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A Month of Celebration for the Dutch

It was a hot day in July 2010, the Dutch may always remember, and there was great celebration. Champagne. Royalty. Homage paid to a rich history. The culmination of a four-year plan, punctuated by a victory ceremony in a foreign country.

You’re thinking World Cup, on Sunday, aren’t you? Netherlands vs Spain for that little gold trophy.

Well, maybe…

The “other” celebration that punctuated a four-year plan, also on a hot day in July, with royalty, in a foreign country, bubbly, etc., was the launch of Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam. The 2,106-passenger cruise ship was christened by HRH Princess Maxima of the Netherlands and the ceremony took place in Italy, not South Africa where the footballers play.

It’s the 4th incarnation of the Nieuw Amsterdam (translated: New York) and the historic company is no longer owned by the Dutch, but by the cruise giant Carnival. The first Nieuw Amsterdam sailed from 1906 through World War I until 1932. The second one (right) arrived in 1937 and saw duty in World War II, transporting troops — 1,220 at a time — and was scrapped in 1974. The third was strictly a Holland America cruise ship from 1983 to 2000, and today she is operated for Thomson Cruises under the name Spirit.

Only the original was larger than Nieuw Amsterdam IV, classified as mid-size by today’s standards, and this is the fastest. Built near Venice, she will spend most of this year around the Mediterranean before making her maiden voyage across the Atlantic in October, to Fort Lauderdale.

There are no plans in the foreseeable future for this Nieuw Amsterdam to visit America’s “Nieuw Amsterdam.”

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