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Rotterdam Ship Reviews & Photos
If you haven’t been on the brand new MS Rotterdam ship (built in 2021), then you are missing out! The Rotterdam ship, like the Nieuw Statendam ship, is in the Pinnacle-class of Holland America ships. And if you haven’t been on a Pinnacle class ship yet, it’s time you give it a go!
This Rotterdam ship guide includes a review of the Holland America Rotterdam ship, pictures of the ship, a comparison of what the newer Rotterdam ship offers vs. the older ships by Holland America, and links to helpful resources for frequent and newer cruise-goers.
Why should you believe my review of the Holland America Rotterdam ship?
Because my mom and I cruise a LOT. We’ve sailed on most of the Holland America Ships (MS Eurodam, the MS Nieuw Amsterdam, the MS Oosterdam, and the MS Westerdam) as well as Carnival and Royal Caribbean ships.
About this Rotterdam Ship Guide with Reviews and Photos of the New Rotterdam Ship
If you are thinking about going on the Holland America Rotterdam ship, keep on reading for a complete review of the Rotterdam ship.
What You’ll Find in this Rotterdam Ship Guide with Reviews and Photos
- Reviews of the Rotterdam ship
- Photos of the newest Holland America Rotterdam ship
- Pictures and reviews of the cabins on the Holland America Rotterdam ship
- Holland America Rotterdam photos of the Lido, pool, gym, and entertainment areas
- The Holland America Rotterdam Ship deck plan
- The insider’s scoop on COVID cases and safety on the Holland America Rotterdam Ship
Note: I don’t work for Holland America, nor is this is a sponsored post. My mom and I cruise a lot with Holland America, and I love writing about travel.
Holland America New Rotterdam Ship Review with Pictures
Below are my observations of how the new Rotterdam ship compares to the other ships by Holland America.
You'll also find a review of the Rotterdam ship, pictures of the cabins, pictures of the ship areas, and the Rotterdam ship deck plan.
Holland America Rotterdam Ship Review – First Impression
My first impression of walking onto the Holland America Rotterdam ship vs. other ships by Holland America is “wow – this is nice!”
Unlike the other ships with a dark blue color theme, the Rotterdam ship is a classy beige color theme. The hallways look more like a fancy hotel vs. a cruise ship.
If you have been on a Viking ship (which I personally hated – too stuffy and WAY more boring than Holland America, unless you like to drink all day and do nothing else), the interior of the Rotterdam ship is kind of similar. It’s just so classy and bright on the inside.
Rotterdam Ship Review – the Rooms/Cabins
If you cruise a lot, you know that the rooms aren’t too big. Just like the other ships by Holland America, the rooms with a balcony (because we always get one) include a bathroom, closets for hanging your clothes, a TV, and a desk.
What I love most about the Rotterdam cabins is the bright, light beige interior. The carpet is a classy and bright checkered print. The whole room just feels bright and modern.
The temperature on the wall of the cabin has 20+ different levels for hot/cold vs. just a dial, and it seems like you can make the room much colder on the Rotterdam vs. the other Holland America ships. For example, my mom and I used to have to dial the room temperature down to the lowest setting on the older Holland America ships. Not on the new Rotterdam ship!
The bathroom is also MUCH nicer, with a walk-in shower vs. a tub (great if you are older and worried about tripping!) and the shower head is removable. Plus, the soap dispenser is built into the side wall of the sink vs. having to have a soap bar take up space on the sink.
The closet space is like the older ships, and you can also store clothes under your bed in the drawers.
The fridge is also in a better spot (by the closet, vs. by the dressing table/desk) and there is a cupboard by the closet to hold wine classes and water glasses.
Overall, the room on the new Rotterdam ship is just more pleasant and brighter vs. the older Holland America cruise ship cabins.
The bathroom got a substantial upgrade, and the color choice is better.
Plus, the handles on the cabin doors are long, making it easier to open and close the door.
Note: Scroll to the bottom of this Rotterdam ship review guide for more photos and reviews of the Rotterdam ship cabins.
