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Holland America Line
July 27-30, 2003
Royal Christening in Rotterdam & Ship Preview

by Linda Coffman

Oosterdam atrium

The Atrium: Adorned by a magnificent Waterford crystal globe of the world*

130 Years of Maritime Tradition

High atop Oosterdam's atrium, a sparking Waterford crystal world globe reflects the aspirations of her guests—to discover new vistas in comfort and style.

On July 29, 2003, five thousand guests and Holland America's flagship ms Rotterdam were on hand in the Dutch city of Rotterdam for Oosterdam's naming ceremony. With the two vessels berthed dramatically bow-to-bow at Wilhelminakade, adjacent to the line's original headquarters, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands officially christened Oosterdam. On cue, the five house flags that have flown over the Holland America Line fleet floated majestically from the stage behind Princess Margriet to the bridge of the Rotterdam, while 130 white doves soared overhead to commemorate the company's anniversary and a 6-liter mathusalem of champagne began its descent to burst against Oosterdam's hull. Amid a rain of confetti, a huge Dutch flag was unfurled from the bow of the Oosterdam and a United States flag from the Rotterdam, representing Holland America's name and association with the two countries.

Capping a regal evening of celebration, Rotterdam city officials estimated over 150,000 people lined the banks of the Maas River and the Erasmus Bridge to view an elaborate fireworks display that filled the sky after Princess Margriet blew Oosterdam's whistle. Judging from the crowds on hand, Holland America's flagship Rotterdam and exciting new vessel Oosterdam are surely two of the world's most photographed ships.

On board Oosterdam, second in the series of Vista-class ships, Holland America regulars will recognize the traditional touches they are fond of—late evening hot canapés; chimes to announce meals; attentive, courteous service by the Filipino and Indonesian crew; and signature spaces, including the Crow's Nest, Explorer's Lounge, and Ocean Bar. Hallmarks of Holland America Line's 130 year history abound—lovely flower arrangements, priceless artwork and antiques, and a full wrap-around teak promenade deck with padded deck chairs. Fresh popcorn is available to movie-goers, afternoon tea is a treasured institution, and silver trays of mints, figs, and candied ginger are present at the dining room entrances.

A warm palette of blue, purple, red, and gold accentuates the extensive use of crystal, marble, inlaid woods, brass and other metals. Oosterdam is a creative blend of traditional charm and high tech, affording all passengers the comfort and convenience they expect on a premium class cruise liner. While Vista-class ships are 40% larger than previous Holland America vessels, they carry only 25% more passengers in spacious comfort.


Cruise passengers expect outstanding dining experiences and delicious choices await guests on an Oosterdam cruise.

  • Vista Dining Room—The main dining room, featuring extensive menu selections and expansive views of the sea beyond floor-to-ceiling windows.
  • Pinnacle Grill Restaurant—The specialty restaurant and adjoining bar serving Pacific Northwest cuisine, with a signature steak and seafood menu ($20 per person cover charge for dinner; $10 for lunch).
  • Lido Restaurant—Traditional daytime shipboard buffet dining with a twist: food stations replace long lines. At night, the Lido Restaurant offers a sit-down dinner in a casual setting.
  • Explorations Café—A coffee bar serving java and tea specialties and a selection of pastries, and desserts (nominal charges per item).
  • Terrace Grill—Buffet style indoor/outdoor casual eatery.

Pinnacle Grill Restaurant

Dinner in the Pinnacle Grill Restaurant is a sublime treat—and sure to be popular for romantic dinners—so plan to make a reservation right away. Atop crisp Frette linens, Riedel stemware gleams beside Bvlgari china by Rosenthal. Fresh flowers are just the right adornment. To accompany meals, wines from distinguished Northwestern vineyards include Chateau St. Michelle, Willamette Valley Vineyards, and Tualatin Estates.

Just a few of the tempting menu items include an hors d'oeuvre prepared by the chef especially for the evening and starters, including Cold Smoked Northwest Seafood, Dungeness Crab Cakes, or Venison Carpaccio. The Pinnacle Grill features Sterling Silver Beef prepared on a 1600-degree grill to insure that juices are properly sealed. Select from Filet Mignon, Rib Eye or T-Bone steaks, Sesame Crusted Halibut or Roasted Salmon, or try one of the signature dishes, including Peking Duck Breast and Northwest Rack of Lamb. All entrees are served with a choice of side dishes. To complete dinner, there is Not-So-Classic Baked Alaska, Warm Rhubarb Flan, Bing Cherry Fritters with Vanilla-Ginger Ice Cream, and an assortment of sweets and cheeses.

Guests with special dietary concerns will find tasty low sodium, diabetic, vegetarian, and fat free/low cholesterol offerings and health conscious Inbalance Spa Cuisine by Jeanne Jones in the Vista Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill, and Lido Restaurant.

Late afternoon snack cravings can be satisfied by pizza slices or at an ice cream bar with all the fixings for a supreme sundae. Even later hunger pangs are quelled from an extensive 24-hour room service menu and traditional late-night buffets in the Lido Restaurant.


Superior Veranda Suite

Eighty-five percent of Oosterdam's passenger accommodations have an ocean view and two-thirds of outside staterooms and suites offer occupants a private verandah with attractive wicker-look furnishings.

Light wood tones complement the  drapery, carpeting, and bedspread colors of all categories. There are basically six types of staterooms: standard inside, standard ocean view, deluxe verandah outside, superior verandah suites, deluxe verandah suites, and two penthouse verandah suites. All feature data ports for laptop computers.

Suite occupants enjoy sumptuous quarters and the private Neptune Lounge with personal concierge service. Penthouse suites are the ultimate in luxury with separate living room, dining room, and bedroom areas. A verandah, huge walk-in closets, bathroom highlighted with whirlpool tub, separate guest powder room, and a butler's pantry round out a perfect home at sea. Offering similar amenities, Deluxe and Superior Verandah Suites include large verandahs, dressing areas, and generous sitting areas. The full suites also provide many of the conveniences of the penthouses, including double sinks, a whirlpool tub, separate shower, refrigerator, and VCR. Beware of the shower curtain in Superior Verandah Suites—the shower itself is tight and the curtain tends to "cling" (try a shower in the whirlpool tub instead).

Deluxe Verandah Outside staterooms are similar in design to outside standards, including the bathrooms with tubs, but have a slightly different furniture configuration. The verandahs add real usable space. Furnished with two wicker-style chairs and a table, there is still plenty of room to move about. Desirable, aft-facing Category A verandahs are huge, but not completely private as they are "stepped" out like a layer cake. 

Inside and outside standard staterooms are functional and comfortable, with amenities including hairdryers, personal safes, refrigerators, and two closets configured for hanging and/or drop down shelves. Twin beds that convert to a queen, a sofa, adjustable height table, hassock, and vanity/desk and chair round out the furnishings. Oddly, drawers are only found in the small bedside tables; all other storage space is shelving. For two people on a short cruise, this arrangement is acceptable, but storage for three or four could be tight. Parents with more than one small child might consider adjoining staterooms for additional storage and a second bathroom.

Go to -->  Oosterdam Preview, Part 2

More --> Oosterdam Photos 1 & Oosterdam Photos 2
Staterooms & Public Areas

Photos © and *Michel Verdure, Courtesy of Holland America Line

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