The ROTTERDAM IV – Holland America Line History

Excellent video on the ROTTERDAM

Cruise and Liner History – The ROTTERDAM IV – Holland America Line History

Harland and Wolff, Belfast built Holland America Line’s ROTTERDAM IV in 1908. She held 530 First, 555 Second and 2,124 Third Class passengers. She was a liner with two funnels, Holland America’s first, 650 feet in length and 77 feet wide. Her registered tonnage was 24,170 and displacement of 37,190 tons. She traveled at an average of 16.5 knots. She was sold in January of 1940 to Dutch breakers.

Pool – Ziegfeld Chorus Girls…

The ROTTERDAM was one the finest, largest and most popular ships crossing the Atlantic and cost about $5,000,000 to build. She became famous because of her exceptionally attractive features, so that many discriminating travelers choose her in preference to many other Atlantic steamer. In luxurious appointments, in extraordinary size of rooms, averaging much larger than on any of our ships on previous Cruises, as well as in her extreme steadiness, almost eliminating seasickness, she was unsurpassed. She had 56 suites and rooms with brass bedsteads and private baths, and over 100 single rooms, together with a beautiful Palm Court, Verandah Cafe, Elevator, Social Hall, Library, 3 Smoke Rooms, a glass enclosed Promenade Deck, electrically forced ventilation of hot and cold air, etc. Most of the outside staterooms had two, and in some cases three, windows or portholes, some being fitted with a device that admits fresh air freely, even when the porthole was closed. One of her most attractive features was an immense Dining Saloon, seating nearly 500 people at small tables, where all of her passengers took their meals, and where an orchestra of artists of high merit played during lunch and dinner, as well as in the Social Hall in the evening.

Deck view in 1910

The cuisine was strictly French and was famous among the most exacting travelers. Meals were served a la carte (not table d’hote), passengers ordered what they like, without extra charge, from an elaborate bill of fare. The stewards and stewardesses on the “Rotterdam” spoke English.

There was a constant round of attractive features: namely, lectures, dances, concerts, progressive euchre or auction bridge and prizes, gymkana games on deck with prizes, meetings of Travelers’ Clubs, of the D.A.R., Masons, Camera Club, Musical Club, etc. Services with musical features and brief sermons by prominent ministers were held on Sundays, except when in port.

The ROTTERDAM IV had the distinction of being one of the earlier ships of the Holland America Line used for pleasure cruising. (The first Holland America cruise was to Copenhagen on the ROTTERDAM II in June 1895 and the second Holland America cruise going to the Holy Land on the STATENDAM in 1910.) She was specially chartered for “Clark’s 16th Annual Cruise to the Mediterranean and the Orient” which would begin on February 16, 1914, leaving New York. It was a tour of 64 or 70 days. The ship was advertised as “sumptuous” with 56 rooms with brass bedsteads and private baths. There were also 150 single rooms and “no overcrowding”. It was first class throughout. For $400 and up, your cruise would include shore excursions, guides, fees, hotels, drives and all necessary expenses. Special features included stops at Madeira, Cadiz, Seville, Athens, Constantinople, 16 days in Palestine and Egypt, and 4 days in Rome, Monte Carlo, as well as other ports of call. You had an optional week in London for $30 or Holland for $20.


About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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