The SS Rotterdam, La Grand Dame, is the former flagship cruise liner of the Holland America Cruise Line, which since 2010 is now a hotel, restaurant, and event center located in Rotterdam Harbor.
The SS Rotterdam was built in Rotterdam, inaugurated in 1958 and put into service in 1959, making a Trans-Atlantic crossing to New York for its maiden voyage. At the time, the ship was one of the ten largest cruise ships in the world. The ship’s design was more streamlined and modern than traditional cruise liners at the time with a sharp, high bow and slender flues instead of the traditional chimney of other cruise ships.
The Rotterdam was used for many years for these Trans-Atlantic crossings, until this was replaced by air travel as the preferred mode in the early 1970’s. The SS Rotterdam was then converted into a cruise service in the manner of cruise lines today, serving the Holland America line until the mid-1990s. In the late 1990s, the ship was renamed the Rembrandt and was used by Premier cruises for shorter European cruises, until the Premier line went out of business in 2000.
Between 2005 and 2008, the ship regained its old name and was restored to its original luxury, while being upgraded and modernized to service its current purpose. In 2008, the ship returned to Rotterdam and docked at Katendrecht, in the center of Rotterdam.
Today, visitors to the ss Rotterdam can wander the ship, visiting most areas, as they are open to the public. For some areas, you need to book one of the private tours to get in. Tour packages include an above-deck Sea Breeze Deluxe tour of the bow, bridge, and captain’s cabin, or a below-deck Steam & Chrome tour of the engine rooms, crew areas, and radio room. You can also combine both tours into the Rotterdam Complete tour to see the whole ship.
The Rotterdam is a fully functioning hotel with 254 guest rooms. The steamship also features two restaurants and two bars, as well as an outdoor terrace where you can relax with a drink by the poolside.
The SS Rotterdam is open free of charge, while guided tours are separate admission. Tours run daily from 10am to 5pm, with the last admission at 4pm.