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In my knowledge the only company that was able to have a shipname used six times is Holland Amerca Line. That makes the Rotterdam shipname one of the most well-known names in liner history. Of course, the last one, built in 1997, is only a cruiseship but all Rotterdam's have been almost everywhere in the world. From New York to Sydney, from Norway to the remote Tristan la Cunha in the south Atlantic and from Alaska to Japan. To honour all of the places visited, the last addition named Rotterdam has her forward stairwell filled with harbourkeys and plaquettes of all ports visted, shown below. And this is just half of the collection.

Like all modern cruiseliners, the atrium is the central hub of the ship. Here, you'll find shops, the art gallery, the Ocean Bar and the reception and shore excursions desks. Centerpiece in Rotterdam's atrium is the three deck high sculpture of Atlas holding the globe, again a tribute to the world Rotterdam and her earlier sisters have vsited.

Most important aboard a cruiseship is not the destination, the cabin (sorry, stateroom) nor te design or art. Most important aboard is food. The whole day you can fill yourself up from the midnight buffet untill, well, the next midnight buffet. When you do not use the elevators and walk long distances at the destinations visited, you'll be alright though. At Rotterdam, the most common place to dine is the La Fontaine Dining Room located at the stern of the ship at Promenade Deck (4) and Upper Promenade Deck (5). The line keeps its traditions, as you can not only see in the names of the decks, but also in the names of the public spaces aboard. All names used aboard were already used during the 1960's and earlier. During an eight-day cruise, two formal Gala nights are organized and this is highly appreciated by the passengers, that are very keen on tradition and normally in their 'grey years'. The La Fontaine Dining Room is shown below.

Where I was immidiately excited about was the direct link to the fifth Rotterdam in the Dining Room, as at the entrances to the restaurant four murals by Klaas Posthuma are presented that are done in the same style as the large mural in the Ritz-Carlton Lounge at the former Rotterdam by Cuno van der Steene. Also, a shipmodel of he fifth Rotterdam is welcoming guests who enter the restaurant.

 

   

One of the four murals by Klaas Posthuma at the La Fontaine Dining Room.

 

The Rotterdam V ship model at the entrance to the restaurant.

 

Of course, there are other places to dine. The main, informal alternative is the Lido Restaurant at Lido Deck (8). Here, you can eat in buffet-style throughtout the day. The quality is just as good as in the La Fontaine Dining Room and there is a good choice in seasonal products in vegatarian, meat or fish. So when you do not want to dress up for diner, this is a good alternative. Remember that also in this restaurant, dress appropriately like you'd do in a shoreside restaurant. Just swimwear is also here not allowed.

Other dining alternatives are, below left the Pinnacle Grill, which was an Italian restaurant named Odyssey when the ship was taken into service, and below right the new Italian restaurant, Caneletto's, that is located next to the Lido Restaurant.

 

   

The Pinnacle Grill is where the Odyssey Restaurant used to be. Now, it is carnivore's paradise.

 

For the Italian-style Caneletto's, a reservation has to be made for an additional fee of $10. Be quick, it fills fast.

 

There is also a wide selection of bars aboard, where you can mostly have a small snack too. Below, some of tem are shown. The first two are located at The Mix, a combination of several bars at Upper Promenade Deck (5). Here are the Casino Bar, Tropic Bar and Ambassador Lounge.

 

   

The Tropic Bar or Martini's serves cocktails in The Mix.

 

The Ambassador Lounge has its bar, a piano also is used as a bar in the cormer.

 

A favorite spot aboard the fifth Rotterdam was the Ocean Bar, and it also returned in the 'new' ship. At Ocean Bar, there is a stage also where a bad plays almost every night. It is also used as a meeting point for shore-excursions. A little further aft at the same deck, Upper Promenade Deck (4) is the Explorers Lounge, also with a small stage where more classical music is played.

 

   

Ocean Bar has ben a favorite spot aboard Holland America ships for decades.

 

The Explorers Lounge, quet music and a great place for chitchat. 

