Holland America Line’s Zaandam has finally welcomed guests again for the first time in more than two years, returning to service today from Port Everglades, Florida. The occasion is a happy one and leaves just one ship left in the cruise line to restart passenger operations.
Zaandam Restarts Service
The Rotterdam-class Zaandam has welcomed guests aboard for its first sailing since the global pandemic shutdown began in March 2020.
This first cruise, which set sail May 12, 2022, is a 9-night, one-way voyage from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Montreal, Canada, calling on various ports such as Boston, Massachusetts; Bar Harbor, Maine; and Sydney, Nova Scotia, among others, before it arrives in Montreal, Quebec, on May 21.
“With Zaandam’s reentry into service, we are thrilled to not only have nearly our full fleet back, but also to return Canada and New England after two years away from this beautiful cruising destination,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line.
To commemorate the ship’s return to service, Holland America Line held a special ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Port Everglades terminal to open embarkation. The ship’s captain and senior officers, as well as enthusiastic team members from different departments aboard the ship, lined up to greet guests as they boarded the vessel.
“Zaandam has some special cruises coming up, and we’re glad to have her back in service with an amazing team ready to give our guests an exceptional cruise experience,” said Antorcha.
Return to New England and Other Amazing Itineraries
Not only is Zaandam‘s restart a return to service for the vessel, but it also marks Holland America Line’s return to cruising in the Canada/New England region after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health and safety restrictions in the area, especially with travel restrictions in Canada in 2020 and 2021, have made it exceptionally difficult for cruise travelers to visit the region.
Now, Zaandam will offer Canada and New England cruises between Boston and Montreal during the summer and early fall, visiting charming ports such as Prince Edward Island, Halifax, and Quebec.
The fall cruises are especially popular, as the weeks in late September and early October are when fall foliage is at its peak and travelers are eager to see the outstanding color.
A special summer sailing departing on July 9 is the “Voyage of the Vikings” 35-night itinerary that visits not only New England and Canada, but also ports in Iceland, Norway, Scotland, and Greenland, tracing the rich history that connects these diverse destinations.
After the fall foliage season, Zaandam will return first to Fort Lauderdale, then depart for an outstanding 71-night “Grand Africa Voyage” on October 10, circumnavigating the Dark Continent and exploring 25 ports of call, transiting the Suez Canal, and offering countless safari opportunities.
One Ship Left to Restart
Since the first Holland America Ship returned to service in July 2021 with Nieuw Amsterdam setting sail from Seattle to begin the abbreviated Alaska season that year, the cruise line has gradually brought the rest of its fleet back into operation, with the ninth ship in their 11-ship fleet, Oosterdam, resuming service just days ago.
Of special note is Zaandam’s sister ship, Volendam, which while not yet hosting guests on vacations, is currently under charter by the government of the Netherlands, positioned alongside in Rotterdam to accommodate Ukrainian families.
Now, only one ship remains to restart – the Vista-class Westerdam, which will set sail June 12 from Seattle with 7-night sailings from Alaska.
As these are similar voyages from the same embarkation port as the line first began 11 months previously, it is a fitting full circle for Holland America Line’s full return to service.