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  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-La-Fontaine-dining-room - Tables for two and tables for up to eight provide plenty of dining options. The service, food and wine are quite good in the ship’s main dining room, La Fontaine.
  • Holland-America-Pinnacle-Grill - In the mood for refined, romantic and intimate dining? Head to the Pinnacle Grill on your Holland America sailing.
  • Holland-America-Flagship-Pinnacle-Grill - Make reservations for an intimate meal graced by luxurious appointments such as Bulgari china, Riedel stemware and Frette linens at Pinnacle Grill on your Holland America cruise.
  • Holland-America-RClass-Dining-Room-1 - You'll find luxurious appointments in the dining area aboard your Holland America cruise. (This is a shot taken in sister ship Zaandam.)
  • HAL-Cannonball-burger-fries.jpg - Try a Cannonball burger with fries at Dive-In at the Terrace Grill, offering alfresco dining by the pool on your Holland America ship.
  • HAL-Land-&-Sea.jpg - Pair a surf-and-turf dish with a glass of wine on your Holland America sailing.
  • HAL-Pinnacle-Desserts-Baked-Alaska.jpg - Save room for Baked Alaska for dessert at Pinnacle Grill on your Holland America cruise.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Canaletto -  Enjoy classic Italian cuisine while taking in a great view of the ocean aboard ms Rotterdam.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Lido-restaurant - Lido Restaurant offers a relaxed ambiance for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features a variety of fresh, cooked-to-order specialties. It's included in your base fare.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Pinnacle-Grill-table - Inside the specialty restaurant Pinnacle Grill aboard ms Rotterdam.
  • Holland-America-Flagship-Neptune-Suite - Neptune Suites, aka Deluxe Verandah Suites, aboard Holland America's ms Rotterdam and Amsterdam, run a comfy 571 to 653 square feet, including a private veranda, 2 lower beds convertible to a king, whirlpool bath and shower, sitting area, dressing room, mini-bar, fridge, floor-to-ceiling windows, daily breakfast service and more.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-terracotta-warriors - Copies of the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian, China, stand at attention near the future-cruise-booking desk on ms Rotterdam. They are part of the ship's $2 million art collection.
  • Holland-America-Casino - Whether you are an experienced gambler or rolling dice for the first time, the Casino aboard Holland America Line offers games for all levels.
  • Holland-America-Club-HAL - Tweens ages 8-12 have access to Xbox and Wii tournaments, relay races, scavenger hunts and karaoke disco parties at Club HAL aboard your Holland America cruise.
  • Holland-America-teak-deck-chairs - Pull up a teak lounge chair, relax and take in the view from the deck of your Holland America ship.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Atrium - The largest art object on Holland America Line's ms Rotterdam, the Atrium Clock, made by Gilbert Lebigre and Corrine Roger in Italy in 1986, has 14 clock faces that show the time in different locations around the world, along with astonomical instruments and sculptures.
  • Holland-America-Crows-Nest - The Crow's Nest Lounge aboard Holland America ships offers sweeping views of the ocean and passing landscapes. Head there to watch the sunset and then see it transform into a dance club after dark.
  • Holland-America-Northern-Lights - Head to the Northern Lights disco/dance club aboard your Holland America Line cruise to dance and party into the late night hours.
  • Holland-America-Ocean-Bar - Enjoy cocktails and good conversation at the Ocean Bar on your Holland America sailing. This is a shot of the bar aboard ms Amsterdam.
  • Holland-America-Piano-Bar - Enjoy music with a talented and comedic keyboard host playing requests at the Piano Bar aboard your Holland America Line cruise.
  • Holland-America-Flagship-The-Retreat -  The Retreat is a relaxing getaway where guests may lounge in chairs and dip their fingers and toes in the water. The resort-style pool area on your Holland America ship also includes a  pool bar, upscale pizzeria named Slice and a giant LED screen for evening movies.
  • Holland-America-RClass-Aft-Pool - Sunny days are great for lounging at the Lido Aft Pool aboard your Holland America cruise. (This is a shot of the Zaandam; her sister ships ms Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Volendam are nearly identical.)
  • Holland-America-RClass-Fitness-Center - The huge, ocean-view gym aboard your Holland America Line ship is among the best at sea, with floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding dozens of state-of-the-art machines: 11 treadmills, eight bikes and an assortment of stairsteppers, rowing machines, Cybex weight training machines and free weights. (This is a shot of the Volendam; her sister ships MS Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Zaandam are nearly identical.)
  • Holland-America-RClass-Sea-View-Pool - Relax at the Sea View Pool in the aft section of your Holland America ship. (This is a shot of Volendam; her sister ships MS Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Zaandam are nearly identical.)
  • Holland-America-Culinary-Arts-Center -  Improve your cooking skills from a roster of celebrated chefs as part of Holland America's Culinary Arts Center Program, presented by Food & Wine Magazine.
