Seattle-based cruise company Holland America Line (HAL) is to change the name of its newbuild vessel from Ryndam to Rotterdam and designate it as the new flagship of the fleet.
Currently under construction at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy, the 2,668-passenger ship will be the seventh HAL vessel to bear the name.
When Rotterdam is delivered on July 30, 2021 – a few months later than originally planned due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – it will spend the summer touring Northern Europe and the Baltic, on round-trip cruises from Amsterdam.
The news comes after the cruise line announced that four of its 14 ships – including the current Rotterdam – have been sold and will leave its fleet in the coming months as the cruise industry continues to struggle through the rough waters of the Covid-19 crisis.
Rotterdam V11 will be the third of HAL’s new Pinnacle Class vessels, joining Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam.
Announcing the name change, Gus Antorcha, president of HAL, said: “The first ship for Holland America Line was the original Rotterdam, the company was headquartered in the city of Rotterdam for many years, and the name has been a hallmark throughout our history since 1872… so clearly the name is powerful and symbolic."
Mr Antorcha added: “With the current Rotterdam leaving the company, we knew we had a unique opportunity to embrace the name as our new flagship and carry on the tradition of having a Rotterdam in our fleet. Seven is a lucky number, and we know she’s going to bring a lot of joy to our guests as she travels across the globe.”
The first Rotterdam set sail from the Netherlands to New York on October 15, 1872, and led to the founding of HAL on April 18, 1873. Rotterdam II was built for British Ship Owners Co. in 1878 and subsequently purchased by HAL in 1886. Rotterdam III came along in 1897 and was with the line until 1906, while the fourth Rotterdam joined the fleet in 1908.
Rotterdam V set sail in 1959 as a transatlantic passenger ship, before being converted into a cruise ship in 1969. Also known as ‘The Grande Dame’, she sailed with HAL for 38 years and still exists today as a permanently-moored hotel and museum in the city of Rotterdam.
Rotterdam VI, the first ship in the R Class, was introduced in 1997 and will begin a new life with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines when cruises resume.