Holland America’s Newest Cruise Ship Christened in Namesake City

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During a ceremony in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands officially named the new flagship of Holland America Line (HAL).

Onboard the cruise ship MS Rotterdam, the Princess pulled the ship’s bell on Monday morning, making the name of the flagship official. Margriet wished the crew and future guests “a safe journey.”

The ceremony was attended by several dignitaries such as Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald, Holland America Group President Jan Swartz, Rotterdam Captain Werner Timmers, and the Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb.

The newest MS Rotterdam is the seventh ship carrying the name for Holland America Line, and the second MS Rotterdam christened by the Dutch Princess. 

MS Rotterdam Officially Christened

Holland America Line’s newest cruise ship, the MS Rotterdam, has been officially named during a traditional ceremony in its namesake city Rotterdam. The city has played an important role in the cruise line’s history, as it was here that the cruise line was founded in 1873.

Her Royal Highness, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, performed the ceremonial ringing of the ship’s bell as she wished the crew and passengers sailing on her a safe journey. The blessing of the ship’s bell is a Holland America Line tradition when welcoming a new ship to the fleet.

The Rotterdam is the seventh vessel sailing under that name for Holland America. On October 15, 1872, Rotterdam I — the first Holland America Line ship — embarked on its maiden voyage from Rotterdam to New York.

“Our heritage is rooted here in the Netherlands, and we are deeply honored to have Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet as godmother of her fifth Holland America Line ship,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. 

“When Rotterdam was delivered in 2021 we postponed its naming ceremony so we could hold it in Rotterdam, because there’s no better place to name a ship than in the city it was named after. After a challenging couple of years, we are excited to celebrate this memorable moment in our company’s history.”

Holland America Rotterdam
Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line

The ceremony was attended by senior executives of Carnival Corporation and several dutch dignitaries. Following the ceremony, a gala luncheon was held onboard for guests. 

A Long History of Royal Namings

When it comes to members of the Royal Family naming cruise ships, Holland America Line and the House of Orange have a long history together. Princess Margriet herself is an expert within the royal family when it comes to naming and christening ships. 

This was already her sixth ‘christening’ for HAL. A quarter of a century ago, Margriet was also godmother to the previous Rotterdam in 1997.

Holland America Rotterdam
Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line

At the time, it was the sixth ship in the history of HAL to bear the name Rotterdam, a tradition that is now being continued. Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet also named Prinsendam in 1972, Nieuw Amsterdam II in 1983, and Oosterdam in 2003.

Other members of the Dutch Royal Family who are godmothers include Queen Máxima, for Koningsdam and Nieuw Amsterdam. Queen Beatrix served as Eurodam‘s godmother. Rotterdam V was named in 1958 by Queen Juliana. Nieuw Amsterdam II was named by Queen Wilhelmina in 1937.

MS Rotterdam

The newest Pinnacle-class cruise ship for Holland America Line will spend the summer in Northern Europe, sailing from its homeport, Amsterdam. From there, she will sail a series of seven- and 14-day Norway cruises and voyages to Scandinavia, Iceland, and the Northern Isles.

Holland America Rotterdam
Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line

The 2,668-passenger, 99,935-gross ton cruise ship has been sailing since October 20, 2021, when she sailed from Amsterdam on a 14-day transatlantic crossing to Port Everglades with stops in Zeebrugge, Belgium, Le Havre, France, Portland, UK, Brest, France, and Ponta Delgada, Portugal. 

Her current voyage, a seven-day “Rotterdam Naming Celebration” cruise, departed May 29 from Amsterdam and will visit Kristiansand, Stavanger, and Flåm, Norway.

On October 15, MS Rotterdam will set sail from Rotterdam on a 12-night 150th Anniversary Transatlantic voyage to New York City, which re-creates the maiden voyage of Rotterdam I in 1872.

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