colin Jacob (left with scissors) helps 7-year-old Levi Stengel cut the ribbon to welcome the first guests aboard Zuiderdam, as the ship resumes cruising after a several-month pause. Catherine Stengel, Levi’s mother, stands behind him, and Captain Frank van der Hoeven is to the right of Levi.

 “San Diego is an important homeport for us, and we are excited to have two ships back in full-time operation here with the restart of Zuiderdam today,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “We are proud to be part of the San Diego community, which has continued to show us tremendous support throughout our restart. There’s no better way to kick off Zuiderdam’s season than with a holiday cruise full of joyful guests and our grateful crew who are happy to have them back on board.”

 Zuiderdam’s first cruise is a 10-day “Mexico and Sea of Cortez” that will be followed by Panama Canal departures and a grand 35-day South Pacific sojourn and Pacific cruise. Koningsdam sails a series of seven-day cruises to the California Coast or Mexico and two longer Hawaii voyages that run through April 3, 2022. Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam each make one call at San Diego in spring 2022.


Earlier in the week on Dec. 19, while remaining alongside at San Diego’s B-Street Cruise Terminal, Zuiderdam took part in the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights with an illuminated “Ho Ho Ho” on the ship’s side to show community support.

About Holland America Line in San Diego:

Holland America Line has been homeporting from the Port of San Diego since the 1990s. For the upcoming 2021-22 season, the cruise line will bring more than 81,000 guests to the city, which will result in more than $35 million in direct spending.

Operationally, each ship visit directly contributes $364,000 to the local economy in provisioning (fuel, food, flowers, piano tuning, supplies), port taxes, and spending. When Koningsdam and Zuiderdam call at San Diego, both ships will connect to shore power, reducing the ships’ carbon footprint.

Throughout the years, Holland America Line has been actively involved with more than 30 nonprofits in San Diego County through giving, shipboard lunches and cruise donations, including La Jolla Playhouse, San Ysidro Health and Girl Scouts San Diego.

For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel advisor, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit hollandamerica.com.

2021 Oct. 15; Prinses Margriet will christen the ms Rotterdam (VII) in 2022

Fresh from the Press: Press Release by HAL this morning.

Holland America Line Names Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands Godmother of Rotterdam

Rotterdam marks the 13th ship for the cruise line to be named by a Dutch Royal

Her royal Highness Prinses Margriet of the Netherlands and God mother of the whole Dutch Merchant fleet.

 Seattle, Wash., Oct. 15, 2021 — Holland America Line announced today that when Rotterdam is named next spring, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands will be the ship’s godmother, carrying on a tradition that began in the 1920s.

Holland America Line’s connection to The House of Orange goes back nearly a century to Prince Hendrik launching Statendam III in 1929. Since then, members of the Dutch Royal Family have launched 11 more Holland America Line vessels throughout the years, including Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet who named Prinsendam (1972), Nieuw Amsterdam III (1983), Rotterdam VI (1997) and Oosterdam (2003).

“We are deeply grateful that Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet will once again act as godmother to a Holland America Line ship, carrying on a long tradition with the Royal Family that continues to honor our Dutch roots,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Rotterdam will be named in Rotterdam next year, celebrating its namesake city and our historic connection with the Netherlands. We look forward to commemorating the occasion where it all started for Holland America Line.”

The ms Rotterdam VII arriving in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam arrives for the first time in the port of Rotterdam on the morning of October 14. 

Additional members of the Dutch Royal Family who are godmothers include Queen Máxima, who named Koningsdam in 2016 and Nieuw Amsterdam in 2010. Then-Queen Beatrix served as Eurodam’s godmother in 2008. Rotterdam V was launched in 1958 by Queen Juliana. Then-Princess Beatrix named Statendam IV in 1957 and Prinses Margriet in 1960. Nieuw Amsterdam II was launched by Queen Wilhelmina in 1937.

 Rotterdam’s maiden cruise departs Oct. 20, 2021, from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and embarks on a 14-day transatlantic journey to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During its inaugural Caribbean season from November to April, Rotterdam will sail a variety of five- to 11-day itineraries that span the southern, western, eastern and tropical regions, all roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. In mid-April, the ship makes a 14-day Atlantic Ocean crossing back to Europe to spend the summer in Norway, the Baltic, British Isles and Iceland, all sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam.

Rotterdam was delivered by the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy July 30, 2021. The date for naming the ship in Rotterdam will be announced in the coming months.

For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel advisor, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit hollandamerica.com.


24 March – 10 April 2020; Panama to Fort Lauderdale.

So I am back on the blog. A blog which I had to stop as things were getting too confused and fast moving for me to relate correctly and with sufficient authority. If you look at the last blogs, I had mentioned already a few times that the company was moving faster than I could record it. Then throw the world stage, with all its politics into the mix, and I did not know any more if I was coming or going. So we stopped.

On 09 April the last guests left the ship, and then ship went into warm lay-up. Healthy guests but a few guests remained on board who could not leave as they could not get home for all the reasons that went with the current situation. Things on board are now returning to a sort of normal, albeit a new normal.

This blog is a compilation of the past period as seen through the eyes of yours truly and as I am not involved in politics (*) there is no opinion about why something happened, just what happened and how the ships made it work.

(*) Maybe Captains should all run for office, each in their respective country, I am absolutely convinced the world would have less issues. Continue reading

21 March 2020; Puerto Vallarta Mexico (Day 7) … Day 6 without guests.

Another day with good weather and alongside in Puerto Vallarta. We are congratulating ourselves for the fact that we could go ashore for the last seven days, while our sister ships were at anchorage or are still trying to land their guests. Our Amsterdam, which aborted her world cruise is currently landing our guests in Fremantle. Although Australia is also in lockdown the local government has decided that as the ship does not have any Covid-19 cases on board, there was no problem to bus everybody directly to the airport and back home. Our Maasdam and Zaandam are still looking for a port and might, I say might, have to come to the States before that is possible. That gives the challenges with provisioning and the Zaandam went to anchor at Valparaiso and although also Chile and Peru are in lockdown, it was allowed to use a (small) shore boat to get 9 containers with fresh produce and other essentials to the ship. So the Captain had 150 crew working in relay from the tender platforms to carry everything by hand out of the boats and then at once to the cold and freezer rooms to ensure that it did not spoil. With the current situation at hand everybody has to be creative and make things work. Luckily ships crews are great in improvising and have faced bigger operational challenges in port and thus always works out one way or the other. Continue reading

20 March 2020; Puerto Vallarta Mexico (Day 6) … Day 5 without guests.

This morning we returned to Puerto Vallarta after the Chief Engineer did all the things he had to do during the night and we were docked again by 09.00 hrs. We will now stay alongside until “further notice” as they call it. The Europa arrived this morning and the Norwegian Joy is still on the schedule for sometime late this afternoon.. We are now also expecting the Eurodam and the Westerdam but when is not certain yet as the Eurodam is approaching at slow speed, I think they are travelling on one pod and the Westerdam is still far away. The Oosterdam is still at anchor at Cabo San Lucas. (Have a look at this website, https://www.cruisemapper.com/, it gives the locations of all the cruise ships. Our thoughts are at the moment with the Maasdam and the Zaandam as they have challenges with landing their guests as most countries are now in lock down and are only letting their own citizens back in. And thus the office is now hard at work to find for these ships a port where the guests can still reach an airport for their final repatriation.   Continue reading

22 June 2019: Norwegian Sea.

Today is our sea day to get to the North Cape and Honnigsvag. The weather followed the weather forecast and it was nice, quiet and dry for most of the day. In the afternoon we got a bit of motion of the ocean courtesy to a weather front behind us which is creating some waves but the Prinsendam is a good surfer and thus the dis-comfort is very minimal. We are on average sailing a distance 12 miles from the shore. Partly because the dotted line between the pilot station of Trondheim and where we go around the corner of the North Cape makes it so, but also partly to stay out of coastal waters.  There is the 3 mile zone (full territorial waters) and we try to stay out to avoid the local rules; and there is the , 12 mile zone, where we stay out of if possible as here the international regulations might vary from country to country. The latter can be quite complicated and brings headaches to every captain. IMO (International Maritime Organization) sets the standards that are approved by every member. But the regulations are allowed to be “amended by the local administration”. So a measure of a Liter of paint in Europe might be a Gallon of paint in North America, and a Jin in China. To avoid going mad and/ or making mistakes we try to plan our courses outside the 12 NM. Continue reading

