Holland America Line Christens Koningsdam, Names Next Ship Nieuw Statendam
Photos by Jason Leppert
Holland America Line has officially welcomed its newest ship — the Koningsdam — into the fleet today after she was christened by Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands (pictured above). Also at the ceremony, the company announced that its forthcoming sister ship will be named Nieuw Statendam.
Yesterday, the new Koningsdam made its first call on the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where she remained today for her christening, and we arrived just in time to see the ship sail down the causeway towards the cruise ship terminal. She greeted throngs of proud locals upon docking across the way from New York Hotel — the cruise line’s former headquarters, still permanently adorned with “Holland Amerika Lijn” in brick.
Due to the channel’s tight navigation, the ship arrived in reverse, stern first, with a fireboat water spray salute leading the way, but soon its bow commanded attention over the pier as the vessel pointed toward Holland America’s historic Rotterdam on the opposite bank.
Fittingly, we spent the night in HAL’s old building, but only after enjoying a taste of De Librije — the Michelin-starred restaurant of Jonnie Boer, one of the line’s culinary council members — in the Pinnacle Grill aboard the Koningsdam. The culinary experience is featured as an overlay much as Le Cirque has and continues to be.
This time around, dishes are more seafood-based, and a colorful langoustine presentation, for instance, was just as delicious in the mouth as it was floral on the plate. Plus, the deconstructed apple pie composed of elemental sweets was a lovely sendoff. If the meal is any indication of the cuisine found elsewhere onboard, the Koningsdam will surely be a foodie’s delight. As we’ll be onboard through next week, we’ll have a number of live dispatches to report on our findings along the way.
READ MORE: The Savvy Evolution of Holland America
Meanwhile, the ship’s momentous celebration continues today. Already she has been blessed and named by the royal godmother, in a ceremony that ended with a traditional champagne break across the ship’s bow, signaled by a rope pull in the World Stage theater. And even before that the cruise line announced what its second sister ship will be called — Nieuw Statendam, embracing the historic nomenclature just as Nieuw Amsterdam does currently.
Koningsdam’s captain, Emiel de Vries, was on hand too as the ship next readies to depart Rotterdam this evening amid an anticipated grand fireworks display. Next stop: Amsterdam.
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