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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any of the cruise companies nor any travel or cruise agencies, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for a very long time and although now semi-retired, but I am delighted to share all my knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea! Thus I continue to write on worthy Cruise Companies and their wonderful Ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful reader will make the best-informed choice possible!


It is a well-known fact that I consider Holland America Line (HAL) to be one of the finest cruise companies in the world! The truth is that this company has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1873 and Holland America Line has continually received countless cruise awards and accolades for being one of the finest and highest rated as well as the best value Cruise Line each year, and that is for two full decades up to and including 2012. That is something that not a single other cruise line is able to match!

These are just some of the International awards received and I have including the prestigious Australian AFTA Award.

The Highest Rated Cruise Line” – Conde Nast Travellers Readers; Choice Travellers Awards; Travel & Leisure Word’s Best Awards.

“Best Overall Cruise Value” – 20 consecutive years to 2012 – World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society.

“High Deluxe Five Star Rating” - World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society.

International Five Star Diamond Award” – The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences.

“Cruise Line with the Highest Client Satisfaction” – TravelAge West.

Holland America received the following awards “Best Cruise Operator” and “World’s Leading GREEN Cruise Line.”

“Best Cruise Operator” (Internationally based) - AFTA award at the AFTA National Travel Industry Awards.

“Gold 2010 Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Environmental Protection Award” from the U.S. Coast Guard.

World’s Leading Green Cruise Line Award” and the “Blue Circle Award” from the Port of Vancouver.

And countless other awards have followed since this list was added to this page!


ms Rotterdam is the standard bearer of this now 140 year old great shipping company “Holland America Line (HAL) proud fleet. This superb ship reflects the highest attainment of Holland America’s creative design and shipbuilders’ perfection of construction. ms Rotterdam continues the art of cruising and so long after the creation of this great Dutch Shipping Company. Like her earlier namesake the famous SS Rotterdam (V), MS Rotterdam (VI) that has been restored and is now a luxury hotel in her Homeport in The Netherlands, the ms Rotterdam VI pampers each guest in an atmosphere of refined elegance. After her building, she was joined by her newer sisters the ms Volendam, Amsterdam, and the Zaandam, which completed the R-Class Series of ships. Whilst both the Rotterdam and Amsterdam both have the twin uptake as their funnels, the Volendam and Zaandam have a single more traditional funnel.

Although HAL had been taken over by Carnival Corp, but HAL did retain a great deal of their independence and thus the look of their new ships are far superior up to the R-Class. But, what they built for Cunard, Costa Cruises and P&O UK, is a whole different story. However, the S-Class ms Statendam and her three sisters’ and the R-Class retain that traditional HAL influence, which is sadly lacking in the newer and very much larger HAL Carnival designed Vista & Signature class ships, which I loathe!

Guests savour cuisine presented on gleaming Rosenthal china in their choice of dramatic dinning venues, be it in the two-tiered salon having windows soar high above the sea, or the candlelit intimacy of a Venetian villa at the Pinnacle Grill where you will dine in the grandest of style as you will eat from the most beautiful “BVLGARI” China, drink from fine “Riedel” stemware and the table being laid with the finest “Frette” Linens.

Quietly and invisibly, the Rotterdam's advanced technological systems whisk passengers to adventures around the world. Having a comfortable speed, she arrives faster thus achieving the elusive freedoms of time and opportunity among the most enticing destinations on the globe.

More about the ms Rotterdam:


The 5 Star deluxe ms Rotterdam is one of the most elegant and intimate cruise ships afloat!

She is seen here at anchor, providing a regular tender service to an exotic Island – note the specially designed doors

The superb 59,885-ton ms Rotterdam is indeed a very special ship and has become one of the most popular ships in the Holland America Line (HAL) fleet. What makes all HAL ships stand apart from all other mainline cruise ships in the world is that they will always operate with fewer passengers onboard, as well as having at least one crew member per two passengers. That is a considerable improvement to other cruise ships of the same size in the world!

In addition, service onboard HAL is simply unparalleled, for their superb Indonesian dinning room and cabin staff are not just genuinely friendly, but they are super efficient and very helpful as they just cannot do enough for you! The drink and beverage staff is all Filipino and they also are carefully selected and do an amazing job. There is one thing that is different with HAL crew members to crews on other ships. Holland America Line has it own Academy where their crew are fully trained before they ever set foot onboard their ships, thus they have the HAL expertise and high standards taught, even though they may have had previous training, which is just sufficient for HAL!

