06 December 2018

S.S. Rotterdam: Dutch 'Grande Dame' of the Seas

A vintage photo of S.S. Rotterdam at speed during a transatlantic crossing in the 1960s.

Having seen a reference to the preservation of the former Holland-America Line ocean liner/cruise ship S.S. Rotterdam in a book, your MoMI curator used the opportunity of a business trip to Brussels to take the short 1 hour 39 minute direct train to the Dutch city of Rotterdam to visit this remarkable ship.  Now run by Dutch company WestCord Hotels, which also owns the Hotel New York housed in the former headquarters of the Holland-America Line, S.S. Rotterdam features restaurants, bars, shopping, and meeting rooms, in addition to the refitted cabins now used as hotel rooms.  The centrepiece of the redeveloped Katendrecht district jutting into the Nieuwe Maas (New Meuse) river, the S.S. Rotterdam now serves as a popular entertainment and conference venue in its namesake port.    

Ordered by the Nederlandsche-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart Maatschappij (Dutch-American Steamship Company, or Holland-America Line) on 27 October 1955, the keel of the company's fifth ship to be named Rotterdam was laid on 14 December 1956 at the Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (Rotterdam Dry Dock Company).  Built at a cost of US$30 million (US$255.9 million in 2018 dollars), S.S. Rotterdam was the largest passenger liner ever built in the Netherlands and was launched on 13 September 1958 by Her Majesty Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in a ceremony watched by tens of thousands of proud Dutch citizens.  Following sea trials in July and August 1959, the ship was formally handed over to Holland-America Line and departed on her maiden voyage to New York on 3 September 1959, with then-Crown Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands aboard as guest of honour.

As built, the Rotterdam weighed 38,645 gross tons and measured 748 feet (228 metres) long, 94.1 feet (28.71 metres) wide, and 201.87 feet (61.53 metres) high from the keel to the top of the radar mast, with a draught of 29.53 feet (9 metres).  The ship was originally designed to carry a maximum of 1,784 passengers (647 First Class, 1,137 Tourist Class), along with 776 officers and crew; however, a 1977 refit reduced the passenger capacity to 1,144 to provide a more comfortable experience for cruise passengers.  The Rotterdam's 10 decks served as showcases for the Netherlands' finest artisans: the Holland-America Line's Coordinating Interior Architect, Han van Tienhoven, commissioned a wide range of mosaics, reliefs, wall paintings, carpets, and statues to be installed in various parts of the ship, making it a veritable museum of applied Dutch art.   

Marketed using the slogan 'Tomorrow's!', S.S. Rotterdam employed a number of design concepts which were well ahead of contemporary thinking in the 1950s.  Most apparent was the positioning of the ship's machinery and funnels, located two-thirds aft on the ship instead of at the traditional midships location, as well as the design of the funnels themselves.  Other innovations included air conditioning throughout the ship with individual cabin controls, as well as a two-class horizontal layout with an ingenious double staircase and sliding panels that allowed the S.S. Rotterdam to be easily converted between the two-class configuration used for transatlantic voyages and the single class configuration required for cruising.  Details on these innovations are contained in the photo captions below.   

The Rotterdam served the Holland-America Line for 37 years, first as a transatlantic liner between Rotterdam and New York until 1968 and then as a cruise ship, including for several round-the-world cruises, until 1997.  Following the completion of her gala finale cruise on 30 September 1997, the ship was sold to Premier Cruises and subsequently renamed S.S. Rembrandt.  Based out of Port Canaveral, Florida, Rembrandt continued to sail as a cruise ship until the bankruptcy of Premier Cruises in September 2000 forced her retirement after a total of 41 years in service.  Laid up in the Bahamas until 2003, the ship was purchased by the Rotterdam Dry Dock Company and, in 2004, was towed to Gibraltar for asbestos encapsulation/removal.  In 2005, the ship was moved to Cadiz, Spain for hull repainting, and finally to Poland and Germany for full restoration work.  Following this work, the re-named S.S. Rotterdam was towed to its namesake port, arriving on 8 August 2008.  On 15 February 2010, S.S. Rotterdam opened to the public.  In 2013, the ship was acquired by WestCord Hotels.

The S.S. Rotterdam, permanently moored as a hotel and tourist attraction in the Katendrecht district of Rotterdam, Netherlands since 2010.

The main entrance to S.S. Rotterdam.  A free shuttle runs between the ship and the nearby Rijnhaven Metro station. Visitors climb the stairs or take the elevators to the gangways that provide access to the Main Foyer on Main Deck.

The gangway leads into the Main Foyer on Main Deck.  S.S. Rotterdam's distinctive, slim 'goal post' funnels tower overhead.

A panoramic view of the Main Foyer on Main Deck.  This lobby is dominated by the impressive central staircase that provides access to all decks between C Deck near the bottom of the ship and Sun Deck near the top.  A large model of S.S. Rotterdam is mounted in a glass case, and the hotel's Reception Desk is on the right.   

The Reception Desk for guests staying aboard S.S. Rotterdam is located in the former Purser's Office adjacent to the Main Foyer on Main Deck.  A large historic map of Rotterdam from the atlas 'de Vou' from 1694 adorns the rear wall.  Originally, the ship's Beauty Parlour and Barber Shop were also adjacent to the Main Foyer.

Below: The front and reverse sides of 'The New Ocean Post', a weekly newsletter modelled after 'The Ocean Post' at-sea newsletter once provided to transatlantic and cruise passengers aboard S.S. Rotterdam.  The newsletter provides information on the ship, the weather, the city of Rotterdam, and dining and entertainment options on board. 

The front and reverse sides of a ticket for the Rotterdam Complete tour, which includes a guided tour of the machinery spaces and a self-guided tour of the rest of the ship with audiophone. The stub for the engine room tour portion of the ticket has already been removed at validation. The cost of the Rotterdam Complete Tour is €16.00, or €13.50 for guests staying aboard.

A glass case holds a large, detailed model of S.S. Rotterdam.

Another view of the model of the S.S. Rotterdam in the ship's entrance lobby. The ship's streamlined dual funnels were located further aft than was traditional on passenger ships of the mid-20th century, reflecting the placement of the engines and boilers correspondingly further aft than was normal. This arrangement permitted more usable space for public rooms in the most stable midships section of the vessel. To balance Rotterdam's overall appearance with the funnels moved two-thirds of the way aft, a large deckhouse was built atop the superstructure where a traditional funnel would ordinarily be placed, providing additional recreation space for passengers. Although S.S. Rotterdam's design was controversial for the 1950s, the 'two-thirds aft' layout of the propulsion machinery and funnels would later become the global standard for cruise ship construction.

