For most people, you spend months – potentially a year or two – planning a cruise. And so after all that build-up, you want the best experience possible – and you certainly don’t want a cabin that lets you down.
This is especially when we’re talking about a ship that’s as nice as MS Rotterdam – one of the best ships in the Holland America Line fleet.
I was lucky enough to spend the day exploring MS Rotterdam in Plymouth. I have used my time aboard as well as the info I collated from hundreds of online reviews, to come up with this guide to the best and worst staterooms on this HAL ship.
In reality, there are very few cabins or staterooms on any ship that would be truly ‘disappointing’, but there may be some that just have little eccentricities, or are in an awkward place. Or, you might book one that’s brilliant for someone else, but doesn’t quite fit you.
With that in mind, here’s a detailed look at all the cabins available on MS Rotterdam, and a guide to the best ones and the ones you might want to steer clear of, so that your long-awaited cruise goes as perfectly as possible.
MS Rotterdam Cabin Types
There are four main cabin types you can choose from on MS Rotterdam. These each have subtypes of cabins within them…
- Inside – Standard, Large or Spa
- Ocean View – Single, Large, Spa Large or Family
- Verandah – Standard, Obstructed, Aft-View or Spa
- Suites – Vista, Signature, Neptune, Spa Neptune or Pinnacle
Let’s take more of a look at each of these cabin types, so you can get an idea of which one is the best for you…
Interior Staterooms on MS Rotterdam
MS Rotterdam has three different types of Inside cabins that you can book:
|Standard||2 people||141 sq. ft.|
|Large||2 people||225 sq. ft.|
|Spa||2 people||143 sq. ft.|
As they are with any cruise ship, Interior cabins are always going to be the cheapest option. They’re great if you’re on a budget and plan on spending most of your time outside of your cabin, exploring everything that MS Rotterdam has to offer.
There are three different types on MS Rotterdam, including Standard and Large. Both of these have two twin beds which are convertible into a single Queen bed if preferred – you just need to let your cabin attendant know.
The third type is a Spa Interior Stateroom – more on those in a little bit.
One thing to note if you’re travelling with children is that the Interior Staterooms on this ship only sleep two people. And there are no inter-connecting Interior rooms either.
I often like to cruise in the cheapest inside stateroom with my children. This isn’t an option on MS Rotterdam. But then again, if you’re looking for a really cheap family cruise, this won’t be the ship for you anyway.
If you do have children and want to avoid the worry of constantly supervising them near the balcony, then a family Ocean View Stateroom would be your best option on MS Rotterdam…
Ocean View Staterooms on MS Rotterdam
There are four types of Ocean View Stateroom available for guests to book on MS Rotterdam. These are:
|Studio Single||1 person||125-170 sq. ft.|
|Large||2 people||175-280 sq. ft.|
|Spa Large||2 people||175-280 sq. ft.|
|Family||5 people||220-230 sq. ft.|
The next step up from an Interior Stateroom, Ocean View Staterooms have a window that lets you see out over the ocean. The window is nice and large, and lets a lot of bright, natural light into the room.
It’s also handy if you just want to check what you should be wearing before you head out of your cabin for the day – it’s more reliable to look out the window than check any weather app you might have on your phone, after all!
These cabins tend to be larger than the Inside Staterooms, although there are different sizes available.
The smallest of the Ocean View staterooms are designed for solo guests. They’re relatively spacious, considering they’re for one person, and they come with a single twin bed.
Again, there are Spa versions of Ocean View staterooms, and there are also Family Staterooms too, which can sleep up to 5 guests. These have twin beds (convertible to a Queen bed, of course), a sofa bed which can sleep up to 2 guests, and a Pullman bed, which is suitable for children.
Suggested read: What is a Pullman bed on a cruise ship?
