(1:05 p.m. EDT) -- Holland America Line has announced it will be renaming its forthcoming newbuild vessel Rotterdam and designating it as the flagship of its cruise fleet.
The ship 2,668-passenger ship, which is currently under construction at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy and had been formerly called Ryndam, will be the seventh vessel to bear the name Rotterdam. It will be the third of the line's new Pinnacle Class vessels that include Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam.
The positive news came as the line recently announced it would bid farewell to four of its most well-loved vessels, including two of the line's former flagships, the sixth incarnation of Rotterdam (1997) and Amsterdam (2000).
In announcing the name change, Holland America Line also revealed the new Rotterdam will enter service one year to the date of the announcement, on July 30, 2021. As Ryndam, the ship was formerly set to debut in May 2021. The line noted the delay is due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
"The first ship for Holland America Line was the original Rotterdam, the company was headquartered in the city of Rotterdam for many years, and the name has been a hallmark throughout our history since 1872 … so clearly the name is powerful and symbolic," said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line.
"With the current Rotterdam leaving the company, we knew we had a unique opportunity to embrace the name as our new flagship and carry on the tradition of having a Rotterdam in our fleet. Seven is a lucky number, and we know she's going to bring a lot of joy to our guests as she travels across the globe."
When Rotterdam enters service in the summer of 2021, it will first set sail on a series of Northern European and Baltic itineraries sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam. Those booked on the ship's former Premier Voyage in May and itineraries that were due to depart prior to July 30, 2021 are being contacted with rebooking options.
"Guests and travel advisors will be notified today of this news and coming changes to current itineraries," added Antorcha. "We ask everyone, though, to please bear with us just a few weeks for all of the details as we rebuild itineraries and put the finishing touches on several desirable alternatives. We will follow up with specific details very soon so everyone knows their options."
Those passengers booked on the original Premier Voyage will be rebooked on the Premier Sailing of the Rotterdam departing August 1, 2020, and will receive a $100 per person onboard credit. Passengers will receive $100 per person onboard credit for cruises under 10 days, while those booked on affected voyages 12 days or longer will receive $250 per person shipboard credit.
Holland America Line is asking affected passengers for patience while the company finalizes sailing details.
The first Rotterdam set sail from the Netherlands to New York on October 15, 1872 and led to the founding of the line in 1873. Successive Rotterdams entered service in 1878, 1897, and 1908.
Rotterdam V, built in 1959, entered service as a transatlantic passenger ship before being converted to cruising in 1969. The "Grand Dame" sailed for Holland America for 38 years until 1997, and still exists today as a permanently-moored hotel in its namesake city of Rotterdam.
Holland America's Rotterdam VI, along with sister-ship Amsterdam, will begin a new life with Fred. Olsen Cruises when that line resumes sailings.