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At a nice mid-size, Holland America’s 2,668-guest Rotterdam debuted in 2021 as a model of elegant and thoughtful design geared for cruisers of all ages and walks of life.  The ship’s public areas are infused with abundant light through full-length windows and boast quality furnishings and fittings that are inviting, practical and comfortable, without being overtly edgy or pretentious.  Fresh flowers and a $4.1 million art collection that is a festive and eclectic combination of musical, natural and architectural elements add warmth and colour to the ship’s soothing, mid-toned backdrops. Traditional cruise fans will appreciate the new flagship’s spectacular Explorer’s Central/Crow’s Nest observation lounge, a well-stocked library, the Lincoln Center Stage part-time classical music venue and a main dining room designed by star-chitect Adam Tihany that has an ambience and scale recalling the grand ocean liners of yesteryear.  Meanwhile, more contemporary cruisers will gravitate to dazzling shows in the high-tech 270-degree World Stage theatre, party into the wee hours at the lively Music Walk entertainment complex, work out and regenerate in a state-of-the-art gym and spa area and choose from an impressive array of bars and included, as well as extra tariff, speciality dining venues.

Like most new ships, Rotterdam is laid out with public areas concentrated at the top and bottom of the ship, with decks of accommodations sandwiched between.  Excluding embarkation day, when several elevators are set aside for loading luggage, the overall flow between decks is excellent, with three main stair towers and three banks of four elevators, which, in HAL tradition, have floor mats imprinted with the day of the week. Much of what you need for daily life onboard is located at the top of the ship between Decks 9 and 14. Highlights include the sliding glass dome-enclosed Lido Pool area, which also has a giant LED screen; the Explorer’s Central and Cafe/Crow’s Nest, which serves as a combination observation lounge, coffee and liquor bar, shore excursions office and card/games room. Popular restaurants such as the New York Deli and Pizza eatery, the Dive-In burger eatery, the Lido Market buffet and Canaletto Italian eateries are also here. There's also the aft open-air SeaView Pool and Bar, where smoking is permitted. Overall, the flow here is good but can be a little challenging when crossing from one side to the other with access blocked on the right side of Deck 11 for crew. The top level of the double-deck World Stage theatre begins a line-up of public areas on Deck 3 that includes a full wraparound promenade, which was enjoyed immensely on sea days and before and after dinner, weather permitting.  Down on Deck 2, don't miss the well-stocked library, a well-received area that will be retrofitted on sister ships Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam. And finally, the Music Walk entertainment complex has revolutionized Holland America ships. Those seeking music at night have a wealth of choices, from the duelling pianos at Billboard Live to the Rolling Stone Rock Room to B.B. King’s/The Lincoln Center, which serves as both a classical and Blues/R&B venue. The timing of performances and soundproof doors helped to cut down potentially conflicting noise issues in this part of the ship.  Even in the lower parts of the ship, there are fantastic views from nearly all the entertainment and dining areas via floor-to-ceiling windows..

Rotterdam’s Cabins Range from Capacious Suites to Comfortable Interiors Rotterdam has nine overall suite and stateroom categories, running the gamut from the sprawling Pinnacle Suite to economical interiors and compact singles. Decks 8 through 4 are devoted to accommodations, including the Neptune concierge lounge for top suite guests on Deck 7.  And, finally, Deck 1 is devoted to Ocean View and Interior staterooms The most popular cabins are 748 Verandah Staterooms, which, depending on location, can range from 228- to 420-square-feet.  The balconies are wide enough to comfortably seat two and in some parts of the ship, at points where the superstructure buttresses outward around the lifeboat recesses, are much larger. Cabins to avoid would be at the very top and forward part of the ship for those with motion sickness issues and cabins in the forward to midships portion of Deck 1 to avoid noise from late-night performances in the Music Walk, which is directly above.  Also, as noted on the deck plan, VH Category Verandah Staterooms on Deck 4 have views that are obstructed by the lifeboats.

