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MS Westerdam

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Westerdam in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2015
NamesakeWestern compass point
OperatorHolland America Line
Port of registry Netherlands
Yard numberMarghera
Launched16 July 2003
ChristenedApril 2004
In service2004–present
StatusIn service
General characteristics (as built)
Class and typeVista-class cruise ship
Tonnage81,811 GT
Length936 ft (285.3 m)
Beam105.8 ft (32.2 m)
Decks11 passenger decks
PropulsionDiesel-electric; ABB Azipods
  • 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph) (maximum)
  • 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph) (service)
Capacity1,964 passengers
General characteristics (following April 2007 refit)
Tonnage82,500 GT
Capacity1,964 passengers

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 Oosterdam, Zuiderdam, and Noordam. The beginning of the four ships' names represent the four directions of the compass in Dutch.

Construction and career[edit]

Westerdam at a terminal in Hafen von Piräus
Westerdam at Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 2023

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]

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 (4.6 m) below the waterline.[5]

On 28 June 2014, Westerdam suffered a boiler room[clarification needed] 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 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]

2019–20 coronavirus pandemic[edit]

In February 2020, the cruise ship, departing after a stop in Hong Kong on 1 February, was denied to call in the Philippines, Japan, and Guam over concerns regarding coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.[9][10] After initially receiving approval on 10 February to let the passengers disembark in Thailand, as the ship was heading to Laem Chabang port near Bangkok, permission to dock was refused the next day. However, the ship was still maintaining its course to Bangkok and at around 10:30 am CET on 11 February, Westerdam sailed around the southern tip of Vietnam.[11][12][13] According to Flip Knibbe, a Dutch passenger on the ship, all the passengers have had their temperatures checked a second time. Speaking to NOS on 11 February, Knibbe said "Dit schip is virusvrij": 'This ship is virus free'. Unlike the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which is located in the port of Yokohama in Japan, those on board are not in quarantine. Everyone can move freely, shops and restaurants are open and the entertainment program continues.[13]

On 13 February, the ship was allowed to dock in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.[14] On 15 February, Malaysia reported that an 83-year-old US citizen who disembarked Westerdam and flew into Malaysia on 14 February had tested positive for COVID-19.[15] In a second test, requested both by the Holland America Line and Cambodian authorities, the woman tested positive again.[16] Despite these findings, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen visited the ship, discouraged use of masks, and encouraged the passengers to tour the city, sparking concerns that another spoke was being added to the contagion network.[17]

On 19 February, the last 233 passengers of the Westerdam cruise were cleared to disembark after all tests to determine the infection of COVID-19 in the 781 passengers of Westerdam gave negative results;[18] the 747 crew members remain on board pending a final decision from the owner Holland America Line.[19]

It is thought that about 650 of the guests on board the ship were from the US, 270 from Canada, 130 from the UK, 100 from the Netherlands, 50 from Germany and several passengers from Australia. The crew consisted largely of Indonesians and Filipinos.[20]

Past Westerdam ships[edit]

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.[21] She ended her career on 4 February 1965 when she was sold to Spain as scrap.[22]

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.[21] Since then, she has been placed on a ten-year lease to Thomson Cruises, active as of April 2010, and renamed once more as 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. Archived from the original on 12 November 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2007.
  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. ^ "Cruise ship hits fixed ice; some damage but hull not breached". The Anchorage Daily News. Associated Press. 11 May 2011. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Boiler Room Fire Forces Cruise Ship Back to Port". Chicago Tribune. Reuters. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Boiler room fire forces cruise ship back to port". New York Post. Associated Press. 29 June 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  8. ^ Varandani, Suman, "Alaska Plane Crash: 9 People Killed After Sightseeing Plane Carrying Cruise Ship Passengers Crashes," ibtimes.com, June 26, 2015, 12:27 AM EDT.
  9. ^ "Cruise ship that visited Hong Kong searches for a port after Philippines, Japan deny entry". USA Today. 6 February 2020. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  10. ^ Jerick Sablan (7 February 2020). "Guam denies entry to ship over coronavirus concerns". Pacific Daily News. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  11. ^ "Thailand bars Westerdam cruise ship, China virus toll tops 1,000". Bangkok Post. 11 February 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Thailand refuses entry to cruise ship with no coronavirus cases". Reuters. 11 February 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  13. ^ a b "Nederlanders vast op cruiseschip Westerdam: 'We hebben behoorlijk spijt'". nos.nl (in Dutch). 11 February 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Cruise ship rejected by five ports docks at last". BBC News. 13 February 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Coronavirus: Westerdam cruise passenger infected, Malaysia confirms". South China Morning Post. 15 February 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  16. ^ "American Woman from Cruise Ship Tests Positive Again for Coronavirus in Malaysia". The New York Times. 16 February 2020. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  17. ^ Beech, Hannah (17 February 2020). "Cambodia's Coronavirus Complacency May Exact a Global Toll". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Last passengers leave the cruise ship in Cambodia after discarding COVID-19". La Vanguardia. 19 February 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Updated Statement Regarding Westerdam". hollandamerica. 20 February 2020. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  20. ^ "Coronavirus: How did Cambodia's cruise ship welcome go wrong? - BBC News". BBC News. 20 February 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  21. ^ a b "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.
  22. ^ "The History of Holland America's Westerdam Ships". ships of the past. shipsandcruises.com. Archived from the original on 12 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2010.

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