Rotterdam 150th Anniversary Cruise – Cruise Critic
(12:30 p.m. EDT) — Tomorrow (October 26), Holland America Line’s flagship Rotterdam will complete the first of two transatlantic cruises celebrating the line’s 150th anniversary when the ship passes the Statue of Liberty and arrives in New York Harbor.
This commemorative first transatlantic crossing recreates Holland America Line’s first voyage, which began on October 15, 1872, when the steamer Rotterdam left the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands, on its maiden 15-day voyage to New York. .
For this recreated commemorative transatlantic voyage, HAL’s new Rotterdam, which was launched last fall and is the seventh ship to bear the Rotterdam name, left Rotterdam on October 15, 2022. After stops in Le Havre, France and in Plymouth, England, the ship set out for a 7-day transatlantic crossing to New York.
According to Rotterdam captain Werner Timmers, on the initial voyage the ship called at Plymouth to load 400 tons of coal from Cardiff for the ship’s boilers, along with some remaining guests and mail. (We also learned that the first Rotterdam ship was 81.84 meters long and 10.9 meters wide — the newest of the Rotterdam ships is 300 meters long and 35 meters wide. And on the maiden voyage in 1872, there were 70 passengers on board — nearly 2,000 passengers are on this memorial voyage.)
For our modern voyage, the Plymouth stopover offered passengers the opportunity to visit attractions such as the Mayflower Museum, the Plymouth Gin Distillery and the new museum, art gallery and archives known as The box. Plymouth is not a traditional cruise port, so local volunteers have been recruited to welcome passengers from the Rotterdam and the city has asked two military boats to move to make room for the ship in the port.
Special Anniversary Events on a 7-Day Transatlantic Crossing
The first two days at sea were accompanied by waves up to fifteen feet. It was daunting for this first transatlantic cruiser, but not for the many experienced cruisers on board. Nor did it faze Bill Miller, an international authority on ocean liners and cruise ships, who gave a series of informative, entertaining, and photo-rich 150th anniversary lectures on the history of Holland America Line and its history. other cruise-related topics throughout this crossing.
When he was not lecturing, Miller spent much of his time listening to the stories of the many guests who sailed on this voyage in part because of their family history with Holland America Line. The company played a vital role in immigration to the United States and Canada and was primarily a transporter of immigrants from Europe to the United States until well after the turn of the last century.
“For some people, it’s a very emotional crossing,” Miller said, “They tell me the lectures remind them of things they’ve forgotten about their own crossings, or maybe seeing a grandma or other relative going on a Holland America ship. . I’m honored to hear their stories.”
Many passengers with direct or indirect Holland America Line immigration stories were happy to share their stories in formal and informal sessions during the anniversary cruise.
For example, in 1948 passenger Bernadine Kelly’s mother, Elisabeth Jansen, accompanied her grandmother on the Holland America Line Veendam from Rotterdam to New York to visit a family that had emigrated in the 1920s and settled in Canada. “After two weeks, my mother’s grandmother said she was ready to go home, but my mother decided to stay.”
Willem and Marian van de Wiel first met on Statendam in 1968 and married a year later. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on the Rotterdam V, Holland America’s former flagship that is now retired and serves as Rotterdam’s floating hotel, museum and restaurant. For their second cruise together, they are celebrating 53 years of marriage on Holland America Line’s 150th anniversary transatlantic crossing.
Memorial meals, retro drinks — and prices to match
In the main dining room, each evening’s menu features at least one dish based on a recipe the culinary team selected from menus dating back to the 1920s. And at the start of the crossing, a special 150th gala menu was fully stocked with food featured on previous trips. Selections on this trip included Ambassador Rack of Lamb, Flemish Lemon Fresh Sole, Dutch Duck Wine Sauce, and Normandy-style Arctic Char. Some of these “retro” dishes will now be added to dining room menus across the fleet for this anniversary year.
For the 150th anniversary crossing, Holland America also introduced a special beer.
HAL Pils is made by Pike Brewing which, like Holland America Line, is headquartered in Seattle. The special-edition beer takes hops from Washington’s Yakima Valley and comes packaged in a collectible can adorned with an image that’s a version of Jan van Beers’ iconic 1898 poster showing a woman dressed in a navy blue dress holding a Holland America Line steamer above her head. The new beer will be available fleet-wide at all HAL bars and lounges from January 2023 and six-packs will be available for purchase from onboard shops.
Another popular drink event on this transatlantic cruise is the Throwback Happy Hour featuring the 150th Martini, mugs of Heineken lager and other vintage drinks at prices ranging from just 25 to 75 cents!
Throughout this transatlantic voyage, HAL’s Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations, Anthony Stice, also offered four- and five-star members of the Mariner Society loyalty program “surprise and delight” bonuses during their free wine tastings.
150th Anniversary Merchandise
Shopping, always a popular pastime on cruise ships, is particularly appealing on this special crossing due to the launch of a new range of 150th anniversary merchandise. Party supplies include commemorative keychains, wine bottle stoppers, playing cards and shot glasses to ship class coin sets, highball glasses, windbreakers, with prices ranging from $19.95 to $84.95. The full range of 150th anniversary items are expected to be available on all Holland America Line ships by the end of the year, but will not be available for purchase online.
World premiere of the new show “A city on the sea”
Spend time on any cruise ship and you can’t help but wonder, “How do they make this all work?”
On the last day of the sea crossing, HAL launched a creative new multimedia show, “A City on the Sea”, which answers this question with a multimedia mix of live crew presentations, video footage and interviews. . The program features ship captains, engineers, medical personnel, musicians, restaurant staff, cabin attendants and others describing the challenges, opportunities and rewards of working on a Holland America Line ship.
“A City on the Sea” will be featured on every cruise fleet from early 2023.
So what’s the next step?
Rotterdam will arrive in New York Harbor on the morning of October 26 and set sail for Fort Lauderdale the following day. While in New York, the ship will host a 150th anniversary launch event with a specially commissioned musical performance.
If you missed that and want to experience it, there’s good news – there’s another transatlantic cruise scheduled for April 6, 2023. This voyage will start in New York and arrive in Rotterdam on April 18 – the 150th anniversary of the cruise line‘s official founding.