Author Topic: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel  (Read 6060 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: 6386
  • 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: 6386
  • 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: 6386
  • 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: 6386
  • 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.

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 #15 on: Mar 16, 2017, 01:16 AM »
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.

Okay. Thanks!
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 #16 on: Mar 22, 2017, 03:36 PM »
One of the things that I always find a but sad was that when the Rotterdam came to Europe to be preserved there where plans original to sail the ship under here own power to Europe, instead of the final solution, towing here. I believe that they even wanted here to sail to Rotterdam also under here own power. Sadly it was a matter of money most of all, but also finding a crew that could man the ship was hard. Most of the original crew was retired, and the couple of years with Premier cruises didn't do here any good.


I do have a some information about the handing over from HAL to Premier and the propulsion system if anybody is interest, heard it from a previous engineer who worked on the ship around that time, and now is a volunteer tour guide back on his ship.

Offline June Ingram

  • Global Moderator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 9462
  • Total likes: 6386
  • Beautiful, elegant QE2 - forever Queen of the Seas
Re: Re: The conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #17 on: Mar 22, 2017, 03:45 PM »
Hi Bob -

I would be very interested in hearing about Rotterdam's hand over from HAL to Premier.  I would also be very much interested in hearing about her propulsion system.  That is awesome that a previous engineer is now a volunteer tour guide on Rotterdam.

June  :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Online mgmike

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #18 on: Mar 24, 2017, 01:10 AM »
When I visited the Rotterdam in 2013, the engine room tour was taken by a ships engineer, and as I was the only person on the tour he gave me a very detailed and interesting explanation of the powerplant.  He said that the standards of maintenance when Premier owned the ship were not good, and in Premier's last days there was a fault with one of the turbines which led to her doing several cruises on one engine only.  Apparently this fault was not remedied, and accordingly it was considered risky to use the engines again post the ships layup.  He also said that as the plant was not subject to appropriate maintenance during the post-Premier layup, that the main turbines were now seized. 

Offline Bob van Leeuwen

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #19 on: Mar 24, 2017, 11:14 AM »
That sums it up really, altough I have some more information related to the handing over which I will post here when I get home, sort of busy at the moment. Things weren't done that nice.

Offline June Ingram

  • Global Moderator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 9462
  • Total likes: 6386
  • Beautiful, elegant QE2 - forever Queen of the Seas
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #20 on: Mar 24, 2017, 05:09 PM »
It just blows my mind that people, whether they be a company or an individual, can be so irresponsible when dealing with something of the magnitude of a famous ship.  Even if it were not planned to use engines again in any ship's career, it still shows the utmost disrespect to not care for the engines.  Coming from an engine fanatic, an investment in their upkeep should be factored in the total upkeep of the ship.   >:(
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Bob van Leeuwen

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #21 on: Mar 24, 2017, 08:15 PM »
What I was told during the guided tour by the former engineer was really shocking to me. During the handing over part of the ship some of the new crew went onboard to learn how things worked firsthand from the current crew. On the very first voyage out they where experiencing some issues, I believe that fuel got in the steam (or something like that, its a long time ago), don't hold me to that. So they flew member of the old crew back in to help them out, and even after that things did not really improve much. Basically the situation as described by mgmike.


Something that most of the old crew also do not like is the fact that the flooring was painted in the engine rooms. All of it is painted in a red/brown color. But during the HAL year, especially when the ship was still Dutch owned, every Saturday they would clean the flooring with diesel, to keep them nice and shiny. Some of the video that contain footage of the engine room that float around Youtube still show this. The new crew obviously didn't take the care to keep it that way, and simply painted it all over.




Offline June Ingram

  • Global Moderator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 9462
  • Total likes: 6386
  • Beautiful, elegant QE2 - forever Queen of the Seas
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #22 on: Mar 26, 2017, 03:18 PM »
Just incredibly inept !

New crew for Rotterdam and new crew for QE2 and what do you have - two broken ships !
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Online Louis De Sousa

  • QE2 Crew member
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 3837
  • Total likes: 3823
  • QE2 The Greatest Ship Ever
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #23 on: Mar 26, 2017, 03:37 PM »
Just incredibly inept !

New crew for Rotterdam and new crew for QE2 and what do you have - two broken ships !

Did you know that when she was under Premier Cruises as Rembrandt a handfull of QE2 crew went over to work on her?


