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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!



Please Note: Photographs, postcards and images on this page are from the author’s collection unless stated otherwise! 

SS Rotterdam - Part Seven

Comprehensive Rotterdam Details, Specifications & Engine Room Photographs

Please Note:

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!

Best wishes,

Reuben Goossens.

Maritime Historian & Founder of the “Save The Classic Liners Campaign.

And the “Save The SS Rotterdam Campaign.”



The Rotterdam is seen almost completed at the Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij NV (RDM) fit-out berth

As the great HAL Liners, the SS Nieuw Amsterdam passes her as she departs bound for New York in 1959

A RDM Photograph – From my personal Collection

 SS Rotterdam Original 1959 Specifications and Further Details

1959 Specifications:

Builder:                                                   Rotterdam Dry Dock Company, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Hull Number:                                           300.

Hull Plate laid-down:                                 December 14, 1956.

Ship Launched:                                        December 14, 1958.

Sea Trails:                                               July 11 & August 1 to 6, 1959.

Ship Completed:                                       August 7, 1959.

Royal Test Voyage:                                   August 20, 1959.

Call sign:                                                 PHEG.

IMO:                                                       5301019.

Maiden Voyage:                                        September 3, 1959.

Tonnage:                                                 38,650 GRT (Gross Registered Tons).

.                                                             31,530 Displacement Tons.

.                                                             7,800 Deadweight Tons.

Length:                                                   749ft - 228.2m.

Beam:                                                     93.6ft - 28.7m.

Draught:                                                 29.8ft - 9.04m.

Height, keel to top of radar mast:               201.10 ft - 61.52m.

Machinery Weight:                                    350 tons.

Propulsion power, normal:                         34,600 SHP.

Maximum Propulsion Power:                       38,500 SHP.

Astern Power:                                          20,700 SHP.

Engines:                                                  De Schelde Double Reduction Parsons Geared Triple Expansion Steam Turbines.

Boilers:                                                   Four; however only three need to be used to provide full speed and power!

Screws:                                                   Two, each are 23 tons width a diameter of 20 ft - 6.1m. They operate at 131 revs per minute.

Service speed:                                         20.5 knots – Max 22 knots.

Rudder:                                                   A single 20 ton streamlined rudder,

Passenger Decks:                                      Ten.

Passengers:                                             655 First Class, but a number of cabins being interchangeable between classes.

.                                                             801 Second Class.

Cruising:                                                 730 One Class - from 1969 1,109 One Class passengers.

Crew:                                                      776.

Dry Cargo:                                               102,000 cu.ft. - 2,890 cubic metres.

Refrigerated Cargo:                                   14,000 cu.ft - 14.000 cubic metres.

Stabilizers:                                              A pair of Denny-Brown fins on both sides of the ship, controlled by Gyroscopes. They will reduce the rolling movement of the ship.

Air-Conditioning:                                      The ship is air-conditioned, with cabins having individual thermostat controls.

Additional Information:

In this section I will cover some of the ships other vital part and vital equipment, etc. I am sure that you will find it interesting to have this information available!

Mast:                                                      Made of aluminium weighing 7 tons, and 77ft - 23.5m tall it contained the Radar on the top Crows Nest.

Ships Whistle or Horn:                              She has two Horns, and one was located on the lower Crows Nest on the Radar Mast, whilst the second is located on the forward portside Kingpost 2 thirds up, on the posts right side. The sound of her fine traditional Horns can be heard as far as 9 miles or 14.5 kilometres away!

Anchors:                                                 Three, with one located on the starboard and the other on the portside bow, the third is the spare. Each anchor weighs 6½.tons.

Electricity:                                               4 turbo-generators are able to produce a good 5,400 kW at 440 volts, 60 Hertz.

Lights:                                                    The ship has around 4,300 florescent tubes and 20,000 lights.

Refrigeration:                                           The refrigerated cargo space was 45,350 cubic feet, including the than 60 large storage refrigeration units throughout the ship for general storage of food and beverages for passenger and crew needs.

Radio:                                                     There were two radio transmitters, each 600 Watts, frequency 23 to 410 mega Hertz. Three radiotelegraph receivers covering frequency range 1.5 to 200 mega Hertz. There was also one alarm transmitter & receiver of 50 Watts, 500 kilo Hertz. The Bridge radiotelephone was 150 mega Hertz.

