Holland America Unveils 150th Anniversary Celebrations and Voyages

Carnival-owned Holland America Line reveals plans for its 150th anniversary, including events, commemorative crossings and more.

Holland America Line will be celebrating its 150th-anniversary celebrations in style with two commemorative transatlantic crossings and a range of other celebrations.

The company, now based in Seattle, was founded in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1873. However, the first ship sailed already in October 1872.

To mark that first sailing, the company’s newest ship, the seventh version of the MS Rotterdam, will sail on the original itinerary that the first version sailed in 1872.

Then, in April of 2023, the vessel will sail the same itinerary in reverse to celebrate the date the company was officially founded. 

Holland America 150th Anniversary Celebrations

On October 15, 1872, the first ship of the new to form ‘Nederlandsche-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij,’ or Holland America Line as it would be known later on, sailed from the city of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. In 1873 the company was officially registered. 

Holland America will celebrate that first MS Rotterdam sailing with a commemorative Atlantic Ocean crossing on the same date 150 years later. 

The ship will leave from Rotterdam and visit Plymouth, England, and Le Havre (Paris), France, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to New York City for an overnight call; then, it sails on to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Holland America Rotterdam
Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line

“A milestone like a 150th Anniversary doesn’t come around often for most companies, and our celebrations will bring to life our century-and-a-half of amazing history,” said Gus Antorcha, Holland America Line’s president. 

“Holland America Line has touched the lives of millions of people throughout the years — whether by bringing them to a new life in America or providing a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. We have some really special experiences planned over the next several months to honor our heritage.”

Then in April of 2023, 150 years after the company was founded, it will celebrate that occasion with the return voyage of MS Rotterdam to her first homeport, Rotterdam, where she will arrive on April 18. 

MS Rotterdam is the third of HAL’s Pinnacle-class cruise ships built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. The 99,935 gross tons, 2,668-passenger cruise ship is the seventh ship to feature the name MS Rotterdam in the company’s 150 years of existence. She sailed on her maiden voyage in October of last year and was christened in May of this year

A Year Full Of Celebrations

Besides the two commemorative sailings, Holland America Line is planning on many more celebrations spread out during its anniversary year. 

During the first Atlantic crossing, MS Rotterdam will be welcomed in New York On October 26, 2022, with a special ceremony that will include a memorable stage performance.

Holland America Line
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

When Rotterdam arrives at the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands on April 18, 2023, the ship will receive a grand welcome on its 150th birthday in the city of the company’s founding. During the overnight call, guests and the city of Rotterdam will help mark this historic milestone at an evening event on board.

Various activities are planned during the crossings, including commemorative historic menus and cocktails that offer a taste of the brand’s history, and live music with guest performances, presentations reliving the past and roots of Holland America Line.

Besides a range of deals for 2023 cruises, in the coming months Holland America plans to release details on a series of cruises that will relive the history of exploration of ports in the past 150 years. These cruises will all include special programming designed to celebrate the company’s history. 


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