There will always be a Rotterdam. And, for many, the fifth vessel to carry the flagship standard for venerable Holland America Lines is the ultimate and classic bearer of that name. Launched in 1959, she served an extraordinary 38 years, finally retired in 1997. She was and is the Grande Dame of Ocean Liners, in her home country known simply as "the Sea Castle." It is a fitting name, for stately is the word that comes to mind when you see her. According to the very fine www.maritimematters.com website, Rotterdam is "arguably the most magnificent and well-preserved vintage liner in existence." I wouldn't argue with that. I saw Rotterdam at dock in Barcelona in late 1997 when I was serving aboard Crystal Symphony. She had recently been bought by Premier Cruises and was now known as Rembrandt. However, beneath her new blue livery her classic lines belied her birth and every sailor around still lovely referred to her by her former name. When Premier ran into rocky financial seas, Rotterdam / Rembrandt's future seemed murky. But, in recent years her namesake City has laid claim to the great lady and now Rotterdam and Rotterdam are united: the ship is undergoing restoration, soon to be safely berthed along that's city's historic waterfront, preserving her unique physique and heritage for future generations. It's the next-best-thing to being aboard her at sea. And, oh so much preferable to the scrap yard.
For more information on Rotterdam, the largest and most glorious ship ever built in the Netherlands, log onto this excellent website: www.derotterdam.com