  • Holland-America-Casino-2 - Whether you are an experienced gambler or rolling dice for the first time, the Casino aboard Holland America Line offers games for all levels.
  • Holland-America-Wine-Tasting - You can try a variety of different wines, including HAL's own label, at a wine tasting bar during your Holland America cruise.
  • Holland-America-Merabella-boutique - The Merabella Luxury Shop on the Upper Promenade Deck of your Holland America ship is an exclusive jewelry boutique. (This is a shot on the MS Rotterdam.)
  • Holland-America-Flagship-Showroom - The theater-like setting in ms Rotterdam’s Showroom at Sea includes a very comfortable audience experience. Drinks can be ordered while watching the Hal Cat Dancers or the fresh-from-London Rotterdam Singers and Dancers.
  • Holland-America-Flagship-Wajang-Theatre - Holland America's Wajang Theatre and Culinary Arts Center aboard the ms Rotterdam is a double-duty venue on Deck 4 that houses a show kitchen where culinary demonstrations and private cooking classes take place, and also serves as a movie theater that offers three showings of a different film each day, complete with popcorn.
  • Holland-America-RClass-Showroom - The entertainment lounge and theater in the Showroom at Sea aboard Holland America Line's R Class ships. (This is a shot taken on Volendam.)
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Atlas-Reception - A giant Atlas figure holds the weight of the world in ms Rotterdam’s reception area. The Atlas is part of a $2 million art and antiques collection.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Culinary-Arts-Center -  Improve your cooking skills from a roster of celebrated chefs as part of the Culinary Arts Center Program, presented by Food & Wine Magazine, during your ms Rotterdam sailing.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Explorations-Cafe - Explorations Café aboard ms Rotterdam is good hangout and never crowded. Nearby, a bistro tends to coffee drinks and serves pastries.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Lido-Deck-pool-area - The cheery umbrella tables near the pool on the Lido Deck of ms Rotterdam invite sitting, and in a matter of moments, someone will join you.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Martinis-lounge - Inside Martinis, the cocktail lounge on Holland America's ms Rotterdam. Martini’s is part of MIX, a trio of small bars.  MIX has a daily  pre-dinner tasting, paired with local cheeses or food.
  • rotterdam-in-norway.jpg - Holland America's ms Rotterdam in Norway.
  • Holland-America-Flagship-Pinnacle-Grill - Make reservations for an intimate meal graced by luxurious appointments such as Bulgari china, Riedel stemware and Frette linens at Pinnacle Grill on your Holland America cruise.
  • Holland-America-Flagship-Neptune-Suite - Neptune Suites, aka Deluxe Verandah Suites, aboard Holland America's ms Rotterdam and Amsterdam, run a comfy 571 to 653 square feet, including a private veranda, 2 lower beds convertible to a king, whirlpool bath and shower, sitting area, dressing room, mini-bar, fridge, floor-to-ceiling windows, daily breakfast service and more.
  • Holland-America-Flagship-Showroom - The theater-like setting in ms Rotterdam’s Showroom at Sea includes a very comfortable audience experience. Drinks can be ordered while watching the Hal Cat Dancers or the fresh-from-London Rotterdam Singers and Dancers.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-in-Indonesia - Holland America's Rotterdam during a visit to Indonesia.
  • Holland-America-RClass-Sea-View-Pool - Relax at the Sea View Pool in the aft section of your Holland America ship. (This is a shot of Volendam; her sister ships MS Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Zaandam are nearly identical.)
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Lido-restaurant - Lido Restaurant offers a relaxed ambiance for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features a variety of fresh, cooked-to-order specialties. It's included in your base fare.
  • Holland-America-Pinnacle-Grill - In the mood for refined, romantic and intimate dining? Head to the Pinnacle Grill on your Holland America sailing.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Martinis-lounge - Inside Martinis, the cocktail lounge on Holland America's ms Rotterdam. Martini’s is part of MIX, a trio of small bars.  MIX has a daily  pre-dinner tasting, paired with local cheeses or food.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-2 - Holland America's flagshp Rotterdam sails to Norwegian fjords, the Canary Islands, Africa and the Far East, among other destinations.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Atlas-Reception - A giant Atlas figure holds the weight of the world in ms Rotterdam’s reception area. The Atlas is part of a $2 million art and antiques collection.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-Pinnacle-Grill-table - Inside the specialty restaurant Pinnacle Grill aboard ms Rotterdam.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-in-Indonesia - Holland America's Rotterdam during a visit to Indonesia.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam - Holland America's flagshp Rotterdam sails to Norwegian fjords, the Canary Islands, Africa and the Far East, among other destinations.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-2 - Holland America's flagshp Rotterdam sails to Norwegian fjords, the Canary Islands, Africa and the Far East, among other destinations.
  • Holland-America-Rotterdam-1 - The stern of Holland America's Rotterdam. The ship offers exciting itineraries to Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

