Author Topic: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel  (Read 6061 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 12282
  • Total likes: 15709
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« on: Mar 30, 2015, 12:10 PM »
Some links I've found while doing some digging.

VFD Architects - appear largely to thank for the awesome interiors - http://www.vfd.nl/architects-rotterdam.html - they did work on HAL's other ships, so were a natural fit for the Rotterdam.  They appear to have understood exactly what they should and shouldn't do.

Steamship Rotterdam Foundation - http://www.ssrotterdam.net/ (a site that I couldn't find via Google for some reason).

A potted history of her story after leaving service in 2000 - http://www.ssmaritime.com/Rotterdam-V-P8.htm


If anyone has other links and details of the conversion works, please post them here!
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 12282
  • Total likes: 15709
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2015, 06:33 PM »
I recently emailed with Frans Dingemans, heavily involved in the SS Rotterdam's wonderful conversion.

The cost over-run on Rotterdam did not have to happen.  There were a lot of delays, and a lot of politics.  He said one thing striking "None of the parties involved - management, contractors and builders - were involved in the process of shipbuilding or ship restoration before." 

I have also been told by someone close to it that "Financially, politically, contractually, commercially – almost nothing went smoothly or to the original plan".

It is vitally important that the difficulties on the project for Rotterdam don't become an excuse to not even try with QE2.  They seem to come down to mistakes.  I've been trying to get to the bottom of this recently without much success.

They knew the ship had extensive asbestos, if they didn't plan and budget for it, that was simply a mistake.  QE2 has lots of asbestos, but they know exactly where it is, and exactly how to deal with it.


So, based on what I've heard and experienced myself, the finished product of the SS Rotterdam serves as a superb template to future ship conversions about how to do it right.  How they went about it, however, probably serves as a template for how not to do it!
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 06:47 PM by Rob Lightbody »
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline Bob van Leeuwen

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2015, 06:59 PM »
Woonbron, the company that toke over the Rotterdam after they bought it from RDM, bought it because they thought they know what they where doing. The renovated a lot of older houses, that where build around the time of the Rotterdam, and they all had asbestos in them. How ever, and Rob said, they had now knowledge of doing a complete conversion on a liner. That was the problem. The good intention was there, they just didn't know what they where doing.


I did find a YouTube clip if I recall correctly from the local Rotterdam TV station, and they asked the at that time chairman of Woonbron if he thought it was a bad mistake that they bought the Rotterdam. He said no, he was proud of what they did, although it needed to be done differently.

Offline Alan Snelson

  • Global Moderator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 1115
  • Total likes: 838
  • Ships Photographer '78 - '82
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #3 on: Jun 04, 2015, 08:18 PM »
It is interesting to read that Rotterdam is another ship that Carnival chose to turn their back on when they acquired HAL.

What is encouraging to me is that it took over ten years before the ship was saved from destruction and restored to her original splendour.

http://www.ssmaritime.com/Rotterdam-V-P8.htm
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline June Ingram

  • Global Moderator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 9462
  • Total likes: 6387
  • Beautiful, elegant QE2 - forever Queen of the Seas
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #4 on: Mar 06, 2017, 01:42 AM »
Is there a plan in place to maintain the integrity of the ship including her hull ?  Or will Rotterdam find herself in a similar situation to Queen Mary many years down the road ?
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 12282
  • Total likes: 15709
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #5 on: Mar 06, 2017, 07:09 AM »
Is there a plan in place to maintain the integrity of the ship including her hull ?  Or will Rotterdam find herself in a similar situation to Queen Mary many years down the road ?

Rotterdam still has structural integrity, and can be disconnected from her mounting points and moved if necessary, that's my understanding.

The work on Mary immediately after she arrived included substantial demolition of her powerplants and major structural bulkheads which was short sighted in my view and caused lots of problems (eg the beautiful first class pool is very damaged and can't be used)
Passionate about QE2's service life for 40 years and creator of this website.  I have worked in IT for 28 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Offline June Ingram

  • Global Moderator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 9462
  • Total likes: 6387
  • Beautiful, elegant QE2 - forever Queen of the Seas
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #6 on: Mar 06, 2017, 03:24 PM »
Thanks, Rob !