Rotterdam Ship Review – The Lido
The Lido in the new Rotterdam ship is so, so, so much better!! It’s bright and airy, and like the rest of the ship – it has an airy, light beige color scheme vs. a darker blue color scheme.
Plus, there is an area with classy black, red, and blue décor that reminds me of France (it's technically for the Italian restaurant, Canaletto, at night). I love eating there in the morning with my mom.
Like the other Holland America ships, you’ll find the classic hot station, the salad bar (my favorite), multiple areas for tea/coffee/water, the Asian food buffet area, a spaghetti lunch station, and more.
What I loved the most is that the Pinnacle-class ships have even MORE food options. For example, there was not just smoked salmon in the morning, but also smoked cooked salmon. Instead of just a small yogurt station with yogurt and grapefruit, there are now two stations. One with yogurt, fresh fruit, and various toppings, and one with oatmeal and almost anything you would want to add to it. (Can you tell I’m a breakfast person?).
Also, the chairs are much classier, and the silverware is nicer too.
Like the other Holland America ships, you’ll find that the staff in the Lido are most excellent (always offering you water or a beverage), super attentive, and most friendly.
Holland America Rotterdam Ship Review – The Pool Area (with Photos)
When I saw the pool on the Rotterdam ship, my first reaction was, “Wow!! I feel like I’m in Miami or Las Vegas.”
The pool area is so, so nice!! Like the other Holland America ships, the new Rotterdam ship has a big central pool area with lounge chairs surrounding it and then chairs and tables by the window as well. There is still the hamburger/hot dog station as well.
What the Rotterdam ship adds is two levels for the pool area, with the upstairs area including big, white lounge chairs/cabana areas that anyone can sit on and a massive TV. Even if you don’t love football (like me), I’ll mention that watching football on the big screen TV at night is quite fun!
Plus, the Rotterdam ship has the coolest lighting around the pool. It’s absolutely stunning.
Additionally, new to the Rotterdam ship is a gelato/juice bar by the pool on the lower level. It’s nice, and there was never a line for gelato.
On the upstairs area of the pool (deck 10, with the white lounge chairs) is the pizza bar. But unlike the pizza bar on the other Holland America ship, the pizza bar on the Rotterdam has even more food options. Like the most delicious almond chocolate pretzel I have ever had (way better than desserts that I have had at Disney!) and sandwiches too.
New Rotterdam Ship – B.B. King’s Blues Club (Deck 2)
Unlike the older Holland America ships, the new Rotterdam ship has a two-story B.B. King Blue’s Club.
This means that it is much less crowded and easier to find seating.
If you simply want to watch the band, you can grab two chairs and a table upstairs on Deck 3. If you want to dance, grab a seat on Deck 2 and watch the band.
The bigger area for the BB King Blue’s Band also means that there is more seating available when a comedian does a show in the BB Blues Club.
Holland America Rotterdam Ship Review – The Gym (Deck 9)
Most gyms are relatively nice on Holland America ships. And the benefit of being on a ship with mostly 70-year old’s is that there are plenty of machines available for working out…at any time of day. 😉
Unlike the older Holland America ships, the Rotterdam ship has a separate room for any lectures. So you don’t have to listen to an annoying crew member talk about “how to prevent foot pain” while you are lifting weights or walking on the treadmill.
The Rotterdam ship also has a separate room for spin classes (should you be so inclined) and is in more of a U-shape versus a big round circle, which means you can find a private corner to lift weights and stretch without everyone watching.
Additionally, the new Rotterdam ship has touchless doors for the gym, so no need to open the door yourself.
In summary, the gym is better designed on the Rotterdam ship vs. the older Holland America ships.
New on the Rotterdam Ship – Dutch Café (Deck 3)
Like the Nieuw Statendam ship, the Rotterdam ship has a Dutch Café on deck 3.
You can enjoy delicious treats (all complimentary), sandwiches throughout the day, coffee/drinks, and alcoholic drinks at night.
