Holland America Line’s Rotterdam arrived at New York City yesterday morning on its maiden call to the city following a transatlantic crossing that departed Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Oct. 15. The ship is nearing the end of a 15-day cruise that is recreating the maiden voyage of Holland America Line’s first ship — Rotterdam I — that departed Rotterdam 150 years ago Oct. 15, 1872.
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine officially declared Oct. 26 an “honorary day” for Holland America Line to recognize the occasion and the historic contributions of the company to Manhattan throughout its 150 years.
To celebrate the milestone, an event was held on board for invited guests. A highlight of the evening was the performance of a musical piece by Emmy Award-winning producer and Emmy-nominated composer Steven Schoenberg, written exclusively for Holland America Line’s anniversary to accompany a special short film about the cruise line’s journey. The composition was performed by a 25-piece ensemble of former Holland America Line’s Lincoln Center Stage musicians.
In addition, the premium line introduced a partnership with The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation to celebrate the cruise line’s 150-year journey from immigrant carrier to consumer ocean liner fleet. The partnership features on-board video content across Holland America Line’s entire fleet produced by an Ellis Island researcher, as well as a curated exhibit launching in 2023 at Ellis Island detailing the brand’s historical prominence in bringing one in 10 immigrants from Europe to the United States.
“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 exclusive menus that showcase Holland America Line’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 appetizers to desserts — from a previous Holland America Line voyage.
In addition to the cuisine, special programming included a “Throwback Happy Hour” that rolled back time with drinks priced as low as 25 cents, Dutch High Tea, presentations that relived the history and roots of the company and anniversary-themed trivia. Holland America Line also introduced a limited-edition Pilsner beer — HAL Pils — in a commemorative can adorned with the iconic Jan van Beers advertising poster of 1898 showing a woman holding a Holland America Line steamship above her head.
For travelers looking to continue the celebration, many of the same special culinary and enrichment programs will be offered on another 150th Anniversary Transatlantic departing April 6, 2023, from New York, ending at Rotterdam April 18, the cruise line’s 150th birthday.