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A look at the SS Volendam and cruise ship tour of the MS Volendam

A look at the SS Volendam and cruise ship tour of the MS Volendam

  • Travel the past: The first SS Volendam served the trans-Atlantic route for Holland America Line HAL from the 1920s until the early 1950s.
  • Travel the now: Peter Kengo, the travel critic, and historian take us on a tour of the third MS Volendam.
  • We link to Peter’s article in USA Today with a complete picture t0ur of Holland America Line’s modern cruise ship.


  • SS Volendam was an ocean liner operated by Holland America Line. She operated on transatlantic routes between Europe and the USA, sailing the Rotterdam – New York and Rotterdam – Halifax (Nova Scotia) service.
    Her overall length was 575 feet (175 m) and her beam was 67.3 feet (20.5 m).


  • She had two funnels and two masts. Four steam turbines-drove twin screws, giving her a speed of 15 knots (28 km/h). Passenger accommodation was divided into three classes and initially configured as 263 in First class, 436 in Second class and 1,200 in Third class.


  • Her maiden voyage started on 4 November 1922 sailing from Rotterdam to New York. In May 1926 she was refitted to carry First, Second, Tourist and Third class passengers, and by April 1930 changed yet again to carry First, Tourist and Third class.


  • Her last Rotterdam – New York voyage commenced 5 April 1940, therefore, she managed to escape before the Netherlands was overrun and surrendered to the Germans May 1940.

The wonderful VOLENDAM…

Cruising the Past: Experience the Holland America Liner Volendam through color home movies shot aboard a crossing in 1937. Bon Voyage!


  • She was among many Allied merchant ships who escaped to Britain rather than be interned in occupied countries in World War II. Together with Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam, she served in the Allied cause. The ship was converted to troop transport and returned to service in July 1941.
  • She was used to ferrying troops to North Africa in 1942 and for the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, returning to North Africa with Italian and German prisoners.
  • In 1944 she transported many US soldiers to northern France and continued until 1945. During this time she had carried over 100,000 troops. Volendam returned to Rotterdam in July 1945, she was partly reconditioned. In August 1945, she carried British troops to Palestine – including the 3rd Battalion of Coldstream Guards. The ship landed at Haifa.
  • In 1946 she carried Dutch troops to what was then the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). In 1947 she was used in the Australia emigrant service and in June 1948 made her first Rotterdam – Quebec sailing for the Netherlands government with capacity for 1,500 single class passengers.
  • In September 1948 she started her first Rotterdam – New York sailing and commenced her last voyage on this route in February 1951.
  • In October 1951 she made her last Rotterdam – Quebec – Rotterdam voyage and in 1952 was scrapped at Hendrik Ido Ambacht.


By Peter Knego – Special to USA Today

At 61,214 gross tons and with a capacity of 1,432 guests, the Volendam is half the size of some of its fellow Holland America Line fleetmates.

  • Built-in 1999 as the third of four Rotterdam-class vessels, the third Volendam may lack some of the bells and whistles of the line’s newer ships but that’s quite OK with its loyal passengers who prefer an intimate, traditional cruising experience.

  • What the handsome ship does provide is plenty of open deck space, two full-sized pools (one topped with an “all weather” sliding glass Magrodome), a teak-lined, fully encircling promenade deck, spacious public areas and a wide variety of cabin accommodations.

Click here to read and see more of Peter’s terrific article, including a wonderful image tour of the VOLENDAM, at USA TODAY.


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