 

But the most popular bar at the Rotterdam now is The Crows Nest, high up with the same view as from the bridge. Well, better actually because it is located at the highest deck, Sports Deck (9). It is a swinging nightclub untill the small hours and during our time aboard, it transormed into the BB King Blues Club with great performances by the BB King Allstars, a music collective from Memphis, Tennessee that is a regular to several Holland America liners.

 

   

The Crows Nest with its great panoramic windows so you actually can see where you are going...

 

The BB King Allstars ft. Alisson Nash gave us a few great evenings with their blues and soul music.

 

The largest space aboard is reserved for the Showroom At Sea, spread over two decks and this is the main showlounge. Music and shows are normally more tame then aboard ships from Costa, Norwegian or Carnival and can be appreciated by the more classic and older passengers that normally sail Holland America.

 

   

The Wajang Theater located at Promenade Deck (4) is used as movietheater and for the Culinary Arts Center.

 

The extensive library at Upper Promenade Deck (5) has a wide range of books available. Here is also the possibility to use the internet.

 

 

   

The ships Casino, where you can earn back your cruise, or loose the next one.

 

At the wine bar, there is a good collections of wines from Washington State, close to the Holland America Line HQ at Seattle.

 

 

   

The Gymnasium looks out over the bow of Rotterdam. Here you can try and get rid of the extra kilo's gained in the restaurants.

 

In good weathr, your teens can enjoy themselves at their own outside deck with a stage, places to enjoy the sun and their own (small) pool.

 

And now you'd think, well, is all inside? Of course there also is enough spce to enjoy the sun, as Rotterdam has two main pools. The biggest one is the Lido Pool, that can be covered by a glass sliding roof when weather is not so good (on a Norway cruise a very good idea) and then there also is The Retreat, which is not exactly a swimmingpool but it offers several loungechairs in a 15 centimeters deep waterpool, that gives some extra coolness in hot days. The Lido Pool is shown below.

The Retreat is a reletively new area on the ship, as the former outside pool was located one deck lower. In 2009, the outside deck was raised and on the former outside deck extra cabins were installed. Here it is not exactly a pool, but at least there is a lot of room to enjoy the sun and also available is a hot outside tub. At The Retreat, there is also the Retreat Bar and a Pizzeria, offering delicious pizza's at no extra charge.

 

   

The Retreat Bar and pizzeria.

 

The loungers in 15 cm of water.

 

Then there also is an all-time favorite to passengershiplovers, the Rotterdam has a wraparound promenade deck at Lower Promenade Deck (3). Here, you can enjoy the sea in quietness, or look out over the ships wake.

Of course, there ae also places to sleep and because it is not Always possible to sneek into othe cabins, I'll show our cabin 1866 below, which is a standard J category inside at Dolphin Deck (1).

 

   

 

 

 

 

Aboard Rotterdam, there also is a $2 million art-collection including shipmodels, HAL advertisings from the oceanliner days, sculptures, paintings and reproductions from the collection of the Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam. Below, I'll show a few examples.

In one of the ships stairwells, all six Rotterdam's are shown in charcteristic works.

 

   

Japanese 17th-century harnasses.

 

Classic HAL advertising in the stairwell.

 

 

   

A shipmodel of Cunard Line's Britannia of 1840, the first liner to regularly cross the North Atlantic.

 

Brunel's Great Western is presented also in a detailed model.

 

To show all works of art here would be too much. The best is just to book a cruise board and see for yourself. Rotterdam offers a classic experience for those who really like to sniff a little bit of the classic oceanliner era. Of course, the ship is modern and cares for all needs for the cruisepassenger of today. When you are youthfull and looking for a fun-filled cruise, she is not your ship and neither when you want to do rockclimbing or visit great aquaparks aboard. But for a relaxing cruise-holiday in a style suitable for older passengers or people who like to cruise aboard a true ship instead of a floating carnival Las-Vegas style, Rotterdam is excellent to that tradition.

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