MS Rotterdam returning to Plymouth for 150th anniversary


Plymouth will host a historic maritime event on Tuesday 18 October when the cruise ship MS Rotterdam arrives to mark the 150th anniversary of her namesake’s visit to the port.

The Holland America Line’s inaugural passenger liner, SS Rotterdam, called at Britain’s Ocean City in 1872 en route from Rotterdam, Holland to New York. That maiden voyage saw the ship pick up additional passengers and mail at Plymouth before setting sail across the Atlantic.

Now the line’s latest vessel to bear the Rotterdam name is returning a century and a half later when a special event, attended by local dignitaries and travel trade representative, will be held on board to celebrate the occasion.

Those present will include the Lord Mayor Cllr Sue Dann, the King’s Harbour Master and members of Plymouth Cruise Partnership including AB Ports, Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership and City Centre Company. During the event the Master of MS Rotterdam will present a ship’s plaque to the city and, in exchange, the Lord Mayor will present a Plymouth City plaque to the Master.

Amanda Lumley, Destination Plymouth Chief Executive said: “What a great opportunity to mark such an interesting moment in the port’s history. We’re thoroughly looking forward to welcoming the vessel and her passengers and showcasing some of the best attractions our modern port city has to offer.

“It’s events like these that really bring Plymouth’s fascinating maritime history to life and demonstrates the hard work of the cruise partners in successfully securing cruise bookings for the city.”

The original vessel is thought to have anchored in Plymouth Sound or Cawsand Bay, taking passengers by tender boats to Princess Royal Pier, Mill Bay.

Next week the modern 300m long MS Rotterdam will become the largest cruise liner to dock at Plymouth and signify both the 150thanniversary of the cruise and the founding of the Holland America Line. Passengers will be welcomed shore side by Plymouth’s very own Cruise Ambassador volunteers led by Douglas and Ann Marie Kerr.

The visit is part of a 12-day transatlantic cruise recreating the SS Rotterdam’s first voyage, departing Rotterdam on 15 October, calling at Le Havre for Paris on 17 October and then on to Plymouth where she is due at anchorage at 8am the following day. After departing Plymouth at approximately 5pm on 18 October, she will spend a week crossing the Atlantic, arriving in New York on 26 October.

The current MS Rotterdam – the seventh ship to bear the name – came into service for Holland America Line (part of Carnival Corporation & plc) and can carry up to 3,218 passengers with a crew of 1,025. She has 13 passenger decks and 1340  cabins and suites.

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