Rotterdam’s Food Choices Are Varied, Plentiful and Delicious In recent years, HAL has earned a well-deserved reputation for offering some of the best and most varied food at sea. Rotterdam’s included dining options run the scope from the casual ambience and excellent views at the Lido Market (with service stations such as a salad bar, pasta, hot entrées, sandwiches, Asian and desserts) to the New York Deli and Pizza overlooking the Lido Pool, Dive-In (great burger fare by the Lido Pool), complimentary Dutch-themed snacks at the Grand Dutch Cafe and the visually spectacular but sometimes hectic Dining Room.  Extra fee dining on Rotterdam includes Tamarind, which is quite possibly the best pan-Asian eatery afloat. But you can also choose the excellent Pinnacle Grill steakhouse or the upscale Rudi’s Sel De Mer, a French seafood bistro with a twist). Canaletto is a more casual Italian option.  An additional plus is that room service is complimentary (unless ordering specific a la carte priced items), with courses delivered punctually and, when applicable, piping hot.  

Theatre and Shows on Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s main theatre is the 714-seat World Stage, a state-of-the-art, 270-degree almost-theatre-in-the-round, with hi-definition LED screens that extend well into the room’s perimeter. Shows included BBC Earth presentations backed with live classical music from the Lincoln Center Stage players and high-decibel productions with pre-recorded contemporary music performed by a troupe of live dancers and, occasionally, live singers.   It was all technically dazzling but after a couple of shows, the overall spectacle lost its wow factor by relying too much on digital effects, making one pine for the old-fashioned, 3-dimensional stage sets and more organic song and dance stagings of yore.  Not to be missed by ship lovers and HAL fans is Origin Story, a fascinating and often heartwarming tribute to Holland America’s 150-year history hosted by the Cruise and Travel Director, which was shown on the first night, with an encore performance on the final day at sea.

Daily Things to Do on Rotterdam

Daytime activities run a gamut from classes in the Fitness Center (some free, others not), Pickleball and Basketball sessions on the Sports Court, Card Games, Quizzes and Trivia and various courses in the Greenhouse Spa that, let’s face it, usually end up pitching product or services.  There are also occasional performances by excellent classical musicians in the Lincoln Center Stage.  This is all in addition to the available dining options, open deck areas, use of the Library and just stealing away in a quiet corner to regenerate or read. The Navigator App is, of course, available to those who prefer to go paperless but the ship still offers printed programs, which are delivered to the cabin on the night prior, usually with chocolate and, on select nights, an artfully crafted towel animal.

Nightlife on Rotterdam

Before the Music Walk venue was first introduced aboard Rotterdam’s Pinnacle Class sister ship, Koningsdam, in 2014, HAL ships were considered low-key in the nightlife department.  Evenings used to be all about dinner, perhaps a quiz, a mainstage show and cabaret-style performances in either the Piano Bar or Explorer’s Lounge.  After that, a lively few would cap things off in the nightclub. Of course, the new Rotterdam’s evenings still include quizzes, dinner, cocktail music and the main show, but all of these activities now set the stage for the Music Walk, which has given HAL’s Baby Boomer and Gen X sets a chance to literally get down and boogie to their favourite music, be it Rock, Disco, R&B, Country, Jazz or Pop, performed live.

Located on Deck 2, directly aft of the World Stage, Music Walk is a cluster of venues curated in various partnerships HAL has with Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines, Blues legend B.B. King and the Lincoln Center.  Billboard on Board has back-to-back pianos and a pair of live singers who perform Billboard magazine pop and country chart hits from the 1950’s to present day.  Directly across from Billboard on Board is the Rolling Stone Rock Room, where a live band belts out favourite rock hits.  Just aft of this pair of rooms is the Lincoln Center Stage, where classical recitals (Mozart, Musica Latina, etc.) are performed, mostly in the afternoon or early evening.  Later, this space, which has a balcony level on Deck 3, becomes the B.B. King’s Blues Club, where Blues, Jazz, R&B and Disco rule the airwaves.  If you are lucky, on your cruise, B.B. King’s will feature singer Chantal Levine, whose voice and charisma easily made her the most popular performer on board, despite some very talented competition.   Without exception, each night, the Music Walk venues filled up in advance, with their standing-room-only crowds grooving well into the wee hours.  Far more so than the big shows, this was the epicentre of Rotterdam’s energy and excitement factor. The Casino is located on Deck 3, directly aft of the World Stage.  A spiral staircase in its centre connects it with the Music Walk on Deck 2. 

The Casino has its own bar area on the starboard side and banks of slots (from penny to $5 machines and video poker) throughout.  There are various tables for Black Jack, Craps, Three Card Poker, Texas Hold ‘Em and Roulette games.  On our European-based cruise, smoking was permitted but on U.S.-based cruises, this is a non-smoking venue.

