Some History of the MS Noordam



Noordam (I)

Holland America' first Noordam -- there were three, all told -- was built by Harland & Wolff of Belfast. Launched in September 1901, she made her maiden voyage from Rotterdam to New York on 1 May.

From August to October 1914, the early months of World War I, she made a few commercial voyages, but after striking a mine in the North Sea on 17 October, Noordam spent the winter in Rotterdam. She returned to service 26 March 1915, one of the few liners to maintain regular service from the continent during the war. She struck another mine, though, off Terschelling Bank in August 1917 and did not return to service; instead, she spent the rest of the war in layup at Rotterdam.

Noordam returned to service with a March 1919 trip on her prewar Rotterdam-New York route. From March 1923 until November 1924, during the refit of Swedish American's Drottningholm, Noordam was chartered to Swedish American for service on that line's Gothenburg-New York route, and was renamed Kungsholm.

Noordam returned to service for Holland America in October 1926 and made her final voyage in April 1927. She was scrapped the following year.

Sources: Bonsor's North Atlantic Seaway; Haws' Merchant Fleets; Kohler's The Holland American Line; Moss and Hume's Shipbuilders to the World.


S.S. Noordam

yellow bar


Noordam I

12,528 gross tons

1902 - 1928


picture of the s.s. Noordam

"Putting the Pilot on the SS Noordam" c. 1903


picture of the s.s. Noordam

"Taking the Pilot off the SS Noordam" c. 1903



The "Noordam" was a 12,531 gross ton vessel built in 1901 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast for the Dutch company, Holland America Line. Her details were - - length 550.3ft x beam 62.3ft, one funnel, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 15 knots.
There was accommodation for 286-1st, 292-2nd and 1,800-3rd class passengers. Launched on 28/9/1901, she sailed from Rotterdam on her maiden voyage to New York on 1/5/1902.
On 17/10/1914 she was damaged by a mine in the North Sea, but repaired and resumed sailing on 26/3/1915. On 3/8/1917 she was again damaged by a mine and was then laid up for the duration of the war.
She resumed service between Rotterdam, Plymouth, Brest and New York on 9/3/1919, and commenced her last voyage between Rotterdam and New York on 24/1/1923. She then went to the Swedish America Line, who refitted her to carry 478-cabin class and 1,800-3rd class passengers and renamed her "Kungsholm". On 15/3/1923 she started sailings between Gothenburg and New York, and on 7/11/1924 between Gothenburg, Halifax and new York.
On 6/10/1926 she went back to her previous name of "Noordam" and resumed sailing between Rotterdam and New York and in December of that year, became a third class passenger ship only.

She commenced her last voyage on this service on 16/4/1927, was then sold and scrapped at Hendrik Ido Ambacht (The Netherlands) in 1928.

[North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor, vol.3.p913.]
[Posted to the Emigration-Ships Mailing List by Ted Finch - 3 October 1997]



(Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Co. photo collection.)


Noordam II




Status: Sold for scrap to Split, Yugoslavia in 1967.


Company: Holland Amerika Lijn
Renamed: "Oceanien" in 1963
Loa/Bm/Dft: 152.89 x 19.62 x -
Builder: P. Smit Jr., Rotterdam
Yard number: 515
Year: 1938
GT: 10704
Eng make: B&W
Power: 9191 kW
Speed: 18.0

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Last updated: August 08, 2008.

Noordam 3
The third Noordam was the first for luxury cruise service. Built by Chantiers de l'Atlantique in 1984, had a gross 
tonnage of 33,933 tonnes and was 704 ft (215 m) long. The ship's beam was 89 ft (27 m) and draft was 24 ft 
(7.3 m); her cruising speed was 21 knots. Her standard capacity was 1,214 with all 607 cabins at double occupancy; 
her maximum capacity was 1,350 passengers and she had 560 crew members. 
In 2005, the ship was acquired by Louis Cruise Lines and was immediately chartered to Thomson Cruises; 
she was rechristened the M/S Thomson Celebration. Her sister ship, the M/S Thomson Spirit, 
was originally the Holland America ship Nieuw Amsterdam

Noordam 4



The latest ship to bear the moniker Noordam (in Dutch Noord = North) is a member of Holland America's Vista class. The ship was christened on February 22, 2006, in New York City by the actress Marlee Matlin.  All of the HAL ships are named for the four compass points.

The ship is powered by a CODAG arrangement of five diesel generators (3 x 16,000 HP units, and 2 x 12,000 HP units) and one gas turbine (18,000 HP), for a total power output of approximately 62.6MW (84,000 HP). The power generated is used both for propulsion, via two 17.5MW (23,467 HP) ABB Azipods, and the ship's "hotel load," which includes HVAC and freshwater production. It is capable of producing 1,700 tons (450,000 gallons) of fresh water daily via desalinization, although average consumption is only around 750 tons/day (200,000 gallons). The ship consumes approximately 216 tons/day (57,000 U.S. gallons) of heavy fuel oil, and 90 tons/day (23,000 U.S. gallons) of marine gas oil, at peak power production. It can achieve a maximum speed of approximately 24 knots. As of August 2007, the ship's master was listed as Captain Hans Mateboer.


December 14, 2005
For Immediate Release

Holland America Line Names Actress Marlee Matlin as Godmother

to ms Noordam


Seattle, December 14, 2005 – Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin will be godmother to Holland America Line’s new Vista-class ship, the ms Noordam, in a ceremony dedicating the ship in New York City on February 22, 2006.

“Marlee Matlin is an accomplished actress, a generous woman in support of those in need, and a driven advocate for causes that benefit our society,” said Stein Kruse, president and chief executive officer, Holland America Line.  “We are honored to have her as the godmother for the ms Noordam and launch this Vista-class vessel into service.”

Matlin catapulted onto the big screen in her debut film Children of a Lesser God (1986), winning the Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama.  The Oscar-winning actress has since starred in 19 films and several television programs.  Among her many television appearances are Emmy-nominated roles on CBS’ Picket Fences, NBC’s Law & Order: SVU, ABC’s the Practice and NBC’s Seinfeld.  She has also guest starred on ABC’s Desperate Housewives, HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show, the ABC comedy Spin City, NBC’s ER, and CBS’ Judging Amy.  She currently stars opposite Martin Sheen as pollster Joey Lucas on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning series “The West Wing.”

An advocate of charitable work, Matlin serves as national celebrity spokesperson for the American Red Cross.  She also worked on behalf of closed captioning and, in 1990, was instrumental in getting Congress to pass federal legislation requiring televisions manufactured in the United States be equipped with closed captioning technology.  She serves on several boards of charitable organizations, including The Children Affected By AIDS Foundation and Easter Seals.  In 2002, she published a novel for children entitled “Deaf Child Crossing.”  Two sequels are scheduled for 2006 and 2007 by Simon and Shuster.

Matlin lives in the greater Los Angeles area with her husband and four children. 

“Through the many paths I’ve taken over the last 20 years, this experience will be brand new to me,” said Matlin.  “I’m proud to be launching a beautiful and trend-setting ship that provides access to everyone to explore the world.”