SEATTLE — A second Holland America Line ship has returned to Florida cruising and the Caribbean since the start of the pandemic.
The cruise line’s new Rotterdam departed Nov. 5 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on its inaugural Caribbean cruise, a roundtrip five-day sailing that visits Bimini, Bahamas and Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s private Bahamian island. The ship arrived at Port Everglades on Nov. 3 following its maiden transatlantic voyage that set sail from Amsterdam on Oct. 20.
Last month, on Oct. 23, Nieuw Amsterdam was the first ship in the fleet to begin Caribbean cruising from Fort Lauderdale. Later this month, Rotterdam will be joined at Port Everglades Pinnacle Class sister-ship Nieuw Statendam and Eurodam, which also kick off their Caribbean seasons.
“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.”
Following the Nov. 5 cruise, Rotterdam will sail in the Caribbean through April, with all departures roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. The cruises range from 6-11 days and span the region on southern, eastern, western and tropical itineraries. Every Caribbean cruise includes a call at Half Moon Cay.
Holland America is currently operating vaccinated cruises, as defined by the CDC, through Feb. 28, 2022. Children 5 and older will be eligible to sail. These cruises are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the start of the cruise and have proof of vaccination. Additionally, fully vaccinated guests must produce a negative viral COVID-19 test (medically supervised PCR or antigen test) taken within two days of embarkation on all sailings.
KIDS CRUISE FREE
Holland America has also launched a Kids Cruise Free offer, which allows kids ages 5-17 sailing as the third and fourth guests in the same stateroom to cruise for free. The offer is good for select holiday sailings and cruises through May 31, 2022; bookings must be made by Nov. 18, 2021.
Ships in the Caribbean include the Rotterdam and Nieuw Statendam, along with Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam. Koningsdam and Zuiderdam are on the West Coast exploring Mexico, Hawaii and the California coast, as well as Panama Canal transits. In late spring, Eurodam, Koningsdam and Zuiderdam will be in Alaska while Nieuw Statendam and Rotterdam will head to Europe and Zaandam will be cruising in Canada/New England.
With the Kids Cruise Free offer, starting fares for a Holland America Line cruise are US$449 per person, double occupancy, meaning a family of four can take a vacation for $898. Over the holidays, fares start at $549 per person, double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses are extra.
Onboard, kids, tweens and teens ages 5-17 can enjoy Club HAL, Holland America’s supervised youth activities program that allows younger cruisers to meet other kids for arts and crafts, sports, video game competitions, scavenger hunts, team games, themed parties and more.