Queen Máxima Christens Holland America’s New MS Koningsdam

by James Shillinglaw

MS Konigsdam is poised to deliver a new modern-style of premium cruising for Holland America.

Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands on May 20 officially christened Holland America Line’s new MS Konigsdam in a ceremony in Rotterdam. The new 2,650-guest (double occupancy) ship, which left Italy’s Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in April, is the first in a new Pinnacle class of vessel for the line and aims to deliver a new modern style of cruising in a classic form.

The 99,500-GRT Konigsdam, the 14th ship in the line, is the 12th Holland America vessel to be christened by a member of the Dutch Royal Family. Most recently, then-Princess Máxima christened MS Nieuw Amsterdam in 2010 and then-Queen Beatrix was godmother to MS Eurodam in 2008.

Prince Hendrik launched Statendam III in 1929 and Nieuw Amsterdam II was christened in 1937 by Queen Wilhelmina. Then-Princess Beatrix named Statendam IV in 1957 and Prinses Margriet in 1960. Rotterdam V was launched in 1958 by Queen Juliana. Princess Margriet dedicated Prinsendam in 1972, Nieuw Amsterdam II in 1983, MS Rotterdam VI in 1997 and MS Oosterdam in 2003.

“We chose Rotterdam as the location for the official ceremony because of the deep historic connection between Holland America Line, the city, and the people of the Netherlands,” said Holland America President Orlando Ashford. “May 20 is a very special day in our company’s 143-year history as we officially dedicate MS Koningsdam.”

The official ceremony took place onboard the ship as part of a special 13-day christening cruise that departed Civitavecchia (Rome) on May 9. Following that voyage Koningsdam will spend the summer sailing from Amsterdam on itineraries to Norway, the Baltic and Iceland. Following its summer season in Europe, Koningsdam will sail to Fort Lauderdale for winter and spring Caribbean cruises.

Konigsdam represents a new breed of cruise ship for Holland America, which recently announced $300 million in brand enhancements aimed at making it the leader in premium cruising. Holland America ships are now focused on delivering a diverse range of enriching experiences focused on destination immersion and personalized travel.

Konigsdam features new fine-dining options at such alternative restaurants as Sel de Mer, a French seafood brasserie, and a farm-to-table concept dinner experience in the Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine magazine. A new Grand Dutch Cafe debuts onboard with traditional Dutch treats and European beer, while a redesigned Lido Market features themed serving stations aimed at revolutionizing the buffet dining experience. The main dining room is a focal point of the ship, while such venues as Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto Italian restaurant, and pan-Asian Tamarind, popular on other Holland America ships, are also available on Konigsdam.

Onboard entertainment includes a Music Walk area featuring all genres of music showcased in such venues as Lincoln Center Stage, which offers chamber music nightly; Billboard Onboard, where live musicians perform chart-topping hits; and B.B. King’s Blues Club in the Queen’s Lounge, which brings the best of Memphis music to sea. Other new entertainment concepts include the 270-degree LED projection at World Stage, which immerses the audience in panoramic visual and sound effects.

During the christening ceremony, Ashford also unveiled the name of Konigsdam’s twin ship. The next Pinnacle-class vessel, which is scheduled for delivery in fall 2018, will be named MS Nieuw Statendam, the sixth ship in Holland America’s history to bear the Statendam name. It will be built at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy, with construction set to begin this summer.

Like Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam will carry 2,650 guests (double occupancy) and displace 99,500 gross registered tons. It will have the same innovative venues that were introduced on Koningsdam, as well as new concepts that will debut on the newbuild.

Hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany’s designs will be featured on Nieuw Statendam, just as they were on Koningsdam. Several public areas will be designed by Bjorn Storbraaten, who worked with Holland America on Koningsdam, Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam in designing each vessel’s public rooms.

The first Statendam launched in 1898 and was just 10,491 gross tons. It served the fleet until 1911. The second Statendam was built in the 1910s for Holland America, but was sold to White Star Line as Justicia before it entered service. The next Statendam served the line from 1929 until 1940, when it was scrapped after a fire.

The fourth Statendam launched in 1957 and was christened by 18-year-old Dutch Crown Princess Beatrix, who would later become Queen and name Eurodam as well. On Jan. 7, 1958, the ship departed on a 110-day World Cruise, the first for Holland America Line. Statendam remained in the fleet until 1982, when it was sold to Paquet Cruises. The fifth ship to carry the Statendam name launched in 1993 and served the line until 2015, when it was transferred to sister cruise line P&O Cruises Australia, where it sails today as Pacific Eden.

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