It's not a surprise –- in fact Cruise Critic's Trends to Watch 2004 predicted it -– but now it's official: Holland America is rotating the 33,930-ton, 1,214-passenger Noordam out of the fleet. As such, Noordam, launched in 1984, will begin sailing "Farewell Season" cruises in April. Its last will be a nine-night voyage, departing November 3, from Rome to Lisbon.
The ship will be joining another fleet: that of U.K.-based Thomson Holidays, which is chartering the vessel from Holland America. Noordam will assume a new name: the Thomson Celebration. Thomson Holidays has an option to buy the ship.
Noordam's departure will greatly lighten the average age of Holland America's fleet. At that point, its oldest built-for-HAL ship will be just 11 years old (Statendam, the new matriarch, was launched in 1993). Of course the fleet still has one older -– its Prinsendam, which was formerly known as Royal Viking Sun and, then, Seabourn Sun, and is HAL's pathfinder vessel, was launched in 1988.
Fans of the existing Noordam may be heartened to know that Holland America will (almost) immediately recycle the name. The company announced today that its previously-unnamed new-build, a Vista-class ship slated for delivery in January 2006, will assume that mantel. Noordam, like other monikers in Holland America's Vista-class of ships, is a Dutch name for points of the compass (in this case "north").
The "new Noordam" will be the fourth ship in the line's history to bear the name.
HAL’s Noordam Bids Farewell in 2004: But Not For Long
January 15, 2004