Rotterdam Ship Bars and Lounges

The bar and drink options on Rotterdam are numerous.  Holland America offers several drink packages that are priced on a duration of cruise, daily rate that is applied to all adults sharing a stateroom. The Coca-Cola Package includes unlimited fountain sodas at $8.00 per person, per day plus a 15 per cent service charges for each purchase. The Quench Package covers all non-alcoholic drinks like juices, energy drinks, bottled water, sodas and coffee and espresso drinks for $17.95 per person plus an 18 per cent service charge per day for duration of cruise. The Signature Beverage Package covers up to 15 beverages priced at $11 or less per day.  Sharing, of course, is not permitted and all guests ordering alcoholic beverages must be over 21.  Pricing is $54.95 per person, per day plus 18 per cent service charge.  Does not include alcohol purchased in the signature shops, mini-bar, in-room dining or at Half Moon Cay. The Elite Drink Package covers all drinks priced at $15 or under, including all covered in the Quench Package.  Pricing is $59.95 per person, per day plus 18% service charge.  Note for Signature and Elite purchases, if a drink costs more than the price limit, the full amount is charged without deducting the price limit allowed per drink.

Our Picks:

Rotterdam’s bars each have their own distinct personality and, in many cases, themed bar menus.  Here are a few fun picks.

For Ship Lovers: Exclusive to Rotterdam and soon to be installed on her sisters, the Half Moon Bar only has five bar stools but stretches aft into the adjoining passage, where window seating offers mesmerizing sea views.  Like the Grand Dutch Cafe, this is another great place for people-watching as guests make their way to and from the Dining Room.  The menu here is themed around HAL’s 150-year history.  Since it is named for their most legendary ship, which was built in 1938 and is featured on the HAL logo, why not try the Nieuw Amsterdam, which is basically a Manhattan with its original Dutch name.

For Something Exotic: Head up to Tamarind on aft Deck 10 for stunning views over the stern in black lacquer surrounds that would be right at home on the Bund in Shanghai.  Drinks include the Wasabi (made with Momokawa Silver Sake, Iychee liqueur, lemon, agave syrup and orange juice) and The Far East Legacy (Absolut Mandarin, Asian Pear Sake, St. Germaine Liqueur, Cointreau and peach puree).

For The Soul Singer: Even between its vibrant music sets, B.B. Kings is an elegant space with a large central dance floor and stage, plus a balcony, to boot.  Groove under its spindly chandeliers to a festive Rhythm and Blues (Bulleit Bourbon, Monin Ginger syrup, honey syrup, fresh strawberries, lemon juice and house-made Angostura bitters) 

For The Ultimate View: Arguably with the best views on the ship, with a handsome model of the S.S. Rotterdam of 1959 and paintings by maritime artist Stephen Card of past Rotterdams for bonus points, the Explorer’s Lounge can’t be beaten.  Full-length windows on three sides from the perspective of Deck 12 make anything here, from the simplest wine by the glass to a mixologist Dale de Groff created speciality, taste sublime.

For A Sip Overlooking the Pool:  By day or night, the Panorama Bar on starboard Deck 10 was the hangout for those who enjoyed the buzz of the Lido Pool directly below, a quick nosh at the New York Deli and Pizza next door and a view of the nightly Movie By The Pool

Spa and Thermal Suite on Rotterdam

The Greenhouse Spa has a full menu of available treatments, from hair styling and manicures to massages and even teeth whitening.   There is also a beautiful thermal suite with heated loungers, numerous shower and steam options, a large hydro-therapy pool and relaxation area.  Access to the thermal suite can be purchased on a daily ($49) or per cruise basis and is not included with regular spa treatments or Spa Cabin bookings.

Fitness and Gym on Rotterdam

With its location on forward Deck 9 overlooking the bow, the Fitness Center offers some of the best views on the ship.  I often extended my elliptical regimen from 30 minutes to a full hour when time permitted, as I found it so much easier to have a vigorous workout while being distracted by the unfolding panoramas of the North Sea and Norwegian fjords. In addition to ellipticals and treadmills, the Fitness Center has free weights and numerous weight machines.  Stretching areas were limited when classes (some complimentary, others for fee) were being offered in the neighbouring cycling and TRX Suspension training rooms. There is also a dedicated jogging track (twelve times around equals a mile) that encircles the sliding glass dome above the Lido Pool on Deck 11, followed by clusters of outdoor workout machines directly aft.

