Westerdam, Holland America's third Vista-class ship, officially joined the fleet as the company accepted delivery of the vessel from Italian shipyard Fincantieri in Marghera. The ship's official dedication takes place April 25 in Venice. Godmother will be the Dutch actress Renee Soutendijk. The Amsterdam native, born in 1957, was a teenage Olympic gymnast; since then she has appeared in some 50 films and television programs.
Unmentioned in the excitement of the ship's delivery is the fact that Westerdam suffered from a fire last October while still under construction. The fire started on deck seven in a passenger cabin and, prior to being extinguished three hours later, had spread to decks eight and nine -- to the Lido/Magrodome area. There were no injuries. In a statement shortly afterward, Holland America president Kirk Lanterman pledged that the ship could be easily repaired and would be delivered on schedule. And, indeed, yesterday's hand-over was exactly as promised.
Signature highlights of the 85,000-ton, 1,848-passenger Westerdam include its Greenhouse Spa and thalassotherapy pool, the new Windstar Cafe coffee house, and a large number of affordable balcony cabins.