I recently returned from a HAL cruise around beautiful New Zealand and I gave the serving crew onboard the Oosterdam an overall rating of 9 out of 10, which is something I do not give easily! Considering that I gave Cunard MV Queen Mary 2, a rating of 7, and my last Princess Cruises 106 night around the world cruise a rating of 6, although one only waiter was given a 9.

The beautiful ms Rotterdam, like all of the HAL ships, is blessed with a beautiful wide all teak full walk around Promenade Decks, and whilst she cruises certain regions of the globe the bow section is opened up to passengers, which is quite unique to Holland America.

Holland America Line ships are famed for their massive Art collections onboard their ships, and it is certainly is a big feature, for you will be able to stroll around the ship and be delighted as you discover piece after piece, be it a painting, a special 17thg.century vase, the "Terracotta Warriors, which is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funeral art that was buried with the Emperor in 210–209 BC with the purpose being to protect him in his afterlife. These figures, obviously dating from the third century BC, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province. And now you can see these figures, even though they are copies of the original, but they are just as fascinating, for they are so real! But you will find so many items that are originals!

These marvellous statues are located aft on Upper Promenade Deck between the Explorer’s Lounge & the Explorations Café

The two desks seen are used by the future cruise manager

Let us tour the ms Rotterdam:

Promenade Deck – All decks are toured from Forward to aft.

Like on most of the cruise ships today far forward you will find the Grand Showroom, and a unique feature onboard HAL ships is that the forward section is usually set out more like an intimate club-like section with tables and chairs, thus ideal for passengers to have a chat prior to show and enjoy a drink in comfort! The rest of the theatre, has two main levels being far more traditional style of seating.

The forward section of the Showroom has a club like style of seating whilst just aft of this it is a regular theatre seating style complete with a balcony


Here we see a view from further aft

Her nine main passenger decks are serviced by 10 elevators (lifts) and you will discover a host of magnificent lounges and bars as well as the multi level Theatre/Showroom, four Restaurants, 2 Pools, the middle one having a huge glass sliding roof for cooler climates, and at the top of the ship, far forward is the ever popular Crow’s Nest! The three level Atrium has to be seen to believed, as it has an amazing grand elaborate clock in the centre. This grand Flemish clock has two faces and it is based on the signs of the Zodiac and the movements of the Planets, as well as showing world times. This amazing clock was based on a 17th.century Flemish model, but it was created in 1986. Located starboard side at the Atrium is the Front Office as well as the Shore Excursion Office.

The Atrium and the grand elaborate clock, it was designed for the ms Rotterdam by Frans Dingemans, The Netherlands

It was created by Gilbert Lebigre and Corrine Roger in Italy 1986

As we head aft on the starboard side we come to the Wajang Theatre and the Culinary Arts Centre. This dual use venue of course shows movies, being a typical movie theatre, but it has one other very popular feature the many cooking shows and demonstrations that will include at various times a number of the ships main chefs! Each time there will be a different theme, thus a different cooking style. Believe me it is great eating!

The Wajang Theatre and the Culinary Arts Centre

Next comes the delights of the *“Pinnacle Grill,” which is one of the ships alternative Restaurants, which is open for Lunch and Diner. It is vital that an appointment is made early as this is without a doubt one of the most popular restaurants on the seven seas, for the evening meal is usually booked out within the first few days of the cruise. You may ask, “But why?” Well this is very easy to answer, for once you have discovered the sublime cuisine on offer and its presentation, the ultimate service, and you will dine in the grandest of style as you will eat from the most beautiful “BVLGARI” China,, drink from fine “Riedel” stemware and the table being laid with the finest “Frette” Linens. Thus at the Pinnacle, you will receive nothing but the very best, that is why it is the Pinnacle of Dining!

*The sublime Pinnacle Grill comes at a very worthwhile small additional charge

Upper Promenade Deck.

Far forward is the upper level of the Showroom and on the portside are some shops. Whereas on the starboard side of the Atrium is the ever popular Ocean Bar that has both a bandstand and a dance floor as each night the band will play! This is a relaxing Lounge and bar during the day and it has a good feel about it and a wonderful décor!

The Ocean Bar has a wonderful lounge area as well as a bandstand and in the evening a band will play and as there is a dance floor, it get’s a good workout!

Heading aft on the portside is the Casino, and not being a great casino fan, well it is what it is and if you enjoy it, I am happy for you that it is there!

