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Thomson Celebration

This ship was built at Chantiers de L'atlantique in France as yardnumber X27 for Holland America Line. She is 214,66 meters long, 27,26 meters wide and her draft is 7,52 meters. She carries 1340 passengers on 10 decks and her gross tonnage is 33.933. She recieved a four star rating from Berlitz.

Noordam was built as an option sistership to Holland America's thirth Nieuw Amsterdam in 1983. The option was taken already when Nieuw Amsterdam was in the first stages of construction, but became a real order especially because of the loss of the first Prinsendam in 1980 that burned and sank without loss of life near the Alaskan coast. These two new ships were in fact three times larger but further very simular ships to the popular Prinsendam design, although the Prinsendam was built in Hardinxveld in Holland and these new ships were of course French built. They also have a great resemblance to the duo Brasil and Argentina from Moore McCormack Lines, that were later sold to Holland America Line as Veendam and Volendam.

The second of the sisters floated out on the 21st of may 1983 but in the eighties it took almost a year to complete the ship. On the 7th of april 1984 she was named by Mrs. van den Wall Bake-van der Vorm, the wife of Holland Amerika's CEO as Noordam although some people in Holland had hoped for a more well known historic name like Statendam. One day after the naming ceremony in Le Havre, the Noordam, the thirth ship for Holland Amerika with that name, sailed on her positioning-voyage to Tampa, Florida She was built mostly for Caribbean and Alaskan cruises and her homeport was Willemstad under the Dutch-Antilles flag.

Underneath, the ship is shown in its two disguises, above she is Noordam for Holland America Line during her last season for the company in 2004 and below she is Thomson Celebration during her first year for Thomson, calling in at Amsterdam in 2005.

Some people call these ships prefab-boats because of their looks and I am one of them. They have some kind of 'boxy' look about them and you may like it or not. But you can say that the Noordam was the last of the true Holland Amerika liners because she was the last ship that was built for the old company. In 1988 the company bought the Homeric but the old HAL did not built ships themselves after the Noordam anymore.

This of course because the name and the ships of the company were taken over by Carnival Cruise Lines in the early days of 1989 and with this, the old N.A.S.M. was reduced to a holdingcompany without shipping interrests. Of course, this takeover was a somewhat sad ending for one of The Netherlands biggest shippingfirms. But the 1980's had been very dark for Holland Amerika financially and it is likely that it hadn't survived as it does right now if the company hadn't been taken over. Just in the moments Carnival took over the name, the HAL had ordered two 65.000 ton ships to compete with Carnival and to regain a share the growth in cruising. After the takeover, the order was cancelled because Carnival did not wanted to compete with itself. But Carnival did order new tonnage for the company and from 1992 onwards new and modern ships were added to the fleet and they recieved old '-dam' names and Dutch officers. In 1997, all ships but one were transferred to the Dutch flag and the 'new' homeports became Rotterdam. So Carnival was really a saviour for the name and history of the HAL. With all new tonnage, some old ships had to leave. This started in 1997 with the gorgeous Rotterdam and ended with the Noordam, that was chartered out to Thomson Holidays as Thomson Celebration in november 2004. She met her sister Thomson Spirit there, the former Nieuw Amsterdam. For Thomson, these ships mostly sail Mediterranean cruises, but Thomson Celebration also keeps sailing Northern Europe in the summermonths.

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