Commissioned in 1997, the MS Rotterdam is the third oldest of 14 cruise ships currently operated by Holland America Line (HAL). The ship belongs to the Rotterdam-Class. Four ships of this class were built between 1990 and 2000.
Compared to the new buildings MS Koningsdam and MS Nieuw Statendam, which can accommodate more than 2.600 passengers with double occupancy, the MS Rotterdam looks like it has fallen out of time. The 238 meter long ship feels like a lot of space for the 1.404 passengers in its 702 cabins. This applies in particular to the generously dimensioned public areas. The spacious teak decks are reminiscent of bygone nautical traditions. Since the shipping company was founded in 1871, the MS Rotterdam has been the sixth fleet ship to bear the name of Holland's second largest city.
MS Rotterdam in Huatulco / Mexico
The Rotterdam is a suitable cruise ship for guests who want to do without climbing walls, aqua parks and thunderous entertainment. The stylish ship has all the advantages of a ship in the premium segment.
MS Rotterdam - atrium
Cabins & Suites
MS Rotterdam has a total of 702 cabins and suites. They are located on passenger decks 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7. Light-colored wall coverings, light-colored imitation wood, large mirrored surfaces and matching carpets create a homely atmosphere in all cabins. The single beds in the cabins can be converted into a queen-size bed. Mattresses with the melodious name "Mariner's Dream" offer sleeping comfort. The generous storage space is remarkable. The technical equipment of the cabins is contemporary. The few sockets are suitable for American and European plug systems.
MS Rotterdam - Vista Suite # 6138
The bathrooms appear more spacious than the wet rooms of many modern ships. The inside cabins are equipped with showers. From the outside cabin upwards, (small) bathtubs are standard.
MS Rotterdam owns ...
- 125 inside cabins
- 346 sea view cabins
- 132 balcony cabins
- 39 lanai cabins
- 20 Vista suites
- 36 Neptune Suites
- 4 Pinnacle Suites
The Lanai cabins grant their residents direct access to the surrounding lower promenade deck (deck 3). The deck is lavishly furnished with comfortable wooden deck chairs. Thick cushions make the stay a pleasure. Two of the deckchairs are reserved for the residents of a lanai cabin. Mirrored sliding glass doors prevent a view of the cabins from outside.
MS Rotterdam - promenade deck with the lanai cabins
From the Vista suite category Passengers can look forward to a spacious teak-lined veranda and a whirlpool bathtub.
MS Rotterdam - Bathtub Vista Suite # 6138
Book discerning guests Neptune and Pinnacle Suites. Their equipment is lavish. In addition, the suite residents enjoy the concierge service and individual additional services.
The cabin service takes place twice a day. The room attendants work in pairs. They are friendly, well trained and have mastered their craft inside out.
Eating and Drinking
On the Rotterdam is after included in the travel price and restaurants subject to additional payment distinguished.
- The Dining Room (D 4 & 5)
- Lido Market (D 8)
- Dive-In (D 8)
- Pizzeria New York Pizza (D 8)
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining room with service and in the Lido Market buffet restaurant.
For dinner is the representative and elegantly furnished Dining Room to prefer. The entrance to the dining room is adorned with large-format wall paintings and a ship model of the fifth MS Rotterdam. - The restaurants on many cruise ships are now excruciatingly cramped. Not so on the MS Rotterdam: The main restaurant offers its guests an extraordinary amount of freedom of movement between the tables.
The quality of the food is very good. The menus vary daily. Even “Surf and Turf” is on the menu one evening. With the variety and quality on offer, the question arises why the specialty restaurants exist at all.
The service staff in the restaurant work professionally. You are attentive and committed. This is especially experienced by those guests who, like us, opt for the open dining option. They do not have a fixed seat and are placed in different areas depending on the occupancy of the restaurant. These passengers in particular experience the consistently good service quality.
The buffet restaurant Lido Market on the Lido deck is also remarkably well furnished. No comparison to the austere design of some other cruise ships. If you like, use the attractive tables grouped around the pool. The quality of the food corresponds to the level of the dining room. After all, a common kitchen supplies both restaurants.
