The SS Rotterdam is the largest passenger vessel to ever be constructed in The Netherlands. Launched in September 1958, this two-class, horizontally divided ship sailed forty-one years until her retirement in September 2000.
After being sold to Premier Cruises in 1997 then “rescued” in 2005 (the company went bankrupt in 2000), the SS Rotterdam was restored to most of its original condition. By 2008, the ship surfaced as a better version of its old self while adopting modern amenities, such as trendy restaurants, grander hotel rooms and a parking area as well. In February 2010, the structure opened to the public as a wonderful mix of museum, hotel and school for vocational training and remains so today in the Katendrecht area.
If you’re merely passing through Rotterdam, there are various tours you can partake in – the complete tour lasting approximately two hours, where the inside and outside of the ship can be examined. Not only can you observe the monumental bow, the heavy windlasses and the radio room, you can climb up the towering bridge, visit some of the authentic rooms and land a “captain’s passport and diploma” for the children as well.
Whether you’re a guest of the hotel or just stopping by for a quick meal, the restaurants on board the SS Rotterdam are certainly “dressed to impress.” At the Lido Restaurant, a contemporary eatery located on the Promenade Deck, you can enjoy your meal while overlooking the quay and the Euromast. In good weather, the Lido Terrace, the largest terrace in all of Rotterdam, is open all day long, so you can eat while soaking up the sun or dipping your feet in the 40cm swimming pool. The Club Room, previously referred to as the “living room” on board the SS Rotterdam, is fine dining in style serving traditional dishes with authentic silverware. In the Ocean Bar, the authentic wave-shaped bar – where enormous fish scales decorate the ceiling – you can unwind with a cocktail, glass of wine or brandy. Last but not least, the Captain’s Lounge – the most recent addition to the SS Rotterdam – is a great place for coffee, carrot cake or even sandwiches and wraps, to-go if you prefer.
Reviews of the SS Rotterdam are highly favorable, especially if you go at the right time. According to visitors, if you’re seeking a low-key, unique experience with time to move around, eat and observe, stopping by during the week will give you that luxury. Those looking for lots of action will be pleasantly surprised on the weekends since many events take place there during this time. (The venue can hold up to 4,000 people!) Regardless of when you go, however, if you’re a fan of the sea, nostalgia and a “cruise-like” experience, this ship should certainly be the next stop as you sail through Rotterdam.