(7:30 p.m. BST) -- Readers on Cruise Critic's Fred. Olsen Cruises message board are welcoming the fact that Holland America Line's former flagship duo, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, will join the line this autumn.
The two vessels, which can accommodate 1,308 and 1,404 passengers respectively, will be renamed MS Bolette and MS Borealis. They will be the largest and most modern vessels in the Fred.Olsen fleet, which currently consists of Black Watch (1972); Boudicca (1973); Balmoral (1988); and Braemar (1993).
"Such exciting news! Can’t wait for cruising to start back up again," writes Chrisifab, on the Fred. Olsen message board. "Fred .Olsen have bought the 2 flagships of the Holland America line, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. We’ll be booking as soon as we can."
"This will put Fred.Olsen in a good position when cruising recommences," writes MMDown Under.
"Actually, I can't think of a more seamless acquisition for FOCL Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines than Rotterdam and Amsterdam," notes oneijoe. "When one considers HAL's primary customer segment in America is very close to FOCL's in Britain, one realizes the ships are already equipped ideally."
Other posters were also mindful of the fact that the Fred. Olsen press release mentioned that two existing vessels will transition out of the fleet, putting the future of the two oldest vessels -- Black Watch and Boudicca - in doubt.
"If I had to guess, I don’t think Boudicca and Black Watch are long for the world, sadly," writes ShipsAreTheBest. "I know their pedigree and that they have been well maintained, but the reality is they are closing in on 50 years of age. Amsterdam is nearly 30 years younger! Fred. Olsen is certainly taking advantage of a unique opportunity with this purchase."
Fred. Olsen loyalists aren't the only ones who are intrigued by this development. On Cruise Critic's Holland America Line message boards, several posters have opined that they might be persuaded to sail with Fred. Olsen just to be onboard the former Amsterdam and Rotterdam again.
"Sure," writes Riknpat on whether they would 'jump ship' to Fred. Olsen. "I choose my ships with size and layout as primary concerns. Forward observation, walk around decks etc. As long as the food is good, bed is comfy and the plumbing works I could care less about the rest of the 'product'. Fred Olsen has a good rep for food and service. Downside was old, small ships past their prime. So I'd try them for sure on the HAL ships."