A deck plan sign that shows the ship's layout and the location of dining and entertainment amenities aboard S.S. Rotterdam.

Below: The pocket-sized ship's deck plan provided at Reception to guests staying aboard S.S. Rotterdam and showing the location of the restaurants, bars, shops, meeting rooms, and main public rooms on the ship.

The front side of a trilingual Dutch/English/German promotional pamphlet on all of the activities and venues aboard the S.S. Rotterdam

The reverse side of the same pamphlet.

A view down the starboard passageway of Lower Promenade Deck en route to Room 2075.

The door of Room 2075.

The front and reverse sides of the cardboard envelope for the electronic keycard for Room 2075.

Room 2075 on Lower Promenade Deck, a Superior category room aboard S.S. Rotterdam. The room features original portholes, a large bed, free wifi, climate controls, a flat screen television, an espresso machine, a kettle, an electronic safe, and a hair dryer. According to 1980s deck plans from the ship's previous life as a cruise ship, Room 2075 was formerly Cabin C193, a 'Large' outside stateroom, featuring two lower beds, an upper bed, and a bathtub and shower.  While renovated and refitted for its new role as a floating hotel, the furniture and decor of the rooms harkens back to the original look and feel of the cabins.

Space is well-utilised in the room, with shelving and drawers built into the vanity on which the flat screen television currently sits.  The door leads to the bathroom.  When it entered service, S.S. Rotterdam's cabins featured a number of novel, modern conveniences, such as air conditioning, a call button for cabin stewards, electric towel driers, and a telephone. 

A writing pad in Room 2075.

A large closet provides space to hang clothing, and also houses the safe for valuables, an iron and ironing board, and shelves for other clothing and shoes.

Original early-1960s ship's furnishings in the small sitting area in Room 2075.  The espresso machine, kettle, cups, tea and coffee sit atop the small round table.

The compact but fully functional bathroom in Room 2075, featuring a sink, toilet, and shower stall with sliding doors.

Two paper-wrapped, 40 gram bars of S.S. Rotterdam-branded soap, manufactured in Italy for Bunzl Cosmetics of Almere, Netherlands.  Ingredients are listed as sodium palmate, sodium palm kernelate, water, fragrance, palm kernel acid, glycerin, sodium chloride, tetrasodium EDTA, tetrasodium etidronate, citronellol, coumarin, hexyl cinnamal, limonene, linalool, argania spinosa, kernal oil.  

Small (45 ml) bottles of S.S. Rotterdam-branded body lotion, shampoo, and shower gel, made in Italy for Dutch-based Bunzl Cosmetics.

The entrance to the Experience Centre, a theatre that plays a short film depicting a transatlantic voyage aboard S.S. Rotterdam in the early 1960s, using both archival footage and re-enactments.  Entrance to the Experience Centre is free for any visitors to the ship.

The Experience Centre during the showing of the short film which repeats on a loop, with a five minute break between showings.

A photo of S.S. Rotterdam arriving in New York at the end of a transatlantic voyage.  This large photo hangs in a starboard passageway on Lower Promenade Deck.

The  S.S. Rotterdam's central staircase, as seen on Lower Promenade Deck. The brainchild of Holland-America Line's Joint President-Director, Willem H. de Monchy, the dual staircase was inspired by the intertwined spiral staircases in France's Château de Chambord, which permitted members of the royal house and their servants to each use their own staircase and thus pass each other unseen. At the instigation of Mr de Monchy, S.S. Rotterdam employed a then-novel horizontal class division rather than the traditional vertical class division, which gave each class of passengers the full run of certain decks: for example, Promenade Deck was exclusively for Tourist Class passengers, while Upper Promenade Deck was restricted to First Class passengers. The design of this dual 'scissor' staircase, along with sliding partitions on each landing, allowed the two classes of passengers to each use their own set of stairs without ever intermingling. For single class cruising, the partitions could simply be retracted, thus giving all passengers the full use of all decks and public rooms via the central staircase. Similarly, the eight elevators (four on each side of the ship) used a programmable gearing mechanism to ensure that Tourist Class passengers were not given access to decks reserved for First Class passengers and First Class Passengers were not permitted access to Tourist Class decks. Again, when in cruising configuration, all elevators could be programmed to stop on all decks.

Separating the First Class and Tourist Class sides of the dual staircase were six panels of appliqué glass, designed by Dutch artist Willem Akkermans and manufactured by Glasindustrie F. van Tetterode of Amsterdam using a glass fusing process.  Seen here is the glass panel at the top of the central staircase on Boat Deck.  The landings on each deck featured olive wood panelling, in combination with rosewood and Vynide walls, with anodised aluminium strips. 

Another of Willem Akkermans' modernist glass panels dividing the First and Tourist Class sides of the central staircase on the S.S. Rotterdam.  Ascending from bottom to top, the panels depicted water flora and fauna (A Deck), the waves (Main Deck), the ship (Lower Promenade Deck), the strength of the wind (Promenade Deck), the birds (Upper Promenade Deck), and the cosmos (Boat Deck).  The railings of the staircase are made from enamelled steel, with decorations in anodised aluminium.

An ornate Oriental-themed screen displayed on a landing of the central staircase, another example of the artistry installed aboard S.S. Rotterdam as a 'ship of state'.

Located outside the La Fontaine Room (Tourist Class dining room) on B Deck is a rosewood screen decorated  with the coat of arms of the City of Rotterdam, crafted in enamelled metal by Nico Witteman.

A bust of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, who launched the S.S. Rotterdam on 13 September 1958 in front of a massive crowd at the Rotterdam Dry Dock Company facilities.  This bust was a gift of the Rotterdam Dry Dock Company and today resides near the central staircase on B Deck, outside the Odyssee Room, the former First Class dining room. 

The Odyssee Room, the former First Class dining room on B Deck. With S.S. Rotterdam's engineering spaces located further aft than in most other passenger liners, the ship's designers were able to place the First Class and Tourist Class dining rooms low in the ship, on B Deck.  Both dining rooms were served by a single, 1,500 square metre central galley located one deck below and connected to each dining room via a pair of escalators.  The high, domed ceiling of the Odyssee Room is adorned with ceramic stars and spheres which would be brightly illuminated by indirect lighting from fixtures placed on the dome walls, which were themselves decorated with gold-painted frames.  A Grill Room connected to the dining room could be partitioned off for private parties or dinners.  The Odyssee Room could accommodate up to 260 First Class passengers per sitting.

