For day 2 of #blogjune we go up the gangway.
The SS Rotterdam was a classic Atlantic liner built for the Holland America Line in 1959 – the same year as me!
After decades sailing between Rotterdam and New York it’s now permanently moored as a floating hotel and conference venue in its former home port of Rotterdam, a time capsule of mid-century style. We stayed aboard for two nights on our way to the UK and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our holiday.
Most of the Rotterdam’s interiors are surprisingly still much as they were when the liner first set sail. The hotel accommodations have been remodelled in the style of the former staterooms, although they’re larger than passengers on the North Atlantic had to make do with, and some of the former lounges are now part of the hotel operation: the Captain’s Lounge, the lovely Club Room, and Ocean Bar. The remaining lounges are mostly used for conferences and private parties.
The beautiful Cafe de la Paix was demolished in the sixties but continues now as the Lido Restaurant in mostly modern style but with original fifties chairs, where they serve breakfast. We managed to sneak a look at most of the other lounges during an early morning walk around the ship… the Smoking Room, Queen’s Room, and the Ambassador’s Lounge. The original Odyssee and La Fontaine restaurants retain their beautiful ceilings and wall decorations but they were being set up for conference groups and the furnishings had all been removed – temporarily I hope.
Our stateroom on Main Deck was very spacious indeed. These rooms are new but have a nod to late fifties style. We had a beautiful mid-century desk and some lovely original chairs, and portholes so we could imagine what it might have been like sailing across the Atlantic to New York.
The Rotterdam is docked at Katendrecht, a peninsula on the south side of Rotterdam. A short walk or bike ride will take you to the Katendrecht waterbus stop, from where you have a great view of the former headquarters of the Holland America Line – now the Hotel New York. It takes a little longer to walk to the Rijnhaven metro station, but the 77 bus leaves frequently from Rijnhaven and stops right next to the ship.
As a final reminder, I bought a card model kit of the SS Rotterdam in the Lijnbaan shop onboard so I can build my own little version back home.