MS Westerdam

MS Westerdam is a Vista Class cruise ship owned by Holland America Line. She is the third ship of the class to be operated by the line, as well as being the third ship to bear the name Westerdam. Her sister ships are MS Oosterdam, MS Zuiderdam, and MS Noordam. The prefixes of the four ships' names represent the four directions of the compass in Dutch.

Westerdam in 2014.
Name: Westerdam
Namesake: Western compass point
Operator: Holland America Line
Port of registry:  Netherlands
Builder: Fincantieri
Yard number: Marghera
Launched: 16 July 2003
Christened: April 2004
In service: 2004 – present
Status: In service
General characteristics (as built)
Class and type: Vista class cruise ship
Tonnage: 81,811 GT
Length: 936 ft (285.3 m)
Beam: 105.8 ft (32.2 m)
Decks: 11 passenger decks
Propulsion: Diesel-electric; ABB Azipods
  • 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph) (maximum)
  • 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph) (service)
Capacity: 1,964 passengers
Crew: 800
General characteristics (following April 2007 refit)
Tonnage: 82,500 GT
Capacity: 1,964 passengers

Christening and configuration

Westerdam was christened on 25 April 2004 in Venice, Italy by Dutch actress Renée Soutendijk.[1] As with all Vista-class ships, Westerdam is equipped with a CODAG power plant and an Azipod propulsion system. The theme of her art collection is Dutch heritage in the New World. Paintings of historic Dutch ships, such as Henry Hudson's Halve Maen (Half Moon), and various sculptures and statues are displayed throughout the ship. Contemporary pieces include an original Andy Warhol portrait and sculptures by Sedona artist Susanna Holt.[2] In an April 2007 refit 34 cabins were added as well as modifications to several public areas of the ship.[3][4]

Incidents and accidents

On 10 May 2011 while maneuvering through Yakutat Bay, south of Kluane National Park, British Columbia, Westerdam struck ice and incurred hull damage 15 feet (4.57 m) below the waterline.[5]

On 28 June 2014, the Westerdam suffered a boiler room fire after leaving the Port of Seattle. There were 2,086 passengers and 798 crew members on board, with no reported injuries. She returned to Seattle and was cleared the next day by the United States Coast Guard to return to sea.[6][7]

On 25 June 2015, a Promech Air de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter carrying a pilot and eight passengers from the Westerdam on a Holland America Line sightseeing excursion over southeastern Alaska crashed into the face of a granite cliff near Ella Lake, 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Ketchikan, killing all nine people on board.[8]

Past Westerdam ships

The first Westerdam sailed for Holland America Line from 1946 to 1965. It was a combined cargo/passenger ship with accommodations for 143 first-class passengers. While being constructed during World War II, this ship was sunk three times before making its maiden voyage. It was bombed and sunk by Allied forces on 27 August 1942 in the shipyard in Rotterdam. The Germans raised the ship in September 1944, but it was quickly sunk by the Dutch underground forces. After being raised a second time, the resistance again sank it on 17 January 1945. The ship was finally completed and operated on the transatlantic run making two eight-day crossings each month between Rotterdam and New York.[9] She ended her career on 4 February 1965 when she was sold to Spain as scrap.[10]

The second Westerdam began service as Homeric for Home Lines in 1986. Holland America Line acquired the ship in 1988 where the ship was lengthened in 1989 by 130 feet. After 643 cruises spanning over 13 years with Holland America, she was transferred to sister company, Costa Crociere in 2002, and renamed Costa Europa.[9] Since then she has been placed on a ten-year lease to Thomson Cruises, active as of April 2010, and renamed once more as MS Thomson Dream.


  1. "Holland America Names Dutch Actress Renée Soutendijk As Godmother To MS Westerdam". News release. Holland America Lines. 9 April 2004. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
  2. "MS Westerdam". Holland America Line.
  3. "Holland America Line's Investment in Signature of Excellence Surpasses $425 Million". News release. Holland America Line. 1 November 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
  4. "Fast Fact Sheet – MS Westerdam" (PDF). Holland America Line. September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
  5. Associated Press (11 May 2011). "Cruise ship hits fixed ice; some damage but hull not breached". The Anchorage Daily News. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  6. Reuters (30 June 2014). "Boiler Room Fire Forces Cruise Ship Back to Port". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  7. Associated Press (29 June 2014). "Boiler room fire forces cruise ship back to port". New York Post. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  8. Varandani, Suman, "Alaska Plane Crash: 9 People Killed After Sightseeing Plane Carrying Cruise Ship Passengers Crashes,", June 26, 2015, 12:27 AM EDT.
  9. "What's in a Name: Vista Ships Reflect Tradition" (PDF). Holland America Lines. January 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2008.
  10. "The History of Holland America's Westerdam Ships". ships of the past. Retrieved 1 April 2010.

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