On Saturday afternoon, Holland America officially restarted voyages from the east coast when Nieuw Amsterdam sailed from Port Everglades for the first time with guests since the cruise industry shutdown. The fully-vaccinated ship departed with reduced capacity and headed for private island Half Moon Cay.
From South Florida, Nieuw Amsterdam will sail a range of seven to 14-night itineraries to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. In April 2022, the vessel will reposition to the west coast with a 19-night Panama Canal cruise, before heading north for the Alaska cruising season.
PHOTOS: 15 Aerial Views of Half Moon Cay
Nieuw Amsterdam was one of the first cruise ships to restart voyages when cruising resumed in Alaska. Holland America rolled out a seven-night “Alaskan Explorer” itinerary with calls to Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, and Ketchikan. It also included scenic cruising in Alaska’s iconic Glacier Bay and Stephens Passage.
During the cruise industry shutdown, the ship was used to repatriate Indonesian crew members before going to minimal manning status.
On November 5, the line’s newest build Rotterdam will sail from Fort Lauderdale for its inaugural sailing. The inaugural will include calls at Half Moon Cay and Bimini in the Bahamas. After that, the ship will sail a series of 10, 11, and 21-night sailings through the Caribbean. Next spring, the vessel will reposition to Northern Europe to sail Baltic voyages from Amsterdam.
In late spring 2022, the line is scheduled to have the full fleet back in operation.
Port Everglades remained open to cruise ships that needed to dock for provisioning and fuel throughout the shutdown. Its first revenue cruise departed in June 2021, when Celebrity Edge was the first large cruise ship to leave North America in 15 months.
Rivaling Miami to the south and Port Canaveral to the north, Port Everglades carried four million cruise passengers in 2019.
On December 1, 2019, it beat its own world record of processing 55,964 embarking and disembarking cruisers in one day. The previous record of 55,885 was set back in March 2016.