With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian


SS Rotterdam a Campaign Completed!

Ex Rembrandt, Rotterdam


SS Rotterdam jubilantly arrives home to Rotterdam on Monday evening - August 4, 2008

Now it is hard to believe that after all that hard work she is open and fully operational!

Photo by & copyright 2008 Gerard Vaas - NL

SS Rotterdam Arrives Home!

The superb looking SS Rotterdam is finally home to stay!

Photo by & copyright 2008 Gerard Vaas - NL

2010: The Rotterdam is open and operating as a Hotel and a Tourist Complex with Restaurants, Cafes and Conference Facilities, etc. She is simply superb and your visit will only continue this great ship’s success story!

Monday August 4, 2008: The superbly refitted SS Rotterdam arrived in her home port today at around 8.45pm. Obviously this is a great day for the ssMaritime “Save the Classic Liners Campaign” as it commenced the “Save the SS Rotterdam Campaign” on the very day SS Rembrandt was laid up in Freeport. Although later I handed it over to the superb organisation the “Steamship Rotterdam Foundation” in the Netherlands, which was, and again is headed by Mr. Klaas Krijnen. Soon the first stage of the ship will be opened to the public as further work continues, and accommodations will be opened as we close into the tourist season in 2009.

A fine view of the stern of the SS Rotterdam, proudly flying the Dutch flag

Photo by & copyright 2008 Jaap Lagendijk NL

SS Rotterdam has been faithfully restored in Germany and accommodations available are either in new accommodations, where two cabins have been combined, or in a typical cabin. There are even special accommodations for student long term stays. SS Rotterdam has become one of the great success stories of the Save the Classic Liner Campaign and the Steamship Rotterdam Foundation!

SS Rotterdam has arrived at her berth and is home for good!

Photograph by & copyright 2008 Charles Batenburg NL

The Ships owners, has now launched their new website, which is located at

This site provides text in English as well in Dutch


July 20, 2008: This was the final update received from our good friend, chairman of the “Steamship Rotterdam Foundation” in The Netherlands, Mr. Klaas Krijnen.

The SS Rotterdam still is in Wilhelmshaven Germany and although a great deal of work has been done, there is still a much to be done. The hull is being repainted in a slightly darker grey that will be much closer to her original colour. Her superstructure has been painted in spotless white. The replacement of the interior has well and truly commenced, but is far from completed. During the first week of August SS Rotterdam will be towed to the City of Rotterdam, where the work will be completed. It is planned to partially open her in November and as work is completed have her ready for the 2009 tourist season.


1989 to 2008

HAL’s Carnival takeover – The Rembrandt & her turbulent days …

… To her triumphant Home Coming to Rotterdam in 2008!


SS Rotterdam seen in Sydney in January 1997 on her final world cruise

Photograph Copyright Reuben Goossens

Ever since Carnival’s takeover of Holland America Line in 1989, SS Rotterdam continued to cruise for the next years. However, I was advised an insider that Rotterdam would soon be sold, as this “old ship” no longer fitted in with the company’s future plans. They used a flimsy excuse, to appease the multitudes that protested her demise. Carnival Corp announced that the Rotterdam had to go due to the stringent 1997 SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) regulations. They claimed that they would have to spend some UD$40 million to bring her up to new regulation standards. In addition they claimed that these changes would severely impact on her original interiors and beauty, thus lose her uniqueness. Although Carnival Cruises started its cruise operations by purchasing and operating classic liners that made Carnival the massive company it is today. However, they were soon building new ships with their distinctive Carnival winged funnels, as well a new style of Holland America cruise ships, thus this “Grand Dame of the Sea” no longer fitted Carnival ideal, and she was placed on the market.

At first there was an overture of her being returned to Rotterdam in the Netherlands and serve as an hotel, but this did not eventuate. Instead she was sold to Premier Cruises who aptly renamed her Rembrandt.