Pools and Hot Tubs on Rotterdam

Rotterdam has two main pools, the large family Lido Pool, which is under a sliding glass roof on midships Deck 9 and surrounded by deck chairs, cushioned seating and three whirlpools.  Throughout the day, this pool area tended to be highly trafficked, due to its proximity to the casual eateries, the Gym and Spa and the nightly Movies By The Pool screenings.  With the roof closed, it is basically weatherproof but can also get a bit muggy. Farther aft on Deck 9, the adults-only SeaView Pool is flanked by two whirlpools.  It is open air and thus exposed to winds and rain in inclement weather.  It is also near the SeaView Bar, where smoking is permitted. A large whirlpool is also in the centre of the Retreat cabana complex on Deck 12, where guests can rent out a cabana for full day or duration of cruise basis.  Current rates for a cabana are $55 per day in port and $85 per day at sea with varying full cruise rates (depending on length of cruise).  In addition to the privacy of a cabana, the following amenities are available:  cushioned loungers and a table, bathrobes and slippers, warm and cold towels, handheld fans, Evian spray, chilled bottled water, fruit basket, healthy breakfast and lunch choices, ice cream, chocolate dipped strawberries, frozen grapes and a glass of sparkling wine each afternoon and discounts on Signature Services at the Greenhouse Spa and Salon on port days.

Sundecks on Rotterdam

Key sunning areas on Rotterdam begin at the very top of the ship on Deck 14, which is sheltered on three sides by tall glass panels.  Despite the protection, it is a bit remote and does get windy when the ship is at sea.  More practical and popular is the Sun Deck on aft Deck 11, which is served by the al fresco Sun Deck Bar and the SeaView pool area on aft Deck 9.  When the ship is full and the weather is good, all of these areas fill up quickly, so plan accordingly.

Services and Wi-Fi on Rotterdam

There are three Wi-Fi packages available on the Rotterdam.  The Social Voyage Package ($14.99 per day for duration of cruise) allows access to Facebook and other social media sites.  The Surf Package ($24.99 per day for duration of cruise) allows internet access and e-mails, web browsing, etc.  The Premium Package ($29.99 per day for duration of cruise) allows audio/video calls and streaming on one device.  On our Norway trips, probably due to the ship often being surrounded by fjords, even the Premium service was spotty and much slower than desired.  Thus, you should be cautious about relying on the provided internet for important Zoom meetings or urgent file transfers.

Overall, there is a great variety of food on Rotterdam, although many of the best options are not included in the fare. Including the Grand Dutch café -- the go-to for specialty coffees and Dutch-themed food -- Rotterdam has ten restaurants and eateries to choose from, four of which are for fee.  The included Dining Room offers both fixed and open seating with varying food quality while room service is among the best available and complimentary, to boot.

Free Restaurants on Rotterdam

Dining Room

Located at the aft end of the ship and arguably one of the most elegant spaces at sea with its ribbed, double-height ceiling boasting a network of colourful glass ceiling fixtures, the Adam Tihany-designed Dining Room was mostly a hit.  For those yearning a delicious sea view, there are plenty of window seats along the starboard and aft portions of the room, although the port side is blocked by the galley.  Breakfast and dinner are served daily and on sea days, lunch is available.  Fixed dining is offered twice per evening (times vary according to itinerary) with As You Wish available for those who prefer open seating.  Service in the Dining Room was usually excellent but at times of high congestion, less so.  The menu offers a choice of five or six starters (salads, soups and appetizers) and mains (with fish, vegetarian, non-dairy and gluten-free options) and five desserts.  Accompanying espresso drinks are now extra ($3.50 for a cappuccino) and there is an “indulge” section with items like lobster and prime rib available for a surcharge.  I was surprised to find breads only available upon request at lunch and just the most basic of rolls (think Pilsbury) at dinner.  All menus have non-dairy, gluten-free, vegetarian and sugar-free selections. Tea, with a nice selection of finger sandwiches and sweets, was served daily in the Dining Room between 3:00 and 4:00 PM.  Definitely get there early if you want a private table — the line usually begins around 2:45.  Due to staffing shortages, service varied during our visits, from prompt to taking up to 25 minutes before the first cup of tea was actually poured.

