Holland America Line held a dedication ceremony for its newest ship, the Koningsdam, May 20 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands officially blessed the bell and named Koningsdam on board the ship in front of invited dignitaries, cruise guests, travel partners and media.
The celebration began with Her Majesty Queen Máxima performing the ceremonial honors of blessing the ship’s bell in the Lido pool area by pouring a glass of champagne over the bell. The blessing of the bell is a Holland America Line tradition when welcoming a new ship to the fleet. Her Majesty also was the first to sign Koningsdam’s commemorative wall that will become a permanent installation on the ship.
Next, the ship was officially christened during a ceremony in the World Stage theater when Her Majesty Queen Máxima pulled a rope to trigger the traditional champagne bottle break on Koningsdam’s hull.
Also a traditional part of dedicating a new ship for the line is the appointment of Mariner Ambassadors to represent the important role of loyal repeat guests in the company’s ongoing success. Serving as Koningsdam’s Mariner Ambassadors were Enrique "Rick" Encarnacion and Ernest Schenk. Both dedicated Mariners, the pair have sailed more than 1,650 days each on Holland America Line cruises. Schenk first sailed with the line on a transatlantic cruise aboard Ryndam. Encarnacion first sailed with Holland America Line in 1997 aboard a Statendam Panama Canal cruise.
Following the ceremony, a gala luncheon was held onboard in addition to shipwide celebrations throughout the day. In the evening the ship set sail for Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and fireworks lit up the sky as Koningsdam passed Hoek van Holland.
Thousands of Dutch residents came out throughout the day to join in Holland America Line’s special events.
During its inaugural season in Europe, Koningsdam sails in the Mediterranean and then repositions from Civitavecchia, Italy (the port for Rome), to its summer homeport of Amsterdam. The ship will go on to sail roundtrip Amsterdam itineraries to Norway, the Baltic and Iceland.
Following its Europe season, Koningsdam will homeport at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The ship will sail one cruise to the Bahamas and then a series of Caribbean voyages from November 2016 through March 2017.