SS Rotterdam was sold to Premier Cruises in 1997, and they aptly renamed her Rembrandt. Premier Cruises refitted her for a fraction of the purported cost claimed by Carnival Corp. Premier Cruises decided to market her to a middle to upscale clientele who would appreciate a vintage class liner that retained all her original innovative beauty and glamour. She spent a great deal of time cruising South American waters.

However just three years later, on September 13, 2000, the Florida based Premier Cruise Line went in bankruptcy. With the Rembrandt being at sea the Captain was ordered to return to Halifax, Canada and off-load all passengers. Two other Premier cruise ships, Seabreeze and Big Red Boat II were also laid up in Halifax.

Laid up at Freeport

Big Red Boat II – ex SS Eugenio C, Edinburgh Castle, Big Red Boat II, Big Red (now scrapped)

and the Rotterdam seen in Freeport in 2003

Photograph by Vincenzo

SS Rembrandt was placed under arrest by the Sheriff's department in Halifax. Later that month, SS Rembrandt was permitted, under her warrant conditions, to sail with her crew for Freeport in the Bahamas, where she arrived on September 21, 2000 and she was laid. ssMaritime officially commenced its “Save the SS Rotterdam Campaign” on the 21st and hoped that a Dutch company would come forward to purchase the ship, In the meantime a Dutch group, Steamship SS Rotterdam had commenced their activities in order to save the ship and I decided to leave it in their hands but assist them with the power of promotion, which ssMaritime has always been so good at! Four years later SS Rembrandt was purchased by “Rotterdam Dry-dock Company” being her original builders, and they entered into a contract with Camell Laird ship yard in Gibraltar to have her asbestos removed and to complete the restoration of the ship.


SS Rembrandt departed Freeport on June 15, 2004 under tow by the Polish tug “Englishman” and headed for Gibraltar.


SS Rembrandt arrives in Gebraltar

Photograph Klaas Krijnen

However, soon in the Netherlands problems were brewing, as the “Rotterdam Drydock Company” headed in severe financial problems. She became the property of the City of Rotterdam, then another company, Consortium HCO2, took up the challenge, but they also opted out due the massive cost of her restoration. Her future seemed to be in great danger, and the very thought of her heading off to India to be scrapped was too horrid to be even thinking about, but it came very close to reality at times.

“Project SS Rotterdam”

Then it was announced that a massive housing company “Woonbron” and a major investor, “Eurobalance” had purchased the Rotterdam from the bankrupt "SS Rotterdam Ltd." A new company was formed named “De Rotterdam BV”, who decided to send the Rotterdam to Cadiz for external restoration. The “Grand Dame of the Sea” arrived at Cadiz as the Rembrandt, but departed as the SS Rotterdam, with her original name painted once again on her hull.

After 14 months in Gibraltar, SS Rotterdam departs Gibraltar on November 24, 2005

Photograph Gibraltar Port Authority

She departed Gibraltar on November 24, 2005 – under tow by the Spanish tug V B Artico and arriving in Cadiz the next evening November 25, 2005. She remained at anchor until entering dry-dock on December 18. Having been repainted and renamed Rotterdam and registered in the City of Rotterdam, she left her dry-dock on January 31, 2006 and departed on February 10 again under tow by Spanish tug VB Artico, and headed for Gdansk Poland, where she arrived on February 27. Sadly one of the Cadiz divers died during the operation there.

She departed Gdansk for Wilhelmshaven Germany where she docked at 8am on Saturday September 2, 2006. External restoration work is currently being carried out, making her ready for her complete and final refit and restoration.

The Future – SS Rotterdam - Home in 2008


Having been repainted at Gdansk Poland, SS Rotterdam was then towed to Wilhelmshaven, Germany

where she arrived on September 2, 2006 – where she has been completely restored

Photograph 2006 - Klaas Krijnen – Used with permission

Once the SS Rotterdam is berthed at the “Katendrechtse Hoofd” located on the northern edge of the Rotterdam Zuid (South) she will be visible from all angles of the city and the river. The arrival of De Rotterdam in August 2008 will be a positive development for the district as she will create an economic incentive on all fronts and “De Rotterdam BV” will collaborate with the residents and the business community in the district.

