With six months to go before the launch of Holland America Line’s newest ship, the Rotterdam, the line is slowly preparing to set sail. A cruise to Seattle has revealed the senior officers who will take over the ship on August 1, 2021.
Following the announcement by the shipping company of Captain Werner Timmers, Staff Captain Kevin Beirnart, Hotel Manager Wessel van Oorschot, Chief Engineer Peter Massolt, Chief Engineer Wim Ackerman and Environmental Specialist Michael Brown have been appointed to head the crew of the Rotterdam.
Together, the senior officers bring more than 80 years of experience aboard the 99,500 gross ton Rotterdam.
A solid foundation of outstanding leaders
Holland America has long been a company that makes sure its ships have management experience when they are launched. Holland America Line has nearly 150 years of history, and with it a talented crew that will be aboard the Rotterdam when the ship is delivered in July.
According to the cruise line’s president, Gus Antorci, the senior officers will be responsible for getting the ship ready to welcome guests this summer:
“Holland America Line has a strong base of outstanding executives with experience in delivering new ships. These team members bring years of experience, knowledge and commitment to our brand. As we prepare for the ship’s delivery this summer, this team will be responsible for preparing the ship to welcome guests and ensuring that we have a welcoming crew. We know they will rise to the challenge and congratulate them on their appointment.
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Third class Pinnacle, Rotterdam 7.
The 80 years of experience on board will be welcome, as Rotterdam has long been a familiar name in the cruise line. When the ship is launched and christened in August, it will be the seventh ship to bear this name.
The first ship named Rotterdam was christened in 1872 and ran aground off the Dutch coast on September 26, 1883. The most famous is the 1959 SS Rotterdam, which is now a hotel and museum in the port of Rotterdam.
Fincantieri is building the current Rotterdam in Italy. This is the 17th ship the Italian shipyard is building for Holland America Line. The third ship in a series of Pinnacle-class vessels, the ship accommodates 2,668 guests and features highly successful amenities and innovations already introduced on other yachts, including a 270-degree panoramic world stage, Rudi’s Sea Salt and the Grand Dutch Café.
After her maiden voyage, which begins August 1, 2021, the ship will spend her first summer season in Northern Europe.
Also read: the 15 best new cruise ships launched in 2021
Meet the leaders
The senior officers who will depose Rotterdam:
Captain Werner Timer
Since joining Holland America Line as a trainee in 1984, Captain Timmers has reached the rank of captain, which he attained in 1996. Since then he has been captain on the Eurodam, Coningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Rindam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam.
Captain Werner Timers (Photo courtesy of Holland America Line)
“I am honored to be the first captain of Rotterdam and look forward to boarding for the sea trial and watching the ship approach the final stages of construction,” said Timmers. “My long career with Holland America Line has been marked by so many wonderful milestones and this appointment is a highlight.”
Senior Captain Kevin Beirnaert
Kevin Beirnaert joined Holland America Line in 2006 and has worked on the ships Rotterdam, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, where he recently assumed the role of captain.
Staff Captain Kevin Beirnaert (Photo: Holland America Line)
A native of Ghent, Belgium, Birnaert studied at the Hogere Zeevaartschool in Antwerp, Belgium, where he earned a master’s degree in marine sciences. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Director of Hotel Wessel van Oorschot
Since joining Holland America Line in 2005, Wessel van Oorschot has progressed from assistant maître d’hôtel to hotel manager.
Le directeur de l’hôtel Wessel van Oorschot (Photo : Holland America Line)
The Rotterdam will be the shipping company’s fourth new ship, following the previous launchings of the Nieuw Statendam, the Koningsdam and the Nieuw Amsterdam.
Chief Engineer Peter Massolt
Dutchman Peter Massolt, from Drachten in Friesland, worked for Holland America Line for 19 years, from 1980 to 1987 and again from 2008.
Chief Engineer Peter Massolt (Photo courtesy of Holland America Line)
During his time with the shipping company he worked on ss and ms Rotterdam, Ryndam, Prinsendam, Statendam, Veendam, Volendam, Noordam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam and Nieuw Statendam.
Massolt earned a degree in maritime engineering from the Willem Barents Naval Institute.
Meet Environmental Commissioner Michael Brown.
Michael Brown is originally from Panama, where he still lives, and joined Holland America Line in 2016. Previously, he worked as a marine engineer in the cruise industry.
Michael Brown, environmental manager (Photo courtesy of Holland America Line)
Brown earned a bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering from Maritima International University in Panama. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering from Maritima International University.
Chief Engineer Wim Ackerman
Wim Ackerman joined Holland America Line in 1994 after training on reefer cargo ships.
Raised in the small village of Nederhorst den Berg (Netherlands), Ackerman went to the Zeeland Naval Academy to become a naval officer, but he chose the technical route.
All photos: Dutch and American line