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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer & Author


TSS Rijndam II 1951 – 1972 / TSS Maasdam IV 1952 - 1968

Please Note: At this time, this feature is incomplete and unedited.

Early 1949, NASM - Holland America Line (HAL), ordered two freighters, the Dinteldijk and Diemerdijk. On December 17, 1949 Dinteldijk was laid down at Schiedam as Yard #733. Whilst construction was underway, Holland America Line’s Director Mr. Willem H. de Monchy decided to redesign both ships into medium sized passenger liners. Dinteldijk was launched as the Rijndam one year later, on December 19, 1950, whereas Maasdam was launched on April 5, 1952.

The Launching of the Rijndam

Holland America Line had announced that these new sisters would introduce company’s new livery, with the hull painted dove grey and a white superstructure. Her fitting-out was well ahead of schedule and in May 1951 it was decided to put forward her maiden voyage to July 16, instead of August 16. After her trials in the English Channel, TSS Rijndam was officially handed over to Holland America Line on July 10, 1951. Six days latter she departed Rotterdam bound for New York, sailing via Le Havre and Southampton.

TSS Rijndam arrives in New York City on her Maiden voyage

TSS Maasdam was handed over to HAL on August 10, 1952. Like her sister she was delivered early and departed for her maiden voyage more than a month earlier than planned. She departed on her maiden voyage from Rotterdam on August 11, to New York, sailing via Le Havre and Southampton calling at Montreal on the 20th. She continued to New York via the Cape Cod Canal; being one of the largest ships to transit the waterway. Maasdam arrived in New York on August 27th.

TSS Maasdam and Rijndam at the Holland America Pier in New York

Designed as freighter’s the machinery planned for them remained, these comprised of two cross-compound General Electric steam turbines, which we built in 1945. They developed 8,500shp double-reduction geared to a single screw. Service speed was slow compared with other ships sailing at jus 16.5 knots, the crossing from Britain to New York took eight days, however the daily fuel consumption was just 53 tons, making these ships exceptionally economic to operate.

TSS Maasdam, one of the successful “Economy Twins”

Although built with a two-class layout, TSS Rijndam and Maasdam were revolutionary ships for their day, as they were essentially built as Tourist class liners. Tourist Class passengers basically had the run of the ship, except Boat Deck, what was known as the “Exclusive First Class Penthouse section” of the ship.

First Class

First Class offered fifteen twin bedded cabins, some with an upper Pullman, accommodating a maximum 39 passengers. All cabins had had private facilities, and a large window. Located forward on Boat Deck was the Main Lounge. On both sides of the Lounge was a partial glass enclosed promenade deck, followed by spacious open decks on both sides of the ship. Located aft was the opulent Verandah Café. Two decks up, on Sun Deck, just aft of the unique “slim-line” funnel was the spacious First Class Sports Deck.

TSS Maasdam – This First Class Bar was added in 1961


Sun Deck - First Class Sports Deck – Note the slender aero-dynamic funnel

Tourist Class

All Tourist Class public rooms were located on Promenade Deck. The delightful Palm Court was located forward. This large room was decorated in light woods, masses of bamboo and greenery. Directly aft was the main lobby and stairwell, which led to the Card Room and Library, and the delightful American Bar. The Smoking Room located aft. The Dining Room was located amidships on 'A' Deck. Although the decor was attractive, the innovation of the décor was it gave this room a spacious feel.

TSS Maasdam's Main Lounge


And her friendly Palm Court


Maasdam’s excellent Dinning Room


TSS Rijndam’s had a rather more floral style Palm Court

854 Tourist passengers were accommodated in smart single-berth, two-berth triples, and four-berth cabins. Many British and American passengers commented, “Everything is so Dutch; neat, pleasant and practical.” 893 passengers were taken care of by 228 stewards.

The successful “Economy Twins,” operated between Rotterdam, Le Havre, Southampton (with occasional calls to Cobh), en route to New York, as well as occasional cruises in the Caribbean. Over the first years they managed 85% occupancy on Atlantic voyages, and an incredible 98% on cruises.

TSS Maasdam seen bedecked with flags during a Cruise 

Rijndam and Maasdam developed a 'Friendly Ship' reputation, making them appealing to students, emigrants, and cultural groups. First Class attracted the elite, who enjoyed sitting high above Tourist Class, in their Penthouse style accommodations. We may call this the “snob effect.” The appeal of these ships was emulated by the 24,300 GRT, 1957 built Statendam, which also carried a small number of First Class passengers.

The grand TSS Statendam

TSS Maasdam had a number of altercations with other ships, such as, on December 10, 1952, just four months after her maiden voyage, Maasdam collided with and sank the 268-ton German tanker Ellen, whilst sailing in fog in the canal that links Rotterdam to Hook of Holland. Six of tanker's crew were lost, although the Maasdam was undamaged. Two years later, whilst sailing eastbound on October 3, 1954, she struck the freighter Tofevo in thick fog off Rhode Island. Maasdam's bow was damaged, and both ships returned to New York. In the mid-fifties a ship hit the Holland America wharf, damaging Maasdam’s bow above the waterline.

Here we see one of Maasdam’s mishaps

One of the main problems with both ships was the freighter hull design, which meant that in a little, or rough weather, they would pitch and roll, causing some discomfort to say the least. Thus, in 1955 the Maasdam was fitted with Denny Brown stabilizer fins, with the Rijndam following one year later.

In 1961 both ships had a number of amidships twenty four Tourist Class cabins on Main Deck rebuilt and were fitted with private facilities, reducing Tourist capacity to 822 berths. In addition the First Class Lounge was extended, adding a delightful Bar located in an alcove on the starboard side.

