2015 – ms Rotterdam – Ship Visit 27 Sep

Ship Statistics
  • Year Launched: 1997
  • Gross Tonnage: 59,885 grt
  • Length: 7816 feet
  • Passenger Decks: 10
  • Elevators: 12
  • Ship’s Registry: The Netherlands
  • Pax capacity: 1404
Passenger Accommodations
  • Penthouse Verandah Suite: 4
  • Deluxe Verandah Suite: 36
  • Verandah Suite: 129
  • Large Seaview: 364
  • Lanai Seaview: 39
  • Standard Inside: 130

The above statistics taken from a printed sheet handed out at embarkation

I recently had the opportunity to do a ship visit on Holland America’s ms Rotterdam at Southampton and would like to share my photos with you along with a few opinions and observations of the day. The trip was booked via a link on a website which I had previously used for a tour of the Prinsendam and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to use it to do another tour but after registering I received a confirmation e-mail so there obviously was no need to be concerned.
We arrived at the Ocean Terminal, Southampton just after 10:15 for our arranged meeting time of 10:30 which was in the terminal itself. Parking was free and all we had to do was register the car once in the terminal building. This was the first time we had visited this terminal and I was very impressed with what I saw, it does look like a fine building and it is obvious that it has been built to accommodate the much larger ships that sail to and from it.

ms Rotterdam at the Ocean Terminal, Southampton

We had to check in for the tour by providing valid photo ID and also filling in a health questionnaire, I would say there were around another 100 or so other people also there for the same purpose. We were issued visitor tags and had to wait around 30 minutes or so for passengers actually on the cruise to clear the gangway so we could get onboard.

We entered the ship on deck 2 and were immediately ushered towards the La Fontaine dining room on deck 4 where unusually for us today’s tour was to start with an early lunch. The portions by comparison with other ship tours we have taken seemed to be a little on the frugal side but being as it was free they were still very well received and tasty. I opted for the Sun dried tomato Gazpacho and the Grilled Chateaubriand both of which were delicious. The dessert of Esterel Cake was followed by Petits Fours and should have been tea or coffee but time had elapsed very quickly and as we only had an hour set aside for our self-guided tour we left without the latter. We were allotted 1½ hours for dining and this flew by.

I will skip through a lot of descriptions on the pictures as although I was taking photos and recognised the functions for a lot of the areas I failed to actually take in what a lot of them were called or which deck they were on. I will try and label as much as I can recall

Lido Deck

2 Pools (1 with retractable glass roof, the other at the rear in area called The Retreat), Lido Restaurant (Buffet)

We were given a suggested tour route but opted to do our own thing working in the opposite direction to everybody else and going from the top down. We climbed the stairs up to the open decks for a circumnavigation of the top open decks.

The Atrium


The amazing and beautiful atrium with its magnificent clock takes centre stage. It is three stories high and designed by the husband-and-wife team of Gibert Lebigre and Corinne Roger. There are 14 clock faces in total which show the time in different locations around the world, along with a selection of various astronomical instruments. I felt it was just a wonderful place to be and I hope my photos do it justice. Personally, I think it’s the most impressive atrium I have seen to date.

The Lower Promenade Deck

A prom deck you can walk all the way around.


The Pinnacle Grille Speciality Restaurant

We were able to view a couple of cabins on this tour, the first was an inside cabin which was tiny and I think they were holding a competition to see what the maximum amount of people it would hold at one time. No photos!

The second was a Vista Suite on Deck 6 (6174), this one we found towards the end of the self-guided tour and fortunately it was clear of people although the bed looks like it had been sat on a few times. It was a nice cabin with a lovely deep balcony. The bathroom was of average size and for the ship’s age seemed to be in a good state of repair. I would have no problem with a cabin like this.

The tour finished with a 45-minute presentation in the ship’s theatre selling the finer points of Holland America and what they can offer you should you decide to take a cruise with them. A good 10 minutes of this was taken up with what the 2 new ships will have to offer when they are launched, the first being the Koningsdam next year.

I have to say I liked this ship very much and could easily see myself taking a cruise on it should the right itinerary present itself for the right price. Although a few years old now the ship oozes quality without being too in your face, yes it looks a bit tatty in a few places if you really look but overall it felt very comfortable and was light and airy and in my opinion had a classic feel to it. There are certain aspects of the Holland America product which really appeal to our style of cruising and I could very easily see myself onboard for a cruise and not just making a flying visit.
My in-laws were very big HAL fans having done a world cruise and a circumnavigation of South America with them. Since my father-in-law passed away, Maria my mother-in-law has told us on a few occasions that she would like to do the South America cruise again which takes in Antarctica in the process. In her opinion, it was their best cruise (better than their worldie) and there has been pressure for us to join her on a return cruise. If it happens it won’t be until 2018 as we are fully booked at the moment. The ships that do that area in 2017 are the Prinsendam and the Zaandam, the latter being very similar to the Rotterdam in size so who knows.


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