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Live in Venice, Dedication Ceremony of HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam

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On July 2, I fly overseas for my second trip to a shipyard. My first visit was for a keel-laying ceremony in France. This time I am headed to the Fincantieris Marghera shipyard in Italy to board the just completed Nieuw Amsterdam from Holland America Cruise Line.










When boarding a Holland America ship, unlike many other cruise lines, I feel like I have to tip my hat to the long time tradition of Holland America Cruise Line. Unlike a century ago, the hat being tipped is more likely to be a ball-cap than a top-hat, but with no less respect.
While boarding a new ship is always exciting, that excitement is magnified this time because I’ll be there to sail the ship out of the shipyard, and into Venice, Italy, where people along the Grand Canal will get their first peak at the newest Holland America ship.
The launch of the new Nieuw Amsterdam seems like an even more fitting time to recollect the 136 year tradition of Holland America, as this ship’s interior décor, as well as its 3 Million Dollar art collection will “tip its hat” to the glamour and tradition of New York City, which was previously referred to as Nieuw Amsterdam.
This newest ship, to carry the name Nieuw Amsterdam, is actually the 4th ship to be honoured to carry the name. The first Nieuw Amsterdam was launched in 1906, was 17,149 Tons, and carried 2886 passengers. The soon to debut Nieuw Amsterdam IV is 86,000 Tons, with passenger capacity of only 2106 passengers. So 104 years later, the result … a ship 5 times the size of the original, with nearly 25% fewer passengers. And, in the equivalent of today’s dollars, the fare was most likely much higher on the original as well.

I’ll be onboard for only a few short days, disembarking the ship on July 7. However, in that short time I expect to report on as much details as I can. With a day in advance before most people board, I should get a good view of many areas before they’re ever used, and then get a good view of how they come alive with passenger traffic.

Frankly, I often turn down the short 2 or 3 day press trips. To me they mean long flights (even getting to Florida or New York) , and in a short time the writers try to provide all the details, and even evaluate or review a ship; not a simple task, and on occasion the facts can get lost in a rush to judge.

Yet, in this situation I’ve agreed to a 13 hr. travel day – each way-, with transatlantic flights, to spend only 4 nights on the ship.

I’ve happily agreed to accept this assignment because I believe the Nieuw Amsterdam will carry the banner for HAL’s traditional level of sophisticated cruising to an entirely new generation of cruisers, as well as satisfy the standards of more ardent and experienced cruisers.

And , even more importantly, much more so than the recently debuted new builds of the other lines, like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic, on Nieuw Amsterdam at 86,000 Tons, we’re not having to be reminded that we are on a ship, nor are we going to have to climb to the 15th or 16th deck to get a view of the sea!

At any rate, beginning Sat. July 3, I’ll be bring both the blooms and blemishes to my daily reports as the Nieuw Amsterdam makes her way into Venice, through the expected fantastically overly dramatic Christening Ceremony, when Princess Maxima, of the Netherlands, releases the champagne bottle which will break on the bow, and officially declare Nieuw Amsterdam IV in service.

And if Princess Maxima’s key doesn’t work in her cabin door, I’ll be reporting on that! And If I happen to come across a gorgeous Italian women ready to be Mrs. Kuki 2, I’ll be reporting on that as well (though not until I call Mrs Kuki to let her know she’s done).

Daily Reports coming live from Venice!…by the minute, by the hour, by the day you’ll get…

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –


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