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Rotterdam’s Inaugural Call at Kiel

There are many traditions associated with going out to sea. Not least among them is the tradition of presenting a plaque to a ship to commemorate the first call at a port. If you’ve ever traveled on our beautiful vessels you may well have encountered a wall filled with various commemorative plaques, trophies and knick-knacks. One of my favorites is aboard ms Noordam. It’s a page from an Ellis Island record book listing the passengers entering the United States from a Holland America Line ship. That was presented to us by the Port of New York during Noordam’s inaugural season.

Recently we shared this tradition with our colleagues on Eurodam. Rotterdam and Eurodam both called at Kiel, Germany, for the very first time on June 11. Not only was this the first call of these two ships, but also a first for Holland America Line.

Our ships were greeted in the morning with a beautiful spray of water from the local fire boat. Once alongside, Captain Bowland and other officers from Eurodam came over to participate in the ceremony. This gift exchange isn’t a one-way deal; all of the guests present received a commemorative tile and the port director accepted a plaque from Holland America Line as a token of our new friendship with this maiden port.

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From left: Dr. Dirk Klaus, director of Port of Kiel; Eurodam’s Captain Darrin Bowland; Jens Broder Knudsen, managing owner of Sartori-Berger Port Agency; Angelika Volquartz, mayor of the City of Kiel, and Rotterdam’s Captain Rik Krombeen.

After the ceremony, Captain Bowland invited all of the guests to join him on Eurodam for a tour followed by lunch. In the evening, both ships slacked their lines and headed for the open ocean, creating a beautiful picture for those on land … two gracious ships putting out to sea.

See you out there!

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