SS Rotterdam will provide all visitors “A journey full of adventure,” as she will function in the way the “Grand Dame of the Sea” deserves. She will be an attraction suitable to the multitudes! She will offer stylish hotel accommodation, in three different styles Original, Manhattan & Bahamas wit a variety of cabin styles, including a “Home Cabin” for extended stays (minimum 30 days), there are superb restaurants and bars. as well as substantial conference facilities. SS Rotterdam will also host cultural events, festivals and she has a fine theatre. As the “Rederij de Rotterdam BV” management has stated “All who board the ship will embark on a voyage of surprises.”

Rederij de Rotterdam BV” said that guided tours will be available including one that goes behind the scenes, thus viewing will be available of all facets of this great ship. There is no doubt SS Rotterdam will give enjoyment to the multitudes from around the world. All who are looking forward to reliving the maritime history of the sixties, and will be able to admire this once great ex Trans-Atlantic liner.

In addition to the above, SS Rotterdam will also have a discreet permanent Learning Centre (school) onboard. “De Rotterdam BV” considers it important to make a contribution towards the training and employment of young people of The Netherlands. Students who will have the use of the ships Learning Centre are mostly from the “Albeda College” as well students from various high schools in the Netherlands.

SS Rotterdam will offer many facets, making her not just a tourist venture, but will train the youth of the Netherlands. SS Rotterdam will be a ship full of exciting activities!

As of late 2008, you will be able to come aboard and stay a while and enjoy fine dinning and take a tour the great SS Rotterdam!

Rederij de Rotterdam BV has now launched their new website located at This site provides text in English as well in Dutch.

Summary to date

Premier goes bankrupt on September 13, 2000. Rotterdam was ordered to return to Halifax where she was placed under arrest

Departs Halifax and arrives at Freeport Bahamas September 21, 2000 and laid up

Departs Freeport, 15 June 2004 – Nassau-registered Polish tug “Englishman”

Arrives Gibraltar, 12 July 2004 - Camell Laird yard at Gibraltar

Departs Gibraltar, 24 November 2005 - Spanish tug 'V B Artico'

Arrives Cadiz, 25 November 2005 (at Anchor)

Enters Cadiz Dry-dock, 18 Dec 2005

Out of Dry-dock, 31 January 2006

Departs Cadiz, 10 Feb 2006 - Spanish tug VB Artico

Arrives Gdansk, 27 Feb 2006

In Willemshaven Germany for refit & restoration – February 2007

Due to head home for Rotterdam – August 2008 and open later in the year

SS Rotterdam arrives in her home port on August 4, 2008 to be completed. She will be opened to the public in November


Mission accomplished!

*The author has worked very closely with and been kept up to date by Mr. Klaas Krijnen, the highly respected President of “Steamship Rotterdam Foundation,” who is also employed as a part time advisor to the “De Rotterdam BV.” I hereby wish to thank him for all his cooperation!

Reuben Goossens

SS Rotterdam INDEX

Main-page: From birth to today - 2008

Page Two: SS Rotterdam Mini Photo Album

Page Three: SS the Story from 1986 to 2008 & NEWS UPDATES


Use the Back button on your browser or Close the Page to return to the previous page
or go to our INDEX


Who is the Author of ssMaritime?

Commenced in the passenger Shipping Industry in May 1960 &

Where the ships of the past make history & the 1914 built MV Doulos Story


Also visit my …

Save The Classic Liners Campaign& Classic Ocean Voyages pages


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. I know what it is like, I have seen a multitude of my own photographs on other sites, yet these individuals either refuse to provide credit or remove them when asked, knowing full well that there is no legal comeback when it comes to the net. However, let us show these charlatans up and do the right thing at all times and give credit where credit is due!

This notice covers all pages, although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!




ssMaritime is owned and Copyright 2010/12 - by Reuben Goossens - All Rights Reserved





Free Counter
Free Counter