If you want a quiet place to play cards and look out the window, grab a treat at the Dutch Café and enjoy yourself!
New on the Rotterdam Ship – Rock and Roll Band (Deck 2)
If you aren’t a fan of the dueling piano bar, blues from B.B. King, or classical music – then you may love the Rock and Roll Band that plays at the Rolling Stone Rock Room (deck 2) on the new Rotterdam ship.
The Rock and Roll Band is right near the dueling piano bar and the B.B. King’s Blue’s Club, so you can rotate easily between entertainment areas.
When one band is done, the other band is usually starting up.
Rotterdam Ship – Crow’s Nest (Deck 12)
I’ll have to admit, the Crow’s Nest (deck 12) isn’t much different on the Holland America Rotterdam ship, and that’s fine by me!
- plenty of lounge chairs to sit on and look out the window,
- a nice coffee shop/bar with the best cappuccinos on the ship (in my opinion), and
- a game room with complimentary games.
Rotterdam Ship – Outdoor Jogging Track and Sports Area (Deck 11)
Most Holland America ships have a small jogging/running track on top and a sports area on Deck 11.
No matter how many Holland America ships I go on, I can never figure out how to get to the sports deck without running into Club Hal or the Tamarind restaurant.
But once you get up to the jogging area, you’ll find a familiar small track (it takes 12 laps to make a mile!) and a VERY windy pickleball/basketball court.
Like the other Holland America ships, you’ll also find shuffleboard and cornhole.
The main new addition to the Rotterdam is some outdoor exercise equipment. It’s more fun than practical in my opinion, but it is kind of a cool idea to be able to work out on the top floor of a ship while looking out at the ocean.
Rotterdam Ship by Holland America – The Promenade Deck (Deck 3)
Overall, most things on the Rotterdam ship are better than the other Holland America ships.
You get the newer ship, everything is more open/bright, the cabins are nicer, the entertainment areas are better designed, and everything is just a little bit better.
Except for the promenade deck…Deck 3.
Unlike the other Holland America ships, the lifeboats block your view on deck 3.
So even though you can still walk around the deck (and I did, plenty of times), the new Rotterdam ship’s lifeboats will be blocking your previously unobstructed view of the ocean most of the time.
The new Rotterdam ship also doesn’t have lounge chairs on Deck 3 nor benches, so gone are the days of sitting on a lounge chair outside in the peace and quiet in the shade.
Instead, you’ll need to go to the adult pool and be outside where it is crowded or go to the sun deck on deck 12 and be directly in the sun!
Rotterdam Ship – The New Library with Actual Books (Deck 2)
Back in the day (maybe 5-10 years ago), the Holland America ships used to have a full library in the Crow’s Nest, with lots of books to check out and enjoy. And then the number of books started to dwindle, leaving you with a few pretty travel books and picture books.
With the new Rotterdam ship, you have a whole room that is nothing but a library.
There are 3-4 versions of each book and an area where people have left their own personal books for the next cruise traveler.
Holland America Rotterdam Ship – The Spa (Deck 9)
Like the other Holland America ships, you can pay extra to use the spa. My mom always pays the $169+ for a week pass to the hydrotherapy pool and the room with all the warm lounge chairs.
Unlike the other Holland America ships, the Rotterdam ship hydrotherapy pool was open every day and all the steam rooms worked. The Rotterdam ship also has a horizontal shower, which is a new feature. My mom tried it out and liked it.
Rotterdam Ship Review – Club Orange Dining Room (Deck 2)
My mom and I have personally never paid for Club Orange (I don’t think it’s worth it), but you do get the option to eat in the Club Orange dining room if you have Club Orange. The dining room looks alright to me.
The menu may be a bit different, but not by much – and you won’t have a view of the windows like you would if you had chosen to eat in the normal dining room.
Holland America Rotterdam Ship – Deck Plan
Want to see the deck plan for the new Holland America Rotterdam ship? Check out the image below.
Tip: Zoom in on your computer screen so that you can read it! If you use Google Chrome, click on the ellipses in the upper right hand corner of your browser and then click the plus icon next to “zoom.”
