An Introduction to the Ships and Classes of the HAL Fleet

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#1
Long Island, NY, USA
3,779 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
One of the most common questions we get on these boards, particularly from new members, is about the different "classes" of HAL ships - the Vista-class, S-class, and so on. Naturally, everyone wants to know which ships are in each class, and what the differences are.

With that in mind, I decided to post this "sticky" post explaining the different "classes". I hope this clarifies the situation.

Now, let's meet the different HAL ships, starting with the smallest and oldest:

PRINSENDAM


PRINSENDAM - Built 1988 - 37,983 Gross Tons - 793 passengers

The smallest and oldest HAL ship, she is in a class by herself. She generally does the longest and most expensive cruises. She is the only HAL ship not built for the line, she was built in 1988 as the ROYAL VIKING SUN, became SEABOURN SUN in 2000 and then PRINSENDAM in 2002. Among things that separate her from the rest of the HAL ships - she does not have a two-deck dining room or main lounge, an indoor/outdoor pool, or dedicated children's facilities. Her smaller, more intimate size and off-the-beaten path itineraries are appreciated by her increasingly loyal following.

S-class

STATENDAM - 1993 - 55,810 GT - 1,251 pax
MAASDAM - 1993 - 55,451 GT - 1,251 pax
RYNDAM - 1994 - 55,819 GT - 1,251 pax
VEENDAM - 1996 - 55,451 GT - 1,251 pax

These four ships are the "backbone" of the HAL fleet. They are virtually identical except for color schemes and artwork. They were the first new HAL cruise ships to have features like the atrium, the two-deck high dining room and main lounge, and the indoor/outdoor Lido pool. These very versatile ships have done everything from 7-day Caribbean and Alaska cruises to full World Cruises. Recently they have been upgraded with features like the Pinnacle Grill alternative restaurant and the Neptune Lounge concierge lounge (for suite passengers).

R-class

ROTTERDAM - 1997 - 59,652 GT - 1,316 pax
VOLENDAM - 1998 - 60,906 GT - 1,440 pax
ZAANDAM - 1999 - 61,396 GT - 1,440 pax
AMSTERDAM - 2000 - 61,484 GT - 1,380 pax

The R-class ships are very similar to the S-class, but a bit longer and wider. Unlike the S-class, they are not all identical. The first of the four was ROTTERDAM. Specially designed for longer cruises, she is the fastest ship in the fleet. She also introduced new features like an alternative restaurant, concierge lounge, and Internet Cafe (all since retrofitted to the older ships as well). VOLENDAM and ZAANDAM followed; they are similar to ROTTERDAM but slower (the same speed as the S-class ships) and are a bit larger because the aft pool was moved up one deck, creating more indoor space on the deck below. Unlike ROTTERDAM, they were designed for yeoman duty in the Caribbean and Alaska though they also are suitable for longer cruises. Like the S-class ships, only decor separates these twins. The final R-class ship, like AMSTERDAM, like a hybrid of ROTTERDAM and VOLENDAM/ZAANDAM. She is faster than VOLENDAM or ZAANDAM but not as fast as ROTTERDAM. Like ROTTERDAM, she was built specially for longer voyages. ROTTERDAM and AMSTERDAM, together, are considered HAL's "flagships" and along with PRINSENDAM they usually do the longest and most prestigious cruises - the World Cruise along with the various Grand Voyages.

Vista-class

ZUIDERDAM - 2002 - 81,769 GT - 1,848 pax
OOSTERDAM - 2003 - 81,769 GT - 1,848 pax
WESTERDAM - 2004 - 81,811 GT - 1,848 pax
NOORDAM - 2006 - 82,318 GT - 1,918 pax

These are the biggest and newest HAL ships currently in service. They were designed mainly for shorter (less than two weeks) cruises in the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe. Like the S-class, they represented a departure from previous HAL ships in size and design. While bigger than HAL's other ships, they are still much smaller than some competitors' ships which are now sometimes bigger than 150,000 GT and can carry over 3,500 passengers (Royal Caribbean have now ordered a ship that will be 220,000 GT and carry over 5,000 passengers). These ships are notable because of the exceptionally high number of private balconies - over two-thirds of cabins have them. They are called the Vista-class because they are named after the points of the compass in Dutch - Zuid (South), Oost (East), West, and Noord (North). The first three are identical; NOORDAM incorporates a few design changes which make her larger and have a slightly higher passenger capacity.

Signature-class

This will be two (or more) ships which will be larger, improved versions of the Vista-class, much as the R-class can be considered improved versions of the S-class. Right now there are few details but they will probably be about 90,000 GT with a passenger capacity of about 2,000.
#2
Lincoln CA USA, 95648
12,739 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Good informative post, which should help some people answer their own questions.
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Michael
#3
25,520 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Doug, Thanks for the write up of explaining the ships. Nicely explained and should answer questions for new HAL cruisers.
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Lisa
Prestige Cruises
HAL
NCL Latitudes Tier Level: Platinum

1.RCI Monarch Mar 2002 W.Carib,2.HAL ZUIDM Apr 2003 E Carib,3.RCI Monarch Dec 2003 Mex,4.HAL Oosterdam May 2004 Alaska,5.HAL Ryndam Nov 2004 Sea of Cortez,6.HAL MS Westerndam Mar 2005 W Carib,7. HAL Maasdam NE/Ca July 2005,8. HAL Oosterdam Oct 2005 Mex,9.HAL Oosterdam Feb 2006 Mex,10.HAL Ryndam May 2006 Alaska,11.HAL Veendam Sept 2006 Pac Coastal,12.HAL Zaandam Nov 2006 10 day Mex,13.HAL Oosterdam 30th Anniversary Mar 2007 Mex,14.HAL Noordam Alaska June 2007,15.HAL Noordam Alaska Sept 2007, 16HAL Oosterdam Dec 2007 Mex, 17.HAL Oosterdam Feb 2008, 18. HAL Amsterdam Alaska June 2008 19. HAL Oosterdam Mex Oct 2008 20. HAL Eurodam E Carib Dec.2009 B2B w/ 21. HAL Eurodam Christmas S Carib Dec 2008 22. February 2009 HAL Oosterdam Yum Yum Man Worshippers II Mex 23. April 2009 HAL Statendam Panama Canal 24. HAL Westerdam Alaska June 2009 25. NCL Star Nov.2009 26. PCL Crown Princess W.Carib Jan. 2010 27. NCL Pearl Pac Coastal April 2010 28. Cel Solstice W Carib Sept 2010 29.RCI Mariner Mex Nov 2010 30. HAL Nieuw Amsterdam E Carib Mar 2011 31. HAL Westerdam Alaska May 2011 32.HAL Oosterdam Hawaii Oct 2011 33.HAL Westerdam S. Carib Mar 2012 34. HAL Zuiderdam Pac Coastal May 2012 35. HAL Zuiderdam Alaska May 2012 36. NCL Dawn W. Carib Nov. 2012 37. HAL Zuiderdam Pac Coastal May 2013 38. HAL Zuiderdam Alaska May 2013 39. HAL Veendam Mex Dec 2013 40. NCL Jewel W Carib March 2014 41. NCL Jewel W Carib Nov 2014, 42. HAL Volendam Alaska May 2015, 43. NCL Jewel Mexico Nov 2015 44. HAL Koningsdam Inaugural April 2016, 45.HAL Westerdam Oct. 2016 Mexico 46. NCL Dawn W Carib Mar 2017

Up Coming Cruises
PCL Diamond Oct 2017 Circle Island Japan
HAL Oosterdam Yum Yum Man 10 yr Reunion Feb. 2018
NCL Bliss Sept 2018 - Alaska on NCL's Newest Ship
#4
Tarzana (San Fernando Valley), CA
4,764 Posts
Joined May 2000
To add to Doug's summary, here are photos of examples of each class.

Prinsendam:




S-Class (Statendam):




R Class (Rotterdam):



Vista Class (Zuiderdam):

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Host Walt
(Walt Tuthill)
Cruise Critic Message Board Host

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#5
106,657 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Wonderful write-up. Love the pictures.

Great job guys.
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Cruising is a wonderful way to enjoy retirement!
Stopped counting a few years ago -- have done over 140 cruises.
#8
Naples, FL
2,895 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Very clear and concise! Thanks for the info, Doug, and Walt's pictures are a nice addition. This really does deserve Sticky Status.
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Grumpy
Past Cruises:
3/92 American Hawaii Independence 7 day Circle Hawaii
8/97 Rhapsody of the Seas 10 day Alaska
9/02 Celebrity Constellation 12 day Western Mediterranean
11/04 Carnival Fascination 3 day Bahamas
1/4/05 Prinsendam 113 day Grand World Voyage
6/10/06 Rotterdam 12 day Northern Europe
8/19/06 Noordam 10 day Western Mediterranean
8/30/06 Prinsendam 16 day Eastern Mediterranean
10/29/06 Westerdam 7 day Eastern Caribbean
06/23/07 Maasdam 7 day New England/Canada
08/19/07 Westerdam 10 day Eastern Mediterranean
1/03/08 Prinsendam 68 day Circle S America/Antarctica
7/02/08 Eurodam 3 day Inaugural
7/05/08 Eurodam 10 day Northern Europe
3/11/09 Prinsendam 50 day Med/Black Sea
6/12/09 Eurodam 10 day Northern Europe
8/28/10 Prinsendam 29 day Circle British Isles, Atlantic Coast, Western Mediterranean
9/26/10 Prinsendam 14 dy Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Eastern Mediterranean
3/18/13 Maasdam 14 day Southern Caribbean
2/13/16 Westerdam 7 day Eastern Caribbean

Future Cruises:
12/9/16 Rotterdam 10 day Eastern Caribbean
2/19/17 Celebrity Silouhette 7 day Western Caribbean
Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.
#9
North Carolina
43 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
As usual excellent information Doug, especially valuable to a first time HAL cruiser (only 30 more days) like me!

