When choosing which cruise line to take your next cruise on, you have quite a bit of choices to choose from. I recently came home from a five night cruise on Holland America Line’s Rotterdam that was part of their 150th anniversary celebration.
I was invited by Holland America Line to join a group of media to celebrate this incredible milestone. After taking my fourth cruise on Holland America, here are five reasons why I love sailing with the cruise line.
Since we are talking about history, lets start with the incredible history of Holland America Line. The cruise line is rich in history and has been in service for over 150 years. The company started off by sailing immigrants from Holland to New York in 1872 on Rotterdam I. From 1880 to 1920, nearly two million immigrants boarded a Holland America ship in Rotterdam to seek a better life in the States.
During the prohibition, Holland America Line would take ships at least three miles off shore so they could offer “booze cruises”.
When I was at the Rotterdam City Archives last fall looking over passenger manifests, one name really stood out. Albert Einstein sailed Holland America Line from Rotterdam to New York in September 1937. His cruise fare? It was $134 in tourist class.
At the Rotterdam city archives looking over old passenger lists. Albert Einstein sailed to New York on a Holland America ship. His cruise fare, $134 in tourist class. pic.twitter.com/d8fgu9nP5d
— Ben Souza (@simplyben) October 14, 2022
When the jet age killed demand for ocean liners, the company pivoted from offering cruises for transportation to cruises for leisure.
If you are taking a Holland America Line cruise out of Rotterdam, you have two incredible pre-hotel options to choose from. You can stay at the New York Hotel, the building that served as the cruise line’s headquarters a 100 years ago.
Secondly, you can stay on Rotterdam V, one of their former ships that is now a hotel.
I have now sailed on four cruises with Holland America Line and one thing that always stood out to me was the incredible itineraries offered. And it’s not just the itineraries, it’s also the lengthy time in port.
I once took two similar cruises in the Mediterranean, one on Holland America Line and one on another cruise line. While the port stops were very similar, Holland America Line offered far more time in port. In one port, we were there for 11 hours while the other cruise line was in port for just six hours.
This extra time really allows you to immerse yourself in the destination and see it at your timing, without having to worry about rushing to get back to the ship in time. Holland America Line also had better docking and tender locations, greatly enhancing the cruise experience.
Holland America Line recently announced new extended destination-in-depth voyages (Legendary Voyages) for those who want to see more of the world on one trip.
Today we’re in Copenhagen, Denmark visiting the New Harbor and the Little Mermaid statue. Next up is Tivoli Gardens. This is the final port stop of our cruise on @HALcruises Rotterdam. pic.twitter.com/ZgaxqaRTye
— Cruise Fever (@CruiseFever) April 22, 2023
The cruise line also has one of the highest, if not the highest rated private islands in the Bahamas. Half Moon Cay has the softest sand out of all cruise line private islands and the main beach really is paradise. I really do wish I could stay there forever.
No matter where you want to cruise to in the world, Holland America pretty much has you covered.
While I have only sailed on Holland America’s Pinnacle class ships, they are one of my favorite classes to sail on. The staterooms are comfortable with ample storage and have great showers and bathrooms.
I love the main pool deck area with the retractable dome. This allows the area to used no matter what the weather is. There are also some great food options there, but we’ll get into those in a bit.
The Crow’s Nest, aka observation lounge, it a great place to spend a sea day or a day that offers scenic cruising.
At night, the ship comes alive with live music at Billboard Onboard, Rolling Stone Rock Room, and BB King’s Blues Club.
The ships are also the perfect size, not too small but also not enormous like most new cruise ships.
Holland America Line offers a good balance of complimentary and specialty dining options. New York Deli is my favorite casual spot to grab a bite to eat and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I always went there for breakfast to avoid the crowds at the buffet. The pizza is also really good (for a cruise ship).
My two favorite specialty dining restaurants are Pinnacle Grill (steakhouse) and Tamarind which offers Asian cuisine. I also love dining at Rudi’s Seagrill as the presentation of the food is truly one of a kind. It’s an experience that you’d have a hard time finding on land.
The main dining room on Rotterdam might just be my favorite at sea.
I also like how in the buffet, the crew plates the food for you instead of passengers serving themselves.
I never had a bad meal on board and thought the food was great, no matter where I dined at.
One of the highlights of my most recent cruise on Rotterdam were the crew members. I was surprised how many remembered by name from day one and they would always call me by name when I was walking around the ship.
I overheard a crew member talking to another passenger. The crew member was telling them how they worked for other cruise lines but Holland America Line treated them the best. It really shows on how they treat guests on board.
I’ve taken over 75 cruises and this might have been the friendliest crew I’ve ever had on a cruise.
It was another fantastic cruise on a Holland America Line ship and I look forward to my next sailing with them.