Sail Across the Atlantic: Avid Yachter’s Review of Rotterdam

As a lifelong boater, voyaging across the Atlantic has always been a dream of mine, and Holland America Line went above and beyond to make this bucket-list experience unforgettable. From the moment we stepped aboard Rotterdam, the dedicated crew ensured that every moment of our journey was seamless and thoroughly enjoyable.

Not only did we have the chance to relax and unwind while taking in the stunning vistas of the open sea, but we also had the unique opportunity to go behind the scenes and gain a deeper understanding of the ship’s inner workings. Mingling among the very seasoned transatlantic cruisers was an experience that’s hard to describe. I met people with 10 and 15 transoceanic crossings. It became crystal clear when I talked deeply into why they chose this type of cruising instead of all the others. There’s nothing like it.

In addition, pulling back the curtain and seeing what goes on below deck was an epic opportunity to share with the porthole readers the incredible professionalism and detailed undertaking each professional took pride in and what they were doing to make the overall event seamless. This added layer of insight truly enhanced our overall experience and made this transatlantic crossing a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. During our time on board, I had the privilege of sitting down with Captain Bas Van Dreumel, who offered his invaluable insight into his experience as a captain. As a sailor with a master captain’s license, I couldn’t resist asking Captain Bas many yachting questions.

Captain Bas Van Dreumel

During our conversation, I asked Captain Bas, “Is there a certain point of sail the ship loves?” To which he thoughtfully replied, “That’s an excellent question. For those who aren’t familiar,  boats are either heading into the waves. Getting hit by the sea from the side (called the beam sea) or having the waves coming from behind, which is called a following sea) Captain Bas shared how well constructed this version of the Rotterdam, the seventh vessel, with this name, handles all points of see very well, but loves a following sea.  When asked about his favorite time on the  bridge, he responded, “I like to take in the beauty of the morning, the sunrise, but also the elements, and you have the ship for yourself.” The authentic, natural beauty of Rotterdam effortlessly speaks for itself as the outer decks seamlessly complement the stunning scenery at sea, creating a truly harmonious experience.

While spending time on the bridge, I was fortunate to engage in a captivating conversation with Wessel Brinkman, The First Officer of Rotterdam. Drawing on my nautical background, our discussion proved to be not only enlightening but also incredibly engaging. The opportunity to delve into the intricacies of bridge operations added a profound layer of depth to my journey and amplified my admiration for the precision and expertise required to navigate the open seas. He stated, “All of the procedures we have in place, how to communicate with the engine room, how to communicate with each other, are the same fleetwide. So, you can have a completely different ship and a completely different itinerary or product, but the way the bridge team operates is one hundred percent the same all around.”

I was genuinely amazed by Holland America Line’s unwavering commitment and emphasis on safety, training, and preparedness. It’s commendable to witness a company that values the dedication and hard work put into sharpening the skills and expertise of its crew members. This dedication guarantees the safety and comfort of all passengers and upholds the exceptional standard of service and professionalism that Holland America Line is renowned for.

As I uncovered Holland America Line’s essence, I felt compelled to explore it further and engage with a diverse range of fascinating individuals.

I enjoyed meeting Adie, an Indonesian server, during my time onboard. Her warm and enthusiastic welcome made us feel appreciated and valued as guests. Adie exuded a genuine joy in meeting new people and shared how she has formed countless friendships while traveling the world. Our interaction with Adie was exceptional, leaving an indelible mark on our voyage experience.

Following a fun encounter with Adie, my next stop was a meeting with the cruise director, Tjalling Jeen Riedstr, the creative force behind all onboard activities. Among the diverse passengers, one captivating individual caught my eye—a seasoned sailor accompanied by a loyal canine companion who had braved an incredible 700 days at sea. There was even a plaque with the dog’s picture on it on the wall of Honor on the main floor, commemorating 700 days at sea.

Intrigued by Riedstr’s approach to planning activities for our furry companions, I couldn’t help but ask about his strategy. His reply was illuminating, “Dogs thoroughly enjoy participating in our social events and love mingling with other guests, just like us.” This highlighted Holland America Line’s unwavering dedication to crafting a remarkable and unforgettable experience for each passenger, setting them apart as a cruise line that consistently goes above and beyond for all onboard.

Strolling along the outer decks and basking in the breathtaking vistas of Rotterdam was a truly awe-inspiring experience. The classic yet impeccably maintained exteriors exuded a timeless elegance that was simply enchanting. Surrounded by such a picturesque backdrop, I wished that the incredible-day voyage would never end.