The only small ship in the Holland America fleet soon will be leaving the line.
The Seattle-based brand on Monday said its 835-passenger Prinsendam had been sold to a company that would put it in service with a German cruise operator.
Holland America said the ship will leave the Holland America fleet on July 1, 2019.
At 37,983 tons, Prinsendam is more than 30% smaller than the next smallest vessel in the Holland America fleet. It's the only Holland America ship to carry fewer than 1,000 passengers — a level often seen as the threshold between a small and mid-size ship in the cruise world.
Holland America currently operates 14 ships, many of which are more than twice the size of Prinsendam and carry 2,000 or more passengers.
Intimate and nimble due to its small size, Prinsendam has been used for some of Holland America's more exotic and off-the-beaten-path itineraries, and it has had a loyal following among Holland America fans.
Prinsendam originally was built as a luxury ship for Royal Viking Line, a leading luxury line of the 1970s and 1980s that no longer is in operation. The ship also sailed for Cunard and Seabourn before joining the Holland America fleet in 2002.
Holland America said Prinsendam sailings scheduled to take place beyond July 1, 2019 will be assimilated into the schedules of three other Holland America ships: Rotterdam, Volendam and Veendam. The line said it was reaching out to customers booked on the sailings and their travel agents to re-accommodate them on the other vessels.
“We share in the fondness that many of our loyal cruisers have for this special ship,” Holland America president Orlando Ashford said in a statement. “As we look to the future and focus on delivering the programming and innovations that our guests are asking for, we ... will continue to offer the unique itineraries that Prinsendam sailed on our other smaller ships.”
The Prinsendam news comes as Holland America prepares to welcome one of its biggest ships ever, the 2,666-passenger Nieuw Statendam. Currently under construction at a shipyard in Italy, Nieuw Statendam will debut in December.
After July 1, 2019, Prinsendam will sail for Phoenix Reisen, a Germany-based travel agency that also operates a fleet of cruise ships.
By Gene Sloan, USA Today
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