Holland America Line's Rotterdam ship review - Cruise International

Holland America Line's Rotterdam ship review

By Jane Archer | 24 Mar 2022

Rotterdam, Holland America Line

Wondering what to expect from Holland America Line’s classy new ship, Rotterdam? Jane Archer reports

The first thing that catches your eye as you board Rotterdam is Harps, a stunning stainless steel sculpture that rises up through three decks in the ship’s atrium. It’s a fitting welcome onto a vessel dedicated to art and music. In all, there are more than 2,500 original pieces of art on board, much of it music-themed.

Collectively it’s worth an eye-watering $4.1 million (Harps alone cost $620,000), so no wonder the ship is touted as a floating art museum.

The seventh ship to bear the name Rotterdam in Holland America Line’s 150-year history, it launched in October 2021 and come May will be the second Rotterdam christened by Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. It’s also the biggest, hosting 2,668 passengers.

If you get lost, take your bearings from the stairwell art. It’s architecture-themed forward, music-themed mid-ship and wildlife-themed at the aft.

The Music Walk is the ship’s entertainment hub. There are live bands in the Rock Room and BB King’s Blues Club, duelling pianists playing hits in Billboard Onboard and classical quartets supplied by New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. At least once a cruise, highlights from BBC Earth’s natural history programmes are shown on a wall of LED screens in the theatre to music composed specially for HAL.

Main Dining Room, Rotterdam, Holland America Line. Picture: Michel Verdure

Dining on Rotterdam is as eclectic as the music scene. I love Sel de Mer’s authentic French feel and food, but Tamarind’s Asian dishes are a close second. Pinnacle Grill has steaks (a whopping 18oz rib eye if you dare) while Canaletto serves Italian classics. These venues cost extra.

For no charge, there’s the dining room or self-service, but those in Pinnacle or Neptune suites, or who buy into a Club Orange package of perks, can dine in the intimate new Club Orange. The all-weather Lido, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a retractable roof, is a great hangout. Enjoy burgers, pizzas and the pool by day, and movies and popcorn after dark.

You can’t go far without coming across a bar, but for something different try a cocktail themed around Holland America Line’s history at the new Half Moon or combine drinks with learning at the Crow’s Nest in Explorations Central, where interactive tables have information on ports and navigation.

Cabins run the gamut of insides with no window up to the exclusive Pinnacle Suite, which has separate dining and living spaces, a veranda with whirlpool and private concierge. Spa cabins and suites have fridges with healthy snacks and are clustered around the spa, which means residents don’t have far to walk for their daily pampering. To massages and facials, add a thermal suite with sauna and steam rooms, a whirlpool and bucket of cold water that brave souls can tip all over themselves.

Ocean View Verandah Stateroom, Rotterdam, Holland America Line. Picture: Michel Verdure

How to book Holland America Line’s Rotterdam

A seven-night Naming Celebration cruise to Norway round-trip from Amsterdam departing May 29 costs from £1,749 per person including flights, drinks, one free visit to a speciality dining restaurant and one shore excursion worth up to $100 per person. Find out more at hollandamerica.com

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