See one Casino, you have seen them all!

Next to the Casino starboard side is recently created “The MIX” and it has two distinct sections, the Martini MIX and the Champagne MIX, thus this is the place to meet for all those Martini and Champagne connoisseurs! There is no doubt that the ambience is a sheer delight as it is light and bright, but in the evening the lights are dimmed and it is a most romantic place to be!

The Martini MIX


The Champagne MIX

Next on the Starboard side is a popular venue found on every HAL ship the Explorers Lounge. It always has a huge Dutch Maritime painting on the wall, and the furnishings in the room are elegant and fitting with its surroundings. Every evening the classical musicians Adagio play their classical repertoire, which is always well attended and I tend to be present on a frequent basis when I am onboard a HAL ship!

The Explorer’s Lounge is very elegant and in the evening “Adagio” plays Classical music

Several terracotta warriors can just be seen on the left

As we walk through the terracotta Warrior hallway to the portside we will reach the amazing Explorer’s Café. This is one very special venue, one you will certainly never find on any other company that is for sure! This is like 4 venues combined into one large space, such as a library, internet facility, reading room that has the most comfortable seating you will ever find, and to top all of this off a wonderful Café that serves the best Coffee and all kinds of Tea or hot Chocolate as well as the most delicious pasties. Coffees come from just US$1,05, thus we are talking very inexpensive, and the delicious odour in this venue is so good! Just love being in here!

The delightfully relaxing Exploration’s Café


Here we see the other side the Internet section and we can see the size of the venue!

We now come to the grand two level La Fontaine Dinning Room, which is blessed with huge windows on three sides on both levels, thus magnificent views of the ocean during the day! At night the lower level is Open Dining, thus dine when you wish and with whom you wish. Whilst upstairs has First and Second sittings. However during the day both a full Breakfast and Lunch is served in the La Fontaine, whilst the Lido Restaurant topside has a full Buffet menu.

The magnificent La Fontaine two level Dinning Room, complete with a bandstand seen on the upper level in the middle



Above & below: Two further views of this elegant venue!


Navigation Deck.

The exclusive use of the Neptune Lounge is for guests in the Neptune and Pinnacle Suites only. The industry-leading Neptune Lounge features a private place to relax, socialize with other Suite guests and enjoy the personalized service of a concierge. These fleet-wide lounges provide worktables, large screen television, a library, luxurious leather sofas and chairs. Throughout the day and night an always changing variety of delicious refreshments are available and wi-fi for a small charge. When the Neptune Lounge is closed during the middle of the night, a “One-Touch 24-hour Concierge Service” is available.


Above and below: Two views of the luxurious Neptune Lounge

The bottom view also shows the canapés and drinks station at the forward section

The venue has an attendant at all times


Lido Deck.

Far forward is the “Green House Spa and its many excellent associated facilities, such as the massage rooms and the delights of the Thermal Suite and the most popular of all the Therapy Pool. In addition there is the Beauty Salon, the Aerobics Room, and of course the large the Fitness Centre (the Gym) and male and female sauna’s! Each morning there are free sessions, such as stretch classes and other fitness sessions, see your daily “Explorer” that arrives in your Stateroom every evening for details!

The Hydro Therapy Pool


The Thermal Suite with a several spa baths


Everything you need is here, as well as a great view!

Directly aft is the huge Lido Deck with the Main Pool, but what is so unique is that this entire area can be enclosed by a giant glass sliding roof up on Deck 9 during wet or cols weather. Far forward on the starboard side is the popular “Terrace Grill” where you can order a freshly made hamburger or choose from many other options. There is a covered cooled counter nearby where you can help yourself for salads or other items on offer.

The Lido Deck not only features an excellent pool with two Jacuzzis and a beautiful statue of Sea Lions at play poolside

But there is also the superb Lido Bar portside aft, but in this image you can also see the Terrace Grill on the far right


The wonderful Lido Bar

The Lido Restaurant (Buffet) is where you will find a wide range counters with a host of styles of delicious cuisines, be it Italian, Roasts, Asian, Vegetarian, Sandwiches or sandwiches and Rolls with a host of cold cuts or other delicious items. For Breakfast, fresh eggs are cooked for you fresh, just as you like them! The list just goes on and on, and we not to forget those unbelievably YUM desserts!

Here we see just a few of the buffet counters on the portside as well as some of the tables and chairs



Above & below: Further buffets on the starboard side and the area to enjoy a good Breakfast, Lunch or a full Diner!