Verandah Staterooms on MS Rotterdam
Here are the four types of Verandah Stateroom on MS Rotterdam:
|Standard||2 people||228-370 sq. ft.|
|Obstructed||2 people||228-370 sq. ft.|
|Aft-View||2 people||228-370 sq. ft.|
|Spa||2 people||228-370 sq. ft|
Verandah Staterooms are always some of the most popular on a cruise ship. You don’t just get a view, but you get your own private balcony where you can sit and soak up the fresh sea breeze, and hopefully some of the warm sun too.
Verandah Staterooms are an ideal choice if you like to spend more time in your stateroom. It’s always refreshing to sit on your balcony on a pleasant day, drink in one hand, book in another.
There are four types of Verandah Stateroom, all of which sleep two guests, and the room sizes above include the balcony floor space too.
Obstructed Verandah Staterooms have a partially-blocked view thanks to the lifeboats along the side of the ship. These are cheaper than the other options and are good if you don’t mind having a view that isn’t completely clear.
Aft-View Verandah Staterooms often book up first. They have what many consider to be the best views of the ship, overlooking the wake as you sail. Plus you tend to be more shielded from the wind. You will pay a little more for the privilege though.
Finally, there are also Spa Verandah Staterooms that you can book. (More on those below).
Suites on MS Rotterdam
The different types of Suite on MS Rotterdam are:
|Vista Suite||2 people||260-365 sq. ft.|
|Vista Suite with Aft View||2 people||260-365 sq. ft.|
|Signature Suite||3 people||380-400 sq. ft.|
|Neptune Suite||2 people||465-855 sq. ft.|
|Spa Neptune Suite||2 people||465-855 sq. ft.|
|Pinnacle Suite||4 people||1,290 sq. ft.|
There are four main types of suites, with Vista Suites being the introductory option. They’re slightly more spacious versions of a Verandah Stateroom – around 20% bigger on average. It’s a decent size increase, but you don’t get a whole lot extra really.
It depends on your own preferences – if you appreciate the room then a Vista Suite is worth it, otherwise save your money and get a Verandah Stateroom.
Signature Suites are really the start of the real suite class for Holland America ships, with a much more spacious room and a longer list of perks that you get, although it’s still not super-lengthy. The biggest room upgrade will be the king-size bed.
Neptune Suites are larger again, and they have a lot more additional benefits, while Pinnacle Suites are the very best on the ship – they’re extremely spacious (with a Verandah that’s bigger than most of the actual staterooms on the ship) and they include an oversized whirlpool bath too.
If you like the idea of a suite but aren’t sure which to choose, then you should be sure to compare the different perks that you get with each. Take a look at my Holland America Line Suite Benefits Guide to find out more.
Special Cabin Types on MS Rotterdam
Beyond the standard selection of staterooms on MS Rotterdam, there are a few more choices you can make.
Spa Suites and Staterooms
A popular choice for guests who like to pamper themselves, MS Rotterdam has a selection of Spa Suites and Staterooms to choose from, across Interior, Ocean View, Verandah and Neptune Suite categories.
These staterooms and suites are no bigger than their non-spa counterparts, but what sets them apart is their location and the facilities you’ll find in the room.
These accommodations are all situated close to the Greenhouse Spa & Salon, so you never have far to travel if you want to enjoy a relaxing massage or beauty treatment.
Inside the rooms, you’ll also find a selection of spa-themed amenities, including organic bathrobes and slippers, upgraded toiletries, and a loofah mitt with bath salts.
You’ll also get yoga mats and pedometers to help you stay active during your cruise, while the room has a countertop water feature so that you can set the perfect relaxing ambience.
If you’re someone who likes visiting the ship’s spa during your cruise, then these rooms are absolutely worth checking out. Otherwise, the additional cost means they probably aren’t worth it for you.
Almost all cruise ships have accessible stateroom and suite options – designed for guests with additional accessibility needs. And MS Rotterdam is no different.
On MS Rotterdam, the accessible rooms are split into two categories – Ambulatory Accessible, and Fully Accessible.
