In an era of undisguised luxury and leviathans, the
Nieuw Amsterdam stands out as a ship of untarnished
stature. She was
Netherlands' "ship of state", just as the
Normandie was France's, the
Queen Mary was Britain's and
was the United States'.
With a large cash reserve, the Holland America
Line set out to build a national flagship for
By all accounts, the Nieuw Amsterdam took ocean
liner interior decor to a new plateau.
accommodations and interior appointments were the
finest afloat. Lavishly decorated in light
colors and possessing the supreme luxury of spacious
accommodations, the Nieuw Amsterdam was the most
modern and contemporary liner of the 30's.
Modern in every way, her owners proclaimed her
"the ship of tomorrow". She followed the
Art Deco trend of the day in both interior
decorations and exterior design. The interiors
were distinguished by fluorescent lighting,
aluminum motifs, and gentle pastels throughout
the ship that created an understated elegance
that would make the liner a favorite among
seasoned transatlantic passengers.
One of the
ship’s centerpieces was the first class
restaurant, having a Moroccan leather ceiling
which was adorned by numerous Murano glass light
fixtures, and columns covered in gold leaf.
Tinted mirrors, ivory walls and satinwood
furniture all contributed to create the
luxurious atmosphere. The restaurant had no
portholes or windows facing the open sea, making
it depend solely on artificial illumination.
have found it difficult to believe they were at
sea when in the First Class Theater. The
deeply cushioned seats commanded an unobstructed
view of the stage, and the egg-shaped contour of
the auditorium took advantage of the latest in
scientific sound-proofing materials and
amplifying equipment to ensure perfect acoustics
for concerts, dramatic performances and
pre-release motion pictures. The Nieuw
Amsterdam was the second ship in the world after
Normandie to boast a theater which the
Queen Mary did not have.
staterooms on the Nieuw Amsterdam were unusually
attractive, ranging in size from cozy single
person cabins to elaborate cabins-de-luxe. The
handsome and modern decorative scheme made the
cabins comfortable spots for daytime and evening
relaxation. All First Class cabins on Nieuw
Amsterdam had a private bathroom, a unique
feature which no previous liner could boast.
The new liner's
maiden voyage was set for May 10, 1938, and upon
her arrival in New York she immediately won
adulation and acclaim. Her sleek outline
and two slim funnels provided a striking profile
and she soon garnered a loyal following.
In 1957, HAL
decided to update their best ship. Nieuw
Amsterdam received a upgrade, which included her
being fully air-conditioned. Externally
she had her hull painted grey giving her cooler
more modern look.
In 1961 Nieuw
Amsterdam received major alterations to her
accommodations, including more cabins with
private facilities, and became a two class ship
accommodating 574-first class and 538-tourist
class. She became one of the most
loved ships on the Atlantic, and many
dignitaries and movie stars sailed on her.
Her name regularly appeared in the “Who’s Who”
columns of the New York papers.