Holland America’s Rotterdam amps up live music: Travel Weekly

The lights were low deep on Deck 2 of Holland America Line’s newest Rotterdam, despite the sun’s reluctance to set. I left dinner in the dining room at the end and wandered into the Rolling Stone Rock room.

I ordered a drink and got comfortable. First up from the live set was “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. Then “Take It Easy” of the Eagles. By the time they got to “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees, the band rocked so hard that a woman’s cosmopolitan was vibrating in her martini glass.

A cover band in the Rolling Stone Rock Room is illuminated by colorful lights during a show. Photo Credit: TW photo by Andrea Zelinski

The long upholstered couch shook beneath me from the bass. Purple, pink and yellow floor lights cast electric hues on the stage, which reflected the lead singer’s black leather dress and the bassist’s themed jacket.

People sang along, the woman with the cosmos danced in her half-moon chair in the front row, and a guy to my right tapped both feet and drummed on his right thigh.

Nearby, on the same deck, BB King’s Blues Club was standing room only with the band putting on the kind of high-energy show I’d expect to find on Beale Street in Memphis as guests swirled around the dance floor. of dancing. Another short distance away from the Billboard Onboard bar area, two pianos were silent after hours of moving people to sway in their seats as dueling pianists tickled the keys of the hits.

This collection of music venues and other entertainment venues is what makes Rotterdam a prime destination for theme cruises and charters, said Rob Coleman, senior director of charter and incentive sales for HAL, while on board in late May .

On a ship with three music venues and other areas that can be repurposed into dedicated event space, the line is leaning toward options for music and dance-focused cruises.

“It’s not just scheduled shows. It really gives people the opportunity to walk around and take part in different experiences over the course of an evening,” he said.

Music is the theme throughout Rotterdam.

Music is the theme throughout Rotterdam. Photo Credit: TW photo by Andrea Zelinski

Musically themed cruises that will take over a HAL ship in the coming year include sounds of the ’50s and ’60s, R&B, spiritual, Irish, Christian and country music, Coleman said.

I can see why. The heart of this 2,668-passenger ship is the Music Walk, home to four genres of music, including blues, rock, billboard and chamber music. BB King’s shares space with Lincoln Center Stage, which offers classical, classical and contemporary music performances.

It’s easy to imagine a blues charter cruise or other music-themed voyage taking over this ship and treating guests to a variety of performers and musical styles on one voyage. I imagine the possibility of a two-step dance cruise or a waltz, followed by swing and salsa.

Each space has a unique vibe, from the dark shades and comfy chairs in BB King’s to the electric lights in the Rolling Stone Rock Room that mentally transported me off the ship and into an intimate concert with a front row seat.

The Lido Pool in Rotterdam has a retractable roof that allows events to span three floors when open.

The Lido Pool in Rotterdam has a retractable roof that allows events to span three floors when open. Photo Credit: TW photo by Andrea Zelinski

Rotterdam, delivered a year ago and named in May, is the third ship in HAL’s Pinnacle Class. While the line’s previous ships have been retrofitted to add music offerings, Rotterdam embodies the evolution of the brand by being built with the Music Walk in mind, Coleman said.

Rotterdam is also a very convertible vessel, making her attractive for charters and other themed trips. Take the Lido Pool area in the center of the ship. By day, people swim in the pool, soak in one of the three hot tubs, or hang out on one of the two decks. But at night, the retractable roof can turn the area into a three-deck event space for people to socialize on the top deck while being connected to activities below, including live music.

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