“Isn’t this fabulous? We are making history together as Holland America names the new ship Rotterdam with her Royal Highness” said Julia from Amsterdam. I agreed with Julia as we raised our mugs of cold Dutch beer in a toast. My husband and I had never been to a “Royal Ceremony” and we didn’t know what to expect.
We noticed the palatable sense of excitement aboard before the beloved Royal Highness Princess Margriet entered the ship for an elaborate “naming” ceremony and Gala dinner.
Holland America’s news ship Rotterdam got the royal treatment at a naming ceremony in Rotterdam, the Netherland in late May, 2022. Her Royal HIghness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands is the ship’s godmother, carrying on a Dutch royal tradition that began in the 1920’s.
Before the ship sailed for a 7-day itinerary along the coast of Norway, the beloved Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands came aboard for an elaborate “naming” ceremony and Gala dinner where she became the godmother of her fifth Holland America ship. The cruise line’s connection to The House of Orange goes back nearly a century to Prince Hendrik launching the Statendam III in 1929. Since then, members of the Dutch Royal Family have launched 11 more Holland America Line vessels throughout the years.
“Our history is deeply rooted in the Netherlands, and it was only fitting to name our newest Rotterdam in the city of Rotterdam”, said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line.
The cruise line’s connection to The House of Orange goes back nearly a century to Prince Hendrik launching Statendam III in 1929. Since then, members of the Dutch Royal Family have launched 11 more Holland America Line vessels throughout the years.
“How do I dress for a Royal Ceremony? What do I do if I run into the Dutch Princess?” I wondered. “Don’t’ worry, you won’t get near her, and she won’t get near you”, my husband teased me. He was right. Her Royal Highness was escorted in and out of the ship discretely and my black attire was acceptable at the royal ceremony and Gala Dinner.
After the ceremony in Rotterdam the ship departed to spend the remainder of the 7-day voyage exploring the ports of Kristiansand, Stavanger and to cruise through the stunning fjords.
A highlight of our itinerary was a day of cruising in Norway’s Sognefjord. Nicknamed “King of the Fjords”, it is Norway’s longest, deepest fjord and cuts straight through the green heart of the country. Cliffs on either side of the fjord rise almost vertically from the water to heights of 1,000 meters and waterfalls tumble down the sheer walls. We caught glimpses of snow fields and glistening glaciers on the mountainsides. Dotted throughout the stunning landscapes are small villages with colorful wooden houses and remote farms connected to the outside world only by ferry.
The Rotterdam will homeport out of Amsterdam and spend seven- and 14-day Norway cruises, as well as explorations to Scandinavia, Iceland and the Northern Isles. It will spend the fall and winter season in the Caribbean sailing tropical itineraries roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale.