What Is the Oldest Cruise Ship?

By Michael Ferguson

The oldest cruise ship still in operation is the SS Rotterdam, which first set sail in 1959. This luxurious vessel is a classic example of the Golden Age of cruising, when glamorous ocean liners were the primary form of passenger transportation. The Rotterdam was originally built for Holland America Line by the renowned shipbuilding company, Wilton-Fijenoord of The Netherlands.

The SS Rotterdam has a long and fascinating history. She served as a transport vessel during World War II, carrying Allied soldiers and supplies to Europe.

Afterwards she became a popular ocean liner in service between New York and the Netherlands until 1974. During her time as an ocean liner she was known for her luxurious amenities and services, including gourmet cuisine, live entertainment, and even art galleries.

In 1997 the SS Rotterdam underwent extensive renovations to become a modern cruise ship once again. She now operates as part of Holland America’s fleet, primarily serving Caribbean destinations such as Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Barbados. On board passengers will find all the latest amenities such as swimming pools, spas, casinos and fine dining restaurants.


The SS Rotterdam is the oldest cruise ship still in operation today. Built in 1959 by Wilton-Fijenoord of The Netherlands, this vessel has an important place in maritime history serving both as an ocean liner during her early years and now as a modern cruise ship with all the latest amenities for passengers to enjoy.