Ambulatory Accessible rooms are those which aren’t designed for wheelchair users, but that have small modifications to handle other accessibility needs for guests. On MS Rotterdam, these rooms include:
- 1 Neptune Suite
- 1 Vista Suite
- 7 Verandah Staterooms
- 1 Family Ocean View Stateroom
- 1 Ocean View Stateroom
- 2 Interior Staterooms
Fully Accessible rooms are suitable for wheelchair users, with widened doorways and a roll-in shower. These include:
- 1 Signature Suite
- 2 Vista Suites
- 14 Verandah Staterooms
- 4 Ocean View Staterooms
- 6 Interior Staterooms
There aren’t too many rooms on Holland America’s MS Rotterdam that are suited to families – unlike on ships that are designed for guests with kids, this ship doesn’t have additional beds in almost every room. Instead, they’re limited to certain categories – Ocean View rooms and Pinnacle Suites.
But there is another option – there are connecting cabins which guests can book if they want two staterooms side-by-side. These have a doorway between them, which is normally locked. If your party has booked both rooms, you can ask for the door to be unlocked, giving all guests access to both rooms.
Connecting rooms are available for Ocean View and Verandah Staterooms, and if you request a connecting Verandah, then the balconies can also be connected, opening up that space more too.
How To Choose The Best Room
There are a lot of different decisions that factor into picking the best cabin for your cruise, and as you can tell, there are many different stateroom options on MS Rotterdam to choose from too!
To help you out, I’ve created a checklist that you can work from, which’ll tell you what you should be looking for when you decide to book a cruise. All you need to do is pop your email address and name into the form below and it’ll be sent straight to your inbox.
MS Rotterdam Cabin Grades
When choosing the best room on Rotterdam, one thing that you’ll need to get your head around is the cabin grades.
Every cruise ship labels rooms with a cabin grade – this is usually one or two letters at the start of the room number which tell you what kind of room it is.
Different cruise lines have systems that vary slightly, but with Holland America, you just need to know what the letters stand for – that tells you the type of room. Then the digits afterwards will tell you what deck you are on, and specifically which room you’re in.
If your cabin has a four-digit number then it’s on the first 9 public decks, from the Main Deck (staterooms 1001-1187) right up to the Navigation Deck (staterooms 8001-8203). There are no staterooms on the ninth deck, which is the Lido Deck.
If your cabin has a five-digit number, it means you’re either on the tenth deck, which is the Panorama Deck (staterooms 10001-10055) or the Sun Deck (staterooms 11001-11060).
Here’s a rundown of the different grades of cabins on MS Rotterdam:
|SQ||Spa Neptune Suite|
|SA, SB, SC||Neptune Suite|
|SS, SY||Signature Suite|
|AS, A, B, BC||Vista Suite|
|VQ||Spa Verandah Stateroom|
|VS, V, VA, VB, VC, VD, VE, VF, VH||Verandah Stateroom|
|FA, FB||Family Ocean View Stateroom|
|CQ||Spa Ocean View Stateroom|
|C, D, E, F||Ocean View Stateroom|
|OO||Studio Single Ocean View Stateroom|
|IQ||Spa Interior Stateroom|
|I, J, K, L, N||Interior Stateroom|
The Worst Cabins on MS Rotterdam
Now before we get to the best cabins on this ship, let’s take a look at some rooms that you may wish to avoid. It’s not that these are always bad, but depending on your circumstances, you may wish to steer clear of these rooms…
1. Cabins that could make you seasick
8138 to 8203, 10001 to 10055, 11001 to 11060
Some people are more prone to getting seasick than others, and most cruise passengers never need to worry about it. However, if you are one of the unlucky ones who suffers, there are certain staterooms you should avoid that can make things worse.
Those are mainly the staterooms and suites on Decks 10 and 11, at the very front of the ship. This is where you’ll feel the most motion. It’s not a terrible problem on MS Rotterdam – the ship is medium-sized in terms of cruise ships, which helps (the bigger the ship, the less you feel the movement). And it has modern stabilisers.
Some cabins at the aft of the ship can feel the effects too, particularly nearer the top – so consider avoiding the rear cabins on Deck 8. This isn’t helped thanks to the sponson, which is the ducktail of the ship that extends from the stern – this can cause the occasional shudder on the aft-facing cabins which isn’t pleasant if your stomach is churning.
