Last-Minute Embarkation Port Changes For Holland America Cruise Ship

Holland America Line is forced to make a last-minute embarkation port change due to the low water level in the North Sea Canal.

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Holland America Line has been forced to make changes to the embarkation ports for its newest cruise ship. MS Rotterdam was supposed to sail from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on Sunday, but this has been changed to Rotterdam.

Guests were informed of the last-minute change this weekend, catching many off guard and scrambling to make new arrangements to get to the new port, which is about 1.5 hours away. It’s not just the July 24 sailing that has been affected as the July 31 sailing will also be departing from Rotterdam. 

MS Rotterdam Sails From Rotterdam, Amsterdam Canceled

Much of Europe is currently dealing with extreme drought and extremely low water levels in the rivers, Including the Netherlands. Due to the low water in the North Sea Canal, the authorities have been forced to close the locks between the North Sea and the Canal. 

This closure is to ensure that salt water from the North Sea does not mix with the fresh water from the canal, which could cost severe environmental damage to the fragile river systems in the Netherlands.

Holland America Rotterdam
Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line

It has forced Seattle-based cruise line Holland America to make some last-minute changes to its scheduled embarkation on July 24 for a seven-day Norwegian Fjords cruise onboard its newest cruise ship, MS Rotterdam

Instead of sailing from Amsterdam, the MS Rotterdam will be sailing from its namesake port, Rotterdam, where she was also christened earlier this year. 

The cruise line only informed guests of the change at the last minute, making thousands of guests scramble to make arrangements to the new embarkation port. 

Luckily, the Port of Rotterdam Cruise Terminal is less than an hour journey by public transport, leaving more than enough time for guests to make the journey, either by train and public transport or the more expensive option of taking a taxi. 

The MS Rotterdam is expected to arrive at the Rotterdam Cruise Terminal at 07:00 AM. At 5:00 PM, she will depart for a 7-day cruise to the Norwegian fjords, which calls in Flam, Ulvik, Kristiansand, and Oslo, Norway.

July 31 sailing also adjusted

Guests that have been booked on the July 31 cruise have also been contacted to inform them of a change to their cruise as well. The 14-day voyage will also be departing from Rotterdam. 

Sailing from Rotterdam, the  99,935 gross tons, 2668-passenger cruise ship will be heading on a Northern Europe cruise, calling in Bergen and Molde in Norway; Akureyri, Isafjord, and Reykjavik, Iceland; Lerwick in the Shetland Isles, and Invergordon and Edinburgh, Scotland.

Holland America Rotterdam Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

Whether more cruises will be affected is so far unknown. MS Rotterdam is scheduled to sail from Amsterdam through October 15. As long as the drought in Europe continues, guests should be keeping an eye on their email for possible changes to the embarkation port. 

On October 15, MS Rotterdam will be setting sail on the first 12-night 150th Anniversary Transatlantic crossing, a replica of the first voyage ever undertaken by a Holland Americal Line ship. 

On October 15, 1872, the first MS Rotterdam set sail from Rotterdam, The Netherlands, towards the United States. Along the way, the vessel stopped in Le Havre, France, and Plymouth, England.

MS Rotterdam will be sailing the same route in October, starting with a celebration in Rotterdam and concluding with a celebration in New York. 

Holland America Line Rotterdam

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