The walls of the Odyssee Room are decorated with polychrome ceramic friezes inspired by the 'Odyssey', an ancient Greek poem by the poet Homer.  These friezes were designed by Nico Nagler of Amsterdam and manufactured by De Porceleyne Fles, Delft. The panelling behind the friezes is made from olive wood and rosewood. 

A closer view of another of Nico Nagler's polychrome ceramic friezes in the Odyssee Room on B Deck. Similar friezes adorn the walls of the La Fontaine Room, the former Tourist Class dining room, at the aft end of the central staircase landing on B Deck.  The La Fontaine Room's friezes are inspired by the fables of Jean de la Fontaine, the 17th century poet and fabulist, and the room closely resembles the layout and quality of decor found in the Odyssee Room due to the need for S.S. Rotterdam to be converted to single class cruising.

Large display cabinets outside the Lynbaan Shop on Promenade Deck display artefacts and souvenirs from the S.S. Rotterdam's 41 year service life and the Holland-America Line, including silverware, commemorative plates, and blue Delft tiles commissioned to mark special crossings and cruises. 

The Lynbaan Shop, the S.S. Rotterdam's gift shop, is named after a famous shopping centre in the city of Rotterdam.  A wide selection of books, fridge magnets, mugs, posters, clothing, and other S.S. Rotterdam-branded souvenirs is available for sale. 

The Ocean Bar, located on the port side of Promenade Deck, is directly connected to the Queen's Lounge and originally served as the Tourist Class bar.  The panelled ceiling features a unique fish-scale design, while the bar is shaped like a wave and ringed by about twenty white leather-clad bar stools.  Although the Ocean Bar remained a part of S.S. Rotterdam's layout throughout the ship's life, it has been restored to its appearance in 1959.

The aft wall of the Ocean Bar features an abstract copper decorative sculpture, Zee-Insecten (Sea Insects) by Aart van den IJssel.  Comfortable couches and chairs provide a more intimate spot to enjoy a drink than the busier bar counter.

Another view of the long, sweeping design of the Ocean Bar's counter.  Josip Broz Tito, president of the former Yugoslavia, spent much time in the Ocean Bar during a transatlantic voyage in 1963.  

Tall, slightly bowed windows set into the ship's port side allow plenty of light to stream into the Ocean Bar.  When in service, Tourist Class passengers could look out at the ocean waves racing by as they sipped their drinks here; today, patrons are afforded views of downtown Rotterdam across the Nieuwe Maas river.

The glass-enclosed promenade on the after end of Promenade Deck provides sheltered access to the Club Room, the Lido Restaurant and, further aft, the open lido terrace, with its wading pool (Rotterdam's former open-air swimming pool).  At the forward end of this glass-enclosed promenade is the office for purchasing ship tour tickets, as well as access to the ship's central staircase by passing through the Lynbaan Shop. 

The entrance to the Lido Restaurant, the more casual of the two restaurants aboard S.S. Rotterdam.

When S.S. Rotterdam first entered service, the space currently occupied by the Lido Restaurant was known as the Café de la Paix, a Tourist Class night club named after the Café de la Paix in Paris, France.  Renovations in 1969 to accommodate the S.S. Rotterdam's transition to full-time cruising led to the replacement of the Café de la Paix by the Lido Restaurant, which was capable of hosting self-service buffet dining.  This new cafeteria-style restaurant featured direct access to the aft open deck and swimming pool.  A 1989 refurbishment decorated the Lido Restaurant in pastels depicting Dutch motifs by the American artist Michael Rees.

With nothing of the original Lido Restaurant left to preserve by the time of the ship's restoration in the mid-2000s, WestCord Hotels has converted this space into a contemporary restaurant specialising in grilled meals cooked in its KOPA charcoal oven, a combination grill-oven in which meat, fish, and vegetables are prepared in a way that preserves their juices and aromas. 

Early morning in the Lido Restaurant for the buffet breakfast service.  The Lido Restaurant is where breakfast is served for guests who stay overnight on the S.S. Rotterdam.

A folded paper napkin from the Lido Restaurant, featuring the hotel's stylised S.S. Rotterdam logo. 

S.S. Rotterdam as seen from its berth in the Katendrecht district on a brisk but sunny mid-November morning. Although the rise of mass, affordable commercial air travel in the mid-20th century spelled the discontinuation of S.S. Rotterdam's transatlantic voyages in 1969, the ship's flexible design and in-built accommodation for conversion to single class cruising gave Rotterdam a new lease on life as a full-time cruise ship.  Especially popular with American and Australian travellers, by the 1980s S.S. Rotterdam had settled into a routine of winter cruising in the Caribbean and summer cruising in Alaska, interspersed with her very popular annual 'Around the World in 80 Days' cruises.

A stern view of S.S. Rotterdam, as seen from dockside.  The ship's steel hull was built in 789 sections, primarily welded but with a few sections joined using traditional rivetting to provide additional strength or to enhance Rotterdam's aesthetic appearance by avoiding the 'dimpling' caused by welded connections, which would detract from the look of long, smooth stretches of the ship's skin.

Early morning sun glints off S.S. Rotterdam's bright white superstructure, kingposts, and funnels.  The ship has 705 portholes, not including the many large exterior windows on upper decks, especially Promenade Deck and Upper Promenade Deck. 

Beneath the life boats on the port side open promenade of Boat Deck, looking aft.

Looking aft on the starboard side of Boat Deck.  S.S. Rotterdam featured 55,000 square feet of deck space for passengers' enjoyment.

Looking aft on the port side of Upper Promenade Deck, outside the First Class Smoking Room.  With both a section of exposed deck and a glass-enclosed promenade section at its forward end, Upper Promenade Deck allowed First Class passengers to walk a full circuit around the ship: 5.5 times around the deck equalled one mile (1,600 metres).  In an effort to promote physical exercise, those passengers who completed the mile walk were given a stamp in a 'fitness passport' issued by ship staff.      

The entrance to the Captain's Lounge, as seen from the Main Foyer on Main Deck. The Captain's Lounge occupies the full width of the ship in space which housed several cabins when the ship was in service.  It is the main bar aboard S.S. Rotterdam today, and is open from 10:00am to 1:00am Sundays to Thursdays, and 10:00am to 2:00am on Fridays and Saturdays.

The dark, wooden bar counter in the Captain's Lounge.  The bartenders offer a number of signature gin tonics, as well as classic and contemporary cocktails.  If visiting earlier in the day, the Captain's Lounge features a range of specialty coffees and fresh baked goods, and High Tea is also available daily from noon.