Lido Buffet

I felt guilty asking the server at the salad bar for “more” of everything in the Lido, but the overall fare there was fresh, well varied and delicious.  Lido favourites are the Distant Lands counter with its Asian selections and the pasta station, where guests can choose the fresh ingredients in their pasta sauces.  There is also a sandwich deli, a carvery and dessert section.  Traffic flow here can get congested during peak hours, so we often took our plates to the “closed” side to enjoy a little more breathing room.

New York Deli and Pizza

We found the staff at New York Deli and Pizza to be among the most cheerful on the ship.  Instead of getting a warmed slice, I heartily recommend ordering a fresh pizza — they’re small — and waiting the extra few minutes.  The salads are great and the sandwiches are made-to-order and feature delicious, freshly baked breads.  Here and in Dive-In, guests place their orders and are provided with a buzzer that will let them know when their order is ready.  New York Deli and Pizza was also a favourite pit stop for complimentary, fresh-popped popcorn on evenings when we wanted to catch the movie by the pool. 

Dive In

While Dive-In is mainly burger fare, the freshly baked brioche buns are spectacular, the ingredients are very fresh and, for vegetarians, there are even Beyond Burger options.

Club Orange

Guests in Pinnacle and Neptune Suites (and those willing to pay for the Club Orange package, which is $35 per person, per day for duration of cruise) have complimentary access to Club Orange, which has the same menu as the Dining Room, plus a daily special.  Club Orange occupies what was originally the Test Kitchen on aft Deck 2 on sister ships Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam and has a low-key vibe with subdued lighting, better breads and more dedicated, less rushed service than the Main Dining Room.   

Grand Dutch Café

Despite the tantalizing views from Explorations Cafe, the espresso drinks in the Grand Dutch Cafe seemed to be even tastier, or as the Dutch would say, “meer lekker”.  Overlooking the atrium and festooned in Delft-tile-inspired blue and white with classic “Dutch House” facades as a backdrop, the Grand Dutch has tabletops boasting charming prow-shaped flower vases.  This became our ritual morning hangout with its huge bran muffins and delicious yoghurt parfaits made with fresh berries and Greek yoghurt to accompany our cappuccinos.  Served in Delft cups atop silver trays with a Dutch speculaas cookie and chilled water in a small but artful glass, the cappuccinos and other espresso drinks (also available with soy or almond milk) here can’t be beaten.  Throughout the day and evening, for those with a penchant for Dutch treats, there are complimentary offerings like pea soup with bacon, as well as sweet and savoury waffle dishes that proved especially popular on our recent back-to-back cruises from Amsterdam. 

Room Service

We could set our watches by the punctual and friendly room service and delighted in the regular breakfast options like piping hot goat cheese frittatas (served atop a hot plate).  Unlike most ships, even the included coffee is good and there are no delivery charges.

What Restaurants Cost Extra on Rotterdam

Tamarind, $$$

Frankly, we could have eaten at Tamarind every night on both cruises and still not gotten enough of its authentic pan-Asian food, ambience and doting service.  This restaurant is exclusive to the Signature and Pinnacle Class ships in the HAL fleet and should be expanded to the Vista Class.  The views here are breathtaking, overlooking the aft pool and ship’s wake from Deck 10. Favourites are crispy Shiitake and Tofu Spring Rolls, Tom Kha Kai (chicken coconut soup) and Panang Red Curry Coconut Chicken (which is spiced to preference — we asked for extra spicy and were impressed that it actually was!) and Mongolian Barbecue Lamb Chops.  Sides include Asian eggplant (one serving is just not enough, so order two if you are “over the moon” for aubergines), Dungeness crab fried rice and so much more.

The Pinnacle Grill, $$$:

Directly off the atrium on port Deck 2, the Pinnacle Grill is one of the most popular eateries in the HAL fleet, offering up steakhouse favourites, from starters like Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes and David Burke’s Clothesline Candied Bacon to mains like Petite Filet Mignon, New York Strip and Boneless Rib Eye (and for an extra $40, the massive Tomahawk Bone-In Rib Eye — think the one from the Flintstones’ drive-in that tips the car over).  There is an Heirloom Tomato and Eggplant Tarte Tatin, Lobster, a choice of fish entrées and a Jidori Chicken Breast for those seeking more than just turf on their plate.  Chef Jacques Torres chocolate souffle headlines a selection of decadent desserts here. 

