Photos by Jason Leppert

Holland America Line has officially welcomed its newest ship — the Koningsdam — into the fleet today after she was christened by Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands (pictured above). Also at the ceremony, the company announced that its forthcoming sister ship will be named Nieuw Statendam.

Yesterday, the new Koningsdam made its first call on the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where she remained today for her christening, and we arrived just in time to see the ship sail down the causeway towards the cruise ship terminal. She greeted throngs of proud locals upon docking across the way from New York Hotel — the cruise line’s former headquarters, still permanently adorned with “Holland Amerika Lijn” in brick.

READ MORE: What You Need to Know About Holland America’s New MS Koningsdam

Due to the channel’s tight navigation, the ship arrived in reverse, stern first, with a fireboat water spray salute leading the way, but soon its bow commanded attention over the pier as the vessel pointed toward Holland America’s historic Rotterdam on the opposite bank.

Fittingly, we spent the night in HAL’s old building, but only after enjoying a taste of De Librije — the Michelin-starred restaurant of Jonnie Boer, one of the line’s culinary council members — in the Pinnacle Grill aboard the

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