In a ceremony rich with history and meaning, Holland America Line has held a dedication ceremony for ms Koningsdam in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands officially blessed the bell and named Koningsdam on board the ship in front of invited dignitaries, cruise guests, travel partners and media.
The celebration began with Her Majesty Queen Máxima performing the ceremonial honours of blessing the ship’s bell in the Lido pool area by pouring a glass of champagne over the bell.
The blessing of the bell is a hallowed Holland America Line tradition when welcoming a new ship to the fleet.
Her Majesty also was the first to sign Koningsdam’s commemorative wall that will become a permanent installation on the ship.
Next, the ship was officially christened during a ceremony in the World Stage theatre when Her Majesty Queen Máxima pulled a rope to trigger the traditional champagne bottle break on Koningsdam’s hull.
Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line president, said: “It’s an honour to have Her Majesty Queen Máxima as the godmother to Koningsdam, and this was a truly special day with Her Majesty delivering the ceremonial traditions of welcoming our newest ship to the fleet.
“As our company was founded in Rotterdam more than 143 years ago, it was fitting to return to our roots for Koningsdam’s royal dedication.”
Thousands of Dutch residents came out throughout the day to join in Holland America Line’s special events.
During its inaugural season in Europe, Koningsdam sails in the Mediterranean and then repositions from Civitavecchia, Italy (the port for Rome), to its summer home port of Amsterdam.
The ship will go on to sail roundtrip Amsterdam itineraries to Norway, the Baltic and Iceland.
Following its Europe season, Koningsdam will homeport at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The ship will sail one cruise to the Bahamas and then a series of Caribbean voyages from November 2016 through March 2017.