Although not a part of the S.S. Rotterdam's layout during her service life, the Captain's Lounge has been designed to evoke the feel of the 1950s and 1960s, with period furniture and decor, as well as several display cases holding historic artefacts and publications about the ship and Holland-America Line.

Every Friday and Saturday night from 9:00pm to 1:00am, the Captain's Lounge features live piano music.

The front and reverse sides of a cardboard coaster from the Captain's Lounge.  The coaster also serves as a song request card for guests to fill in and submit to the pianist on Friday and Saturday evenings.

One of the 10 signature gin tonics on the menu in the Captain's Lounge, ranging between €10 and €15 each.  This particular one features Bombay Sapphire East gin, mixed with Fever Tree Indian tonic water, red pepper, and lemongrass.

Mid-century modern furniture and mosaic-topped tables evoke the look of the late 1950s, while warm colours and low lighting provide an intimate ambiance to the Captain's Lounge.

Displayed in the Captain's Lounge is the polished steel axe used by Queen Juliana of the Netherlands to sever a cable holding a bottle of champagne, which shattered on the bows of the S.S. Rotterdam during the ship's christening ceremony on 13 September 1958.  The ship was launched with the Queen's exhortation, 'I give you the name Rotterdam and wish you a safe service!' 

One of the conference rooms crafted from space formerly occupied by cabins on the forward part of Main Deck.  S.S. Rotterdam's current use as a venue for conferences and corporate events means that such meeting rooms are critical for hosting the hotel's corporate clients.

Another of the conference rooms aboard S.S. Rotterdam, arranged for a meeting.

The Playroom located forward of the Captain's Lounge in space formerly occupied by cabins on Main Deck.  Several tables with Playmobil and a TV playing children's movies and cartoons provide entertainment for today's young visitors to S.S. Rotterdam.  

The former indoor swimming pool, located on D Deck, measuring 27.9 feet (8.5 metres) in length by 18 feet (5.5 metres) in width, and with a depth varying between 4.9 feet (1.5 metres) and 6.6 feet (2 metres).  An overflow rim also served as a handrail for swimmers.  The concrete tub of the pool is covered by Italian glass mosaic tiles, with the Majolica tiles on the bottom manufactured by  De Porceleyne Fles, Delft, and depicting a school of fish in a design by Wim van der Weerd.  Originally, decoration on the walls of the pool deck consisted of aluminium sculptures, also designed by van der Weerd; although these sculptures were removed some time ago, wooden replicas have been installed in their place.  All passengers could use the pool; however, when operating transatlantic voyages, separate pool times for First and Tourist Class passengers were established.  The pool is no longer filled with water and a net strung across it prevents visitors from falling in.

Adjacent to the pool and change rooms on D Deck were Turkish baths and a gymnasium with 'rowing machines, bicycles, mechanical horses, and other exercising devices' to 'allay the concerns of the girth-conscious'.  Seen here is the ship's sauna; expert masseurs and masseuses were also on hand.

Leaving the pool deck and entering the machinery spaces, guests on the engine room tour walk down a utility passageway along which run various pipes and ducting. S.S. Rotterdam's machinery spaces comprised six compartments from forward to aft: the cooling machinery room, the air conditioning and stabiliser room, the electrical generator room, the humidifier room, the boiler room, and the engine room.  Dozens of crewmen were required to man and operate the equipment in these compartments. 

The generator room, with MAAG turbo-generators each capable of producing 5,400 kilowatts of electricity at 440 volts. These generators supplied all of the electricity for the ship's lighting and other electrical needs.  When S.S. Rotterdam was in service and all her machinery was in operation, these spaces would be noisy and hot, with temperatures of up to 50 degrees centigrade.

Proceeding past hulking machinery in the generator room, with the smell of bunker oil and grease heavy in the air. As a steamship, S.S. Rotterdam was fitted with four boilers producing steam at 640 pounds per square inch. Only three boilers were required to achieve the ship's cruising speed, so the fourth boiler was held as a reserve for additional power or in case of a malfunction or maintenance need required one of the other boilers to be taken offline. The steam produced by the boilers was fed into two turbine groups of De Schelde double reduction geared triple expansion turbines, which produced a maximum of 38,000 shaft horsepower. Each turbine group contained three turbines (high-, intermediate-, and low-pressure). Steam generated by S.S. Rotterdam's boilers also powered the four flash evaporators, which produced 800 tons of fresh drinking water daily.

To minimise the effect of rough seas and provide a more stable, comfortable experience for passengers, S.S. Rotterdam was fitted with a pair of massive Denny-Brown stabiliser fins on each side of the ship.  These stabilisers were controlled by gyroscopes and served to reduce the rolling movement of the ship in bad weather.

One of the numerous watertight doors separating various sections of S.S. Rotterdam's machinery space.  To improve safety, the ship's watertight bulkheads extended up through to A Deck, with 44 doors linking the 14 watertight compartments on A and B Decks.

One of S.S. Rotterdam's two propeller shafts.  In addition to freeing up valuable amidships space for larger public rooms on the decks above, the placement of the ship's propulsion machinery further aft meant that the propeller shafts could be shorter and, consequently, less expensive. Turning at 131 rotations per minute, S.S. Rotterdam's propellers drove her at a maximum speed of 22 knots (40.7 km/h; 25.3 mph), though typical service speed was 20.5 knots (37.9 km/h; 23.5 mph).  At this speed, a transatlantic crossing would usually take 6.5 days.

The manoeuvering panel in S.S. Rotterdam's engine room. The ship's designers had to accommodate the very different ways in which the engines would be used for transatlantic crossings versus pleasure cruises.  For transatlantic crossings, the engines would need to operate at full speed for five or six days straight, while during cruises the engines could be called upon to operate at high or low speeds, with periods of time spent inactive during port calls.  Given this, the S.S. Rotterdam's four De Schelde double reduction geared turbines were designed to work efficiently even when there was little demand for steam.

A well-equipped workshop, with lathes, drills, and all the other tools needed to affect repairs to any of the ship's machinery.

At the extreme aft end of the ship is the massive steering gear controlling S.S. Rotterdam's single, 20-ton streamlined rudder.

A recreation of an original crew cabin aboard S.S. Rotterdam.  There were approximately 120 such cabins to accommodate over 500 crewmen.  Unlike passengers' cabins, crew quarters were cramped, basic, and located in the bowels of the ship, though officers obviously enjoyed more space and cabins located on the upper decks near the bridge (see below).