Has Rotterdam ever been moved since she opened as an hotel ?
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #7 on: Mar 06, 2017, 05:13 PM »
Has Rotterdam ever been moved since she opened as an hotel ?

No. Neither the city nor the ship.

And since I am writing with tongue firmly in cheek : The new Rotterdam (Rotterdam VI) is of course moving (almost) all the time :) .

Offline June Ingram

  • Global Moderator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 9462
  • Total likes: 6387
  • Beautiful, elegant QE2 - forever Queen of the Seas
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #8 on: Mar 06, 2017, 05:16 PM »
Very good, Isabelle, very good !!  ;D
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Hank Hargrove

  • Princess Grill Diner
  • ****
  • Posts: 560
  • Total likes: 335
  • Christ follower, liner lover, and Okie.
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #9 on: Mar 08, 2017, 03:14 AM »
I desire to visit the Rotterdam someday. It looks like a dream.
The cross: The supreme symbol of love.

SS United States forever.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #10 on: Mar 08, 2017, 11:03 AM »
I desire to visit the Rotterdam someday. It looks like a dream.

Which reminds me... I promise to finish the story of my recent visit to the SS Rotterdam... very soon!

Offline Bob van Leeuwen

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #11 on: Mar 08, 2017, 11:20 AM »
If the Rotterdam ever will be moved, which needs to be done at some point most likely to visit a dry dock, the ship will have much more structural integrity as Rob explained.


However, most of the watertight doors in the lower parts of the hull can not be closed anymore, since cables run through the door openings, something which I always hate when I visit the ship. So closing the doors it no a easy thing to do. Giving that I don't thing that we have any big shipyards left as far as I can recall that would be able to dry dock the Rotterdam, this would be a problem.


One good thing is that I seem to recall that the paint that they applied was going to last for the next 25 years to come, and giving the care and attention that is given to the Rotterdam by its current owners, and the non-profit organisation that helps the owners with various aspects of the ship, I do feel pretty optimistic about the Rotterdams feature. Las time I was onboard they where replacing the teak deck near a restaurant at the stern side of the ship, don't remember which dock is was.

Offline June Ingram

  • Global Moderator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 9462
  • Total likes: 6387
  • Beautiful, elegant QE2 - forever Queen of the Seas
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #12 on: Mar 08, 2017, 05:22 PM »
Thank you very much, Bob, for the update and information, and it is very encouraging to hear !   :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Hank Hargrove

  • Princess Grill Diner
  • ****
  • Posts: 560
  • Total likes: 335
  • Christ follower, liner lover, and Okie.
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #13 on: Mar 14, 2017, 03:37 AM »
If the Rotterdam ever will be moved, which needs to be done at some point most likely to visit a dry dock, the ship will have much more structural integrity as Rob explained.


However, most of the watertight doors in the lower parts of the hull can not be closed anymore, since cables run through the door openings, something which I always hate when I visit the ship. So closing the doors it no a easy thing to do. Giving that I don't thing that we have any big shipyards left as far as I can recall that would be able to dry dock the Rotterdam, this would be a problem.


One good thing is that I seem to recall that the paint that they applied was going to last for the next 25 years to come, and giving the care and attention that is given to the Rotterdam by its current owners, and the non-profit organisation that helps the owners with various aspects of the ship, I do feel pretty optimistic about the Rotterdams feature. Las time I was onboard they where replacing the teak deck near a restaurant at the stern side of the ship, don't remember which dock is was.

Does this mean that the Rotterdam would need to be dry docked elsewhere in the Netherlands or Europe? Is that why the doors being open would be a serious problem?
The cross: The supreme symbol of love.

SS United States forever.

Offline Bob van Leeuwen

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #14 on: Mar 15, 2017, 08:20 PM »
I will look into it, but I don't thing that we have the commercial docks anymore in The Netherlands, the navy still needs to dry dock there ships, but I don't thing that they would allow the Rotterdam anywhere near.


I do thing that she would need to go to Germany or UK, when she was converted after the tow from across the Ocean, she was first dry docked I believe in Gibraltar, after which she was towed to Willemshaven. Probably would she need to go to the UK, or back to Germany.