By 1964, passenger numbers declined, thus Holland America embarked on a series of changes for 'The Economy Twins'. At that time the Round the World service to Australia and New Zealand, operated by the Dutch Mail ships (Royal Rotterdam Lloyd – Nederland Line), Willem Ruys and Oranje was withdrawn. Holland America decided to operate a one-class service during the European winter months. The Rijndam was the first to undertake this voyage, departing from Rotterdam on November 7, 1964, sailing via Southampton, Suez, Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington, returning to Rotterdam on January 30, 1965, having sailed via the Pacific coast and the Panama Canal. This extended voyage visiting many ports in both directions was met with some success, thus, the next year, on October 20, 1965, Maasdam departed Rotterdam, sailing via Southampton, Port Said, Colombo, Fremantle –Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington, Papeete, Los Angeles, Acapulco, Balboa, Cristobal, Kingston, New York, Cobh, Southampton to Rotterdam.

TSS Rijndam and Maasdam were suitable small liners for the around the world service

With the success of these voyages, Holland America decided to refit the Rijndam at Norddeutschen Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven, arriving there on December 3, 1965, for a two month refit. A 280 seat cinema-theatre added on D Deck in what was originally the forward hold, a launderette. Public rooms received some refurbishments, including a new bar in the Lounge. On February 6, 1966, she departed Rotterdam on which sadly became her last world voyage. However, Maasdam continued the service for another two more years.

Early 1966 Holland America decided to transfer the Rijndam to their German flag subsidiary the “Europa-Kanada Linie,” for the Canada service. However, Rijndam operated her last voyage to Montreal was on August 20, 1966.

TSS Rijndam showing her Europa-Canada Line funnel

She was re-registered in Bremen and her yellow funnel was given a green band with large white diamonds. Her new role was to be a low cost student voyages. The crew was replaced by the lower salaried German crew. Rijndam departed on her first student voyage from Bremerhaven to New York on 8th October. On October 20, she sailed on her first round-the-world student cruise, which was under charter by the Chapman College of Orange, California. She operated a one-class service with buffet style, self-service in the dining room. Between her extended 'floating university' cruises, she made Atlantic crossings for various student organisations. The Maasdam was also transferred to this service in October, 1966.

Rijndam’s career under the German flag was short-lived as Holland America was not satisfied with the new management situation, as well as some damage incurred to a boiler, and low profits. On August 28, 1967 she was transferred to another affiliated company, the Dutch flag “ Trans-Ocean.” Like Europa-Canada, Trans-Ocean specialised in student and migrant traffic with three austere Dutch migrant ships Zuiderkruis, Waterman and Groote Beer. She departed Bremerhaven on September 29, 1967, arriving in New York on October 9. She now was given the Trans-Ocean's narrow red-white-blue funnel bands and was manned by Dutch officers and crew once again. She continued undetook another Chapman College world cruise on October 11.

TSS Waterman seen here with the Trans-Ocean funnel

On 24th May 1968, fitting in with the previous ships operating for Trans-Ocean she was renamed Waterman, departing New York the next day on the first of seven voyages to Southampton and Rotterdam. However, Holland America once again took control of Rijndam on October 10, and reverted to her original name and livery, but she continued her student cruises.


TSS Rijndam’s Concluding days:

In 1973, she was sold to a Panamanian subsidiary of a Greek shipping interest and radically rebuilt with her bow line changed as well as many internal changes, and massive alterations to her superstructure. This was done to give her a ultra modern look for the day, what could be called a 1970's design and was renamed SS Atlas. However, in 1988 she was sold to Casino Company and she commenced short cruises in the Gulf of Mexico under the name Pride of Mississippi, but in 1991 was renamed once again as the Pride of Galveston.

TSS Rijndam is seen here after her radical rebuilding to become the SS Atlas


The Atlas is seen here at Southampton in mid 1970s


Casino Ship SS Pride of Mississippi is seen here around 1989

In 1993, it was decided to have her permanently berthed at Biloxi, Mississippi and she was renamed - Copa Casino. Sadly she was neglected in so many ways externally. For all the glitz and glamour was o0nly on the inside. Slowly they continually added more and more structures atop of the ship, making her hiddeous to look at at externally and she became an eyesore, and eventually it was the port authorities as well as her owners who had to make a decision that she had to go. Her owners decided that she would be unsalable to private investors and thus it would be best to have her scrapped.

Copa Casino at Biloxi, Mississippi


The tragic looking Copa, ex TSS Rijndam seen under tow to Alang, or better still, her watery grave

She was sold to Indian breakers at Alang in 2003. However, whilst under tow to Alang India she took on water and sadly sunk. There were some in the bussiness at the time who said, “How convenient!” Personally I would not like to comment, I just quote the news of the day!

Memories of the TSS Rijndam!


Holland America Line promotional photograph of the TSS Rijndam 



Above and below: Cabin key – Main Deck Cabin 211

Provided by Bibb Edwards USA





TSS Maasdam

TSS Maasdam’s Final Days:

Maasdam's final world voyage was from January 7 to April 3, 1968. Upon her return to Rotterdam she was placed on the Canada service. On May 15 a shock announcement was made that Maasdam had been sold to “Polish Ocean Lines,” and she would be handed over at the completion of her Canada service. On September 20 MAASDAM departed Montreal on her last Atlantic crossing under Holland America’s Dutch colours, and she was paid-off at Rotterdam on September 29, 1968. Soon she headed for Gdansk in Poland where she had a comprehensive refit and headed into a new and a successful career as the Stefan Batory.

TSS Maasdam seen here in her new guise as the Polish liner, SS Stefan Batory



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