In a ceremony rich with history and meaning, Holland America Line held a Dedication Ceremony for ms Koningsdam May 20 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands officially blessed the bell and named Koningsdam onboard the ship in front of invited dignitaries, cruise guests, travel partners and media.
The celebration began with Her Majesty Queen Máxima performing the ceremonial honors of blessing the ship’s bell in the Lido pool area by pouring a glass of champagne over the bell. The blessing of the bell is a hallowed Holland America Line tradition when welcoming a new ship to the fleet. Her Majesty also was the first to sign Koningsdam’s commemorative wall that will become a permanent installation on the ship.
Next, the ship was officially christened during a ceremony in the World Stage theater when Her Majesty Queen Máxima pulled a rope to trigger the traditional champagne bottle break on Koningsdam’s hull.
“It’s an honor to have Her Majesty Queen Máxima as the godmother to Koningsdam, and May 20 was a truly special day with Her Majesty delivering the ceremonial traditions of welcoming our newest ship to the fleet,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “As our company was founded in Rotterdam more than 143 years ago, it was fitting to return to our roots for Koningsdam’s royal dedication.”
Also a traditional part of dedicating a new ship for the line is the appointment of Mariner Ambassadors to represent the important role of loyal repeat guests in the company’s ongoing success. Serving as Koningsdam’s Mariner Ambassadors were Enrique “Rick” Encarnacion and Ernest Schenk. Both dedicated Mariners, the pair have sailed more than 1,650 days each on Holland America Line cruises. Schenk first sailed with the line on a trans-Atlantic cruise aboard ss Ryndam. Encarnacion first sailed with Holland America Line in 1997 aboard an ms Statendam Panama Canal cruise.
Following the ceremony, a gala luncheon was held onboard in addition to shipwide celebrations throughout the day. In the evening the ship set sail for Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and fireworks lit up the sky as Koningsdam passed Hoek van Holland.
Thousands of Dutch residents came out throughout the day to join in Holland America Line’s special events.
Seattle’s Mayor Proclaims Friday, May 20, ‘Seattle’s Hometown Cruise Line Day’ in Honor of Holland America Line
In recognition of Holland America Line’s more than 30-year history in the city and its contributions to the local and Washington state economies, Seattle Mayor Edward B. Murray issued a proclamation naming May 20 “Seattle’s Hometown Cruise Line Day.” The proclamation also marks the official dedication ceremony for Koningsdam.
In his proclamation, Murray noted that Holland America Line employs more than 1,000 people at its Seattle headquarters, and in 2016 the company expects to contribute $389 million to the Seattle economy and $547 million statewide. Holland America Line works with more than 600 Washington vendors, from food and beverage suppliers to piano tuners, office supply stores and marine suppliers. Specifically, Koningsdam features Northwest cuisine and products, including items from Seattle-area companies Chateau Ste. Michelle, Elliot Bay Books, Microsoft and Case Marine.
“We are so honored that Mayor Murray declared today ‘Seattle’s Hometown Cruise Line Day’ in recognition of the contributions Holland America Line makes in Seattle and at the state level,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “Today marks a proud day for Holland America Line with the official dedication of our newest ship, Koningsdam, by Her Majesty Queen Máxíma of the Netherlands, and to add this proclamation makes it all the more exciting and memorable. May 20 will be a special day for years to come.”
Holland America Line has been headquartered in Seattle for more than three decades, and its ships have been sailing from the Port of Seattle since the 1970s. Approximately 30,000 Washington residents sail on Holland America Line ships annually, and more than 86,000 guests will be welcomed to Seattle in 2016 on a Holland America cruise.
The proclamation also credits Holland America Line with actively giving back to its local community and Washington state. In the Seattle area, it supports dozens of organizations such as Auction of Washington Wines, Northwest Harvest, Pike Place Market Foundation, Seattle Aquarium, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Men’s & Women’s Chorus, Seattle Theatre Group and the University of Washington. Eighteen of the company’s executives currently serve on 24 boards of directors of local nonprofit organizations.
Holland America Line is also a sponsor of the Seattle Mariners, and the collaboration includes “Holland America Line Ks for Kids” program where strikeouts earn a donation to Seattle Children’s Hospital. The company is also the presenting sponsor of the “Salute to Those Who Serve” program honoring the men and women of the United States Military.
Comment below to officially welcome Koningsdam to the fleet!