Travel has taken a beating by COVID-19. But there’s one way it’s giving us something to celebrate.
Like all cruise lines, Holland American Line has been hit very hard by COVID. HAL has announced its operations are paused through the end of this year.
The company is famous for its long and rich heritage, and what fans call its fleet of ‘dam’ ships (with names all ending in the Dutch ‘dam’, like Nieuw Amsterdam).
And like some other cruise lines, it has made the difficult decision to cull the fleet to streamline its operations and costs until we are cruising again. Four of HAL’s oldest ships: the Amsterdam, Maasdam, Veendam and Rotterdam have been sold.
Taking ships out of service is always nostalgic and often sad for past guests who have so many fond travel memories on beloved ships. The CEO of the company acknowledged the emotional event, “It’s always difficult to see any ship leave the fleet, especially those that have a long and storied history with our company.”
The sale leaves HAL with 10 of its mid-sized, premium ships - and an 11th on the way next year.
That’s where this news gets happy again.
One of the decommissioned ships, the Rotterdam, was the 6th ship of that name in HAL’s 150-year history. Rotterdam is a powerful and symbolic name for the line, whose very first ship was the original Rotterdam, sailing while the company was headquartered in the Dutch city of that name. The 1st Rotterdam took its maiden voyage from the Netherlands to New York in 1872, and led to the founding of the company in 1873.
Instead of letting the name die out with the sale of the current Rotterdam, Holland America has announced the Rotterdam legacy will continue.
HAL is changing the name of its newbuild ship from the previously-announced Ryndam to Rotterdam. And it’s designating the 7th Rotterdam in Holland American history as the new flagship of the fleet.
The 7th ship to bear this historic name, Rotterdam is now due to be delivered on July 30, 2021.
The latest Rotterdam will be scarcely recognizable from its predecessor, although the famously charming staff with their stand-out uniforms and HAL service that have given the cruise line one of the highest returning guest rates in cruising - all remain. Even die-hard Rotterdam VI fans will be delighted with the new ship’s superbly appointed staterooms and suites, including family and single accommodations for every type of cruiser.
Rotterdam VII will be the third in the line’s Pinnacle Class series, carrying a thousand more guests with a capacity of 2,668. And it will feature HAL’s newest and highly successful amenities and innovations, including the 270-degree surround screen World Stage, Rudi’s Sel de Mer and Grand Dutch Café among the exquisite cuisine guided by eight of the world’s leading chefs, as well as the line’s incomparable live music program on its ‘Music Walk’ with its exclusive collection of world-class performances each night - from Lincoln Center Stage and B.B. King’s Blues Club to Rolling Stone Rock Room and Billboard Onboard.
The newest Rotterdam is scheduled to spend the summer of 2021 exploring Northern Europe and the Baltic on roundtrip cruises from Amsterdam.
Cruising aboard Rotterdam VII begins August 1 2021, 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 then sails from Civitavecchia through the western Mediterranean and on to Amsterdam.
Then, until October, the ship will sail roundtrip from Amsterdam on 7-day itineraries to Norway, as well as a 14-day cruise to the Baltic and 14 days to Norway, Iceland and the British Isles. Rotterdam VII completes its inaugural season via a trans-Atlantic crossing from Amsterdam to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The Rotterdam VII gives everyone who loves cruise travel reassurance of a bright future ahead for cruising and for one of its oldest and most storied cruise lines.
Rendering courtesy of Holland America Line.
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