A recreation of an original crew lavatory aboard S.S. Rotterdam.  There were approximately 15 such lavatories for the 500+ crewmen.

A large cutaway drawing of the S.S. Rotterdam.

At the end of the guided engine room tour, visitors are left to browse a small museum established by the volunteers of the Steamship Rotterdam Foundation and dedicated to the history of the Holland-America Line and, especially, the S.S. Rotterdam.  The display cases hold dozens of photos and mementos from the Rotterdam's many voyages between 1959 and 2000, and visitors can sit in an original Rotterdam auditorium seat and watch a looped video of home movies shot by passengers onboard.

Holland-America Line's most famous ship was the S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam (36,287 gross register tons), which entered service in 1938 as the company's flagship.  Like the S.S. Rotterdam later on, Nieuw Amsterdam was built by the Rotterdam Drydock Company; however, Nieuw Amsterdam was a three-class ship and operated mainly in transatlantic service. It measured 231 meters (757.87 feet) in length and its interiors were designed by famous architects such as Oud, Semey and Wijdeveld.  In 1959 the S.S. Rotterdam took over the role of Holland-America Line's flagship and operated alongside Nieuw Amsterdam on the transatlantic route in the 1960s.  In 1974, Nieuw Amsterdam was decommissioned and scrapped in Taiwan.  This model of S.S. Nieuw Amsterdam was donated by the estate of Rita Brassart of the United States, and was built in the late 1950s by the Dubbelman company of Slikkerveer, Netherlands.

A display case with authentic Holland-America Line uniforms, the one on the left for an officer and the one on the right for a waiter.

The lobby outside the Club Room and Lido Restaurant on Promenade Deck, providing a comfortable place to sit and relax if required to wait for your table.  This space was used as the photo gallery in the 1980s, when the ship was still in Holland-America Line service.

The Club Room, located amidships on Promenade Deck, just aft of the Lynbaan Shop and central staircase, was originally the Tourist Class Club Room (i.e. smoking room) and was affectionately referred to as the ship's 'living room'.  In the 1980s, the space had been converted into a casino, equipped with roulette tables and slot machines.  The preservation of S.S. Rotterdam as a floating hotel and entertainment venue led to the restoration of the look and feel of the Club Room.

Measuring 25 x 23 metres (82 x 75.5 feet), the Club Room is now the high-end restaurant aboard S.S. Rotterdam, led by Chef Pascal Troost and featuring cloth napkins and real silverware. The restaurant's menu offers à la carte selections, as well as 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-course menus of the month priced between €42.50 and €65.50, not including wine pairings at €7.50 per glass.

On the port side of the Club Room, a long table is laid out for a special group dinner reservation, perhaps for one of the many corporate events, weddings, and parties held aboard S.S. Rotterdam every year. The Club Room is open Tuesday to Sunday from 6:00pm to 12:00am, with live music played on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Club Room's ceiling is covered in gold-colored Vynide panels with ceiling fixtures crafted from Venetian Murano glass.  The lighting ornaments at the top of each support column are also made from Murano glass and provide a warm, rich ambiance to the Club Room.

The forward wall of the Club Room features a small fireplace, originally with an imitation fire crafted in onyx.  Above the fireplace is a white-lacquered bas-relief depicting servants from the 'Lof der Zotheid' (Praise of Folly), a 1509 essay addressing human foolishness by Dutch renaissance intellectual Desiderius Erasmus and sculpted by Herbert Semey.

Each of the four corner walls of the Club Room feature curved panels on which are mounted tapestries inspired by the 'Metamorphoses' of the Roman poet Ovid.  These tapestries are reproductions of the originals, which were stolen in Gibraltar prior to the ship's preservation.  They were designed by Gisele van Waterschoot van der Gracht and woven by Joke Haverkorn van Rijsewijk, who reunited in 2007 to reproduce their original works for S.S. Rotterdam.  The tapestry pictured here, at the forward starboard corner of the Club Room, is entitled 'Zeus & Io', depicting the Greek mythological tale of Zeus, the king of the gods, and one of his mortal lovers, the nymph Io, who turns into a cow. 

The Queen's Lounge on Promenade Deck forward of the central staircase was the main lounge for Tourist Class passengers aboard S.S. Rotterdam; as the largest public room on board, the Queen's Lounge always hosted the Welcome Party and Captain's Cocktail Party.  Large, slightly bowed windows set directly into the ship's skin provide superb views and permit plenty of natural light to penetrate this large room, spanning the entire 28 metre width of the ship.

With a capacity of 467 persons, the Queen's Lounge was given a deliberately asymmetrical layout.  Sections on the port and starboard sides are raised two steps, the raised area on the starboard side being bordered by a railing with bronze figures and the raised area on the port side being bordered by two long, curved sofas.  A rounded crescent-shaped dance floor composed of Australian jarrah wood strips and South American peroba wood was placed off-centre, toward the left side of the room, adjacent to a raised stage.  In its heyday, the Queen's Lounge played host to concerts, dance lessons, fashion shows, children's parties, afternoon teas, and the always-popular 'headdress parties', where the most original head covering won a prize; today, it is available to be rented out for meetings, lectures, weddings, and other large events.

Located on Upper Promenade Deck, the Ambassador Lounge was the First Class nightclub, and was designed by architect Han van Tienhoven.   At the centre of this room is the star-shaped dance floor crafted out of Australian jarrah wood, teak, peroba, and ash.  Overhead, a shallow domed ceiling spans the dance floor and provides natural acoustic amplification with an echo effect.  The ceiling is outfitted with fluorescent lights and clad in alternating yellow and red Vynide panels.  Surrounding the dance floor are concentric rings of furniture.  The Ambassador Lounge is divided into sections by partitions oriented toward the center of the room, designed to provide a more secluded and intimate feel.  Each partition is made of circles of glass, partially silvered and edged in bronze- and gold-anodised aluminium and set in rosewood frames.  Identical glass is used in the exterior walls of the room, which separate the Ambassador Lounge from the enclosed port and starboard promenades at the forward end of Upper Promenade Deck.

The bar of the Ambassador Lounge, located on the starboard side of the room, provides patrons a view of the dance floor and the raised stage on the port side of the room where musicians would perform.  The decoration on the front of the bar is easily-washable Vynide, while woodwork in the Ambassador Lounge is crafted from rosewood, with window frames crafted from teak.  The curved walls on the forward and aft ends of the Ambassador Lounge feature murals by the Hague-based painter Huub Hierck, entitled 'Het Water' (The Water) and 'De Lucht' (The Sky), depicting fish and birds, respectively.