ms Rotterdam: Signature elegance & exotic itineraries

Our review

Snapshot

ms Rotterdam reigns as queen of distant shores as the standard-bearer for Holland America Line. In 2015, the ship’s less conventional explorations include Mumbai, Oman and Sri Lanka — all places difficult to reach by land or air.

Who will like sailing on Rotterdam

The well-traveled and the adventuresome traveler will both appreciate the bonanza of rarely cruised ports on ms Rotterdam’s itineraries. Teens who enjoy expanding their world can fit in, but otherwise teens and younger children won’t find their bliss here. Itineraries are not well-suited to those with mobility limitations, although Rotterdam does have 25-plus wheelchair-accessible staterooms. 

Where ms Rotterdam sails

Rotterdam visits the four corners of the world, including Hawaii, South Africa, New England and European ports as well as Baja, Alaska Canada and beyond. I sailed on Rotterdam from Singapore to Indonesia. 

Early 2016 brings sailings of 7 to 33 days with ports of call in Europe, North Africa and the Far East including destinations like Singapore, Sri Lanka, Mumbai, Oman, Seville and Lisbon. Winter sailings in the Southern Caribbean range from 10 to 25 days and include ports of call in Guadeloupe, Grenada, St. Lucia, Barbados, and the Virgin Islands. 

Longer sailings range from 21 to 48 days, with some itineraries including Transatlantic crossings.

Ratings & awards

Cruiseable           
Berlitz           
Cruise Critic           
  • Silver Award for Overall Premium Ship, Travel Weekly Magellan Award (2010)

About Ratings & awards

Cruises on this ship

Dining 

Here's a rundown of the top dining options aboard Rotterdam:

  • La Fontaine Dining Room features attentive service and an extensive wine list. Five-course menus include continental cuisine, vegetarian and low-carb options.
  • Lido Restaurant offers a relaxed ambiance for all three meals and features a variety of fresh, cooked-to-order specialties.