Public Address system:                              Passengers and/or crew can be reached from the Bridge, or the Cruise manager/Director’s office, etc, and they can be heard through some 220 speakers around the ship!

Water Production:                                     Four Steam flash evaporators are able to produce some 800 tons of fresh drinking water daly.

Portholes:                                                SS Rotterdam had 705 portholes, as well as countless windows in her superstructure.

Sprinklers:                                               There were a good 4,400 fire sprinklers that were all connected together, but separated into 40 groups, all having audio-visual alarm systems for each group! Sprinklers are fitted in each cabin, public venue, be it a vestibule or a stairway, but also lockers, service areas and all crew areas and their accommodations!

King Posts:                                              Four, two are located forward and two aft. There are painted in a pale grey colour.

Derricks:                                                 Six, four located forward and two aft. One pair forward and aft has a lifting capacity of 10 tons each. Whilst the remaining two forward pair had a capacity of just 5 tons each. Derricks are suspended from the four King Posts!

Hatches:                                                  Three, two forward and one aft.

Watertight-Bulkheads:                               There are thirteen watertight Bulkheads fitted across the beam of the ship making her safe!

Watertight Doors:                                     44 doors link the 14 watertight compartments on “A” and “B” Decks.

Lifeboats:                                                She had been fitted with 18 buff to yellow aluminium lifeboats.

I trust that you will have found the above details of this most amazing ship interesting, for it does cover a great deal of how this great ship, “The Grande Dame” the SS Rotterdam came to be what she was! I have attempted to stay as close as possible to her as built, for indeed changes came about in later days, some of which I never did like, although she was always a much loved and a beautifully maintained ship, right to the very end. Even Premier Cruises, who renamed her “Rembrandt” and they did look after her extremely well. When she was inspected at Freeport, everyone was amazed how beautifully she had been maintained!

Reuben Goossens.

Photographs of the Engine Room

 These photographs were taken by and kindly provided by Klaas of the Netherlands

We will now head deep down to her Engine Room, and the photographs that we are going to enjoy were taken by my dear friend Mr. Klaas Krijnen who I worked with during the days of my “Save the SS Rotterdam Campaign, which I first commenced in 1995, but officially placed online in 1997. Klaas was then the Chairman of the “Steamship SS Rotterdam Foundation” (SRF) who of course were also working very hard to save the great ship and bring her home to Rotterdam, where she belonged, and that was just what I wanted as well! I think that we somehow got to know each other around 2000 and in 2002 I handed my Rotterdam Campaign to him in the Netherlands, as they were doing great works, but I remained in contact in the background with a director of a company, who in fact eventually purchased the ship, whilst SRF were more interested working with RDM, the original builders of the ship, but sadly in due course the financial burden was too great and the company went into liquidation and the great SS Rotterdam became the property of the City of Rotterdam who were seeking just about any buyer! But it was my contact that came to the party and obtained her. But the story of saving the Rotterdam is on Part 8.

Thank you Klaas for your excellent photographs taken on the Rotterdam when she was laid up at Freeport, the Bahamas in 2002.

Engine Room Photographs & More:


Engine Room Control Area


Here we see a good view the Engine Room Console, with the telegraph on the left


And this is a close up of the Telegraph on the Engine Room Console


We are now looking at the Boiler Room


Here we see the Low Pressure Turbine


Heading far aft, here we see the Portside Propeller Shaft


And this is the Starboard Propeller Shaft


The Water Evaporator


And this is the Turbo Alternator


The Bow thrusters Engine located obviously in the bow


Here we see some Capstan Engines



SS Rotterdam INDEX online to date:

Part One:             Construction & her Maiden Voyage Sep 3, 1959.

Part Two:            Her Grey Hull days - Sep 1959 to 1971.

Part Three:          Her HAL days & Premier Cruises days - 1972 to 2000.

Part Four:            Brochure - Page One.

Part Five:            Brochure - Page Two.

Part Six:              Deck Plans, 1959 First & Tourist & a later One Class Cruise Plan.

Part Seven:         SS Rotterdam 1959 Specifications & Engine Room photos by Klaas Krijnen - This Page.

Part Eight:           Saving the Rotterdam 1995/97 - 2009.


Visit our ssMaritime Main INDEX

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Also visit my

Save The Classic Liners Campaign


Please Note: ssmaritime and associated sites are 100% non-commercial and the author seeks no funding or favours of any shape or form, never have and never will!

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 only), in order that due credit may be given.

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