Holland America’s newest ship Rotterdam arrived in New York City this morning for the first time, following a transatlantic crossing that departed Rotterdam, the Netherlands on October 15th. The vessel is nearing the end of a 15-day cruise that is recreating the maiden voyage of Holland America’s first ship — Rotterdam I — that departed Rotterdam 150 years ago on October 15, 1872.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine officially declared today, October 26th, an “honorary day” for Holland America to recognize the occasion and contributions of the company to Manhattan throughout its 150 years.
To celebrate the milestone, an event is being held on board tonight for invited guests. A highlight of the evening will be the performance of a musical piece by Emmy Award-winning producer and Emmy-nominated composer Steven Schoenberg, written for Holland America’s anniversary to accompany a special short film about the line’s journey. The composition will be performed by a 25-piece ensemble of former HAL Lincoln Center Stage musicians.
In addition, the cruise line will introduce a partnership with The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation to celebrate its 150-year journey from immigrant carrier to consumer ocean liner fleet.
The partnership includes onboard video content across the fleet, as well as an exhibit launching next year at Ellis Island, detaining the brand’s historical prominence in bringing one in 10 immigrants from Europe to the U.S.
“We are excited to be celebrating our 150th Anniversary in such a vibrant city with our newest ship on a rare overnight call,” said Gus Antorcha, Holland America Line’s president. “There’s nothing like sailing into New York under the Verrazano Bridge, past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Standing on deck, you can’t help but think back to more than a century ago, feeling the emotion of arriving in America for the first time. Recreating our first voyage has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
During the crossing, guests indulged in menus that showcased Holland America’s 150-year-history, with entrées each evening reminiscent of dishes served as early as the 1920s. One special 150th Gala Menu only featured items from a previous Holland America voyage.
In addition to the cuisine, special programming included a “Throwback Happy Hour” that featured drinks priced as low as 25 cents, Dutch High Tea, presentations that relived the history of the company, and anniversary-themed trivia.
Holland America also introduced a limited-edition Pilsner beer — HAL Pils — in a can adorned with the iconic Jan van Beers advertising poster of 1898 showing a woman holding a Holland America steamship above her head.
Those looking to continue the celebration can enjoy many of the same culinary and enrichment programs on another 150th anniversary transatlantic crossing departing April 6, 2023 from New York City, ending in Rotterdam on April 18th — Holland America’s official 150th birthday.