The ss Rotterdam lies in a harbour basin. The former passenger ship is now a hotel, restaurant, event venue and museum.
It was crystal clear that we had to capture (aka visit) and explore the ship. But before, we wanted to find out why the ship has the “ss” in her name. The internet had the answer, “ss” stands for steamship.
Some information about the ss Rotterdam
The ship was built in a dock in Rotterdam and christened in 1958. Its maiden voyage was in 1959, to New York. After that, the ss Rotterdam was used as an ocean liner between Rotterdam and New York for many years. She is the largest passenger ship that was ever built in the Netherlands.
As the popularity of aviation rose the need for ocean liners between Rotterdam and New York disappeared. The ss Rotterdam was then used as a cruise ship in different locations. Most frequently she travelled to the Caribbean and Alaska.
But in 2000 her days as a cruise ship were over as well. The ss Rotterdam was at anchor unused for many years.
After elaborate refurbishment, the ship was once again fit for visitors in 2009. A hotel with 250 cabins was created as well as conference rooms, an escape room, a restaurant and a museum.
On a discovery tour with an audioguide
The start of our tour didn’t exactly go smoothly. We stood at the jetty and stared at the two entrances. One looked like the entrance to the hotel, the other one like the door to the escape game. Which one should we pick…
Luckily, we were spotted by a crew member who greeted us and guided us to the correct entrance.
Once on board, we were told to head upstairs and look for the souvenir shop. This is where the tour would start.
So we made our way up the pompous stairs of the ship and purchased our tickets in the shop.
We read up on the tour beforehand and picked the audio guide tour, which does not include the engine room. According to the internet, this tour last about an hour. It was the right choice for us as even with the shorter tour we spent more than two hours on the ship.
To support our discovery tour of the ship we have our audio guide, many helpful signs and, at some stops, also museum staff. They pointed out where to head to next and they also presented the stops that weren’t included in the audio guide. We were lucky that we visited on a day with no events taking place on the ship. With events on we would not have been able to access some of the rooms. But with no events on a member of staff guided us through those rooms. These were the moments that made the tour of the ship special. The many shared anecdotes, the attention to detail and the profound knowledge around the ship really brought the experience to life for us. It complimented the very informative audio guide perfectly with its personal and emotional touch.
We started our tour on the inside of the ship.
First, we explored the many bars onboard the ship. A museum employee told us that all the details in these rooms are reconstructions of the original interior design. With the help of old pictures, documents and collected stories it was possible to recreate some rooms the way they looked in the past. I really liked the big and heavy leather armchairs. I’d fancy one of those for my home.
We also get to see other rooms like the theatre, the smoker’s lounge and the bar in the first class. Every area has a different style and its very own charm.
This is exactly how I envisioned life on board: classy, stylish, distinguished – this is pure nostalgia for me. I would have loved to travel on this ship.
It is very impressive that some artists created pieces specifically for this ship. Big and small pieces of art can be found all over the ship and they contribute to the elegant design.
The museum employees tell us a lot about life on the ss Rotterdam. Sometimes they sound almost emotional as some of them used to travel the ocean on this ship.
A tour of the ss Rotterdam’s deck
After we had seen some of the interiors, the audioguide took us outside to the deck of the ship. We get to see the bow of the ship. This is one of the places that are usually only open for the crew.
The visit to the bridge of the ship is fascinating. It shows a little glimpse into the work of the crew on the bridge and we also got to see the officer’s common rooms.
Via the sun promenade we get to the sports deck. Here, just as for the common rooms below deck, there is one deck for the passengers of the first class and one deck for the other passengers. Sports that the passengers entertained themselves with back in the day were for example hoopla, chess or shuffleboard.
At the stern of the ship, we see the new restaurant and bar area. Tables are grouped around a pool and this is an excellent spot to end the tour of the ss Rotterdam.
3e Katendrechtsehoofd 25
Take the metro lines D or E and alight at Rijnhaven, from there it is a 20-minute walk or a bus ride on bus 77 to the ship.
There are some parking spaces around the ship.
The ss Rotterdam is a stop on the water taxi line.
daily 10.00 – 17.00
Sea Breeze Deluxe Tour (duration 1h)
Steam & Chrome Tour (duration 1h)
The complete tour (duration 2h)