If you do suffer from seasickness, choose a mid-ship cabin on a lower deck.
2. Vista Suites
Cabin grades AS, A, B, BC
The Vista Suites are an usual choice with Holland America Line, because they feel like they exist between the Verandah and Suite classes of accommodation.
Are they part of the Suite class? Technically yes, but you don’t really get much in the way of suite benefits for choosing one – just a couple of minor improvements in the furnishings of your room, that you likely wouldn’t miss.
Are they better than Verandah Staterooms? Again, technically yes, in that they are bigger – but only by around 20%.
Honestly, while they are very nice, for a lot of people they’re not worth the extra cost compared to a Verandah Stateroom. If you want a Suite, consider a Signature Suite at least (although even those don’t have a great perk selection).
Otherwise, think – would the extra space matter to you? If yes then go for it. But if you won’t use your room much, consider getting a Verandah Stateroom instead.
3. Spa Staterooms and Suites if you’re not interested
Cabin grades SQ, VQ, CQ and IQ
The option of booking a Spa stateroom or suite on MS Rotterdam is good if you’re someone who is really into their spa treatments and lifestyle. The fact that you’re so close to the spa is convenient, and the additional touches in your room can make it feel much nicer.
But they are just little touches – so think about whether you’ll really use the yoga mats and the pedometer, or if you’d want to have the countertop water feature running.
If you’re not sure, then is it worth paying the premium for one of these staterooms, especially if you plan on spending most of your time elsewhere on the ship? The answer’s probably no.
Depending on your sailing, a spa stateroom might not cost much more than its equivalent standard room in the same category, so it’s up to you – but if the costs are substantially different, really weigh up if it’s worth the extra.
You can always take your own yoga mat.
4. Connecting Staterooms if you don’t use them
On any cruise ship, connecting staterooms are handy for families and larger groups. Even more so on MS Rotterdam, where there aren’t as many standard staterooms that sleep multiple guests.
But that’s not the reason to avoid booking them if you don’t need them. True, someone else might make better use of them, but there’s an even more practical reason why you should avoid them if you won’t be booking the adjacent room too.
Cruise ship staterooms are made from a metal frame, which offers a decent level of soundproofing. Cut a door into it – even a closed one – and that soundproofing is partially compromised.
The door may stay locked, but you’ll likely hear your neighbours, especially if they’re loud. Which also means they may hear you.
If you value your privacy, book a non-connecting room instead.
5. Obstructed View Verandah Staterooms
4039 to 4105, 4118 to 4165
This really depends on how much you would use a Verandah, and whether the view is important to you or if you just like the fresh air that it offers.
Obstructed View Verandah Staterooms are situated on Deck 4 and are facing the lifeboats, so your view is going to be at least partially blocked – how much so depends on the individual stateroom.
If you don’t care about the view, then these are a good option since they’re cheaper – but think about whether you want a balcony at all. If natural light is all you want then an Ocean View Stateroom would be cheaper.
And if the view does matter to you, then you won’t want it spoiled by a reminder of the emergency boats attached to the ship.
Take a look at this video to get an idea of what you can expect of an obstructed view on MS Rotterdam…
6. Verandah Staterooms with solid-steel railings
4002 to 4020
Similar to the Obstructed View Verandah Staterooms, these are some Verandah Staterooms that offer a limited view, except this is a little different.
These staterooms are situated at the front of the ship, where the wind is at its strongest. As such, the plexiglass that would normally be used for a railing isn’t strong enough, meaning they’re made from solid steel, which you can’t see through.
Not a problem if you’re standing up, but if you like to sit on your balcony, your view is definitely going to be impacted. The sky will look pretty at least.
The worst part is that these aren’t considered Obstructed View, so they don’t get the same discounts – after all, your view is completely uninterrupted if you don’t mind standing at the railing.
