Tuesday, July 1, 2008

From the How to Throw a Party Department:

Eurodam was christened today in Rotterdam by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. She did her thing and then went to tour the ship and meet some Dutch crew members. Amazingly, there were enough that they circled the entire swimming pool, and she went around and shook every last one’s hand and spoke with each.

As I wrote in CND, even at the ceremony it seemed like she wanted to linger a bit longer because she was enjoying the music. It seems a shame that someone in that position, who technically could do anything she wants, in reality can’t. She can’t just say, “Let’s stay for dinner. I hear they are going to have an outstanding fireworks display to mark the occasion tonight.” She has other commitments and there are security concerns and so forth.

It’s too bad she couldn’t have stayed. Holland America celebrated the christening of their largest vessel - and the largest ship flying the Dutch flag - with a formal dinner. After dinner at 11:15 tonight, Eurodam’s whistle signaled the start of an incredible fireworks display, one it will take Rotterdam a long time to forget.

The fireworks were set off from a barge alongside the ship in the river. At any given time during the display there were at least six shells in the air, and many times, two or three dozen. Near the end of the 20-minute display, a sign constructed of tiny flares that said “HAL 135" (years) was lit on the barge, and that set off a massive launch of maybe 150 shells before a minute-long blast from Eurodam’s baritone whistle signaled to all of Rotterdam’s riverfront that Holland America’s new flagship was ready for service.

The ship enters revenue service tomorrow.