Specialty restaurants

  • Pinnacle Grill: One of the most romantic restaurants at sea, the intimate, reservations-only Pinnacle Grill offers a sophisticated dining experience. Tables are decked out with elegant Bvlgari china, Riedel stemware and Frette linens. Wines rated "excellent" by Wine Spectator are served by the sommelier. The menu has star quality, but you know what? Just order the steak (Sterling Silver beef). Its delectable melti-ness is almost beyond compare. Additional costs apply.
  • Taste of De Librije: Offered once per cruise, Pinnacle Grill transforms into "Taste of De Librije," featuring the cuisine of Culinary Council member and Michelin Star Chef Jonnie Boer. Named after Boer's restaurant in the Netherlands, the menu will showcase a selection of appetizers, soups, entrees and desserts from his land-based eatery. Cost: $29. 
  • Canaletto Restaurant: Named for a famous 18th-century Venetian artist, Canaletto is your destination on Rotterdam for intimate Italian cuisine, featuring $10 dinners. The evening begins with the chef's selection of antipasti with a taste of the delicious fare and personal, polished service to follow.
  • On some longer cruises, Pinnacle Grill may convert to Le Cirque one night of the cruise (as in the famous NYC restaurant). Menu and recipes created by Le Cirque's chef; service ware uniforms, china and glassware are Le Cirque. Cost: $49
In the mood for refined, romantic, intimate dining? Head to Pinnacle Grill.
Courtesy of Holland America LineIn the mood for refined, romantic, intimate dining? Head to Pinnacle Grill.

Top ship features

  • Explorations Café: A bright, comfortable coffeehouse and Internet cafe where you can browse through an extensive library, surf the Internet and check email or simply read the paper. I bought a latté and retreated to computer by the window. Comfy chairs and extensive library inspire reading. The cafe was never crowded.
  • Pinnacle Grill art collection: ms Rotterdam’s $2 million art and antiques collection reflects Holland America's 141 years of maritime history. There's an audio tour of the collection available in the library.
  • Crow’s Nest: Great panoramic view for sailaways. Order the drink of the day — cocktail perfection — for $5.95 and sip while bidding farewell to a port you loved and will likely never see again.
Holland America's flagshp Rotterdam sails to Norwegian fjords, the Canary Islands, the Far East and elsewhere.
Courtesy of Holland America LineHolland America's flagshp Rotterdam sails to Norwegian fjords, the Canary Islands, the Far East and elsewhere.
  • MIX area on deck 5 features three bars, Champagne, Martinis and Spirits & Ales. A daily pre-dinner tasting is paired with regional tastes for $4. Cellar Masters served top-tier wine with Dutch cheese one night, chocolate truffles and premium wine another.
  • Showtime at Sea: Relaxing setting with comfortable seating and tables, a nightclub-like setting for watching shows.
  • Fitness Center: Full panoply of equipment, and I saw few users. Yoga classes and morning water exercise in pool are popular.
  • Wajang Culinary Arts Center: In this theater-like setting with seating for 249, culinary experts demonstrate crafts and tasty tidbits often based on regional cuisine.
  • Digital Workshop by Windows: Daily computer classes ranging from learning a calendar app to designing travel photo books.
  • Greenhouse Spa: A full-service spa, though salesy. Warn the technician not to lay on a sales pitch right after your massage has released your nervous tension.

Entertainment

Although Rotterdam’s focus is travel, Holland America Line is upgrading entertainment on all ships. A new troupe out of London, Rotterdam Singers and Dancers, belt out a fresh and charming show in the Showroom at Sea. 

The ship’s bars keep passengers up late with talent of the popular pianist Stryker and an entertaining violinist. Both far exceed typically plebeian cruise ship talent.

