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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer & Author
Please Note: All ssMaritime and my other related ssMaritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960 and is now semi-retired, but continues to write articles on classic liners and cruise ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure!
SS Rotterdam History
SS Rotterdam - History Part Two
Please Note: Photographs, postcards and images on this page are from the author’s collection unless stated otherwise!
If you arrived at this page via a search engine: Please read Part One first!
PLEASE NOTE: This Eight Page SS Rotterdam V Feature has been completely updated as well had five brand new pages added. However, I wish to announce that this feature is in reality a new work is also my very last ever work that I will do for ssmaritime or for any other of my sites. I have done so for reasons that may be well known to many of my regular readers. Therefore, I have now fully retired and will sit back and I am joyful with what I have achieved and I trust that you will enjoy reading the well over 620 classic liners, and other ships that are online! Thank you for your wonderful support I has been greatly appreciated!
Maritime Historian & Founder of the “Save The Classic Liners Campaign.
And the “Save The SS Rotterdam Campaign.”
Having been delivered after her Sea Trails,
etc., she was manned with officers and crew and fully stocked and made ready
for her maiden voyage from
SS Rotterdam departs the HAL Terminal at the Wilhelmina Kade, with the great SS Nieuw Amsterdam (1938)
still berthed aft of her. There are also three of the companies Passenger-Cargo Liners one aft & two on the other side
Holland America Line built the SS Rotterdam as
a dual-purpose ship, a Trans-Atlantic liner as well as a most effective cruise
ship! It was due to the brilliant design of the SS Rotterdam that she was able
to continue sailing long after the Trans-Atlantic trade collapsed due to the
air traffic having taken the vast majority of ocean travelling public, due to
cheap fares and speed! Thus, the
A wonderful photograph of the “Grande Dame of the Sea” SS Rotterdam during the early 1960s
Arriving in New York for the fourth time on
December 8, the Rotterdam was about to undertake her very first cruise being a
49 day around South America departing on December 11. Upon her return to
The very first extensive Cruise brochure, they would become far more elaborate and expensive later!
In April the Rotterdam returned to New York and she resumed with her Trans-Atlantic voyages but later in the year she recommenced her American based cruises, both shorter and extended voyages, all of which proved to be popular, including the ever popular “29 Day Rio de Janeiro & West Indies Christmas & New Year Cruise” Departing on December 9, 1960.
Brochure for the December 1960
After her 1960 - 1961 American cruise season
the SS Rotterdam returned to
The elegant SS Rotterdam departs
We met Commodore Coenraad Bouman on Page One
as he took the ship on her trails, as well as that famed test overnight voyage
with HRH Queen Juliana and her husband Prins Bernhard onboard, as well as her
maiden voyage, and apart for a vacation, he had been with the
HAL Fleet Commodore, Coenraad Bouman is seen on the SS Rotterdam’s Bridge where he has been for three years
Both in 1961 and 1962 in February –
April, the SS Rotterdam operated an 80 Day “Cruise Around the
World” and thus the advertising campaign was obviously “Around
the World in Eighty Days,” after the famed
and popular movie! Both cruises were booked out with wealthy Americans. Sailing
Her cruises continued with ongoing success and in 1965 she undertook another 80 Days Around the World Voyage, but later that year in October she headed for the Rotterdam Dry Dock Company and into the “Prins Bernhard Dry Dock” where she would undergo a refit for her regular maintenance.
There were a number of changes made, such as; up on Boat Deck, new cabins were added by removing the Children’s Playroom, which seldom was used being up so high. Then down on Promenade Deck two brand new and more pleasant Children Playrooms were built, one for each class. But the most popular addition was located Promenade Deck was a brand new venue for Teenagers called “The Place” where they could dance using a jukebox and there were a host of activities available.
“The Place” created for the younger generation was placed on the Atlantic Promenade next to the Theatre
The Place was located far forward portside and this photograph is looking aft
Next to “The Place” was a brand new TV Studio installed, that would provide TV shows throughout the ship. In addition, the ever-popular Skyroom, located amidships topside was given a bar and a small dance space. The cost of this refit was a good 1.3 million Dutch Guldens, which was a great deal for the day!
Two Sculptures (one along the right wall) and Wall Art in the Reception part of the Main Foyer
SS Rotterdam was completed and she headed off on a short trail run out to sea and returned to the HAL Terminal to get ready as five days later she was due to commence a series of nine westward Trans-Atlantic voyages until the end of the year and before she would commence cruising again!
1966 was a busy year for the Rotterdam with Trans-Atlantic voyages and cruises, as was 1967 but her days plying the Atlantic was coming to an end as were many of the great liners, as some were being sold off, or like the Rotterdam being used for more and more cruises. In 1967 SS Rotterdam would undertake her seventh world cruise, and this time it was another popular “80 Days Around the World Voyage” which was again a huge success!
