Holland America Line’s new Rotterdam departs today, Nov. 5, at 5 p.m. EST from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on its inaugural Caribbean cruise — a roundtrip five-day sailing that visits Bimini, Bahamas, and spends two days at Half Moon Cay, the cruise line’s award-winning private Bahamian island. The ship arrived at Port Everglades Nov. 3 following its maiden transatlantic voyage that set sail from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Oct. 20.
Rotterdam marks the second ship to return to Florida cruising and the Caribbean for Holland America Line since the industrywide pause began 20 months ago. During November, the ship will be joined at Port Everglades by Pinnacle Class sister-ship Nieuw Statendam and Eurodam, which also kick off their Caribbean seasons. Nieuw Amsterdam began Caribbean cruising from Fort Lauderdale Oct. 23.
“We have been awaiting our return to the Caribbean for a long time, and having Rotterdam and our other ships restart operations out of Fort Lauderdale is an incredible moment for our company,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Rotterdam’s maiden voyage from Europe was a huge success and we’re getting a lot of positive feedback from guests about the ship.”
The cruise line celebrated Rotterdam’s Caribbean departure with fanfare to welcome guests on board, and Antorcha was on hand to greet embarking passengers.
Following the Nov. 5 cruise, Rotterdam will sail in the Caribbean through April, with all departures roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. The cruises range from six to 11 days and span the region on southern, eastern, western and tropical itineraries. Guests looking for a longer getaway can embark on a Collectors’ Voyage — combined back-to-back itineraries that offer an in-depth exploration covering more than one area.
Every Caribbean cruise includes a call at Half Moon Cay, rated the number-one port of call in the Caribbean by the line’s guests. This quaint sanctuary has evolved into a playground for cruisers and features the finest white-sand beaches, two-story villas and private cabanas, dining venues like Lobster Shack, a children’s waterpark and a variety of fun-filled tours for nature lovers, adventurous travelers and explorers.
Holland America Line has been homeporting from Port Everglades since the 1990s. Operationally, each ship visit directly contributes $364,000 to the local economy in provisioning (fuel, food, flowers, piano tuning, supplies), port taxes and spending. Holland America Line works with nearly 100 local vendors who supply the company and its ships with goods and services.
Throughout the years, Holland America Line has been actively involved with more than 30 nonprofits in South Florida through giving, shipboard lunches and cruise donations, including Seafarers’ House, Henderson Behavioral Health, Coast Guard Women’s Leadership Initiative, Symphony of the Americas, The Opera Society and more.