Fred Olsen Borealis

Former name: MS Rotterdam (Holland America)

Fred Olsen Borealis current position

Fred Olsen Borealis current location is at North Sea (coordinates 56.02291 N / -3.45588 W) cruising en route to ROSYTH. The AIS position was reported 23 minutes ago.

Current Position

Specifications of Fred Olsen Borealis

Year built1997  /  Age: 23
Flag state Netherlands
BuilderFincantieri (Marghera, Italy)
ClassRotterdam
Building costUSD 400 million
OwnerFred Olsen & Co (Norway)
OperatorFred Olsen Cruise Lines
Speed25 kn / 46 kph / 29 mph
Length (LOA)237 m / 778 ft
Beam (width)32 m / 105 ft
Gross Tonnage61849 gt
Passengers1404 - 1685
Crew620
Passengers-to-space ratio37
Decks10
Cabins702
Decks with cabins5
Last Refurbishment2020
Sister-shipsMS Amsterdam (identical), MS Zaandam, MS Volendam
Former namesMS Rotterdam (Holland America)
Christened byHRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands (MS Rotterdam)
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Fred Olsen Borealis Review

Review of Fred Olsen Borealis

The 1997-launched (as MS Rotterdam) cruise ship MS Borealis is the latest addition to the Fred Olsen Cruise Line's fleet - together with MS Bolette (fka MS Amsterdam). MS Rotterdam was the 1st R-class ship of Holland America Line, with sisterships MS Amsterdam (now Bolette), and also ms Zaandam and ms Volendam.

In July 2020, Carnival Corporation (via HAL-Holland America Line) sold 4 liners. MS Amsterdam (Bolette) and MS Rotterdam (Borealis) were sold to Fred Olsen. MS Maasdam and MS Veendam were sold to an undisclosed buyer (yet to be announced). All scheduled for the 4 ships cruises were cancelled or assumed by other HAL ships.

  • A total of 41x Holland America Rotterdam ship cruises were cancelled (November 8, 2020, through March 12, 2022), including 15-16-day Panama Canal (between Fort Lauderdale and San Diego), 16-day South America (between San Diego and Callao-Lima Peru), 32-day (San Diego to Hawaii, Tahiti Marquesas), 14-21-day Transatlantic repositioning (Fort Lauderdale to Rotterdam Holland), 7-14-21-day Norwegian Fjords from Rotterdam (2021, April 24 through June 26), 16-30-day Transatlantic repositioning (Rotterdam to Boston), 17-day roundtrip Boston to Greenland, Newfoundland and New England (2021, July 26 through August 29), 10-day Canada and New England (between Boston and Montreal, 2021 Sept 15 through Oct 5), 14-day repositioning (Montreal to Fort Lauderdale) and 14-day Panama Canal transition voyages (between Fort Lauderdale and San Diego, 2022 January 15 through March 12).
  • On July 26, following the Suez Canal transition, Rotterdam and Amsterdam anchored off Port Limassol (Cyprus).

Holland America Rotterdam ship (IMO number 9122552) was Holland-flagged (MMSI number 246167000) and registered in Rotterdam Netherlands.

History - construction and ownership

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Ltd is a Norwegian-owned and UK-based cruise shipping company, part of the Fred Olsen Group (Fred Olsen & Co / shipowner, headquartered in Oslo, Norway). The company is headquartered in Ipswich (Suffolk England) and is owned by Bonheur and Ganger Rolf. The company was founded in 1848 (in Hvitsten, Norway) by the three Olsen brothers (Petter, Andras, Fredrik Christian) who bought their first ships and established an international shipping company. Today Fred Olsen Group is into its 5th family generation and operates subsidiary companies specializing in cruise passenger shipping, trade, shipbuilding, aviation, offshore industries.

Holland America MS Rotterdam cruise ship

Fred Olsen Group wholly owns the companies Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Ltd, Fred Olsen Travel Ltd (worldwide tours and vacations via independent operators), Fred Olsen Marine Services AS (shipowner and vessel management), First Olsen Ltd (tanker ships), Dolphin Drilling Holdings Ltd (offshore drilling rigs), Fred Olsen Express (Canary Islands-based fast ferries / catamarans), Fred Olsen Freight Ltd (cargo shipping and air freight), Fred Olsen Windcarrier AS (transport and installation of offshore wind turbines), Fred Olsen Production AS (offshore petroleum production), Fred Olsen Renewables AS, SeaRoc Group Ltd (offshore and marine consultancy and contracting services), ZephIR Lidar UK (wind measurement devices), Ganger Rolf ASA (energy and shipping). Also part of Fred Olsen Group, the company Bonheur ASA manages several fully-owned companies, among which are NHST Media Group AS (newspapers and online media) and the real estate companies Stavenes Byggeselskap, Koksa Eiendom, Fred Olsens gate 2. Part of Fred Olsen Group is also Timex Group BV - parent of several watchmaking companies, including the subsidiaries in the USA, India and Philippines).

The 61,849-ton, 1,320-passenger cruise ship ms Rotterdam debuted in 1997 as the 6th in the line of Holland America flagships and it shows. The first Rotterdam set voyage in 1872, beginning a Holland America tradition and reputation that continued through the new Rotterdam, one of the most beloved vessels. Like her 5 classic ancestors, Rotterdam is more of a throwback to earlier cruise vessels compared to most mega-ships being built after 1995. However, with a maximum cruising speed of twenty-five knots and all of the stylish features expected of a relatively large vessel, the Rotterdam cruise ship successfully straddles the fine line among classic and modern. Size-wise, Rotterdam is solidly in the middle of the Holland America fleet, smaller than the line's Vista and Signature classes and carrying 700 passengers fewer than Eurodam, which is the largest in the lineup. Even on a full voyage, the cruise liner rarely feels crowded, except for the lunch rush at the casual Lido Restaurant on sea days and the irregular, fast-moving line in the La Fontaine basic dining room. Highlights of the Rotterdam cruise ship experience include some of the widest "standard" rooms afloat; a high percentage of outside cabins that feature balconies; upscale alternative dining venues in the Pinnacle Grill; and the Explorations Cafe - a library, Internet cafe and coffee bar wrapped into one popular hangout.

old MS Rotterdam cruise liner

Cruise itinerary program

Holland America MS Rotterdam itinerary program was based on European (Mediterranean and Baltic) and Asian cruises.

Fred Olsen Borealis itineraries went on sale in mid-September 2020. The inaugural cruise program 2021-2022 includes almost exclusively itineraries out of homeport Liverpool England. MS Borealis took on the existing program originally planned for the retired (in August 2020) MS Black Watch, plus 5 new itineraries.

The ship's maiden voyage is a 6-night "Scottish Lochs and Isles", follows a 5-night "Irish Capitals and Scottish Scenery" itinerary, before the liner goes to the Mediterranean, Iceland, Norway and other popular destinations. Program's highlights include:

  • (inaugural cruise) 6-night "Scottish Lochs and Isles" departs from Liverpool (April 23, 2021). Prices start from GBP 600 per person. Ports of call are Liverpool, Belfast, scenic cruising (Loch Torridon, Loch Broom, Loch Eriboll), LerwickKirkwall, Liverpool.
  • 16-night "In Search of Aurora Borealis" (Norway) departs from Liverpool on November 16, 2021. Prices start from GBP 2000 per person. Ports of call are Liverpool, Belfast, Alesund, Arctic Circle crossing, TromsoAltaHammerfestNarvikTrondheim, Liverpool.
  • 14-night "Canaries Christmas and Funchal Fireworks" departs from Liverpool on December 21, 2021. Prices start from GBP 2300 per person. Ports of call are Liverpool, Santa Cruz de TenerifeArrecifeLas Palmas de Gran CanariaSan Sebastian de la GomeraFunchal, Liverpool.

Customers who booked by September 30 (2020) any Fred Olsen Borealis cruises 2021-2022 received free shipboard gratuities and up to GBP 100 per person in OBC (onboard credit).

Cabins

MS Rotterdam has a total of 742 cabins (of which 232 Suites, 39 Balcony, 125 Inside rooms) in 40 grades (including "Lanai"). Most ms Rotterdam staterooms are 140-320-sq.foot oceanview rooms (346). 28% of ship's accommodations have private balcony views. 26 are the wheelchair-accessible rooms. The largest aboard ms Rotterdam are the Pinnacle Suites (1130 ft2). There are also Lanai staterooms (with sliding glass doors to the Promenade deck), Spa cabins (3, CQ oceanview), Spa suites (20, BQ).

Implemented fleetwide in 2019, "Club Orange" program provides exclusive amenities to Suite passengers booked in categories Neptune and Pinnacle. Bonus perks by this program include:

  • priority services (check-in, disembarkation, tendering, dining reservations)
  • 24-hour concierge service (assistance, information, reservations)
  • exclusive dining venue (serving complimentary Pinnacle Grill breakfast and Dining Room dinner, plus exclusive dishes)
  • dedicated Concierge Desk (Guest Services and Tours)
  • room service (a la carte breakfast menu with complimentary gourmet dishes - including smoked salmon, steak and eggs)
  • sparkling wine (embarkation day), Club Orange tote bag, premium bathrobes (cabin use, available for monogramming and purchasing).
  • Club Orange Restaurant is part of the Main Dining Room (designed as separate VIP dining section).

Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks

La Fontaine is ship's 2-level main restaurant venue, which serves open-seating breakfast and lunch, as well as a blend of flexible and set-seating restaurant-style meals at dinner. Breakfast hours in the MDR vary but start as early as 7:00 a.m. on port days and 8:00 a.m. on sea days, wrapping up by 9:30 a.m. Breakfast fare includes bread, cereals, French toast, blueberry pancakes, corned beef hash, egg dishes and yoghurt parfaits. Portions are on the smaller side, so better opt for a second pastry. Lunch in the MDR is typically limited to an hour per day (from noon to 1:00 p.m. on sea days; closed when the ship is in port for an entire day). If you see a line of guests waiting to be seated, do not be deterred as the line moves fast and the tables are plenty. Lunch fare includes sandwiches, soups, light salads, fish and heartier entrees.

Follows the complete list of ms Rotterdam restaurants and food bars.

  • Pinnacle Grill (88-seat reservations-only seafood/steakhouse restaurant with fine wines selection; free for passengers under 12 yo). The venue transforms into "An Evening at le Cirque" once per cruise via a partnership with "NYC Le Cirque" French restaurant.
  • La Fontaine Restaurant (684-seat, aft Dining Room; features open seating Breakfast and Lunch, two Dinner options - 2 fixed seatings or "Any Time" dining between 5:15 p.m. - 9 p.m.
  • King's / Queen's Room (La Fontaine restaurant annexe, reservations-only; for private dining)
  • Terrace Grill (fast food pool bar; complimentary)
  • Lido Restaurant (418-seat complimentary buffet restaurant; offers self-service Breakfast 6:00 a.m. -11 a.m., Lunch 11:30 p.m. - 2 p.m., Afternoon Tea, and Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.)
  • Canaletto Restaurant (Lido Restaurant annexe; operates as an Italian restaurant for Dinner, reservations required)
  • Slice (Italian Pizzeria, poolside).

Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport

On most nights, ms Rotterdam has two Las Vegas-style shows in Queen's Lounge, which features a main floor on Deck 4 and a balcony on Deck 5. Queen's Lounge is also used for events like the Crew Show at the end of each cruise, where the dining-room stewards, housekeeping staff and other crew members entertain the passengers. The Wajang Theatre offers feature films with cookies, cappuccino and popcorn. It's also used for lectures and culinary demonstrations. Rotterdam boasts a piano bar, a band or a DJ at night in Crow's Nest, other live performances in various locations, and sports on TV in Mix Spirits & Ales sports bar. Cabin entertainment consists of a flat-screen TV with DVD player. MS Rotterdam also has a casino and activities such as art auctions, bingo and games (including shuffleboard, bridge, hockey-slapshot competitions). Other amenities include: complimentary 24-Hour Room-Service, Supervised Kids Program ("Club Hal"), cruise ship weddings, Internet/WiFi Access, Laundry/Self-Serve Laundromats.

Holland America MS Rotterdam cruise ship

Follows the complete list of ms Rotterdam lounges, clubs and other entertainment venues for kids, teens and adults.

