Rotterdam, Holland America Line’s flagship, has departed on a historic transatlantic crossing. The ship departed the Netherlands on a replica maiden voyage 150 years to the day.
This weekend Rotterdam VII departed the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on its historic 150th Anniversary Transatlantic Crossing. The 15-day journey recreates Holland America Line’s maiden voyage of Rotterdam I that departed the city of Rotterdam October 15, 1872, and arrived in New York on Nov. 5. The length of the crossing between Rotterdam and New York depended largely on the weather conditions. On average it took from 15 to 20 days. The 150th Anniversary Crossing follows the path of that first sailing to New York, with calls at Le Havre, France, and Plymouth, England.
Gus Antorcha, Holland America Line President, was joined by dignitaries from the city and port in a special sendoff ceremony that honored the shared history. “Today is historic for our brand as we depart 150 years to the day that Holland America Line’s very first ship began its journey to New York. In that time, we’ve carried immigrants and cruising vacationers, soldiers and refugees and earned a reputation for extraordinary care and welcoming all those guests as if into our own homes. As we sail into our next 150 years, that environment of service will be our hallmark as we create exceptional experiences for guests around the world.”
While the first Rotterdam’s maiden voyage to New York transported mostly immigrants with big dreams and high hopes of a better life in a new world, for this transatlantic voyage Rotterdam is joined by family members of those early immigrants and cruise enthousiasts wanting to share this historic crossing.
During the crossing, guests will journey through Holland America Line’s history with memorable onboard enrichment programming, culinary recreations of dishes from a bygone era and exclusive entertainment.
Guests on board Rotterdam’s crossing are the first to discover the Museum at Sea in the Crow’s Nest. Currated by Martien Hoegen, chairman of ‘De Lijn,’ an association of past employees and fans of Holland America Line, the display showcases several decades of Holland America Line memorabilia and historical items collected by him throughout the years. Guests are able to journey through time, looking at menus, programs, souvenirs, historical photos, promotional items and more that tell the story of the company.
Every evening in the Main Dining Room, menus showcase Holland America Line’s 150-year history with a Classic Entrée reminiscent of a dish served as early as the 1920s. Guests can choose from selections including Royal Rib of Beef a la Medicis, Holland Duckling Port Wine Sauce and Artic Char a la Normande. These special entrees will be on the Dining Room menu fleetwide throughout the anniversary year.
A highlight of the crossing is a performance of a musical piece by Emmy Award-winning producer and Emmy-nominated composer Steven Schoenberg. The piece was written exclusively for Holland America Line’s anniversary to accompany a special short film about the cruise line’s journey. The composition will be performed by a 25-piece ensemble of former Holland America Line’s Lincoln Center Stage musicians. The piece will debut on board in World Stage Oct. 26 while Rotterdam is in New York overnight.
Holland America Line is celebrating its 150 anniversary with a special 150th Anniversary Transatlantic departing April 6, 2023, from New York and ending at Rotterdam April 18, the cruise line’s 150th birthday.