- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 8)

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.


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.


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

16 March 2020; Puerto Vallarta Mexico (Day 3) … Day 1 without guests.

This is our first day without guests and the ship has moved to a regular work day from 08.00 – 17.00 hrs. for those who now do not need to work shifts. Similar as with a dry dock, the Hotel department grabs the chance to turn all the cabins and the whole ship upside down. Compare it to the Spring Clean ashore. Also because it is now expected that we will be out of service for a considerable amount of time (see the publications to the outside world) the cabins are stripped from all linens and the mattresses put in an upright position as that is better for them when they are not used.  This whole operation will keep everybody occupied for quite a few days, maybe even a few weeks. The Bar service is doing the same thing, turning all the bars upside down and having a complete inventory count. That is already normal practice but it is hard to get it completely right when service continues to the guests at the same time. Continue reading

15 March 2020; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

I am somehow not in synch with the world leaders as every time, just as I have published my blog, something exciting happens. Same yesterday, I put my blog on line by 1600 hrs. ships time; early as I had to go on standby to teach the cadet and at 16.30 hrs. the Captain received orders to stay in port and send all the guests home.  After careful consideration the decision was made to abort our cruise and ask the guests to fly home, as at this moment they would still be able to reach home. As well as in the Europe, as in the USA and anywhere else, the countries could stop all (international) travel by Monday. Mexico is not yet in lock down as there are hardly any cases here but that might well happen as the numbers in other parts of the world continue to rise. Most of Europe will reduce travel and movement as of Monday and then it might become extremely difficult to get home. Continue reading

11 March 2020, San Diego, California.

As mentioned yesterday we arrived very early, to start the CBP inspection by 06.30. Contrary to Fort Lauderdale here they wanted to see the in transits first instead of last.  So we all marched through the world stage “in the dark of the night” to show that we were no danger to the country. I got another entry stamp for my collection and I was in compliance again. We were the only ship in and thus we had a large number of CBP officers in attendance which sped up the process considerably. Because here in San Diego there is no option to process people in the terminal; we first see the CBP Officers doing their immigration job on board the ship and then we see the same ones again doing the Customer Officer Job in the terminal. I ended up with the same officer twice and thus first he gave me a new entry stamp and ashore he checked if he had stamped me. Continue reading

07 March 2020; Manzanillo, Mexico.

Sailing through a smooth Pacific Ocean, as smooth as I have ever seen it, we approached Manzanillo. It was smooth enough today to see the birds sitting on the water and the turtles peddling by.  Or better said surfing by if they were close to the ship. When I first went to sea I always worried about turtles getting in the propellers until I started watching them to see what happened when they came by. Well, what happens is that they are pushed aside by the bow wave. Turtles, due to their shape, are like corks on the water; corks that can swim. So when they are swimming on a ships course line, they are pushed aside by the pressure wave that is generated by the bow. That bow wave spreads out further and further away from the ship’s hull and the turtles follow, bobbing along on the crest of the wave. By the time they near the stern of the vessel where the propellers are, they are well clear. It might be a bit of a startling experience for Mr. or Mrs. Turtle to be lifted up by this un-expected wave and carried sideways but it does ensure that they do not come to harm.  Bulbous bows were invented to reduce fuel consumption but they also work very well as a gigantic turtle mover. Continue reading

04 March 2020; Corinto, Nicaragua.

This is one of the trickiest ports to get into. On bad days there is a long and deep swell running over the large area of shallow water outside the entrance which makes it hard to keep the ship steady, even with the stabilizers out. Then there are two turns while sailing in, and at the 2nd one, you can have current from 3 directions at the same time. Something that asks for careful planning. But the company is now coming to this place since 2011 with the cruise ships and thus we have a lot of experience to expect the un-expected. And there is always something.  Also today. With the Corona virus a concern of every health authority, Nicaragua has decided to do a special health check at the sea buoy before sailing in clearance is granted. And thus four doctors boarded the ship and had a discussion with the ship’s Doctor to see what the situation was on board the ms Rotterdam. Well we are completely clean, not even a little bit of Noro virus on board, and after a short time the medical quartet disembarked again and gave permission for the pilot to board. They themselves then continued with a visit on board the Seven Seas Splendor which has been following us since the Panama Canal. They were with us in Puerto Caldera and now also here in Corinto. (Maybe they do not know where they are going, so they are just following us? So I would not be amazed if they pop up as well in Puerto Quetzal) Continue reading

03 March 2020; Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica.

Today we are in a hot and sweltering Costa Rica, mainly because there is hardly any wind, or clouds. As mentioned yesterday, this stop is mainly to offer the guests Eco Tours; same as we have other ports for history (Puerto Quetzal) and other ports again for beach and shopping.  When going here, we have the option to dock at Punta Arenas or at Puerto Caldera. The latter one is officially the cargo port. In the old days it was the only port, but then they built a new pier which leads straight into the town of Punta Arenas. The challenge with the new pier is, it is very exposed to current, wind and swell. So to get the ship alongside you have to arrive at slack tide (change from ebbing to flooding or vice versa) and when the swell is running, then the ship bounces up and down the pier all day, which is not so great for our guests. Continue reading

19 Feb. 2020; Fort Lauderdale.

It is always nice to be in Fort Lauderdale as the only ship in port. It somehow harks back to the days when one ship in port was standard and everything revolved around it. Now we have some sort of shock when we want out if we are the only ones and have to adjust to the luxury. And not only us, a lot of people in the port as well. I heard this morning from our shore side people that there was even a lack of taxi’s in the beginning as a lot of cabbie’s had taken the day off or had focused on something else, “because there was only one small ship in port”. That of course corrected itself but it shows what I mean.  But for the rest it has a lot of advantages. There is no traffic jam at the entry security point of the port and even the bunkering of fuel goes faster as there is a higher pressure in the shore piping system as only one ship is taking fuel. Continue reading

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