Staterooms

All staterooms come equipped with sofas, hairdryers, individually controlled air conditioning, telephone with computerized wake-up service, a multi-channel music system and closed circuit TV. In each room the beds are convertible from one queen to two singles. Some options: 

  • Ocean view and inside cabins have seen better days. Size, however, is very good, up to 319 square feet. Good mattresses, flat screen TVs, towels and robes add livability. Many cabins have a couch; a bathtub with shower is standard. Storage in my room was so generous, an entire season’s worth of Project Runway outfits would have fit.
  • Vista Suites are more appealing, sized at a relatively roomy 295 to 337 square feet, including veranda.
  • Spa Suites nestle close to the spa. Lanai staterooms are another option — see the full range of accommodations
  • My advice? The Neptune Veranda Suite is the ticket, if you can afford it. Sizes of 568 to 644 square feet forestall squabbling on some of Rotterdam’s very long cruises (up to 99 days). Living area flows into bedroom — the veranda alone could host a cocktail party. The Neptune lounge outside cabin door serves breakfast and provides a private concierge. 
Neptune Suites include a private veranda, whirlpool bath and shower, sitting area, dressing room and, floor-to-ceiling windows.
Courtesy of Holland America LineNeptune Veranda Suites include a private veranda, whirlpool bath and shower, sitting area, dressing room and floor-to-ceiling windows.

YOLO (You only live once!)

  • Choose the Neptune Suite for hot humid climates or a longer cruise Extra space feels homey; avoiding the busy breakfast crowd adds another comfort dimension.
  • Do select more expensive shore excursions if they interest you. You’ve come a very long way; not to experience the destination in the best way is false economy.

Insider tips

  • A rarity: Holland America has no corkage fee for wine purchased ashore. Have it served at lunch or dinner; the sommelier stores it until you want another glass.
  • Drink of the day: $5.95 gets you a perfectly mixed cocktail; try a Lotus Blossom or Singapore Sling. Best spot is Crow’s Nest, where panoramic windows look out on sail-away as you say goodbye to a lovely port you may never see again. Sniff.
  • Lunch: Do lunch for $10 in Pinnacle Grill. If you're up for it, the steak from eastern Washington state would cost $20 at the supermarket.

Other activities

Both cruise pros and novices will find a wide range of activities on board, including a card room, tennis courts, swimming pools (natch), duty-free shops, and these places: 

  • Queen's Show Lounge features talented vocalists, dancers, illusionists, comedians and variety acts.
  • Club HAL: dedicated youth facilities and activities for kids ages 3 - 12; activities are supervised and age appropriate.
  • The Loft: designed exclusively for youths ages 13 - 17 to have fun, socialize and hang out with people their own age.

Passenger makeup

ms Rotterdam attracts a well-traveled set with a yen for exploration. It’s mostly a 50-plus crowd, and many Europeans sail Rotterdam for the far-flung travel.

Disclosure

Anne Chalfant sailed on ms Rotterdam as a guest of Holland America. See Cruiseable's Ethics & disclosure policy.

Interested in a cruise on this ship?

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Your take

How about you? Have you sailed on ms Rotterdam? Got any pix? I'd love to hear what you thought!

Help improve this article. See anything wrong? What did we overlook? Be a co-creator!

Anne Chalfant
I write about travel and cruising for USA Today's 10Best and other publications, including Yahoo! Travel. Head to iTunes for my mobile app, "Cruise! A Guide to Ships and Trips."

Top highlights on this ship

  • What: ms Rotterdam
  • Where: At sea

  • What: Sea View Pool
  • Where: Lido deck

  • What: Piano bar
  • Where: ms Rotterdam
  • Pick from a varied and exotic list of itineraries.
  • Convertible stateroom beds accommodate friends, families and lovers!
  • Six staterooms are equipped to welcome the physically challenged.
  • Once on a cruise, enjoy "Taste of De Librije" featuring the cuisine of Culinary Council member and Michelin Star Chef Jonnie Boer.
  • Wide teak deck made for promenades

Top dining options on board

La Fontaine Dining Room

  • Style: Continental
  • No additional cost
  • Open: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Pinnacle Grill

  • Style: Pacific Northwest
  • Additional cost
  • Open: Lunch & dinner

Fast facts

1,404 Passengers [?]
600 Crew
10 Decks
1997 Maiden voyage
61,849 Tonnage [?]
780 Length in feet
106 Width in feet (max beam)
29 speed (mph) [?]

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