The ninth ship in the Holland America Line fleet, MS Oosterdam, resumed service on Sunday, May 8, as she set sail from Venice, Italy, welcoming guests for the first time since the global pandemic shutdown began in March 2020.
With this popular ship now restarting operations, only two of the line’s ships remain suspended, and both are scheduled to resume service within the next month.
The Vista-class MS Oosterdam is now sailing a 12-night Holy Lands and Ancient Kingdoms itinerary with popular calls in Greece and Italy, including Athens, Haifa, Jerusalem, Crete, and more.
This return-to-service voyage was marked with an enthusiastic ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Oosterdam‘s captain and senior officers, with the ship’s crew cheering the first guests to board.
“Our teams work incredibly hard getting the ships ready for a return to service, and the smiles when they see our guests walking up the gangway that first time are so heartfelt and sincere,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line.
This is the beginning of the ship’s Mediterranean season, which will include a variety of sailings with stunning ports in Spain, Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, and more. Oosterdam will remain in the Mediterranean through early November.
At that time, the ship will make a 14-day transatlantic crossing from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale, departing Spain on Saturday, November 5 and calling in Cartegena, Malaga, Cadiz, Lisbon, and Funchal before arriving in Florida on November 19.
Oosterdam will then offer a variety of longer, more detailed sailings between San Antonio, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina through the winter, the ideal time for cruise passengers to explore the rich and diverse ports in South America, including select sailings that will cruise to Antarctica. In spring 2023, the ship will return to the Mediterranean.
On each sailing, Oosterdam can accommodate up to 1,964 guests, who will enjoy such features as expert enrichment lectures, delicious specialty dining, multiple pools, B.B. King’s Blues Club for live music, and the High Score! family game room available exclusively on Oosterdam.
Two Ships Remain to Restart
With Oosterdam now restarted, only two ships in Holland America Line’s fleet remain suspended, though both are scheduled to welcome guests in the next month.
“Each ship back to cruising means more team members back to sea, and we look forward to the restart being complete next month,” said Antorcha.
On Thursday, May 12, MS Zaandam will resume from Fort Lauderdale, first repositioning to Montreal before offering alternating sailings from Montreal and Boston, exploring New England and eastern Canada ports of call. On October 17, the ship will set sail on an outstanding 71-night Grand Africa Voyage, circumnavigating the Dark Continent.
The final ship in the Holland America Line fleet to restart will be MS Westerdam, which will begin her Alaska season on June 12, sailing 7-night roundtrip voyages from Seattle for the summer.
The ship will be visiting Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan in Alaska, with scenic cruising to view Hubbard Glacier and a visit to Victoria, British Columbia to round out these itineraries.
Holland America Line restarted cruising in July 2021, and as the months have passed, multiple vessels have returned to service with cruises in Alaska, the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, California, and the South Pacific.
Volendam is the only ship that is not technically sailing but is still hosting guests. At the moment, the ship is under charter by the government of the Netherlands, positioned near the city of Rotterdam while accommodating Ukrainian refugees.
Volendam is scheduled to resume standard guest operations in July with British Isles, Northern Capitals, and Scandinavia sailings.