SS Rotterdam – Success or Failure?

Many of you will be aware this former flagship of Holland America Line is now a static hotel and conference centre in the city of its birth. Despite major problems and expenses causing umpteen delays, she arrived to a huge welcome on the 4th August 2008. It was my dad’s birthday and, as a ship lover, he was delighted! She opened in February 2010 but, due to three different companies operating the vessel, many visitors have not returned. When I was there a year ago (19th-21st June 2010) before boarding Norwegian Epic to come home, it was VERY frustrating to find virtually all public areas locked. There was the deck, Lido, Ocean Bar, shop with rubbish in and pre-booked Club Room charging ridiculous prices available to paying guests. To visit the bridge and engine room you had to pay extra like a day visitor. I was paying €230, which was SUPPOSED to include breakfast only they goofed that one up. I’d also been overcharged for the second night, which they refunded in cash, so why should I pay more? Even those who paid for a day visit found they were unable to see most things. The hotel side was run by one company, shop another, ship another and none cooperated for the good of a return on their millions of euros investment. Is it any wonder that in 2011 it was announced the project had resulted in losses? The truth is, ships as static hotels never works. Queen Mary in Long Beach is the perfect example. Okay, so her original owners made major blunders, but each one subsequently has lost money. The fact she’s still there now is down to her charmed life rather than popularity. Ships are a minority interest which is why it is stupid to save them. While countless millions of all nationalities like to cruise, when one goes they move onto the next with little or no interest in seeing their former ship as a hotel. Once the initial novelty has worn off, there aren’t enough interested people in the world to make it a success. Rotterdam was how to do it properly yet it’s still failing and, according to my friend Ben van Ziejl, up for sale. If Nakheel’s plans in Dubai had gone ahead, QE2 would also have ultimately failed regardless of whether they left her as she was or wrecked her so she wouldn’t be what we’d we’d all known and loved. And why? Because given the choice between a posh hotel or an old ship, most of the general public, which who they’re aiming at, would opt for the former. And it wouldn’t make any difference where she was, the same applies. She would fail. Static hotels only delay the inevitable scrapping whilst losing the owners a fortune in the interim. Ships come, ships go, just as it’s been for centuries. And while it’s nice to enjoy them a bit longer, you just have to be realistic.

SS Rotterdam 21st June 2010

SS Rotterdam 21st June 2010

SS Rotterdam from Norwegian Epic 21st June 2010

This entry was posted in Cunard, General, Holland America Line, Ship Stalking and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to SS Rotterdam – Success or Failure?

  1. Dirk says:

    Patricia, you really can be cruel telling the truth. Pulling teeth would be nicer than reading your wise words, especially to me…but of course you’re right, which is one reason I shelved all my activities. 😦

  2. crociereuk says:

    Great post, very true, but I will have to make it to Rotterdam, hopefully they will fix these problems!

  3. Pingback: Empty Ships: Aquarama & SS United States | Blog

  4. John Tapp says:

    Why should a static ship be any different from any other hotel/restaurant/store? It’s like any other business, and like other businesses, it needs supplies, maintenance and upkeep. Of course there also needs to be a demand, but for that demand to be met, the businesses have to prove they can provide the food, lodgings, goods, and entertainment for the money that customers are willing to spend. Treat it like it was still an ocean liner, you’re going to be sunk. Treat it more like a hotel/convention center, and you will stand a better chance. You’re not dealing with a seagoing upper crust. You’re dealing with just plain folks.

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