ms Rotterdam 2015: Unique Cruises to the Arctic Circle and the 0° 00′ – 0° 00′

If only a cruise ship could talk! In one year ms Rotterdam will cruise through the Suez Canal multiple times, cross into the Arctic Circle to meet the glow of the Northern Lights and sail through 0° 00′ Latitude, 0° 00′ Longitude as it makes way around Africa. Some new experiences and itineraries were added to the line-up, so if you’re cruising for adventure take a look at Rotterdam’s upcoming voyages!

A Grand Asia Adventure

The Shwedagon Pagoda at Myanmar can be visited on the Passage to the Far East voyage.

The Shwedagon Pagoda at Myanmar can be visited on the Passage to the Far East voyage.

The 2015 calendar year kicks off with Rotterdam’s Passage to the Far East. The 90-day cruise features segments as short as 14 days and sails roundtrip from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Visit the Med, journey through the Suez Canal and head east to explore India, Myanmar, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Walk the incredible temples and enjoy a spectacular array of cultures and cuisines all in one cruise. Several overnights allow more time to take in the nightlife and see the sights. A Night Out in Singapore is a fabulous way to get to know the vibrant sights of an exciting city-state that’s a crossroads of the world, with a blend of east and west, modernity and enduring tradition.

View the Northern Lights in the Arctic

Bask in the glow of the Northern Lights in Norway.

Bask in the glow of the Northern Lights in Norway.

After Asia, Rotterdam spends the spring and summer months exploring the incredible landscapes and seascapes of northern Europe on several newly added itineraries. If a trip into the Arctic Circle has always been on your mind, check out the 14-Day North Cape itinerary, cruising roundtrip from Rotterdam. The cruise heads north, ultimately to Honningsvåg, the world’s northernmost village, inside the Arctic Circle. From Honningsvåg it’s just a short cruise to North Cape, Norway, via the North Cape Transfer for a view of the Northern Lights. Just the Svalbard Islands separate North Cape from the North Pole! Enjoy the stunning views from the iconic globe monument.

Explore Iceland and the Blue Lagoon

Enjoy a relaxing thermal bath at The Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik, Iceland.

Enjoy a relaxing thermal bath at The Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik, Iceland.

Three fabulous itineraries just became available for August. The 14-day Northern Isles, 21-Day Norse Legends & Northern Isles and 21-Day Northern Isles & Norwegian Fjords cruises all offer an incredible scenic view of the region’s fjords — best accessible by cruise — and a visit to Iceland, a country known for its incredible landscapes and cheerful — yet sparse — population.

In addition to its people and scenery, Iceland is a hotbed of tectonic activity. While calling at Reykajavik don’t miss Bathing in the Blue Lagoon! Located southeast of Reykajavik, the Blue Lagoon is legendary for its healing powers. A high-temperature geothermal field supplies the Reykjanes district with hot water and steam to run a power plant, and it is the mineral-rich overflow water from this operation that fills the lagoon. The geothermal water is pumped up from 6,000 feet below the earth’s surface. High levels of silica, minerals and algae give the Blue Lagoon its rich, blue color. Guest “Booboo” from Montreal visited and said:

“A dream come true – can now strike this one off my bucket list. Nothing like having a face full of silica mud and drinking a glass of wine whilst sitting in the Blue Lagoon … so relaxed in the bus returning to ship and I slept like a baby.”

Circumnavigate Africa and Cross 0° 00′ Latitude, 0° 00′ Longitude

The iconic Table Mountain, near Cape Town, South Africa, is one of many incredible views in Africa.

The iconic Table Mountain, near Cape Town, South Africa, is one of many incredible views in Africa.

As autumn rolls around Rotterdam will prepare for another incredible itinerary … a cruise around Africa. The 85-day Africa Explorer voyage features segments from 48 to 83 days, allowing you to experience the diversity of the massive continent. Cruise from the ancient cities of Egypt to the stunning beaches of the Seychelles. Head out on safari in South Africa and explore the markets and medinas of Morocco. A cruise around Africa offers a chance to see it all more efficiently than a land-based journey. What’s more? The ship offers an adventure that only few in the world have been able to experience: crossing 0° 00′ Latitude – 0° 00′ Longitude, where zero degrees latitude and longitude intersect. While just symbolic, crossing the 0° – 0° line is a rare and exciting opportunity for the even the most avid traveler. During Rotterdam’s last Africa Explorer cruise the guests and crew celebrated the event onboard.

Cruise Director Michael Langley wrote:

Crossing both the equator and the Prime Meridian simultaneously is a special event by any reckoning and we worked to create a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Captain Hans Mateboer maneuvered and stopped the ship at the exact lines of 0° 00′ Latitude and 0° 00′ Longitude. Guests were then invited to walk a lap around the ship’s deck to walk ‘the four quadrants of the earth’ in less than two minutes. The spectacle was complemented with an appearance by King Neptune and his mermaid queen whom inducted all guests onboard into the ancient order of the Royal Diamond Shellbacks. The Rotterdam Entertainers then performed a range of impressive dance performances from around the world. The 0° 00′ – 0° 00′ experience is one to look forward to again in 2015!

The 0-0 celebration was fun and festive.

The 0° 00′ – 0° 00′ celebration was fun and festive.

So, if Rotterdam had a story to tell in 2015, wouldn’t it be the most interesting one in the room? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Many of the itineraries begin and end in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Leave the planning to us and take time to explore the city when you book a Pre- or Post-Cruise Hotel Package!


Join the Discussion


  1. Robert Pressrich December 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    This years African Explorer cruise was a wonderful experience. Although not sold as a Grand Voyage, it was in many aspects. Special entertainers, dining and cookouts, as well as expert lecturers made it grand for me.
    We also made it into every port, something that weather and other conditions often don’t allow on a long cruise. Three ports were omitted 2 months before we left on the west coast of Africa primarily due to Ebola issues; wondering if these can be done next year. It was thought as the cruise ended this year, next years African Explorer would not be available. Does it now seem to be a “GO”before I tell others of it?

  2. Marj Gordon December 29, 2014 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    We have sailed to Norway twice on the Rotterdam, in 2012 and again in 2014, both times sailing on the “Voyage of the Midnight Sun” itinerary, and thoroughly enjoyed it both times.
    The scenery of Norway is so spectacular!
    We love cruising to Norway so much that we have already booked it again for 2015, this time on the “Northern Lights” sailing in September.
    We are looking forward to more fabulous scenery – – and being back on our favorite ship, the ms Rotterdam.
    See you in September!

  3. Marvin Brown February 9, 2015 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Current interest in Norway/Arctic

  4. Timothy Budd June 9, 2017 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    We have taken 25+ cruises on HAL, and the trip around Africa on the Rotterdam must count as one of the best trips we ever had. The stop at 0′-0′, complete with the sighting of a weather buoy that just happened to be floating by, was fantastic. The stops in Petra and in Cape Town were wonderful. The on-location program was second only to the program on the Hawaii trips. I just wish HAL would repeat this again.

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