The Beautiful Japanese inspired 1967 - “80 Days Around the World” Cruise Brochure
During the cruise there were many tropical days & the aft sundeck and swimming pool would be a popular place to be
The Rotterdam was used frequently in New York for Gala Events being mostly for fund raising where Royalty and some of the greatest movie stars would be present and these events would raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each time, be it for cancer or other vital causes. The reason the Rotterdam was chosen was very much due to the great amount of superb artwork on board, be it wall carvings, paintings, sculptures and so much more for Holland America is and has always been famed as having their ships filled with the very best art that can be found and that is still the same to this day!
A fine view from astern of the ships unique twin stovepipe funnels, that set a trend for many other ships in the future!
Considering that the Trans-Atlantic passenger loadings were slowly changing mostly due to the modernisation of the Jet Age with the more efficient and fast Boeing 707s and DC8, that were flying across the Atlantic and commenced to offer new cheaper “Excursion Fares.” Thus in due course this would have an effect on shipping companies who were now competing with the efficiency of speed, combined with greatly reduced airfares, for previously travelling by air had been extremely expensive and was considered only for the rich! Thus all Shipping Companies opted for superior service and cuisine and improved facilities!
KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) Super DC 8-63 able to carry 269 passengers
Thus, it was in 1968 that HAL announced that the “Big Three” Ships in its fleet, being the; SS New Amsterdam II, SS Statendam IV and the SS Rotterdam V, would be operating on even more cruises than previously and that they would commence a refit on the Rotterdam.
On October 3, 1968 the SS Rotterdam arrived in
The ship would see a good number of changes from topside to the bottom, as up on Sun Deck some 12 new cabins were added, whilst on A Deck it was just 1 new cabin, and on B Deck there were another 37 cabins added. There was a great deal of new carpeting was laid throughout the ship including in areas where there had not been any carpeting in some stairwells.
There would be a major renovation made to the popular Café de la Paix located far aft on Promenade Deck as it was about to become the brand new spacious Lido Restaurant. Included was the portside verandah and a new Lido Terrace was created together with a new Lido Deck! Outdoor dining would be partially under a new covered area! With the Lido Deck and the swimming Pool surrounds being completely redesigned it very much resembled a modern playground, thus perfect for a modern, late 1960s luxury Cruise Ship!
The designer’s idea of the new Lido Deck
The now registered 37,783 GRT SS Rotterdam,
she departed on November 30, 1968 for a regular North Sea trail, which was
obviously successful and she returned to
The SS Rotterdam is seen after her extensive two-month refit with RDM into a one-class ship
Note the new glass windows shielding the Lido Deck and the Buffet outdoors dinning area that is partially covered
Photograph by and copyright © Bert Lamers- the
Considering as by 1971 crossing the
However with a good number of voyages and
cruises behind her since her previous major refit, she returned to her homeport
for the very last time in 1971 and she would have her final maintenance at the
RDM Yards in
Thus, the SS Rotterdam headed across the
Atlantic for her new home in the
*Never: She never came back to Rotterdam as an operational Holland America
Line ship only when the Premier Cruise ship the SS Rembrandt called in during a
cruise in 1998. Later after having been laid up and saved from the breakers,
today she is home in
The SS Rotterdam seen in
© Ian Shiffman - http://home.worldonline.co.za/~snai/indexmain.html - used with permission
On Page Three we will look at the SS Rotterdam when in 1972 she received a whole new look with that deep blue hull, but sadly, it was just five years later that one of the most loved ships in the world was sold to Premier Cruises and genuine Holland America Line cruise lovers were filled with a great hatred for HAL’s new owners, that American who was taking everything over and destroying so much that was good, one of the most disliked names in the industry, Carnival Cruises, or Group/PLC! But that is another story, which has been the destruction of everything that has been really good in shipping, which has slowly been destroyed by this money hungry organisation, I would like to use another word, but I will be nice!
SS Rotterdam INDEX:
Part One: Construction & her Maiden Voyage Sep 3, 1959.
Part Two: Her Grey Hull days - Sep 1959 to 1971 - This Page.
Part Three: Her HAL days & Premier Cruises days - 1972 to 2000.
Part Four: Brochure - Page One.
Part Five: Brochure - Page Two.
: Deck Plans, 1959 First & Tourist & a later One Class Cruise Plan.
Part Seven: SS Rotterdam 1959 Specifications & Engine Room photos by Klaas Krijnen.
Part Eight: Saving
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in order that due credit may be given.
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