Captain Albert: 10 June 2009, Cadiz, Spain

Captain Albert SchoonderbeekCaptain Albert Schoonderbeek

While Northern Europe had strong winds with tornado watches and torrential rains with flood alerts, we had “to cope” with flat calm sea’s and sunny skies. So with that happy thought on our mind we approached the pilot station early in the morning as we had to be docked by 7 am. From the pilot to the dock normally takes about 35 minutes but docking took longer this time as we had been assigned another berth. Behind us was the Adventure of the Seas who with 340 meters of length was given our normal dock as it was much longer.

We had to dock at the cross dock, which is about 250 meters long. The Prinsendam being 204 meters means that I have plenty of space; it just takes some time to “angle” the ship in towards this cross dock. Thus we were at the pilot station earlier than otherwise would have been the case. As I had been up from 1 am until 3 am for passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, I had had a short night but a beautiful arrival into Cadiz made up for it. Cadiz is facing to the East at the end of a curved estuary and when the sun rises, the reddish/golden glow tends to paint the white buildings of the city in a sort of soft pink. Very pretty, when you happen to be awake to see it. The port was virtually empty apart from a ferry boat running on the Cadiz to Tenerife service. This ferry boat had been bumped from the cross berth to make space for us, in the same way as we had been bumped by the Adventure of the Seas.

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Captain Albert: 09 June 2009, At Sea

Captain Albert SchoonderbeekCaptain Albert Schoonderbeek

As expected it was a beautiful day at sea while we sailed around the south side of Spain from Barcelona to Cadiz. This stretch of water is called the Alboran Sea after a small island that is located slap bang in the middle of it. As soon as we were out of Barcelona we “moved with the flow”; all the traffic going in the direction of Gibraltar is basically on the same track line and creates a sort of highway at sea. In the same way as you have a motorway on land, with the difference that there is no restriction in leaving, crossing or sitting still on a sea highway. Traffic going to the harbors in the Northern part of Spain, the Southern part of France and the Northern part of Italy are in the other lane a bit more to the south. On the radar you see 20 to 30 ships nicely separated by an invisible line going one way or the other.

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Captain Albert: 08 June 2009, Barcelona, Spain

Captain Albert SchoonderbeekCaptain Albert Schoonderbeek

In the past we had to travel through a bridge to get to our dock at the World Trade Centre. I assume because everybody got fed up with having to wait for this bridge being open all the time, they decided to give the older port area its own entrance. When the new port area was under developed it did not matter that much as hardly anybody had to go over the bridge but when the cruises ships started to dock there, the waiting times became very inconvenient. Now the ferries and the smaller cruise ships, plus the fishery traffic and the traffic for the dry docks have their own entrance, relieving the pressure on the bridge considerably.

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Captain Albert: 07 June 2009, Marseilles, France

Captain Albert SchoonderbeekCaptain Albert Schoonderbeek

The weather turned out to be beautiful indeed and that made approaching Marseilles very pleasant. The wind had died off completely and the sun was shining straight over the hills making the area look very “Mediterranean”. It was an active port day as far as traffic was concerned with the Prinsendam leading the parade. We were followed by the Coral (Lois Cruise Lines) The Costa Pacifica (Costa Cruises) and the Bleu de France (latest off-shoot of Carnival to get it into the French market). For the rest there was a whole line of ferries coming in as well about an hour later.

The entrance to the new port of Marseilles is at angle of about 90o with the approach course and only 100 meters wide. Thus there is about 110 feet clearance on either side when the Prinsendam enters in the middle. With nice weather not much of a problem but when the wind blows on right angles over the entrance, it is a tight hole to get through with a drifting ship. On our approach we were listening with amazement to the Coral who was about 10 miles behind us and was giving a pilot time of 5 minutes before us. Somehow the mathematics were not correct here, because there was no way that the ship could over take us with only 20 minutes to go. So it did not happen at all but the pilot going to the Coral had difficulty boarding as the Coral was still going much too fast when she was almost at the pilot station. So while the Coral pilot tried to sort that out we proceeded into the port with our own pilot and a nice and sedate speed.

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