Westerdam US United States


The History of Holland Americaís Westerdam Ships

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.

Westerdam II

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 17, 1945.

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.


Remembering The SS United States

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: http://ss-united-states.com/ssus02survey.html