AAL
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Amsterdam Baltic Sea June 2006
Carnival Victory Western Caribbean 2004
Renaissance V Athens to Rome 1995

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#10
3,664 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Thank you Hosts Doug and Walt....I am new to HAL and contemplating my first cruise on Westerdam next year. This really answered my questions about the differences in classes of ships, something I've never really found elsewhere. Appreciate it...cheers, Penny
#11
Tarzana (San Fernando Valley), CA
4,764 Posts
Joined May 2000
There is a lot more information about Holland America (and other cruise lines) in other sections of Cruise Critic.

In "Reviews," for example, there's a global description of Holland America and it's ships and why they are named the way they are. Click: About Holland America

A snip from the referenced article:

...First up -- and garnering the lion's share of hype -- is the company's ultra-contemporary Vista class of vessels. The first in the 85,000-ton, 1,848-passenger Vista class of ships was the Zuiderdam, which entered service in 2003. The Oosterdam debuted in 2003, followed by Westerdam April 2004.

Highlights of the Vista class include ocean views in 85 percent of the staterooms, and verandahs in 65 percent of the staterooms. The ships also feature nifty, glass-walled exterior elevators that ascend up 10 decks and provide fabulous panoramic views. The alternative restaurant, spa, entertainment lounge, penthouse verandah suites and Internet cafe on the Vista class ships are the largest in the Holland America fleet. There are extensive Club HAL children's play facilities on all Vista class ships, and each stateroom is equipped with a data port connection...
You can also read reader reviews of all HAL ships in the Reviews section.
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To contact me, [email protected]
#13
Tarzana (San Fernando Valley), CA
4,764 Posts
Joined May 2000
Here's Copper10-8's pronunciation guide from that link...

... the Dutch have accents and even dialects depending on what part of the country they're from so you might get a different pronounciation from someone from the province of Friesland (the far north), Amsterdam in the province of Noord Holland in the west and/or the southern provinces of Brabant and Limburg. Even the inhabitants of the three big cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Den Haag (the Hague) have their own accents.

Prinsendam "Princen-dam" as in "Prince"

Statendam "St-ah-ten-dam" as in "say Aah"
Maasdam "Maahs-dam" as in "say Ahh"
Ryndam "Rhine-dam"
Veendam "Veyn-dam" as in "hey"
Rotterdam "Rott-ehr-dam" as in Rotweiler
Amsterdam "Ahm-ster-dam"
Volendam "Vohl-en-dam" as in "Foal"
Zaandam "Zahn-dam" as in "say Aah"
Zuiderdam "Zey-der-dam"
Oosterdam "Oasterdam" as in Toast but drop the "T"
Westerdam "West-ehr-dam"
Noordam "Nor-dam" as in More
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Cruise Critic Message Board Host

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#15
Victoria, Canada
418 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
On the Vista-Class ships, can you walk on the forward section of the bow at any time? are there restrictions? Can you even get there?
#16
Sunny Eastern, WA - Wheat and Wine Country!
655 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Can you walk on the bow of the Zaandam?

Are there refridgerators in the cabins of the Zanndam?

First time on HAL.
Thanks for the great info!
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UPCOMING CRUISES!
HAL Westerdam Alaskan Cruise


Memories at Sea!!
Started cruising June 2000 - 9 cruises with Celebrity, 9 with Holland America, 1 with Princess, 2 with NCL, 1 with RCCL 22 cruises later...there is no such thing as a bad cruise!
#17
7,070 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Thank you for this post. Having cruised first on Oosterdam a year or so ago and then on Volendam a couple of weeks ago, I am so happy to have these comparisons all in one place!!
#18
Granada Hills, CA, USA
199 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Originally posted by Host Doug
One of the most common questions we get on these boards, particularly from new members, is about the different "classes" of HAL ships - the Vista-class, S-class, and so on. Naturally, everyone wants to know which ships are in each class, and what the differences are.

With that in mind, I decided to post this "sticky" post explaining the different "classes". I hope this clarifies the situation.