MS Rotterdam - Lido Market buffet restaurant
The guests help themselves with cold dishes at well-organized theme stations. Warm meals and ice cream are always presented. There are practically no waiting times. The clearing service works efficiently. After a short time the tables are ready for the next guests. In between, the employees even take the time to provide their guests with hot and cold drinks. Exemplary!
The one that is also housed on the Lido deck Dive-in offers the classics for when you're hungry: burgers, hot dogs, french fries, tacos and salads. Everything is freshly prepared.
In front of the Sea View Pool installed aft on the Lido Deck is the New York Pizza. Her specialty: crispy salads and tasty pizzas.
MS Rotterdam - New York Pizza
Mention should also be made of the night snack in the Lido Market, the happy hour snacks in the Crow's Nest and the free 24 / h cabin service.
Additional payment restaurants
- Pinnacle Grill
The unadorned one adjacent to the Lido Market Canaletto offers Italian specialties. It is only open in the evening.
MS Rotterdam - Canaletto Restaurant
Im Pinnacle Grill Suite residents take their breakfast. In the evenings, the elegantly furnished restaurant offers meat specialties and seafood. On one evening per trip, the restaurant is transformed into “Sel de Mer”. This specialty restaurant, dedicated to French cuisine, was originally only available on the MS Koningsdam.
Iced tea, coffee, lemonade, tea and water are offered as standard drinks on board. All other drinks are to be paid for. The price level can be described as “high”.
Wine cellar & wine waiter
The wine offers vary depending on the theme of the restaurants. The wines are good and expensive. A wine package is recommended for wine drinkers. Compared to the wines served by the glass, the "packages" are the significantly more cost-effective alternative.
Open dining option
Guests who do not want to submit to the dictates of fixed meal times will find the Open dining option required. Between 17:15pm and 21:00pm, these passengers enjoy a flexible and well-organized service.
Bars & Lounges
On the Rotterdam, passengers can choose between the following bars & lounges. There are …
- the Crow's Nest (D 9)
- the Lido Bar (D 8)
- the Sea View Bar (D 8 aft)
- the Ocean Bar (D 5)
- the MIX (D 5)
- the Exploration Café (D 5)
The Crow's Nest forward on the 9th deck is versatile. During the day it is used as a viewing deck or for various events, and in the evening, after happy hour, it is transformed into a dance palace.
The attractively designed Lido Bar is, as the name suggests, by the swimming pool on deck 8. The aft is on the same deck Sea View Bar. Both bars are open during the day from 8:00 am until evening. They take care of the guests on the Lido Deck.
The centrally positioned Ocean Bar lies on deck 5. In addition to good drinks, guests are regularly offered live music.
MS Rotterdam - Ocean Bar
The MIX supplies the neighboring casino and the billboard on board event area.
MS Rotterdam - MIX
The classical Tea hour takes place at 15pm in a part of the dining room on deck 00.
Im Exploration Café Tasty coffee specialties for a fee are prepared right next to the library.
MS Rotterdam - Exploration Café
Sport & Wellness
This is on deck 8, the Lido Deck Fitness Center. It takes up the entire front width of the ship. The equipment is appropriate in relation to the size of the ship and up to date.
That includes the fitness center Greenhouse SPA & Salon on. A wide variety of SPA treatments are offered for an appropriate fee. The wellness center is run by the renowned SPA operator Steiner.
MS Rotterdam -SPA & Salon
On the Lido Deck, under a glass roof that can be opened, the Lido Pool and two Whirl pools. The roof is open in good weather conditions. Water rats will find an additional shallow water basin and two further whirl pools at the stern of the ship. The loungers in the pool area are sufficient. Additional sunbathing areas can be found on the Sky Deck (Deck 10) on Sea view pool as well as on the Lower Promenade Deck (Deck 3).
Free loungers are generally available. The bad habit of reserving couches that can be observed on German ships does not take place on the Rotterdam. Pool towels are not skimpy and the pool service is exemplary. No sooner has a lounger been released by the users than the pool butlers prepare it for other guests. The beds are precisely aligned using a measuring stick. Deviations are not tolerated. The beverage service also works perfectly.
