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Rotterdam, the second-largest city in the Netherlands, is a dynamic metropolis renowned for its innovative architecture, bustling port, and vibrant cultural scene. Situated in the province of South Holland, Rotterdam boasts a rich history shaped by its maritime heritage and resilient spirit.

On a Northern Europe cruise itinerary Rotterdam is becoming the highlight. This vibrant port city in the Netherlands, is a hidden gem that has attractions in abundance which had remained the under the radar for any potential visitor. That is until now.


Recently, we had the pleasure of ‘overnighting’ in Rotterdam as part of our cruise on P&O Iona, where we enjoyed the city's rich history, modern architecture, and stunning waterfront views. Let us tell you about our Dutch adventure, from exploring the iconic SS Rotterdam to admiring the best views of the city skyline from the top of the Euromast.


After an early morning ‘sail in’ to the city our journey began with a visit to the SS Rotterdam, a historic ocean liner turned hotel and museum. As cruise lovers stepping aboard this majestic vessel felt like stepping back in time. This really must have been the golden age of cruising.From the elegant ballrooms to the cozy cabins, every corner of the ship exuded the grandeur of a bygone era.



One highlight of our guided tour was exploring the engine room, where we marvelled at the intricate machinery that powered the ocean liner across the Atlantic on so many occasions. Learning about the ship's past, was fascinating. The SS Rotterdam managed to switch from glamorous transatlantic liner to a cruise ship depending on the time of year. Hearing about the amazing world cruises it undertook was both fascinating and humbling. The SS Rotterdam truly stands as a testament to Rotterdam's rich maritime heritage.


What made the whole experience though was the crew onboard the ship. Everyone we interacted with had a true connection to the ship. We particularly loved hearing stories recounted form crew who had lived and worked on the vessel highlighting to us hidden details that we would never have known or discovered without their knowledgeable input.  


After bidding farewell to the SS Rotterdam, it was time to head back to our modern cruise ship but on leaving the covered walkway we discovered it was raining at force which meant a certain soaking. Here we experienced the unparalleled kindness of the Dutch people in Rotterdam with a member of the SS Rotterdam team kindly offering to take us back to our awaiting ship. Our saviour!

The following day we headed to The New York Hotel for a morning coffee and a chance to immerse ourselves in maritime history. The hotel itself the former Head Quarters of the famous Holland America Line is filled with memorabilia from a bygone era. From here we hopped aboard a water taxi for a thrilling journey to our next destination: the iconic Euromast. As we cruised along Rotterdam's bustling waterways at an exhilarating pace, we were treated to panoramic views of the city's modern skyline and the unmissable Euromast.


Arriving at the Euromast, we were once again met by the most welcoming team. They quickly guided us to an awaiting elevator. We then ascended to the observation platform within 30 seconds, where we were greeted by breathtaking views stretching as far as the eye could see. Wow! From this beautiful vantage point, we admired Rotterdam's architectural wonders, including the striking Erasmus Bridge, the sleek skyscrapers that dot the skyline and of course our awaiting home from home P&O Iona. In the summer months fearless daredevils can even abseil from this platform! The viewing platform however was just the beginning.


The real highlight of the Euromast is a trip on the Euroscoop. This is a fully immersive experience with lights and music preparing you for lift off. Rotating slowly, you gain hight at a pace that allows you to soak in the views stretching many miles into the distance. Once you have reached a hight of 185 metres the opaque floor magically becomes clear providing vertical views all the way to the ground below. Fear not, if the glass floor experience isn’t for you then there is the option to manually change this back to opaque whilst still enjoying the views in front of you.


The full Euroscoop experience takes around 7 minutes in full and returns you back to the viewing platform where you entered. From here if you are anything like us you can continue to take in the marvellous views by treating yourself to a drink or even a meal in the restaurant. 


The Euromast is also home to two of the most unique hotel rooms in Rotterdam, we managed to take a sneak peek at the spaciously modern accommodation where after the attraction closes the viewing platform becomes your personal balcony. We made a mental note that we would like to come back here to stay especially as they use our favourite Rituals products. To find out more information about the Euromast and to book tickets for your visit click here.


With the day drawing to a close, we embarked on a leisurely stroll back to our cruise ship, crossing the iconic Erasmus Bridge that spans the river. Walking amidst the bustling city streets, we soaked in the vibrant atmosphere of Rotterdam, with its bustling waterfront cafes and bars and reminisced about our previous visit exploring other attractions such as the unusual Cube Houses and the Markthal. 

Would you expect THIS? We experience Rotterdam on MSC

On Day 5 of our MSC Preziosa Northern Europe Cruise we visited the port and city of Rotterdam. We explored the city independently and visited the Cube Houses, the Stadhuis Rotterdam, the Markthal and the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen building.

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