While these balconies are larger than average, they will be less comfortable due to the wind, so you may wish to look elsewhere.
7. Rooms directly above the World Stage
4002 to 4036
The World Stage is a fantastic theatre on the ship, taking up the height of two decks on the Plaza Deck (Deck 2) and the Promenade Deck (Deck 3).
Because it’s so impressive, and it hosts amazing live performances, they have quite the sound system in order to fill the room. And if you’ve booked a cabin on the Beethoven Deck directly above (Deck 4) then that sound may well carry through the floor.
The live entertainment shows don’t run on too late, but if you’re someone who likes to be up early and then get an early night ahead of the next day, you might be disturbed.
Thankfully the bars that are open later into the evening are situated above staterooms on Deck 1, and the sound tends to travel upwards, so it’s not too bad late into the night. It’s just those evening hours when music and theatre performances at World Stage may cause you problems if your room is close by.
8. Rooms directly below the Lido pool
8037 to 8091
If you’ve just read the section above and thought that the sound of the World Stage wouldn’t concern you, as you like to stay up at night, then definitely avoid the rooms directly below the Lido pool.
You won’t hear the noise at night here – even when movies are playing, because it just disperses into the open air. But what you may well hear is the sound of people grabbing a lounger first thing in the morning.
And not just reserving a lounger, but dragging it along the decked floor – and that is a sound which will carry right through your ceiling.
If you appreciate a good lie-in, and you don’t want early risers on the pool deck waking you up, book a room elsewhere on the ship.
9. Rooms where engine noise can be heard
1127 to 1177, selected other cabins including 5147
Typically engine noise is well sheltered on a cruise ship, but there can be some cabins – usually on the lowest deck – where you might near the various sounds from the engine room, or you may feel the vibrations.
It’s usually muffled but it may be distracting enough to cause you an issue.
While it is typically contained to cabins on the lowest deck, there are selected other rooms where you can sometimes hear the engines, including as high as Deck 5 – I’ve had an email from a past guest on sister ship MS Koningsdam who named his cabin 5174 as having an issue with pounding engine noises.
10. Rooms above the Jazz Club
4050 to 4080 (rooms ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 only)
Thanks to a past Holland America guest for sending this tip in – these rooms on the port side of the ship are directly above B.B. King’s Jazz Club on the ship, and can be quite noisy right up until midnight.
It’s another cabin where, if you’re a night owl, it’s unlikely to bother you. Indeed, if you love jazz, you might love these rooms! But if you want a comfortable sleep before midnight, best to avoid these.
The Best Cabins on MS Rotterdam
So those are the worst cabins you could book on MS Rotterdam – depending on you and your travelling party. What about the best? Which are the real gems of the ship that are always worth your consideration? Let’s take a look…
1. Extended Balcony Rooms
There are two staterooms on Rotterdam that come with huge balconies, for no extra cost. In fact, these are four times as big as a standard balcony – a huge 205 square feet! They also come with four lounge chairs rather than the standard two.
Take a look at this video for a closer look at one of these huge balconies. It’s from Nieuw Statendam, but you’ll find the exact same thing on Rotterdam, albeit with different cabin numbers.
The reason that these exist is that there is a crew stairwell next door. That means that these rooms get the balcony from what would be the next-door cabin in addition to their own. So they’re double width.
And because these cabins are at the aft of Deck 4, they’re double depth as well. Bonus!
These rooms will likely sell out quite quickly, but it’s certainly worth checking to see if they are available on your cruise.
2. Aft-View Verandah Staterooms
5200, 5204, 5208, 5225, 5227, 5231, 6212, 6214, 6216, 6231, 6233, 6235, 8188, 8190, 8192, 8199, 8201, 8203
The most sought-after views on most cruise ships are those over the wake at the aft of the ship. As you’re sailing you get to see the churning waters you leave behind, and you have the benefit of shelter as the ship moves in the opposite direction.
There are Vista Suites with an aft-view as well, but as I’ve covered above, these aren’t really worth the extra cost. It’s better to just choose a Verandah Stateroom with an aft view as they are still spacious and comfortable.
