Holland America Ship Sets Sail on Historic Anniversary Crossing

Rotterdam has departed on her historic commemorative crossing, but why is it special, and how is the ship different than 150 years ago?

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Holland America Line’s Rotterdam VII departed the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Saturday, October 15, 2022, on its historic 150th Anniversary Transatlantic Crossing.

The voyage mimics the very first crossing and maiden voyage of Rotterdam I, which departed October 15, 1872.

Celebrating 150 Years

This anniversary voyage is a 12-night sailing retracing the route of the 1872 crossing, from Rotterdam, the Netherlands to New York City, with calls in Le Havre, France, and Plymouth, England before the ship heads out into the north Atlantic Ocean.

Holland America Line invited fans to come to Cruise Port Rotterdam and Wilhelminapier for a festive shoreside sailaway party, recreating a departure from centuries past when ships were sent off with fanfare.

Fireboats spraying water and a flotilla from a local yacht club came to see Rotterdam off, while revelers were given souvenir handkerchiefs to wave.

Rotterdam Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

“Today is historic for our brand as we depart 150 years to the day that Holland America Line’s very first ship began its journey to New York,” said Gus Antorcha, Holland America Line President.

Live music, dignitary appearances, and other special events marked the start of this very special sailing as the popular cruise line moves into its next 150 years.

“We’ve carried immigrants and cruising vacationers, soldiers and refugees and earned a reputation for extraordinary care and welcoming all those guests as if into our own homes,” said Antorcha. “As we sail into our next 150 years, that environment of service will be our hallmark as we create exceptional experiences for guests around the world.”

Special Events Onboard

It isn’t just the sailaway that will be special about this momentous crossing. Onboard, guests will be treated to a number of unique commemorative events and opportunities.

Enrichment programming offered during the voyage will explore Holland America Line’s extensive and varied history, and guests will have the opportunity to sample culinary recreations of dishes from a bygone era.

Exclusive entertainment will also be available onboard, with a wide range of options to appeal to different tastes and preferences.

The festivities will continue during an overnight call at New York on Wednesday, October 26 with a specially commissioned performance on the World Stage by past and present Lincoln Center Stage performers.

Two Very Different Ships

Rotterdam VII, which entered service for Holland America Line in 2021, is a very different vessel from Rotterdam I that set sail in 1872.

The first Rotterdam measured 268 feet long, with just two decks. A total of 296 passengers could sail at once, with 46 crew members to provide service.

Classic Rotterdam
Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line

Today’s Pinnacle-class Rotterdam measures 983 feet long and 12 passenger decks, with a guest capacity of 2,668 at double occupancy, and as many as 4,173 passengers when fully booked. A crew of 1,053 team members provides the exceptional service the line has come to be known for in the past 150 years.

Another Historic Opportunity

Interested travelers unable to be aboard this anniversary crossing have another opportunity to book a celebratory sailing.

On April 6, 2023, the ship will return to Rotterdam via a 13-night crossing timed to arrive on April 18, the cruise line’s official 150th birthday, an occasion sure to be another festive one.

Between the two historic crossings, Rotterdam will offer a variety of Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale during the winter Caribbean season.

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