Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands served as godmother to Holland America Line's newest ship, the ms Oosterdam (pronounced OH-STER-DAM), in a lavish ceremony dedicating the ship in Rotterdam on Tuesday, July 29. More than 5,000 people attended the gala event.
Princess Margriet broke the traditional bottle of champagne against the hull to officially name the ship, assisted by Captain Johannes van Biljouw, master of the Oosterdam. The event capped a three-day celebration of Holland America Line's 130 years in business in the city that was the Seattle-based line's original headquarters through the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The third daughter of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of The Netherlands, and sister to Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet was born in Ottawa, Canada, during World War II. She is named for the marguerite, the flower worn during the war as a symbol of Dutch resistance. She is married to Pieter van Vollenhoven, and is the mother of four sons.
The Oosterdam will sail Baltic and western Mediterranean cruises until November, when the ship will cross the Atlantic to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a series of Caribbean cruises through the winter,
The 1,848-passenger Oosterdam is the second in the Vista class of ships, following the introduction of sister ship ms Zuiderdam in December 2002, and the 13th ship in the Holland America fleet. The 951-foot-long vessel has 785 suites with an ocean view -- 67 percent with private verandahs -- as well as five-star concierge service for the exclusive use of penthouse and deluxe verandah suite guests.
New features aboard the Vista ships include a disco, casual "round-the-clock" café, Internet café, Internet/e-mail data ports in all staterooms, a cabaret-style show lounge, an alternative restaurant featuring fine Pacific Northwest specialties and wines, a casual Lido buffet and the largest spa facilities in the Holland America fleet.