3. Studio Single Ocean View Staterooms
Cabin grade OO
Not many cruise ships cater for single passengers very well. There are some lines and ships that have dedicated single rooms, but many don’t. And even those that do tend to only offer Inside/Interior staterooms, since they assume that a solo passenger just wants the cheapest cruise possible.
With MS Rotterdam, there are no single Interior staterooms, but you can get an Ocean View Stateroom, and that’s pretty cool if you are travelling alone. Just because you’re a sailing single doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate the views of the ocean!
The staterooms aren’t huge, but they’re a comfy enough size for one person and their belongings. The only downside is that you’re stuck with a single bed – no sprawling on a double. But the fact that you don’t have to pay a single passenger supplement, and you get natural light, is a win.
Take a look at this video for a closer look at this stateroom type:
4. Pinnacle Suite
No list of the best accommodations on MS Rotterdam would be complete without a mention of the Pinnacle Suite, the largest suite on the ship by a significant distance.
As a guide, you could fit as many as six Interior Staterooms inside the Pinnacle Suite, and that’s just the indoor space – the balcony is also twice the size of the smaller Interior Staterooms too.
It’s not just about space though – the amenities and the perks you get for booking this suite are what really make it special. Relax in a whirlpool bath, enjoy a complimentary Mimosa each morning in your suite with breakfast, skip past lines almost everywhere on the ship – you’ll really get the VIP treatment.
It is, of course, extremely expensive compared to other staterooms and suites so it’s not for everyone. But if you have the budget available and want to treat yourself, it’s a fine choice.
5. Navigation Deck Aft Staterooms if you smoke
8138 to 8203
On most cruise ships these days, you are very limited in where you can smoke. It’s banned in your stateroom (including on the balcony) and in most public areas of the ship. On MS Rotterdam, there are two smoking areas – the casino, if you’re playing, and the Sea View Bar on Deck 9.
If you’re a smoker (which includes e-cigs), it can be inconvenient to trek halfway across the ship when you want to smoke. But there are some staterooms situated just one deck below the Sea View Bar, so it’s only a short walk to the staircase or the elevator and you’re in a comfortable, sheltered smoking space.
Don’t worry if you’re a non-smoker and you book one of these rooms – it doesn’t tend to drift down, since it is an open-air bar – the wind will carry the smoke away. That makes these rooms a good choice for smokers, but not a bad choice for non-smokers.
Unless you get seasick, as these are some of the cabins I’d suggest avoiding for that reason too.
What is the best deck on MS Rotterdam?
The best decks on MS Rotterdam are the Gershwin Deck (Deck 5), the Mozart Deck (Deck 6) and the Schubert Deck (Deck 7). These decks are surrounded by staterooms above and below, and so are best shielded from noise.
But really, most people across any deck won’t have many problems at all with sound coming through the floor or ceiling and so are likely to be fine. The best deck could instead come down to whether you’re prone to seasickness (aim for a lower deck) or you want to be nearer the pool (aim for a higher deck).
NEW DEALS JUST RELEASED!
Don’t miss the latest Holland America Line offers…
MS Rotterdam is the newest Holland America ship. So you can expect a beautiful ship with great features and fantastic artwork throughout. I’m sure that you’ll love your cruise on the ship regardless of which stateroom or suite you choose.
Still, by using this guide, you’ll be able to pick the best option for you, and avoid any that might not suit you. So after a full day of adventuring, amazing dining and relaxation, you can come back to a haven of tranquillity and rest well for the next exciting day.
Remember that none of these staterooms are ‘bad’, and that everything is subjective.
When researching this guide, I used the Holland America deck plans as well as these other resources:
If you still have any questions about the accommodation on Rotterdam, then those would be excellent places to ask.
NEW DEALS JUST RELEASED!
Don’t miss the latest Holland America Line offers…
- Holland America Line Drink Packages: Worth It Or Not?
- The Best Deck on a Cruise Ship
- Will You Get Seasick On A Cruise?