Offline Bob van Leeuwen

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #24 on: Mar 26, 2017, 04:16 PM »
Do you know in what departement? I do believe that the crew from QE2 could have helped out in the various engineering departments.

Online Louis De Sousa

  • QE2 Crew member
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 3837
  • Total likes: 3823
  • QE2 The Greatest Ship Ever
Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #25 on: Mar 26, 2017, 09:19 PM »
Do you know in what departement? I do believe that the crew from QE2 could have helped out in the various engineering departments.

They worked in the Hotel Department (Restaurant and Bars)

Online Andy Holloway

Re: The conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #26 on: Mar 29, 2017, 06:10 PM »
One of the things that I always find a but sad was that when the Rotterdam came to Europe to be preserved there where plans original to sail the ship under here own power to Europe, instead of the final solution, towing here. I believe that they even wanted here to sail to Rotterdam also under here own power. Sadly it was a matter of money most of all, but also finding a crew that could man the ship was hard. Most of the original crew was retired, and the couple of years with Premier cruises didn't do her any good.

From one who spent time 'working' for Premier i can add my weight to that statement, it didn't do me any good either!  The best thing that happened to Premier was that they went bankrupt and ceased trading altogether.

 
« Last Edit: Mar 30, 2017, 12:27 AM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Offline Bob van Leeuwen

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #27 on: Mar 30, 2017, 01:42 PM »
Was it always like that, ore did things go from good to bad when money become a issue?

Online Andy Holloway

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #28 on: Apr 01, 2017, 05:23 PM »
Was it always like that, ore did things go from good to bad when money become a issue?

During my time with Premier the main problem was the 'infighting' between Deck and Hotel Departments. Shore side wanted The Hotel Manager to have the final say on all things that happened onboard. Whereas the Law says that it's the Captain as it is he, and not the Hotel Manager, who is 'in charge' according to Maritime Law.

An example was i was called into the Hotel Manager's - a Brit aged 33 - office/cabin one day where he said; "If you see anything going on around the ship that is not 'legal' then come and tell me. We'll then decide if we need to go and tell the Captain."

A couple of days later i was called to see the Captain - a 45 year Greek who had been at sea all his life - to be 'told' the same thing, only the other way around!  "If you see anythnig  gonig wrong  or illegal around the ship you come and tell me and we'll decide if we need to tell Mr Steven." Steven Judge was the Hotel Manager.

In the end i had the 'last laugh' when i resigned. My wife and 3 children were gonig to join me on 2 cruises, a 4 and a 3 day trips down to Nasseau from Port Canaveral. When we had flown out from UK i had to buy a return ticket so that we could all travel on the same aircraft, as such when i arrived in USA US Immigration weren't interested in my C1D vise only my return to UK ticket and stamped my passport with a 90 day tourist visa. Hence when i decided  to resign, a very long and complicated story, i did not require any escort to the airport, much to Premier's annoyance and 'vanished' into Orlando. The company had booked us  into a hotel on our arrival in USA and we still had the booknig reference, so when we left the ship we just re-booked ourselves into the same hotel and charged it to Premier!  This was on the Friday, the Monday was a National Holiday and we checked out on the Tuesday. By the time Premier got the bill i was back in UK and no longer working for them! When my agency phoned me a couple of weeks later, trying to get me to pay the hotel bill, i just said, 'basically, NO!'  Several letters later they eventually gave up and obviously wrote it off. I found out some time later that Premier had charged my Agency for the hotel, another bit of 'justice' as far as i was concerned.
By this time i had been interviewed and accepted by Cunard.

What do i think about my time with Premier? It was good experience and i'm glad i did it but, it certainly taught me what was wrong about some Cruise Companies, which stood me in good stead in later years.

Offline Malcolm

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #29 on: Apr 04, 2017, 08:16 AM »
i was called into the Hotel Manager's - a Brit aged 33 - office/cabin one day where he said; "If you see anything going on around the ship that is not 'legal' then come and tell me. We'll then decide if we need to go and tell the Captain."

I would have thought that in itself was illegal!

Online Andy Holloway

Re: The Conversion of the SS Rotterdam to a hotel
« Reply #30 on: Apr 04, 2017, 09:29 AM »
I would have thought that in itself was illegal!

It was, 'technically', but Premier management at the time weren't too concerned about that. At the time Premier was owned by The Dial Corporation, yet another of the 'non shipping' companies who thought running Cruise lines and ships was 'easy'!