Visiting the Rotterdam in Rotterdam, next to Rotterdam

Rotterdam Travel Blog

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Hotel New York = the old HAL Terminal

It has become some kind of tradition. Every home leave I spend a day doing a nice activity together with my orchestra friends Sana and Arnoud. And today was such a day. Sana had suggested to go to the City of Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the second largest city in The Netherlands and is well known for its harbor. For years it used to be the largest port in the world. Currently it is the largest in Europe and only the 4th in the world. Rotterdam is the Sister Port of the Port of Seattle, where I was about a month ago.

Although the city houses some interesting architectonic features our goal today were Hotel New York and the SS Rotterdam.

The stern displays the old name and old home port again

Hotel New York is located in the building which once housed the headquarters and terminal of the Holland America Line. This company is today known as a successful cruise line. It started in Rotterdam in 1873 and was named Holland America Line in 1896. Initially the HAL was one of the large shipping companies that transported immigrants to the New World. The line Rotterdam - New York was a popular one. The HAL also started offering vacation cruises. This is the current core and only remaining activity. Headquarters were moved to Seattle in 1977 leaving the beautiful terminal building vacant. In May 1999 the building re-opened again, as a hotel and restaurant. One of their specialties is the Afternoon Tea.

Tea with lots of unhealthy cakes and sweets. DELICIOUS!

The main attraction for today's visit was the SS Rotterdam. The Rotterdam is one of the legendary Cruise liners in the shipping history of The Netherlands. The ship, which was built in 1956, is the largest cruise ship ever built in The Netherlands. She was actually the fifth ship in the company that was named Rotterdam. At the time she was constructed the end of the cruise liner era was already nearing. With that in mind the ship was built with the vision of modern cruising in mind.

The Rotterdam started operation in 1959 for her maiden trip to New York. In the same year she also started her cruises. Cruises were made to South America, around the world, Asia, Caribbean, Hawaii, etc. Per 1968 the HAL applied the ship for cruises only. For that purpose she was refurbished in Rotterdam.

One of the few cabins that were kept in the old appearance
After that it would take 27 years before the "Grand Dame" would return to her home port. By that time the ship had seen some radical changes. She had been re-registered under the Netherlands Antillean Flag in 1973, making Willemstad, Curaçao her home port. She had been repainted to exchange her specific grey color with yellow band for dull blue. She had been renovated again in 1989. In 1997 she had been retired by the HAL and been sold to another cruise line which renamed the Rotterdam to Rembrandt. At that time she was once again re-registered, now in the Bahamas. In that status the Rembrandt (Rotterdam) returned to Rotterdam for a short visit in 1998.

Then it went downhill. The new owner went broke in 2000. The Rembrandt was docked in Canada and later laid up in the Bahamas where the ship started rusting for 3 years and 9 months. In the meantime a foundation was established in The Netherlands that tried to save the ship as being Dutch Maritime Heritage.
Smoking room
They managed to purchase the ship. A very difficult series of restorations commenced which cost a lot of money. But, in the end the project succeeded and the beautifully restored "Grand Dame" arrived back in Rotterdam in 2008. The boat had been repainted, back to her original grey color, and the interior had been transformed into a hotel. With the characteristic public spaces left as they used to be. In the style of the sixties, when the ship was so successful. She is now permanently docked close to the Hotel New York Building. Where she belongs. More or less like the Queen Mary in Los Angeles.

We arrived by water taxi, which moors right at the stern of the big ship. Especially from that angle the Rotterdam looks impressive. A very nice co-incidence was the fact that at the time that we arrived the successor of the SS Rotterdam, the Rotterdam VI, was docked almost next to her predecessor.

The Erasmus Bridge
Hence the unusual title of this blog entry.

Arnoud and I took a tour into the engine room where a very enthusiastic guide explained all the ins and outs of the engine section, which is mainly intact. Later on the three of us took a tour over the more common areas of the ship. The atmosphere of the sixties is still present. It feels like going back in time. I can very well understand why this ship was so much appreciated by the cruise public.

Thank you Sana and Arnoud for this nice day!

More pictures below!

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Hotel New York = the old HAL Termi…
Hotel New York = the old HAL Term…
The stern displays the old name an…
The stern displays the old name a…
One of the few cabins that were ke…
One of the few cabins that were k…
Smoking room
Smoking room
The Erasmus Bridge
The Erasmus Bridge
The Rotterdam VI the most recent, …
The Rotterdam VI the most recent,…
WIS
WIS
Hotel New York = the olde HAL Term…
Hotel New York = the olde HAL Ter…
Hotel New York = the olde HAL Term…
Hotel New York = the olde HAL Ter…
Hotel New York = the olde HAL Term…
Hotel New York = the olde HAL Ter…
Hotel New York = the olde HAL Term…
Hotel New York = the olde HAL Ter…
The afternoon tea at Hotel New York
The afternoon tea at Hotel New York
The stern displays the old name an…
The stern displays the old name a…
The swimming pool next to the engi…
The swimming pool next to the eng…
The pool in operation and as it cu…
The pool in operation and as it c…
Engine room
Engine room
Engine room
Engine room
Engine room
Engine room
The outside swimming pool deck
The outside swimming pool deck
View from the deck
View from the deck
One of the luxury restaurants
One of the luxury restaurants
The sixties atmosphere
The sixties atmosphere
The night club
The night club
The grand staircase
The grand staircase
Deck view
Deck view
More restaurants
More restaurants
Art
Art
Bar
Bar
Bar
Bar
Staircase near theatre
Staircase near theatre
View on Rotterdam from the bridge
View on Rotterdam from the bridge
The front end
The front end
Net to the ships bridge
Net to the ship's bridge
Bridge
Bridge
The captains living room
The captain's living room
Officers room
Officer's room
The stern displays the old name an…
The stern displays the old name a…
Leaving by water taxi
Leaving by water taxi
The Erasmus Bridge
The Erasmus Bridge
The Willems Bridge
The Willems Bridge
Hotel New York
Hotel New York
The Hef Bridge, a defunct Rail Bri…
The Hef Bridge, a defunct Rail Br…
Rotterdam architecture
Rotterdam architecture
Leaving Rotterdam in the water taxi
Leaving Rotterdam in the water taxi
Archive picture of the SS Rotterda…
Archive picture of the SS Rotterd…
Rotterdam
photo by: polvandenwirre