Rudi’s Sel De Mer, $$$:

Sharing a galley with the Pinnacle on Deck 2, Rudi’s Sel De Mer features a menu and charger plates designed by Holland America’s executive chef Rudi Sodamin that are adorned with “food faces” to set the stage for a fanciful dining event.  Meals here begin with delicious baguettes served with a choice of butter, tapenades and other spreads, the Hot Smoked Salmon starter (served under a dome that when whisked away, unleashes a cloud of smoke that would make Lily Munster swoon), Rack of Lamb, Duck A L’Orange, Whole Lobster and various seafood entrées, including a spectacular Whole Dover Sole Meuniere that is de-boned tableside.  Desserts are equally indulgent and include Crepes Suzette, a rich Apple Tarte Tatin and so much more.  Allow at least two hours in both the Pinnacle and Rudi’s — these are not the “go-tos” for a quick bite before the show.

Canaletto, $$:

This Italian eatery is tucked away in the forward starboard corner of the Lido and offers up a selection of favourites, from an antipasto plate to a huge bowl of Minestrone, Lasagna Bolognese, Branzino Alla Siciilana, an authentic Pasta Genovese with basil pesto and desserts like Tiramisu and a selection of creamy gelati.

Cruise Critic Restaurant Picks on Rotterdam

The ultimate romantic dining experience is Tamarind, especially if you can get a table for two overlooking the pool area.  Rudi’s is probably the most popular eatery and is as much about the setting and epic food presentation as it is about the richly delicious options.  For those looking for a quick and complimentary nosh alternate, the Grand Dutch Cafe is also a great place to people-watch due to its highly trafficked central location on the ship.

Dietary Restrictions on Rotterdam

Menus in all restaurants have non-dairy, gluten free, vegetarian and sugar free selections. In the Dining Room, a separate vegetarian menu is available upon request and can be hit and miss with items like a dull Roasted and Raw Carrot Salad that was more than compensated for with an absolutely delicious Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry entrée.  Gluten free and Kosher menus are available but need to be arranged in advance of the cruise and an Indian menu can be requested the night prior, just to give the chef time to prepare.

Rotterdam’s 1,340 staterooms have a homey yet sophisticated ambience with soothing ash blonde wood tones, contemporary artworks, herring bone patterned carpeting, light blocking curtains, velvet throw pillows, a large flat screen television, a safe and a mini-bar stocked with beverages for purchase.  911 or 68% of the ship’s suites and staterooms have a balcony. Exclusive to the Pinnacle Class ships (Rotterdam, Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam), are 12 Single Ocean Views and 32 Family Ocean Views.  While the Singles are admittedly small, at 127 square feet, they provide an affordable, supplement-free option for single travellers.  The Family Ocean views have a third berth that opens from the ceiling and, taking a cue from Disney, two bathrooms — one with shower and sink and another with bathtub/shower, sink and toilet.

What to Expect in the Rooms on Rotterdam

Like most ships, Rotterdam has a choice of Verandah (balcony) Suites and cabins, Ocean View Cabins with a picture window and Interiors.  All, such as the 228-square-foot Verandah Stateroom we occupied on recent back-to-back Norway cruises, are intelligently designed, with a veritable smorgasbord of electrical outlets that include three American plugs, two European style plugs and one USB port by the desk, plus one American plug and one USB port on each side of the bed(s).  Adjustable bedside reading lights are a thoughtful plus for those who want to enjoy a late read without disturbing their cabin mate.  The closets had ample space for our wardrobes, although the closet doors and bathroom door open into each other, so be careful to coordinate dressing times with your travelling companion to avoid bruised fingers and hands. Full-sized umbrellas and bathrobes are provided for use during the cruise.  Holland America’s popular Mariner's Dream Beds, which are tall enough to accommodate suitcase storage beneath, boast firm and comfortable Euro-Top mattresses and pillows are available in down and foam.  Navigating the television remote was frustrating and not “intuitive” but there was a good variety of television programming and a selection of complimentary movies, old and new.  Provided news outlets, when a signal was available, were BBC, MSNBC and Fox but no CNN.

