SEATTLE – In a festive event rich with Dutch heritage, Holland America Line held a Dedication Ceremony for ms Koningsdam Friday, May 20, 2016, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands officially blessed the bell and named Koningsdam on board ship in front of invited dignitaries, cruise guests, travel partners and media.
The celebration began with Her Majesty Queen Maxima 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 ship’s bell is a hallowed 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 Maxima pulled a rope to trigger the traditional champagne bottle break on Koningsdam’s hull.
“It’s an honor to have Her Majesty Queen Maxima as the godmother to Koningsdam, and May 20 was a truly special day with Her Majesty delivering the ceremonial traditions of welcoming our newest ship to the fleet,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “As our company was founded in Rotterdam more than 143 years ago, it was fitting to return to our roots for Koningsdam’s royal dedication.”
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 trans-Atlantic cruise aboard ss Ryndam. Encarnacion first sailed with Holland America Line in 1997 aboard an ms 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 will set sail for Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to overnight on May 21, 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 (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.