A Look Back - Holland America's Rotterdam 1957 - Brief History and Video Flashback

I found this great video of Holland America Line’s Rotterdam of 1959. Constructed at the Rotterdam Drydock Company at Rotterdam in the Netherland,  the ship was delivered 1 year after her sister ship  Statendam was delivered for Holland America. The profiles of the two ships are dramatically different – with the Statendam having a more traditional form and the Rotterdam having a more modern appearance.

On September 13, 1958, the 38,645 ton Rotterdam was launched and christened by  Queen Juliana of the Netherlands with the shoreline flanked with thousands of onlookers. 

With 1,456 passengers double occupancy and a crew of 776, the 748 feet long; 94.1 feet wide; 29.6 ft draft and a cruising speed of 21.5 knots, the twin funnel liner looked majestic.

The Rotterdam was built as a 3 class liner and sailed transatlantic service until 1969. Most of her East bound transatlantic voyages embarked in Hoboken, NJ at the Holland America Pier.  In late 1969, the Rotterdam was converted into a single class liner, spending most of her time cruising – primarily from New York to Nassau or the Caribbean. The Rotterdam shifted operations to Pier 40 (The Square Pier) in Manhattan and later transferred to the New York City Passenger Ship Terminal (now the Manhattan Cruise Terminal). 

In the winter, the ship would sail to the Caribbean and sail an annual world cruise in January circum-navigating the globe. During the summer, the Rotterdam would sail weekly from Manhattan promptly at 5 PM heading to the Bahamas. In order to offer some variety in her itineraries, later, Bermuda was added to the 7 days itineraries with the ship visiting both Nassau and  anchoring off the coast of Bermuda and shuttling passengers via launches to the island nation. The Rotterdam was too large to dock in Hamilton, Bermuda. (The Royal Dockyard pier did not exist then). The Rotterdam would sail on Saturdays or Sundays beside the Statendam, and Home Lines Oceanic and Doric. 

In the 1980’s, Holland America abandoned New York cruise trade and focused extensively on their West Coast Alaska operations with Westours – A tour operator, primarily in Alaska, which Holland America purchased a year earlier.  In the winter months, the Rotterdam would sail in the Caribbean.
In 1989, Holland America (and the Rotterdam) were purchased by Carnival Corporation and incorporated under their corporate umbrella. 

The Rotterdam sailed until September 30, 1997 when she departed her final cruise for Holland America. 

The Rotterdam was purchased by Premier Cruises in 1997 and was enhanced to meet  the latest solar requirements. The Rotterdam was renamed Rembrandt under Premier Cruises and was deployed to the Mediterranean under charter.  As part of the sale, Holland America prohibited the Rotterdam to sail from the US and prevented the ship from being deployed on competing routes with Holland America for 2 years.

After the 2 years restriction was over, the Rotterdam was relocated to Florida and New York to sail on cruises to the Bahamas and New England / Canada. Premier Cruises went bankrupt on September 13, 2000 and the Rotterdam was laid up in Freeport – tied up next to the Red Boat III (SA VAAL; Festivale)

The Rembrandt was then sold back to her builders Rotterdam Drydock Company with the intention to convert the great ship into a floating hotel. The ship’s name was reverted to Rotterdam.  On July 12, 2004, the Rembrandt arrived in Gibraltar and all asbestos and dangerous substances were responsibly removed. The Ship was eventually sold to De Rotterdam BV.  Work began to convert the ship into a combination museum/hotel and vocational school.  The opened on February 15, 2010, the ship is open for business in the port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands today.   


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