Sailing With Experience

With a history that spans close to 150 years, it’s not surprising that Holland America Line has a history that a depth of talented crew who will be aboard Rotterdam when the ship is delivered in July.

The cruise line has appointed Staff Captain Kevin Beirnaert, Hotel Director Wessel van Oorschot, Chief Engineer Peter Massolt, Staff Chief Engineer Wim Akkerman and Environmental Officer Michael Brown to lead Rotterdam’s shipboard teams.

The cruise line had previously announced that Captain Werner Timmers will be at the helm of Rotterdam. The 99,500-ton ship currently is under construction at Fincantieri’s shipyard at Marghera, Italy.

Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line, pointed out that: “Holland America Line has a solid foundation of exceptional leaders who are seasoned at delivering new ships, and these team members bring years of experience, knowledge and dedication to our brand.”

Antorcha continued: “As we move toward delivery this summer, this team will be tasked with getting the ship ready to welcome guests and ensuring we have a happy complement of crew. We know they’re up to the task, and we congratulate them on their appointments.”

Senior Staff Officers include:

Staff Captain Kevin Beirnaert who joined Holland America Line in 2006 and worked on Rotterdam, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, where he recently filled in as captain.

Hotel Director Wessel van Oorschot who, since joining Holland America Line in 2005, has worked his way through the ranks of the food and beverage department from assistant maître d’ to hotel director. Rotterdam will be the fourth new ship he has launched with the company, having previously introduced Nieuw Statendam, Koningsdam and Nieuw Amsterdam.

Chief Engineer Peter Massolt has worked a total of 19 years with Holland America Line, from 1980-87 and then again from 2008 onwards. During his time with the company, he has worked on ss and ms Rotterdam, Ryndam, Prinsendam, Statendam, Veendam, Volendam, Noordam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Nieuw Statendam.

Staff Chief Engineer Wim Akkerman joined Holland America Line in 1994 following an apprenticeship on cargo reefer vessels. Raised in the small village of Nederhorst den Berg, the Netherlands, Akkerman went to the Zeevaart maritime college and became a maritime officer, but he chose a technical route.

Environmental Officer Michael Brown is a native of Panama where he still resides. He joined Holland America Line in 2016. Previously he was a marine engineer in the cruise industry.

Rotterdam is the seventh ship to bear the name for Holland America Line and the 17th ship constructed for the brand by Italian shipyard Fincantieri. Following Rotterdam’s Premiere Voyage departing Aug. 1, 2021, the ship will spend its inaugural summer season in northern Europe.

Sail on over to for more.