Now, let's meet the different HAL ships, starting with the smallest and oldest:

PRINSENDAM


PRINSENDAM - Built 1988 - 37,983 Gross Tons - 793 passengers

The smallest and oldest HAL ship, she is in a class by herself. She generally does the longest and most expensive cruises. She is the only HAL ship not built for the line, she was built in 1988 as the ROYAL VIKING SUN, became SEABOURN SUN in 2000 and then PRINSENDAM in 2002. Among things that separate her from the rest of the HAL ships - she does not have a two-deck dining room or main lounge, an indoor/outdoor pool, or dedicated children's facilities. Her smaller, more intimate size and off-the-beaten path itineraries are appreciated by her increasingly loyal following.

S-class

STATENDAM - 1993 - 55,810 GT - 1,251 pax
MAASDAM - 1993 - 55,451 GT - 1,251 pax
RYNDAM - 1994 - 55,819 GT - 1,251 pax
VEENDAM - 1996 - 55,451 GT - 1,251 pax

These four ships are the "backbone" of the HAL fleet. They are virtually identical except for color schemes and artwork. They were the first new HAL cruise ships to have features like the atrium, the two-deck high dining room and main lounge, and the indoor/outdoor Lido pool. These very versatile ships have done everything from 7-day Caribbean and Alaska cruises to full World Cruises. Recently they have been upgraded with features like the Pinnacle Grill alternative restaurant and the Neptune Lounge concierge lounge (for suite passengers).

R-class

ROTTERDAM - 1997 - 59,652 GT - 1,316 pax
VOLENDAM - 1998 - 60,906 GT - 1,440 pax
ZAANDAM - 1999 - 61,396 GT - 1,440 pax
AMSTERDAM - 2000 - 61,484 GT - 1,380 pax

The R-class ships are very similar to the S-class, but a bit longer and wider. Unlike the S-class, they are not all identical. The first of the four was ROTTERDAM. Specially designed for longer cruises, she is the fastest ship in the fleet. She also introduced new features like an alternative restaurant, concierge lounge, and Internet Cafe (all since retrofitted to the older ships as well). VOLENDAM and ZAANDAM followed; they are similar to ROTTERDAM but slower (the same speed as the S-class ships) and are a bit larger because the aft pool was moved up one deck, creating more indoor space on the deck below. Unlike ROTTERDAM, they were designed for yeoman duty in the Caribbean and Alaska though they also are suitable for longer cruises. Like the S-class ships, only decor separates these twins. The final R-class ship, like AMSTERDAM, like a hybrid of ROTTERDAM and VOLENDAM/ZAANDAM. She is faster than VOLENDAM or ZAANDAM but not as fast as ROTTERDAM. Like ROTTERDAM, she was built specially for longer voyages. ROTTERDAM and AMSTERDAM, together, are considered HAL's "flagships" and along with PRINSENDAM they usually do the longest and most prestigious cruises - the World Cruise along with the various Grand Voyages.

Vista-class

ZUIDERDAM - 2002 - 81,769 GT - 1,848 pax
OOSTERDAM - 2003 - 81,769 GT - 1,848 pax
WESTERDAM - 2004 - 81,811 GT - 1,848 pax
NOORDAM - 2006 - 82,318 GT - 1,918 pax

These are the biggest and newest HAL ships currently in service. They were designed mainly for shorter (less than two weeks) cruises in the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe. Like the S-class, they represented a departure from previous HAL ships in size and design. While bigger than HAL's other ships, they are still much smaller than some competitors' ships which are now sometimes bigger than 150,000 GT and can carry over 3,500 passengers (Royal Caribbean have now ordered a ship that will be 220,000 GT and carry over 5,000 passengers). These ships are notable because of the exceptionally high number of private balconies - over two-thirds of cabins have them. They are called the Vista-class because they are named after the points of the compass in Dutch - Zuid (South), Oost (East), West, and Noord (North). The first three are identical; NOORDAM incorporates a few design changes which make her larger and have a slightly higher passenger capacity.

Signature-class

This will be two (or more) ships which will be larger, improved versions of the Vista-class, much as the R-class can be considered improved versions of the S-class. Right now there are few details but they will probably be about 90,000 GT with a passenger capacity of about 2,000.
Doug, thanks ever so much for a very informative article. We've sailed on the Amsterdam and have two bookings on the Zaandam. I've been wondering what class the Zaandam was and now I know. I was going to be researching the information shortly and you saved me lots of time and trouble. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU!!!!
#20
Roselle, IL
12,996 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
This was a great sticky. Even I learned a few things by reading them. I like all the Dam ships that I have been on especially the following three:
Statendam, Rotterdam, Volendam.

FYI I have been on all the "S" class ships, in the "R" I have been on the Rotterdam and Volendam. Hopefully I will soon be on the Zaandam. I have been on two VISTA ships so far" The Zuiderdam and the OOSTERDAM. I have been on two ships no longer in service: Nieuw Amsterdam and the old Westerdam ( Originally the Homeric.)