MS Rotterdam - perfectly aligned loungers at the Lido Pool
The other sports offers
A covered one Walk leads on the third deck, the Lower boardwalk deck, around the whole ship (3½ laps equals one mile). Jogging is not permitted in this area.
A short Jogging track however, runners can find them on deck 9. The lane runs above the pool.
MS Rotterdam - jogging track
More sport possibilities are table tennis, shuffleboard, ball sports as well as aerobics, Pilates and yoga. On the other hand, there are no climbing walls, aqua parks and high rope courses. We do not miss them.
A differentiated and ambitious entertainment program provides a varied educational and entertainment program throughout the day.
The central venue for on-board entertainment is the stylish, two-story Main Stage called theater. The large gaps between the rows of seats will please tall people. However, the armchairs have seen better days.
The theater is located in the forward part of the ship on the 3rd and 4th deck. The passengers have to do without lavish stage shows with singers and dancers. Instead, singers, vocal groups and other artists perform. All of them are top-class representatives in their field. The presentations of the "BBC Earth Experiences" offer gripping films.
The small Wajang theater the 4th deck is used for film screenings. It also serves on sea days America's Test Kitchen as the location of the cooking school. Amidships on deck 5 is the one equipped with gaming tables and machines Casino.
The entertainment program includes bingo events, free kitchen tours, quiz evenings, dance lessons and varied lectures. Most of the information events are offered free of charge. An impressively large library well stocked with English-language reading is located next to the Explorations Café. The large number of board games in the library is also impressive.
The Music Walk needs special mention. It was first seen on the MS Koningsdam set up. Rotterdam recently acquired part of this facility with the Lincoln Center Stage and the Billboard Onboard.
Classical music lovers come to the undercooled Lincoln Center STAGE on your costs.
MS Rotterdam - Lincoln Center Stage
They are enthusiastically received Billboard onboard-Events. Two pianists with talent for singing play chart top hits from the 50s to 90s on two grand pianos. You interact with the enthusiastic audience in an exemplary manner during the hour-long show. Definitely worth seeing!
MS Rotterdam - Billboard Onboard
They are ambitious and of high quality Crew shows of the Indonesian and Filipino crew members.
MS Rotterdam - Filipino Crew Show
The valuable on-board, diverse art collection contributes to entertainment and edification. For lovers of painting, ship models or replicas of individual figures from the Chinese Terracotta Army, there is a lot to admire.
General information about MS Rotterdam
Princess Margriet of Orange-Nassau
Length 238 meters, width 32 meters
5 Sulzer diesel and
two ABB propulsion electric motors
25 knots (46 km / h)
1.404 with double occupancy
approx. 572 (currently)
Fincantieri, Marghera / Venice
MS Rotterdam is not a family ship. Those looking for it are better off on Holland America's large ships, the MS Koningsdam or the Nieuw Statendam. Mainly middle-aged and older couples feel addressed by MS Rotterdam. You will enjoy the rich and elegant furnishings of a floating 4-star-plus hotel, excellent gastronomic services, attentive service and sophisticated and varied entertainment.
MS Rotterdam in the port of Puerto Vallarta / Mexico
The crew presents itself to the guests with friendliness, willingness to help and attention, which is rather unusual nowadays on cruise ships even in the higher price segment. Whenever possible, the ship's command provides personalized information. The guest feels addressed and accepted.
Kreuzfahrt-Praxis recommends testing the Holland America Line's high-quality cruise offers, not least because of the good price-performance ratio. MS Rotterdam is an excellent choice for this.
MS Rotterdam - Logo of the Holland America Line
The ship is primarily tailored to the needs of the predominantly US and Canadian guests. It should be noted: MS Rotterdam is an English-speaking ship. It does not offer any German-speaking guest service. Passengers are welcomed in German. General information about the ship is also available in German in the cabin. The colloquial language is and remains exclusively English. The only news source available is the “Tagesrundschau” in German, which is used by cruise ships in German.
We tested MS Rotterdam in December 2019 in the course of a from San Diego / CA to Fort Lauderdale / Fl. leading cruise. We stayed in Vista Suite # 6138.