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Page 2 of 8








Page 2 of 8

On Tuesday, July 29th, 2003 at 4:00 PM, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands officially names Oosterdam. The traditional bottle of champagne comes sailing down from a rope that is attached to the bridge of fleet mate and HAL flagship Rotterdam, berthed bow-to- bow with Oosterdam. As soon as the bottle hits Oosterdam's hull, white doves are released, horns blow and the air is filled with confetti. A new ship is officially born! 

During his Keynote Address that evening, Kirk Lanterman, CEO of Holland America (now retired), recalls standing on the bridge of Maasdam when it first sailed into Rotterdam. When asked why there were so many people watching the ship from the shores of the Maas River, the Captain said "They have come to see their ship". And indeed, the Dutch still feel closely connected to Holland America Line, even though the company is headquartered in Seattle and part of the ever-present Carnival Corporation. But all that doesn't really matter; the huge crowds lining the quayside during Oosterdam's christening ceremony prove that.

Confetti everywhere
Fantastic flower display on Oosterdam's pool deck

Berthed bow-to-bow with flagship Rotterdam, Ooster-dam's name is officially unveiled in a glamorous ceremony that includes speeches, blessings, music and a royal godmother. Princess Margriet also named Rotterdam in 1997 and when she has spoken the words "I name this ship Oosterdam", a bottle of champagne comes flying down from the bridge wing of fleet mate Rotterdam

I feel very fortunate being able to witness this event, standing on one of the forward open decks of the brand new Oosterdam, amidst white doves and confetti, deafened by the sound of both ship's horns. It is an unforgettable event! And the party continues once we have changed into our tuxedos. There are more speeches and music in the Vista Lounge, followed by a Gala Dinner. Both events are attended by Princess Margriet, who has changed into a stunning evening gown for the occasion. And when we stand out on deck after dinner to witness the magnificent fireworks light up the skies, it is clear that the city of Rotterdam has not forgotten Holland America Line. The line could not have chosen a better venue for the introduction of Oosterdam. Happy 130th birthday Holland America Line!

Oosterdam ready for the naming ceremony, July 29, 2003

Holland America's old headquarters; now Hotel New York
The red carpet is out, the band is in place...

Docked bow-to-bow with flagship Rotterdam

The Holland America flag covering the vessel's name

There she is: Princess Margriet with Kirk Lanterman
The Christening Crowd as seen from Oosterdam
The name revealed!


All photos and text: 2003-2005 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com. Title photo by Kees van Garderen

First published on May 1, 2005

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