As with all areas on the Upper Promenade Deck, the Ambassador Lounge was originally designed for the exclusive use of First Class passengers; however, it was accessible to all passengers when S.S. Rotterdam was undertaking single class cruising.  The Ambassador Lounge has a capacity of 110 people.

The Auditorium, a two-level room split between Promenade Deck and Upper Promenade Deck.  Measuring 24 meters (78.7 feet) long by 20 metres (65.6 feet) wide and 5.6 meters (18.4 feet) high, this space was once the largest auditorium afloat and was used for such activities as musical performances, Christmas parties, live theatre, film screenings, and religious services. The orchestra level on Promenade Deck had 444 seats and was reserved for Tourist Class passengers, while the 163 seats in the balcony were reserved for First Class passengers. (Although the original balcony seating remains, the fixed seating in the orchestra level has been removed and replaced by individual chairs that can be reconfigured or removed as required to satisfy the varying needs of corporate events and private parties.) The walls of the Auditorium are covered in a pressed plaster-impregnated linen designed by master printer Jan van den Bergh, while T-shaped plaques of white anodised aluminium play both a decorative and a protective role for the linen wall coverings. An internal truss on Boat Deck above, along with steel walls with a minimum number of small, specially-strengthened door openings, made it possible to span the length of the Auditorium below. This allowed the Auditorium to avoid any need for supporting columns that would have blocked the sight lines to the stage.

Looking forward in the port side of the Atlantic Promenade, a glass-enclosed space on Upper Promenade Deck that wrapped around the front of the ship and linked with an identical space on the starboard side.  Originally, the Atlantic Promenade accommodated a lounge for teenagers which was replaced with playrooms for younger children and a new youth club called 'The Place' in 1965; these facilities were removed in the 1980s to cater to the needs of contemporary cruise passengers.  The distinctive teak-framed, circular-paned windows of the Ambassador Lounge can be seen on the right of the photo. A staple element of traditional transatlantic liners, the glass-enclosed promenade was retained in S.S. Rotterdam's modernist design, given passengers' desire for a space to stroll or relax while being sheltered against cold and windy North Atlantic conditions.  A glass-enclosed promenade was also provided on Promenade Deck, below and aft, for Tourist Class passengers' use.

Looking up at the bridge and radar mast from the cable deck below.  The aluminium radar mast is 23.5 metres (77 feet) tall and weighs 7 tons.  Note the ship's two red whistles, one mounted on the mast atop the bridge and the other on the port side kingpost; these whistles could be heard from nine miles (14.5 km) away.

A good view of the S.S. Rotterdam's forward superstructure. A large cargo hatch on the cable deck provided access to cargo hold #2, in which passengers' cars could be transported across the Atlantic.  The tall, vertical kingposts supported derricks used to hoist cargo, including baggage, on and off the ship and were used throughout the Rotterdam's service life.  There are six derricks on the ship, four located forward and two aft, with one pair forward and aft each capable of lifting 10 tons and the remaining derricks each capable of lifting 5 tons.

S.S. Rotterdam's capstans and anchor chains. Each anchor chain measures approximately 300 metres (984 feet) in length and weighs almost 100,000 kilograms (220,462 pounds). The ship's three anchors, one each located on the port and starboard sides with a third anchor as a spare, weigh 6.5 tons each.

Looking aft from the cable deck and bow.  S.S. Rotterdam's crew were able to walk about on the cable deck for exercise and fresh air in civilian clothing; otherwise, they were always required to wear formal uniforms whenever in the presence of passengers.  

The ship's bell, hanging on the cable deck just aft of the capstans and anchor gear.

Looking out over the bow from the starboard bridge wing.  It was from the starboard or port bridge wings that the Captain, in conjunction with the local harbour pilot, would command the intricate manoeuvring operations when docking or undocking S.S. Rotterdam

Looking aft down the port side from Bridge Deck.  All of the deckhouse superstructure above Sun Deck was constructed of aluminium to save weight and to lower the ship’s center of gravity, thereby increasing stability.  Using aluminium below Sun Deck would have required onerous  and costly additional fire safety precautions.  Although expensive, the use of lightweight aluminium lowered fuel consumption and saved money over the long term.  To avoid the dimpled look of welded joints and ensure a smooth appearance, the walls of the deckhouses, the radar mast, and the funnels were rivetted, while all remaining aluminium was welded.  

The interior of S.S. Rotterdam's bridge, with large windows looking out over the ship's bow and to the port and starboard sides.  Plotting tables, radar displays, engine room telegraphs, and navigational equipment are situated across the width of the bridge.  The ship's wheel is located in the dead centre.  

An upright green console in the centre of the bridge holds S.S. Rotterdam's wheel, smaller than that of an automobile.

A view over the bow of S.S. Rotterdam, as seen from the bridge.  The large rectangular shape in the foreground is a cargo hatch cover.

The Captain's chair is wedged in between the starboard engine room telegraph and navigational consoles. Although fitted with computerised navigational equipment as it became available, S.S. Rotterdam's bridge remains remarkably antiquated in appearance, considering the ship was in active service until the year 2000.

The chart room, located just aft of the bridge, was where the navigating officer stored his many charts and maps, as well as navigational instruments such as chronometers and sextants for use in the pre-GPS era of the early 1960s. Using maps spread out on the large tabletop surfaces, the navigating officer would plot and track the ship's course using rulers, protractors, and pencils.

The Captain's cabin, located behind the bridge for ease of access in an emergency.  Comprising a small sleeping cabin, en suite bathroom, and this large combined lounge and study, S.S. Rotterdam's captain was kept so busy that he rarely spent much time here.
The inner side of the Captain's cabin.

Large windows on the outer side of the lounge in the Captain's cabin permit plenty of light to stream in.  A large radio set sits on the credenza running under the windows and a desk provided a place to complete paperwork in peace and quiet.

Compared to his spacious and sumptuous lounge, the captain's adjacent sleeping cabin was remarkably spartan and small, with a short bed sandwiched in between a wall and a cupboard.

The en suite bathroom in the Captain's Cabin: functional but with a touch of luxury in the form of a full-sized bathtub and a marble backsplash over the sink.

In space formerly occupied by radio officers' cabins, the Communication & Navigation Centre showcases an interesting collection of old radios and navigational devices once used aboard S.S. Rotterdam.  The ship's radio officers were employed by Radio-Holland NV, which provided all radio operators aboard Dutch merchant ships. Passengers wanting to send or receive telegrams and telephone calls could visit the separate First and Tourist Class Wireless Office counters on Sun Deck, each manned by a radio officer.  Later, with the installation of a satellite communications suite in 1985, passengers could make calls 24 hours a day from a pay phone in the Purser's office using a credit card.  Later still, a telephone exchange routed satellite telephone calls directly to and from passenger cabins. 

