SS Rotterdam with kids

SS Rotterdam with kids: cruising on the quay with kids!

An overnight stay on the ss (steamship) Rotterdam had long been on our wish list when we would visit the city of Rotterdam again. Last weekend was finally here! And what fun it was! In fact, you don’t even have to go into town, since you can have a great time on the former cruise ship. We included the ship right away in our report Rotterdam with kids, which describes dozens of family-friendly activities in this city. Based on our overnight stay at the ss Rotterdam, we are writing this review!

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

The ship

A former flagship of the Holland-America Line and cruise ship, the ss Rotterdam has sailed many world seas. Today the ship is moored at the quay in Katendrecht and has multiple functions such as that of hotel, restaurant, museum and location for (corporate) events.

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

What’s nice about the ss Rotterdam is that it still really exudes the atmosphere of a cruise ship. We have (unfortunately) never had the opportunity to travel on a cruise ship (if we don’t count the ferry to Sardinia), but you get an idea of what this can be like on the ship. This is already in small details such as that the personnel on the ship also wear shipping clothes. That way you get the real cruise feeling, while of course just staying at the dock.

In addition, we liked that there is plenty to do on and around the ship. In the end, with all the activities on the ship, we already spent a whole day on the ship without going into the city of Rotterdam. For example, on the ship they also have a whole room full of playmobil toys. This is obviously a lot of fun for kids and our daughter played here for more than an hour, after which we really had to drag her to go eat.

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

The room

What really surprised us on the ship was the size of the room. We had booked a Triple Superior Room and it was extremely spacious. As you can see from the pictures below, we had a double bed and Sophie a separate bed and there was a separate area with a chair and a desk, where there was also enough room for our suitcases. There was also a small sitting area in the corner of the room. The interior of the room refers to earlier times when the ship served as a cruise ship.

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

Through the two little windows in the room we had a view of the water and the boats passing by. In addition, the room had a small refrigerator, a flat-screen TV, a working WIFI connection and, of course, a bathroom with a shower. Also hanging on the walls in the room were old pictures of the cruise ship, giving you an idea of what things were like in those days.

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

Lido terrace and sunny side terrace

Right after we explore the room we take the elevator up to the Lido terrace. We notice right away that the terrace is well packed and we can understand why. It is a pleasant place to have some food and drink with a nice view from the ship. In addition, kids can cool off on hot days in the pool (40 cm deep). You can visit this terrace even if you are not staying overnight on the ss Rotterdam.

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

We arrive at the same time as another family with a daughter about the same age as Sophie, after which we do not see the ladies at our table for the rest of the time. They play in and by the pool and have the greatest fun. During the day we had a drink here and in the evening we also ate here on the terrace. The restaurant inside was already fully booked, so if you would like to eat at the Lido restaurant it is best to book in advance.

On the dock, you also have the Sunny Side Terrace, where you can have a drink at one of the picnic tables set up here and get a nice view of the ship and the water. The bar may be closed when it rains, though. When we were there on Saturday afternoon (and rain was forecast) this bar was also closed. Still, on a sunny day in summer, this is a great place to have a nice drink!

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

The scavenger hunt ss Rotterdam

After we had a drink on the Lido terrace, it was time for the scavenger hunt of the ss Rotterdam. We are given an envelope at the reception with a questionnaire, map and compass. We also need our phones during the scavenger hunt to scan QR codes hidden during the route. If you scan the QR code you will see a video with information about the ship. The videos are separate from the three questions we have to answer on the questionnaire.

We find almost all the QR codes, despite having to look carefully at times. The walk leads us past a cool playground, near the ship and the Fenix Food Factory. During the walk along the water you will have a beautiful view of the city of Rotterdam. The questions we have to answer are independent of the route we are walking. Upon returning, Sophie will receive a fries as a reward for answering the questions and kids will also receive a gift. In total, we spend about 1.5 hours on the scavenger hunt.

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

The tour Swinging and Waving

The next morning we were to take the tour, and we were not really sure what to expect from this. But what a fun tour it turned out to be. It was said in advance that the tour would take about an hour to an hour and a half, but you should count on at least 1.5 hours if you walk the entire route. This is partly due to the volunteers who enthusiastically provide you with information during the tour.

There are several tours to choose from on the ship, and we are told that the “Waving and Waving” tour is most suitable for kids. All three of us are given an audio tour, which gives us information about how things used to be here at 12 points on the ship.

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

We get information during the tour about what a large cruise ship is all about and what life on board used to be like. We visit the high decks, bow and bridge, and we take a look at the wheelhouse and the rooms behind. At various points, retired volunteers are waiting to provide us with additional information.

We really enjoyed seeing how things used to be on the ship. The rooms still look as they did then, and we thought the ship looked very atmospheric in the years when it sailed to New York. Sophie also enjoyed walking the tour. She listened intently to the audio and enjoyed looking for the points where she got information again. As far as we are concerned, we really recommend the ship!

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

Food and drink

You don’t have to go into the city of Rotterdam to enjoy good food and drink. Indeed, on the ship, this is quite possible. As we mentioned above, you can have great drinks at the Lido Terrace, and if you want to eat really elaborate food, you can make reservations in advance online at the Lido Grill Restaurant. Do this on time as we indicate, because when we wanted to eat something in the restaurant after the scavenger hunt, it was already fully booked. By the way, you can come here for lunch and dinner.

Breakfast was served in the same restaurant in the morning. This breakfast was very extensive and delicious. Lots of different sandwiches, spreads, fresh fruit, different juices and at the kitchen they can make you an omelet or a pancake. In that regard, breakfast is really a must at the hotel. The only downside is that there are so many yummy things lying around that you end up eating way too much and not feeling hungry for the rest of the day ;).

SS Rotterdam with kids
SS Rotterdam with kids

Conclusion

We really enjoyed our overnight stay on the ss Rotterdam. We had a spacious room for our family, there was plenty to do on board for us, and we had wonderful evening and morning meals. On that note, we highly recommend an overnight stay on the former cruise ship. If you want to know more about the ship, rooms and room rates, check here.

This blog was created through a collaboration with the hotel in question.

SS Rotterdam with kids
Family-friendly hotel Rotterdam
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