Holland America Rotterdam Ship – Cabins and Photos
Checking out pictures of the cabins ahead of time is one of my tips for cruising with Holland America cruise lines.
Below are pictures of the various types of cabins on the Rotterdam ship
Rotterdam Ship – Interior Room
Rotterdam Ship – Ocean View Room
Rotterdam Ship – Balcony (Verandah)
Rotterdam Ship – Suite
Helpful Info about the Holland America Rotterdam Ship
Here is some additional info that you may find useful.
Entertainment on the Rotterdam Ship vs. Other Holland America Ships
Except for the new Rock and Roll band, you’ll find the same level of entertainment and the same kinds of shows on the Rotterdam ship.
This is both a good thing and a bad thing.
My mom and I have always enjoyed the dance shows, but you may end up seeing the exact same show AGAIN on the Rotterdam if you have sailed with Holland America previously. In fact, during our most recent cruise – all 3 of the dance shows were repeats that my mom and I had seen previously.
Same with the comedians…we had seen one of the comedians before, and about 75% of his content was the same.
But if you are new to Holland America ships, I will say that their dance shows are quite excellent. And unlike other cruise lines, you won’t have to get tickets to see a show or arrive 15-30 minutes early to save a spot on the Rotterdam.
Just don’t get your hopes up for the “BBC Earth Experience Show.” Holland America likes to rave about it. My mom and I think it is terribly boring.
Service on the Holland America Rotterdam Ship vs. Other Holland America Ships
The reason my mom and I cruise on Holland America so much is the service.
Like the other Holland America ships, you’ll find nothing but outstanding service on the Rotterdam ship. Everyone that works for Holland America is always friendly, nice, helpful, and welcoming. Plus, the crew always seems happy.
So if you have sailed with Holland America before, you can expect the same level of service.
Internet on the New Holland America Rotterdam Ship
If you hoped that I’d say that the new Rotterdam ship has amazing internet…well – you are out of luck.
Like the other Holland America ships, the internet is completely useless. Don’t bother trying to pay for it.
Instead, wait until you get into a port, connect to the local Wi-Fi, and use internet that way. Or, depending on your cell phone plan, you can probably get free 2G or 3G internet on your phone when in port.
My mom and I personally have T-Mobile and have gotten text messages at sea sometimes when roaming, so you won’t be completely phoneless when on a cruise.
Rotterdam Ship Review – The Food on the Holland America Rotterdam Ship
I’ve always LOVED the food on Holland America ships (plenty of healthy food options as well as fried food), but the Rotterdam ship has even MORE options than the other Holland America ships…perhaps because it is in the Pinnacle Class.
You’ll find a new and improved pizza, pretzel, and sandwich station on Deck 10 by the pool and even more food options in the Lido, like a yogurt and oatmeal station in the Lido at breakfast.
As always, the food in the dining room is really great too.
Summary – Holland America Rotterdam Ship Review
In summary, I personally LOVE the Holland America Rotterdam ship.
It’s my favorite Holland America ship. It’s in the Pinnacle-class (along with the Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam ships), making it the best of the best.
If you are considering Holland America for your next cruise and have never sailed with Holland America before, I’d definitely recommend trying the Rotterdam (2021), the Nieuw Statendam (2018), or the Koningsdam (2016). They are the best.
Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam are also really good, so definitely take one of those too. In fact, it might be better to go on Nieuw Amsterdam first, because once you try Rotterdam you will be so spoiled you won’t want to go on one of the older Holland America ships again!
Safety Procedures and COVID Cases on Holland America Rotterdam Ship
Is it safe to sail on a Holland America cruise ship? Absolutely! Here are my observations from my most recent sailing on the Rotterdam ship.
Holland America Rotterdam Ship – Sanitary Procedures
If you want to stay healthy while traveling, I give the Rotterdam ship 5/5 stars.
Being so new, the Holland America Rotterdam ship has excellent air ventilation in the cabins and hand washing stations (vs. just hand sanitizer) at all entrances to the Lido.
