Rotterdam (VI) Tour Index

I saw a link on Facebook on the 11th May 2011 for Holland America Line ship visits so applied for the only one in Southampton, confirmation arriving the following day.  Rotterdam was undertaking a special commemorative transatlantic to celebrate forty years since they stopped doing them, having left her home port of Rotterdam on the 3rd July and arrived in Southampton (the only call on the westbound) two days later.  The ship docked an hour earlier than scheduled at 7am on her maiden call and I headed out to catch the bus forty-five minutes later since we had to be at City Terminal for 9.30am.  Upon arrival, we were given a norovirus form and also a deck plan.  Unlike the ones I'm used to, this norovirus form had more questions, with more on the other side if you answered yes to any.  Then it was joining the queue of ordinary people like me as well as the usual travel agents.  We had to check in at the usual desks and they didn't keep the passport which was different.  We had a pack given to us because it was a self-tour rather than guided.  We were meant to board at 10am but waited for ages and as I was taking a photo of the bow of the ship (or trying to since they've now put chairs along the window), Caryll came over.  We'd been on a couple of the same cruises and she has a flat in Hythe.  David Dingle of Carnival UK was there chatting to a small group and an announcement was made saying how there were also groups from the other Carnival brands visiting the ship.  They were making a really big deal of the first call.  About twenty minutes later we boarded and I went on with Grant Thomas, who I'd met during the MSC Opera tour about six weeks earlier.  We had to be at La Fontaine dining room on Deck 4 for lunch at 11.30am.  

As we wandered around, we got deja vu when there was a crew drill.  Doug Morrison, the director of the port, was talking the the Captain in the Explorer's Lounge.  Ocean Bar, a favourite on Rotterdam (V), is included on her successor at the top of the impressive atrium.  Mix is a combination of three different bars, each with their own area, with touch-screen tables.  They have what's called Lanai staterooms which are balconies opening onto the Promenade Deck with specially reserved loungers.  The Neptune Lounge on Navigation Deck is for the exclusive use of those in Penthouse (PS) and Deluxe Verandah (S) suites.  If you just have a Verandah suite (A) you're barred.  The Kings Room was locked but Queens Room being cleaned so we could sneak a peak.  It's nice to see not only port plaques on stairways where everyone can enjoy them, but also lots of links to the past including a couple of Rotterdam (V) models.  Due to the lateness of boarding we didn't have enough time to see everything, or almost everything.  I ended up a bit lost as I rushed to lunch and David Dingle and his group were coming the other way so I asked which way to the dining room and David Dingle directed me.  Grant had to leave after dessert for a work meeting while the rest of us went to the Showroom at Sea on Deck 4 for the Holland America Line presentation, which basically told you about the ships and itineraries and we could have done without for some extra time to look around.  He said Rotterdam was doing two cruises from Southampton next winter and the brochure listed them but it doesn't.  Caryll asked afterwards about single supplements and was told it was 100% but they do cabin shares.  We all left after that and, after staying dry throughout the visit, it was now pouring with rain.

I really liked the Rotterdam with her warm, vibrant colours, fabulous artwork and sculptures, excellent Prom deck (and deck area below at the stern) and general cosiness.  Hopefully this is the start of a beautiful friendship with the port of Southampton, offering shorter cruises.  Thanks to Holland America Line for their hospitality during her visit.  To see photos of her arrival, click here.

Sky Deck (10)
Sports Deck (9)
Lido Deck (8)
Navigation Deck (7)
Upper Promenade Deck (5)
Promenade Deck (4)
Lower Promenade Deck (3)
Main Deck (2)

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© Patricia Dempsey 5th July 2011
Not to be reproduced without permission