Large glass cases display a large number of vintage Holland-America Line promotional pamphlets, photos, souvenirs, and mementos from the S.S. Rotterdam's various voyages.

A closer look at one of the cabinets, displaying a full-spread late-1950s magazine advertisement for the then-new S.S. Rotterdam, as well as vintage advertising pamphlets and plastic spoons bearing the Holland-America Line name.

The Third Officer's cabin, located on the starboard side of Bridge Deck, a short distance aft of the bridge.

The Chief Wireless Officer's cabin, also located on the starboard side of Bridge Deck, near the bridge.

An officer's bathroom, fitted with sink, toilet, and shower stall.  Very comfortable compared to the group lavatories provided to crew, but spartan compared to the bathrooms in passenger cabins.

The cabin for pilots brought aboard to help the Captain navigate through particularly challenging bodies of water. The cabin contains three bunks (two not pictured). 

Looking aft, down the starboard side from the bridge wing.   

A water taxi pulls up to the boarding platform on S.S. Rotterdam's starboard side.  The floating pontoon is connected to the ship's B Deck via a short gangway and automatic doors.  A small waiting area inside the ship equipped with CCTV allows those waiting for a water taxi to wait inside, protected from inclement weather.  These water taxis service 52 different locations along the Nieuwe Maas in Rotterdam and provide quick, convenient, and affordable transportation around the city.

Aft of the radar mast on Bridge Deck is the open-air sports deck for First Class passengers.  This space was a popular venue for games of shuffleboard, badminton, and quoits, as well as clay pigeon shooting, but also offered superb views of the ocean from behind the protective glass windshields along the port and starboard deck edges.

Looking aft from the First Class sports deck on Bridge Deck.  Situated where a funnel would traditionally sit and designed to provide balance to S.S. Rotterdam's exterior profile, the large central midships deckhouse contains the Sky Room, the highest-placed public room on the ship. Restricted to First Class passengers, the Sky Room could accommodate 50 people at a time and was linked to lower decks via two elevators and a secondary stairway.  The Sky Room's large windows looked forward onto the First Class sports deck and aft onto an open promenade overlooking the Tourist Class sports deck.  Inside, the lounge featured comfortable furniture and a small dance floor.  Today the Sky Room is a meeting room available for hire.  Atop the deckhouse was a small open observation platform.

The builder's plaque bolted onto the front of the midships deckhouse on Bridge Deck. The plaque denotes the ship's builder, De Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (Rotterdam Dry Dock Company), the year of construction (1959), and the hull number assigned to the ship during its construction (300).

Some of S.S. Rotterdam's 18 aluminium lifeboats, nestled in their davits on the starboard side of Boat Deck.

The Tourist Class sports deck, located amidships on Sun Deck, provided outdoor recreation space sheltered from the wind by glass shielding along the sides.  The central deckhouse forward of the open deck space housed the Sun Room for Tourist Class passengers on the lower level, with a capacity of 50 persons.  Above the Sun Room is the Sky Room, for First Class passengers, which also looks out over the Tourist Class sports deck from the open promenade (where the folded table umbrellas are seen in the photo).

The S.S. Rotterdam's slender, twin exhaust uptake pipes (funnels), located two-thirds aft on Sun Deck.  A novel and controversial design in the 1950s, this arrangement of the funnels had two great advantages over the traditional funnel placement amidships: with propulsion machinery mounted further aft and smaller diameter ducting leading to the twin uptake pipes, there was minimal impact on the internal layout of the ship; and as exhaust gases were released further aft than on traditional ships and carried away by the wind, there was virtually no soot deposited on the open decks below.  So effective was this layout that the 'two-thirds aft' design became standard in cruise ship construction and remains so to this day.

Another look at S.S. Rotterdam's sleek, streamlined twin funnel arrangement at the aft end of Sun Deck.  The funnel pipes were constructed of steel with streamlined aluminium exterior cladding.  The black mast mounted on the crossbar between the funnels carries a navigation light. 

The open promenade at the aft end of Boat Deck.  The large windows in the superstructure on the right look into the balcony of the Ritz Carlton Room/Grand Ballroom.

The Lido Bar on the port side of Promenade Deck and protected by the overhang from Upper Promenade Deck above.  Although closed by November, during the spring and summer, this is a popular place for visitors to have a drink outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and the views of downtown Rotterdam across the Nieuwe Maas river.

Looking forward from the Lido Terrace of S.S. Rotterdam. The ship's distinctive funnels and the vertical kingposts are evident.  The ship's outdoor pool, now converted into a 40cm deep wading pool, was originally filled with purified sea water and unheated; as a result, it was only used in the summer or when cruising in warmer climes.  During the Rotterdam's 1969 refit, a heater was installed in the pool, making it accessible year-round.     

A large Dutch flag flies from the stern of S.S. Rotterdam.

A panoramic view of the Nieuwe Maas, as seen from the stern of S.S. Rotterdam.

Located aft of the central staircase on Upper Promenade Deck, the forecourt of the First Class Smoking Room is flanked by the former Card Room (now a meeting room) on the starboard side and the former Library (now another meeting room) on the port side. The Card Room and Library were separated from the Smoking Room forecourt by decorative and colourful glass walls designed by C.L.W. Wirtz and manufactured by the firm of Peiterman Schiedam. A shop adjacent to the Library sold books, magazines, maps, paper, and postage stamps.

A cozy nook in one of the corners of the former Library displays an original painting installed in S.S. Rotterdam in 1959, Thuiskomst na Visvangst ('Homecoming after the Fishing Voyage') by Nel Bouhuijs-Klaassen of Zandvoort, Netherlands.  

Located at the entrance to the Smoking Room is a decorative bronze accent piece containing plexiglass blocks in which various sea creatures and insects are preserved.  The piece was designed C.L.W. Wirtz and manufactured by the biology department of the Europlastic NV company, based in Hilversum, Netherlands.

The Smoking Room on  Upper Promenade Deck.  Through floor-to-ceiling windows, First Class passengers enjoyed sweeping views of the open-air promenade encircling the ship and the ocean waves beyond.  Sofas with reversible backs were installed between the vertical, teak-clad columns on the port and starboard sides of the room so that passengers could either sit looking outward at the sea or inward towards the centre of the room if there was entertainment being provided.  The capacity of the Smoking Room was 130 persons.

