SEATTLE, WASH. - Holland America Line’s flagship Rotterdam received the royal treatment in a ceremony rich with Dutch heritage May 30, 2022, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands served as godmother and officially named the ship in front of invited dignitaries and guests.
Upon arrival, Princess Margriet was welcomed at the gangway with a traditional floral bouquet presented by seven-year-old Nora van Dijk, daughter of Nathalie van Dijk, who has been with Holland America Line for 15 years, most recently as a business development representative in sales in the Rotterdam office. During the daytime naming celebration, Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald, Holland America Group President Jan Swartz, Rotterdam Captain Werner Timmers, Lord Mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb and Mariner Ambassadors David and Gisela Gere joined Princess Margriet to officially welcome Rotterdam to the fleet.
“Our heritage is rooted here in the Netherlands, and we are deeply honored to have Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet as godmother of her fifth Holland America Line ship,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “When Rotterdam was delivered in 2021 we postponed its naming ceremony so we could hold it in Rotterdam, because there’s no better place to name a ship than in the city it was named after. After a challenging couple of years, we are excited to celebrate this memorable moment in our company’s history.”
Following the ceremony, a gala luncheon was held onboard for invited guests. The festivities continued into the evening with a gala dinner and the opportunity for guests to pour champagne over the ship’s bell. The blessing of the ship’s bell is a Holland America Line tradition when welcoming a new ship to the fleet.
Rotterdam’s naming ceremony also was attended by Stein Kruse, senior advisor to the chairman and CEO, Carnival Corporation; Keith Taylor executive vice president, fleet operations Holland America Group; Randy Weisenburger, board member, Carnival Corporation; Nico Bleichrodt, vice president, international sales, Holland America Line and Seabourn; Jaap Smit, commissioner to the King; and Boudewijn Siemons, COO, Port Of Rotterdam and Chairman of the Cruise Policy Board. Antorcha was unable to attend the ceremony.
The Geres were selected as Mariner Ambassadors for Rotterdam to honor Holland America Line’s appreciation of its loyal guests who are long-time cruisers. Since first sailing in 1988 aboard Rotterdam V, the Geres have sailed nearly 2,500 days on Holland America Line, including several cruises on Rotterdam VI.
A History of Royal Namings
Holland America Line’s connection to The House of Orange goes back nearly a century to Prince Hendrik launching Statendam III in 1929. Since then, members of the Dutch Royal Family have launched 11 more Holland America Line vessels throughout the years, including Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet who named Prinsendam (1972), Nieuw Amsterdam II (1983), Rotterdam VI (1997) and Oosterdam (2003).
Additional members of the Dutch Royal Family who are godmothers include Queen Máxima, who named Koningsdam in 2016 and Nieuw Amsterdam in 2010. Then-Queen Beatrix served as Eurodam’s godmother in 2008. Rotterdam V was launched in 1958 by Queen Juliana. Then-Princess Beatrix named Statendam IV in 1957 and Prinses Margriet in 1960. Nieuw Amsterdam II was launched by Queen Wilhelmina in 1937.