In her short life Eurodam has already welcomed an astounding 35,000 visitors aboard for inaugural events. While there were only 350 guests on board when we sailed from Southampton on Saturday evening, there was a full complement of passengers for the dinner/dance cruise from Rotterdam on Sunday night. Among the 4,000 people on board yesterday for tours and lunch were twelve very special sailors who served aboard Holland America ships when they deployed for military service in World War II, plus Dutch travel agents and former Holland America Line employees. Freshly shucked oysters on the half shell and beer drew a standing room only crowd at the lido pool.
Holland America has a long tradition of royal godmothers; eight other members of the Dutch Royal Family have named Holland America ships and the Queen’s own mother, Her Majesty Queen Juliana, served as godmother for Rotterdam V in 1958. Only a year before that, a young Princess Beatrix began her association with Holland America Line when she blessed the bell of Statendam in 1957.
Altogether, about 2,400 people were on hand to witness today’s dedication ceremony when Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (pictured above) arrived to “break the bottle” and officially name ms Eurodam, Holland America Line’s 80th passenger vessel. A concert featuring the London Quartet and Opera Babes kicked off the event, which ended with a smash as the bottle of bubbly broke against Eurodam’s bow right on cue. The weather gods smiled on us and it was a perfect summer day for Queen Beatrix to name the largest ship ever to sail the Dutch flag.
The grand finale—a spectacular fireworks show—is set to cap a very long, but exciting and festive day for those of us on board as well as the scores of Dutch people who are due to line the river banks.