The walls of the Smoking Room were finished with teak and ash wood panelling, along with raised Vynide panels set off by anodised aluminium strips.  The curved teak wood panel seen at the aft end of the smoking room screens the passageway to the Tropic Bar and the Ritz Carlton Room/Grand Ballroom.  The V-shaped ceiling  of the Smoking Room consists of teak-framed coffers backlit through white and yellow Vynide panels.  Glass sconces on the walls and columns were manufactured by the Royal Dutch Glass Factory in Leerdam.
A closer look at the teak wood screen located at the aft end of the Smoking Room.  The bronze sculpture by Everdine Schuurman-Henny mounted on the screen depicts individuals from various parts of the world with their typical smoking articles: a Chinese, a Turk with a water-pipe, a leopard-man of central Africa, a Hulele woman from Ceylon, a native of Crete, and an American Indian with a peace-pipe.  Originally located in the nearby Card Room, these card tables feature retractable corner trays for ashtrays or drinks, thereby leaving the tabletop game surface uncluttered. 

The Tropic Bar on Upper Promenade Deck, a small bar for First Class passengers sandwiched between the Smoking Room (forward) and the Ritz Carlton Room/Grand Ballroom (aft).  The walls are covered in narrow teak wood panels, with lighting fixtures designed by J. Hogervorst and made by Dutch firm ANVIA, based in the town of Almelo.  Note the grooved edge of the bar counter, designed to offer handholds to patrons during rough weather. 

The Tropic Bar is designed around a large mural by Dutch artist Wally Elenbaas which covers an entire wall, some 30 square metres.  The mural depicts, on one side, a sweltering sun shining on tropical plants and, on the other side, natives drumming in the tropical night. 

Formerly known as the Ritz Carlton Room, the two-storey Grand Ballroom is located at the aft end of Upper Promenade Deck and Boat Deck and was the preserve of First Class passengers on transatlantic voyages.  Described in Holland-America Line promotional material as 'the lively centre of the ship's gay nightlife', the two levels of this room were joined by a graceful, curving staircase.  The Ritz Carlton Room/Grand Ballroom had a capacity of 222 persons and was the most prestigious public room on S.S. Rotterdam.  Princess Margriet of the Netherlands celebrated her 21st birthday here in 1964, and a host of other celebrities graced this room over the course of the ship's career.  Today, this space is a popular venue for hire and hosts corporate events, weddings, and parties.

The enormous, 24-metre long mural on the forward wall of the Ritz Carlton Room/Grand Ballroom was designed by Cuno van den Steene and depicts life surrounding the Aegean Sea.  An oyster-shaped dance floor designed by Leo and Jan Eloy Brom and crafted in variously-toned bronze evokes the ocean floor swept by the tides.  Adjacent to the dance floor and situated under the mural on the ship's starboard side is a slightly elevated stage.  The room's ceiling features six channels covered in translucent material concealing fluorescent lights in coloured tubes, with the design meant to mimic what sea creatures would see looking up at the sky through the water.  Wood panelling of Japanese ash clads the staircase and some of the room's walls.

The balcony of the Ritz Carlton Room/Grand Ballroom, with abstract-patterned glass mosaic-topped tables designed by artist Haro Op het Veld using Murano glass. The balcony's windows look aft, onto the open-air promenade at the rear of Boat Deck, with doors providing access outside.  

A view of the balcony of the Ritz Carlton Room/Grand Ballroom, looking toward the ship's starboard side.  An internal truss on Boat Deck made it possible to span the width of this room without the need for supporting columns that would have obstructed sight lines.

Rotterdam's skyline is dominated by the Euromast, a 185 metre (606 feet) tall observation tower designed by Hugh Maaskant and built from reinforced concrete between 1958 and 1960 for the 1960 Floriade garden festival hosted in the city.  Originally standing 112 metres (367 feet) tall, a 1970 renovation added an additional 73 metres to allow the Euromast to recapture the title as the tallest structure in the Netherlands.  Today, the Euromast houses a restaurant at 96 metres up; two hotel suites at 100 metres up; an open-air observation deck at 112 metres up; and the Euroscoop, a rotating glass elevator that takes visitors to the top of the tower's spire for views out to a distance of 30 kilometres on clear days.      

One of S.S. Rotterdam's two propellers, both now displayed on land near the ship.  Each propeller is 6.1 metres (20 feet) in diameter and weighs 23 tons. When installed on the ship, the propellers operated at 131 revolutions per minute to drive the ship at speeds of up to 22 knots (40.7 km/h; 25.3 mph).  

The waterfront Hotel New York occupies the former headquarters of the Holland-America Line in Rotterdam's Kop van Zuid neighhbourhood. The building was constructed in 1901, with the copper topped towers and current façade added between 1913 and 1917.  With the cancellation of transatlantic service to New York and the shift to an exclusive focus on the cruise market, Holland-America Line moved its headquarters to Seattle, USA in 1977 and sold its former Rotterdam headquarters building in 1984.  Hotel New York opened in 1993 and was acquired by WestCord Hotels, the owners of S.S. Rotterdam, in 2006.

A photo of the Holland-America Line headquarters building and terminal at the Wilhelmina Kade in Rotterdam harbour.  The vessel on the left is the S.S. Maasdam, which entered Holland-America Line service in 1952 and was sold to Polish Ocean Lines in May 1968 to become the T.S.S. Stefan Batory.  Other Holland-America Line passenger-cargo ships are visible on the other side of the terminal, sporting the blue hull colour that the company used until adopting its famous light grey and gold stripe livery.

A line of Dutch flags flap in the brisk breeze of a clear November day in Rotterdam.  The Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge), a combined cable-stayed and bascule bridge named after Desiderius Erasmu (1466-1536), a noted Dutch Renaissance humanist, can be seen in the background. The bridge connects the north and south part of Rotterdam and is nicknamed 'The Swan' due to its 456-foot high asymmetrical pylon resembling the elongated neck of a swan.

One of the many barges plying the waters of the Nieuwe Maas river, as seen from Katendrecht.

Shore-based floodlights and the ship's own lighting illuminate the S.S. Rotterdam at night.

Looking at the S.S. Rotterdam from dockside at night.

Looking forward up the port side of S.S. Rotterdam from the aftermost gangway, with direct access onto the Lido Terrace at the stern.

The Lido Terrace on Promenade Deck during a chilly November evening.  During the spring and summer, this open-air deck would be abuzz with hotel guests and locals aboard for dinner or a drink.

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