  • Atrium (3-deck high midship open-floor area with live performances)
  • Promenade Deck, Walking Track (jogging is not permitted)
  • The Showroom at Sea (557-seat theatre/main show lounge; also serves Holland America Line's enrichment program (via a partnership with BBC Earth)
  • Queen's Room (La Fontaine annexe used as a meeting room; hosts digital workshops via Microsoft partnership, computer classes, social networks, blogging, photo editing)
  • Photo Gallery & Shop; Art Gallery
  • Wine Tasting Bar, Gourmet Shops (bottles available for purchasing, wine sampling)
  • Wajang Theatre & Culinary Arts Centre (124-seat cinema; offers culinary classes and cooking shows presented in demonstration kitchens)
  • Atrium Terrace with boutiques; Atrium Shops (boutiques for duty-free tobaccos and liquor, perfumes, watches, clothing, HAL logo merchandise, souvenirs); Marabella Luxury Shop
  • Ocean Bar (110-seat Atrium bar and lounge, with dance floor and stage for live performances)
  • MIX Lounge (sectioned into three parts - Mix Champagne wine bar, Mix Martini cocktail bar and Mix Spirits & Ales sports bar)
  • Casino (served by the Mix Lounge's sports bar)
  • Hudson Room (75-seat meeting room; used as Cards Room)
  • Explorations Cafe (65-seat speciality coffee bar and patisserie; also serves as the ship's Library and Online Centre/Internet computers room)
  • Explorer’s Lounge & Bar (95-seat lounge with bar; classical concert performances)
  • Neptune Lounge (17-seat club venue for Deluxe Suite and Pinnacle guests only)
  • Fitness Center (gym with separate Aerobics Room); 5 jacuzzis
  • Greenhouse Spa & Salon; Lido Pool area, served by Lido Bar and Terrace Grill; The Retreat Pool area
  • Crow's Nest (250-seat observation lounge; bar and dance floor; becomes disco at night)
  • Tennis Court; Basketball Court; Shuffleboard
  • Club HAL (kids lounge, complimentary youth programming)
  • The Loft (teens club lounge area, with Video Games Arcade, computers, PlayStations; teen disco)
  • The Oasis (40-seat teen-only outdoor area).

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Fred Olsen Borealis Wiki

Rotterdam (named after Rotterdam City, Netherlands) is Holland America Line's 1st R-class liner, with sisterships Amsterdam, Volendam, Zaandam.

The vessel was built at Fincantieri's Marghera Shipyard (Fincantieri CN Italiana SpA, Venice Italy) under yard number 5980. The ship was launched (floated out from drydock) on December 23, 1996) and was delivered to the shipowner (Holland America Line NV / subsidiary of Holland-America Line Westours Inc) on November 1, 1997. The ship's christening ceremony was held on November 6, in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale FL). The Inaugural Cruise (Maiden Voyage) was on November 11. Ship's Godmother was HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. "MS Rotterdam VI" is HAL's 6th liner with this name. Around USD 2 million is the worth of the onboard fine art-antiques collection.

Originally, the ship was powered by 5x Sulzer marine diesel engines (model 16ZAV40S / 16-cylinder, 4-stroke) with combined output 57,7 MW.

In July 2020, the vessel was sold to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines (shipowner is Fred Olsen & Co / based in Oslo, Norway), to be named "MS BOREALIS" and Norway-flagged (registered in Oslo). For Holland America, MS Rotterdam was Holland-flagged (MMSI number 246167000) and registered in Rotterdam.

By Holland America, MS Rotterdam VI was last drydock refurbished in 2017. The drydock (vessel inspections) in 2020 was at Damen Shiprepair's yard in Rotterdam Holland.

(Holland America) MS Rotterdam refurbishment 2017 review

During October 2017 drydock (done at Freeport Bahamas) the Rotterdam vessel received the following Suite cabin upgrades:

  • furnishings (sofas, chairs, headboards), carpeting, wall coverings, privacy curtains, draperies, bed runners, bed skirts, (vanity), new make-up vanities (quartz stone tops, modern lighting), dressers, dressing tables, nightstands, LED reading lights, wardrobes (with lighted closet rod)
  • cabin decors and amenities (espresso coffee machine, binoculars, free mimosas with in-cabin breakfasts)
  • USB outlet (on the bed's headboard), power outlets, LED ceiling lights
  • BOSE SoundDock (iPod stations) were added only in PS-Pinnacle Suites.
  • interactive HDTV system (new wall-mounted smart TVs with Internet capabilities and free movies on demand)
  • All Suite bathrooms were also renovated.
  • Standard cabin upgrades included new (wall-mounted) smart TVs in all staterooms.

Rotterdam ship's 2017 refurbishment was part of Holland America Line's USD 300 million fleet renovation program (scheduled for 2016-2018) that also included updating onboard entertainment, dining and suites fleetwide.

In 2016, Holland America updated MS Rotterdam's shipboard programming (enrichment, entertainment and children) replacing the old "Dancing With the Stars" with "BBC Earth" content.

  • The ship's theatre lounge started hosting daily expert lectures, presentations, a nature-themed game show with BBC Earth screenings and introductions by the crews that filmed these series. A signature concert in the evenings was based on the "Frozen Planet" program (polar regions-themed) - a spectacular multimedia show with live musicians.
  • The ship's children (Club HAL) facilities featured an explorer trail, workshops (including on journalism and filming), fact shows (animals, dinosaurs).

Holland America themed cruises featured access to the BBC Earth series creators, sharing behind-the-scenes media and stories. Children had the opportunity to participate in filming workshops.

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