Suites and Balcony Cabins on Rotterdam

Most guests want their living quarters to have access to fresh air and open vistas of the sea, which Rotterdam provides in spades, with a range of balcony cabins and suites.  For those who don’t mind a bit of extra movement in moderate to rough seas, rooms at the front and back ends of the ship offer spectacular views over the bow and ship’s wake. The ship’s most popular accommodations, 748 Verandah (balcony) staterooms, measure between 228- and 405-square-feet, come with two twins (that convert to a queen) and a small sitting area with a desk.  38 offer Spa amenities (Yoga Mats, ’Elemis Revitalize Me’ toiletries, and special turn-down chocolates) and are located at the top of the ship on forward Deck 10.

104 Vista Suites measure between 260- and 356-square-feet and have floor-to-ceiling windows and an inverted layout with the sitting area off the entrance and a bedroom (with two twins or a queen) that opens onto the verandah.  The bathroom has a shower with a massage head.  Signature and Vista Suite guests are provided with fresh flowers and binoculars for use during the cruise. 14 Signature Suites measure between 393- and 400-square-feet.  They feature floor-to-ceiling windows with a verandah, a sitting area and a bedroom (with two twins that convert to a queen or king), a bathroom with a dual sink vanity, a whirlpool bath with shower and separate shower. 45 Neptune Suites measure between 465- and 502-square-feet and feature full-length windows with a verandah that is twice the length of those in a typical Verandah Stateroom, a large sitting area and a bedroom with two twins that can convert to a king.  There are dual sinks in the bathroom, which can either have a whirlpool bath with a separate shower or just a separate shower.  Pinnacle and Neptune Suite guests have their own coffee/espresso machines, upgraded Elemis amenities, complimentary laundry and dry cleaning, exclusive access to the Neptune concierge lounge and dining at Club Orange.  Other perks exclusive to these top two categories include priority embarkation, tendering and dining/seating requests, in addition to all the amenities provided in lower categories.  The Pinnacle and most Neptune Suites are concentrated on Deck 7 near the Neptune Lounge.

At the top end of the tier, the 1,290-square-foot Pinnacle Suite is like a large apartment with a spacious living room that has a sofa bed, a separate dining room (with a pantry, microwave and refrigerator), a bedroom with a king-sized bed, a sprawling verandah with a private whirlpool and a marble bathroom with whirlpool tub and separate shower, in addition to a guest bathroom with sink and toilet.  Guests in this exclusive abode are provided with a private concierge.

Cabin Bathrooms on Rotterdam

Bathroom lighting is excellent and sink dispensers include Elemis brand soap and moisturizer, while shower dispensers provide Elemis brand shampoo, conditioner and bath gel.  The massage head shower tap controls are intuitive and easy to use and there is a thoughtful bar for ladies to put their feet on when shaving legs.  Solid glass shower doors (versus none or curtains) open into the shower and a clothesline is provided. Most suites have large bathrooms with dual vanities and some have separate whirlpool tubs with shower and/or an additional shower, along with upgraded amenities in Pinnacle and Neptune categories.   

Cabins to Avoid on Rotterdam

Those with motion sickness issues would do best to avoid the farthest forward and top deck accommodations.  That said, on our cruise, there was very little discernible movement, even in moderate to semi-rough seas, thanks to Rotterdam’s size and use of stabilizers.  Due to the ship’s sponson (the ducktail that extends from the stern at the waterline), there is an occasional shudder during certain sea conditions that can be felt in the farthest aft staterooms.  And for those who might be sensitive to noise bleeding through from the Music Walk, it would be best to avoid staterooms on the forward half of Deck 1.

Cruise Critic Cabin Picks

Budget: The most affordable staterooms are 275 Interiors that are located throughout the ship.

Splash: Why not try a Spa Suite or Stateroom located near the Greenhouse Spa?

Splurge: The ultimate room is, of course, the Pinnacle Suite with its own balcony with a whirlpool, a private concierge and all sorts of extra perks.

Family: The Family Ocean View staterooms on Deck 1 are ideal for families, providing an extra berth that descends from the ceiling and two bathrooms.

Deck 12 - Observation Deck
Deck 11 - Sun Deck
Deck 10 - Panorama Deck
Deck 9 - Lido Deck
Deck 8 - Navigation Deck
Deck 7 - Schubert Deck
Deck 6 - Mozart Deck
Deck 5 - Gershwin Deck
Deck 4 - Beethoven Deck
Deck 3 - Promenade Deck
Deck 2 - Plaza Deck
Deck 1 - Main Deck
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