Holland America is also very good about wiping down surfaces daily (this is true for all of their ships) and regularly testing their staff for COVID.
You’ll also find that the Rotterdam ship has doors that open automatically when you wave your hands, further reducing the risk of germs spreading.
Holland America Rotterdam Ship – COVID Cases
I will admit – COVID does happen.
During our cruise (January 2022) on the Holland America Rotterdam ship, member(s) of the Rock and Roll Band got COVID as well as the man who played at the Dueling Piano Bar.
However, none of the passengers I spoke to knew of any passengers on the ship getting COVID.
Holland America also has a section on Deck 4 of staterooms “saved” for anyone who has COVID. If you get COVID while on ship, Holland America does isolate you to a separate part of the ship, so as to not spread it.
Additional Information About Holland America Cruise Lines
Have a question about Holland America cruise lines? Leave a comment below!
Holland America Ships – Average Age of Cruisers
In case you don’t know, many guests on Holland America cruise ships are in their 70s. It’s RARE that I find another couple in their 40s, and I almost never see people in their 30s or 20s on the Holland America cruise ship.
So, if you are NOT retired or over the age of 60, I wouldn’t recommend Holland America if you are searching for a party cruise or a cruise with others your age.
Holland America is relaxing and peaceful…it’s not a party ship!
Holland America Rotterdam Ship vs. Princess
If you have sailed with Princess before, you will likely like Holland America as well.
Compared to all the other cruise lines, I would say that Princess and Holland America are the most similar. Some say that the food is better on Princess, while others prefer Holland America.
Holland America Rotterdam Ship vs. Carnival
Holland America ships and Carnival cruise lines are completely opposites!
If you like Carnival, do NOT take Holland America ships. Carnival cruise ships are full of families, and they tend to be cheaper. They food isn’t as good, and everything is more crowded.
If you want a fun-filled spring break experience, then Carnival is the way to go.
Holland America Ships vs. Royal Caribbean
If you have a family with teens who want to party, go rock climbing, meet friends at the pool, and have a LARGE range of activities to choose from, then definitely go with Royal Caribbean over Holland America.
Holland America is quiet and mostly filled with 70-year old’s. If you have kids, your kids will love Club Hal (lots of 1 on 1 attention!), but your preteens may be bored.
Same with a young 20-year-old. Holland America is for relaxing, and the entertainment options during the day are things like origami, bridge, and afternoon tea vs. a belly flop contest, diving shows, and parades.
My mom and I did a Royal Caribbean cruise and honestly didn’t care for it at all. There were lines for everything, the dining service wasn’t anywhere close to what we get at the Holland America dining rooms, and it was such a pain to get tickets ahead of time to go to a show each night.
Holland America Cruises and Covid – Is it Safe?
I honestly don’t think you could choose a safer place to go for vacation than a Holland America cruise.
First off, everyone must be vaccinated and have a negative COVID test within 2-days of sailing.
Secondly, Holland America gave us each two KN95 masks. On the ship, EVERYONE (yes, everyone) wore the KN95 masks throughout the entire cruise.
I appreciated that every guest wore their KN95 mask at the shows too and wore them correctly!
The only time people didn’t wear masks were when 1) eating, 2) walking outside, or 3) perhaps watching a show in the corner with no one else within 10 feet of them.
My mom is in her mid-70s and has health issues right now, and we felt very safe on the Holland America cruise ships.
Who is Holland America Cruise Line the Best For?
Holland America has a very loyal base of 60+ year-old retirees. If you are retired and want a relaxing cruise experience with superb experience, then Holland America is the way to go.
I cruise with my mom on Holland America (I’m in my 30s) and love it personally…but it can get a bit boring.
Holland America is best if you want a relaxing cruise.
No one will wake you up at night by partying in the hallways or talking too loudly. There won’t be kids or teenagers running around. There won’t be long lines for getting on the boat or off the boat, and the cruise ports will probably be less crowded due to the smaller size of Holland America ships.
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