As we head out of the Lido Restaurant to the aft deck, we enter the Adults only “The Retreat.” Here you will find the rather unique retreat pool and it’s special Bar. The point is that this may not be the pool to swim in but more to relax in, as mosaic sun lounges are set in its various depths of water. “The Bart at the Retreat” is close by and it has barstools and sufficient quality furnishings as does the entire ship! You will never find cheap plastic on Holland America!

The very special and popular Retreat pool and relaxation area


The Bar at the Retreat is a very popular bar during the day and night, although unseen here there are

countless tables and chairs spread around this deck as well as further sun lounges

Sports Deck.

Beside the ample deck space and the jogging track in the middle of this deck, there are only two venues as such, thus as we have done so far we will commence far forward of the ship.

Here we find the ever popular Crow’s Nest a venue that has one of the best views possible, a 180 degrees in fact! This is a delightfully colourful venue with a circular Bar located mote toward port and there is a performer’s space and space for dancing in the evening as entertainment is provided nightly. That is special about HAL that there is so much music around the ship. Every evening you will find it in the Ocean Bar, the Explorers Lounge as well here in Crews Nest, and then not to forget the Showroom which has a grand performance every single night, and of course there are daytime performances as well!

It is the views that makes Crow’s Nest so popular, but it does offer so much more!


The superb Crow’s Nest and bar is popular for so many reasons, peaceful by day, yet there is entertainment at night

 As we head aft we reach a very special space where the children and the younger set can be well entertained by a highly specialised staff, and the facilities are so good that any teenager will be more than happy to be here, for it is rather unique! Let us take a look at CLUB HAL and THE LOFT.

This is CLUB HAL catering for the little ones


We are going up just a few years and this is the Game Room


Now we have reached THE LOFT for the Teenagers they have this, but so much more!

There is a lounge, dancing space and still more! Note the stairs going UP!


Well on the top decks is the exclusive “Oasis” for THE LOFT, there is heaps of space and note the chairs, next to it is a big rock with a lip?

The photo below will reveal what is in there?


Well, this is THE LOFT’s private pool complete with a waterfall!

As you have seen the ms Rotterdam is a very special ship and it has something for every age group! But you may well ask, “All that looks really good, but what about the accommodations do theu match the quality of the public venues?” Page Two will 1. prove that they certainly do, and 2. it wil give you a description of all accommodations onboard the Rotterdam, from the very cheapest Inside cabin for those who are budget minded to the Outside cabin, the Verandah cabins and right up to the Penthouse Suite!

A stern view of the ms Rotterdam, would you not prefer to be onboard rather than see her depart without you?


ms Rotterdam VIIndex.

Page One:     ms Rotterdam Mainpage – this page.

Page Two:     Accommodations.

Page Three:     Deck & Cabin Plan.



For Holland America Line enquiries or reservations, consult an established Cruise & Travel Specialist who is a travel professional. But do yourself a big favour, never book with any cruise company direct for they never offer you any service or any discounts something your experienced agent can do!

However for general information regarding their ships visit


-Also visit my other Holland America Pages-

Page One The History of Holland America Line and Today’s Modern Fleet

1872 to 2000

Page TwoThe History of Holland America Line and Today’s Modern Fleet

1993 to 2015

-Holland America Line Ships featured on Cruise-Australia-

ms Koningsdam - ms Noordam - ms Oosterdam - ms Rotterdam  

ms Volendam - ms Zaandam & ms Nieuw Amsterdam

ms Prinsendam & ms Statendam - (A 4-page ship review)

-Cruise and Ship Reviews by the Author-

NEW - ms Oosterdam 2013 New Zealand Cruise Review


The all NEW - ms Oosterdam 2014 Review


ms Volendam Cruise Review - ms Amsterdam Ship Review 


Also read the Holland America Line News Updates on Cruise-Australia


Please Note: Cruise-Australia and its associated pages are 100% non-commercial and privately owned cruise sites and are NOT associated with any cruise company or travel agency! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future.

Bon Voyage!

Reuben Goossens.


My recommendation: I highly suggest that you visit a good and a long established Travel/Cruise Agency for information, bookings and obtain the best possible cruise fares. Personally I never book with any cruise company direct, for they do not offer any personal service or discounts! I know that they do not like me saying this, but I have to be honest and provide you my readers with the very best possible advice! Reuben Goossens.


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