The MS Rotterdam returned to Plymouth for its 150th anniversary of her namesake’s visit to the port earlier this week.
The Holland America Line’s inaugural passenger liner, SS Rotterdam, called at Britain’s Ocean City in 1872 en route from Rotterdam, Holland to New York. That maiden voyage saw the ship pick up additional passengers and mail at Plymouth before setting sail across the Atlantic.
The latest vessel to bear the Rotterdam name returned a century and a half later to mark the special event, attended by local dignitaries and travel trade representatives from all over Europe, a reception was held on board to celebrate the occasion.
Those present from the city included the Lord Mayor, Cattewater Harbour Master, the King’s Harbour Master, ships agent as well as Destination Plymouth and members of the Plymouth Cruise Partnership, which included Douglas Kerr who is responsible for the friendly welcome the guests receive when they came ashore to the Barbican through his excellent team of Cruise Line Volunteers.
During the event the Master of MS Rotterdam presented a ship’s plaque to the city and, in exchange, the Lord Mayor on behalf of the Harbour Master presented a Plymouth City plaque to the Master.
Captain Richard Allan, CEO and Harbour Master for Cattewater Harbour Commissioners said:
‘It is rewarding to be part of this special occasion for Holland America Line, a visit such as this takes over two years of planning between the Harbour Masters, Pilots, cruise company and ships agent responsible for the visit. This ship is the largest vessel to visit Plymouth since the 1930s, so the planning had to be meticulous. From pilotage, under keel clearance and tides, VTS and security, to ensuring the two thousand guests transited to and from the Barbican safely, and then enjoyed the best of Plymouth’s waterfront and the surrounding area.”
Rotterdam’s visit marks the end of a successful cruise season for Plymouth. The cruise partnership of Destination Plymouth, Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, City Centre Company and Associated British Ports are working together to promote Plymouth as an increasingly popular cruise destination, and ensure visitors to the city see the best of what Plymouth has to offer.