Holland America Line says that its third
Vista class ship, scheduled for delivery in the spring of 2004,
will be named ms Westerdam, in keeping with Holland America
Line's long-standing tradition of honoring prior vessel names.
The new 85,000-ton, 1,848-passenger vessel will be the third
in Holland America Line's history to bear the Westerdam name.
Here is a brief history of HALís former Westerdams.
The second Westerdam sailed on 643 voyages
for Holland America Line during a career spanning more than
13 years with the company. The ship, which began service as
the former Home Lines' Homeric in 1986, was named the Westerdam
and officially entered service with Holland America Line on
November 12, 1988. The Westerdam's arrival expanded the fleet
to four ships and signaled the beginning of a new era of growth
for Holland America that continues today. In 1989, the Westerdam
underwent a notable $84 million renovation at the Meyer Werft
shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, where it was originally built.
During an extended drydock, it was "stretched" by
a then-cruise industry record 130 feet, increasing its capacity
1,000 to 1,494 guests and its size from 42,000 gross tons to
53,872. After carrying more than a million guests on Caribbean,
Panama Canal and Alaska cruises, the ship left the Holland America
fleet on March 10, 2002, transferred to sister company Costa
Cruciere, where it now continues its career cruising European
waters as the Costa Europa.
The first Westerdam sailed for Holland America
Line from 1946 to 1965. A combined cargo/passenger ship, with
five cargo holds and accommodations for 143 first-class passengers
and 126 crewmembers, the ship made the Atlantic crossing twice
a month between Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and New York City.
The 12,149-gross-ton, twin-propeller ship and its sister ship,
Noordam II, took eight days to make the crossing.
The Westerdam was a survivor of three sinkings
during World War II before it ever made its maiden voyage. Its
keel was laid in Rotterdam on September 1, 1939, at the Wilton
Feyenoord Shipyard, but construction was suspended when the
Germans invaded Holland in 1940. On August 27, 1942, the half-completed
ship was bombed by Allied forces at its berth and sunk. German
troops raised the ship, but in September 1944, it was sunk by
Dutch underground resistance forces. Raised again by the Germans,
it was sunk for the third time by the Dutch underground on January
After the war, the Westerdam was raised by
the Dutch and construction was completed. On June 28, 1946,
the Westerdam departed Rotterdam on its maiden voyage to New
York. It continued regular trans-Atlantic service until it was
sold to Spain for scrap on February 4, 1965.
Ever wondered what happened to the venerable liner, the
SS United States, the fastest transatlantic ship ever? Well
the latest news on the liner now languishing at a Philadelphia
dock is available on the website www.ss-united-states.com
. Whatís more, viewers can participate in an online poll
regarding the 50- year-old shipís future. According to Mike
Alexander who started the website, interest in the ship is growing.
Unfortunately, the shipís benefactor Edward A. Cantor who bought
the ship in the 1990s and spared her from the breakers, has
just passed away. The vessel for the time being is on a steady
course but since it is a costly investment just to keep her
afloat, the future looks somewhat gray. So hereís a chance to
lend your ideas and support to what should be done with the
vessel. Alexander has set up a poll page where viewers can express
their ideas at: