The ship! Holland America Line’s Rotterdam began its 14-day maiden voyage from Amsterdam to Florida on October 20. The 2,668-guest vessel is the third ship in the line’s Pinnacle Class series, and the fourth in its fleet to begin cruising this year.
As it stopped in the UK’s Isle of Portland a few days into its voyage, Cruise Adviser jumped on board for a sneak peek inside.
It’s all about the art and music onboard Rotterdam. Decked out with $4 million of modern art, there are eye-catching sculptures and paintings at every turn, with showstopping pieces including a $635,000 7.5-ton steel sculpture that dramatically rises up the ship’s central atrium.
“It’s a floating art museum,” says Holland America Line brand ambassador Seth Wayne.
A hit with live music fans is the ship’s entertainment hub, known as the ‘Music Walk’. This area of the ship is home to a clutch of buzzy live music venues, including Rolling Stone Rock Room, Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King’s Blues Club.
A mid-size ship, Rotterdam has a total of 1,340 staterooms, with 85 per cent enjoying ocean views and 68 per cent boasting private balconies. Perfect for the budget conscious traveller are the 283 inside suites, while the 120 square metre Pinnacle Suite (there’s only one of these) is the fanciest accommodation option with a hot tub on its balcony. The majority of cabins (748) are Verandah Staterooms, which each have floor-to-ceiling windows, a private balcony and separate seating area.
Food and drink
Rotterdam offers a huge range of relaxed and sophisticated dining options, many of which are included in the fare. Top restaurant picks with no additional charge include the Lido Market, a self-service area with separate food stations serving up sushi, freshly baked breads and pastries, hearty salads, ice cream and cakes, hand-carved meats, and fish, sandwiches and more. There’s also New York Pizza and Dive-In, a poolside pizzeria and grill respectively.
Eateries with an additional charge include mouth-watering handmade gelato stand Gelato, the Grand Dutch Café and Pan Asian restaurant Tamarind, where diners can feast on wok-seared lobster and sushi.
One of Rotterdam’s star attractions is its eye-popping lido pool area which has a retractable glass dome for cooler climes. Movies are shown on the lido’s big screen every evening under the stars, with moreish film night snacks including buttered popcorn, cheese nachos, chicken wings and pretzels.
Guests seeking to recharge their batteries can head to The Greenhouse Spa & Salon, featuring a fitness centre, saunas, massage rooms, a hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms, a beauty salon and barber shop.
Those in search of a slice of secluded luxury can hire a private cabana overlooking the ocean in The Retreat for the day. Surrounding a hot tub, The Retreat is filled with lounge chairs, sunbeds and cabanas. Note that these cabanas are particularly in demand on Caribbean and Alaska cruises where passengers love having a private area to watch the whales and other wildlife.
“The cabanas are mostly sold out for seven-night cruises, and many people book these for their entire cruise,” says Wayne.
Exploration Central is another perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a coffee from the Explorations Café. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the bright lounge area has comfy seats, interactive touchscreens, port planners, a library and games aplenty.
Although there is a kids’ club (Club Hil), current Covid-19 rules mean that only children aged 12 and over who have been fully vaccinated are allowed on board.
Where will Rotterdam sail?
Following its transatlantic crossing, Rotterdam will spend its inaugural season in the Caribbean from November to April, with sailings round-trip from Fort Lauderdale and cruises ranging from six to 11 days. Holidaymakers seeking a longer getaway can combine back-to-back itineraries on a Collectors’ Voyage.
All Caribbean cruises call at Holland America Line’s private Bahamian island Half Moon Cay, a peaceful sanctuary featuring dreamy beaches, two-storey villas, private cabanas and cool dining venues, including Lobster Shack.
The 10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer on Rotterdam leads in at £1,349 per person for an inside cabin, departing Fort Lauderdale on December 12 and returning to the same port on December 22. Stops include Half Moon Cay (Bahamas), Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos), Amber Cove (Dominican Republic), plus Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.