Sleeping at the SS Rotterdam

Are you looking for a unique stay with children? I stayed with my daughter on the SS Rotterdam and it was great!

The SS Rotterdam is a huge ship, especially for children. “Wow, it’s so big, are we going to sleep there?” Our daughter hops excitedly from the car to the dock. The SS Rotterdam was a steamship used on the Holland-America line. First for liner service and later as a cruise ship. After many wanderings, it is now a hotel with a permanent berth in Katendrecht, Rotterdam.

Sleeping on the SS Rotterdam

We walk inside through one of the connections to the dock and are immediately approached by a staff member in ship attire. He directs us to the correct floor to check in. “Would you like a cuddly toy?” That’s not all, she also gets “a message in a bottle,” a plastic bottle with a note. We can fill it in and then it will be sent to us. What thoughtful extras for those staying on the SS Rotterdam with children!

SS Rotterdam

We walk through the long ship corridor to our room. We have an interior cabin, so no window. “Yeah, a bunk bed, I want to be on top!” my daughter yells. That sounds like a good idea: she climbs up right away to look at the shampoo bottles laid out on the bed. I take the double bed.

SS Rotterdam

I am really surprised by the enormous space in the room. We have slept on ships that still sail, like the DFDS Seaways to Newcastle and then you have a functional but compact cabin. Traveling in the sixties was clearly much more atmospheric. The family room is really large with even a sitting area and a cupboard with a Nespresso machine. Also nice is the wall that separates the bunk bed for children just around the corner from the parent’s bed. Then you can have a light on without disturbing the children who need to sleep.

SS Rotterdam If this had been a regular hotel room, I would have called the decor a bit outdated, but now the red leather chairs and wooden tables are nostalgic. Together with the black and white photos of the SS Rotterdam, they create a warm atmosphere. This is not just any hotel room where you have no idea where you are once you step inside. Nostalgia certainly does not compromise comfort; the bed is comfortable, there is a television, Wi-Fi, and a modern bathroom.

SS Rotterdam

Playmobil Playroom

After relaxing in the room for a while, we go exploring on the SS Rotterdam. There is a thrilling stage of the Tour de France going on, so I suggest to my daughter that we first check out the playroom. This way, this mama can continue watching on her phone. To get to the playroom, we have to go through the Captain’s Lounge where several people have already taken refuge in front of the TV. That’s even better than watching on the phone.

I can leave my preschooler in the kids’ room with peace of mind. You rarely see so much Playmobil all together. Mostly with a nautical theme. She absolutely refuses to leave when it’s time to eat. I promise her that we will definitely come back.

SS Rotterdam playmobil playground

Lido restaurant and swimming pool

We dine at the Lido restaurant. This part of the SS Rotterdam is freely accessible, even for non-hotel guests. It was even voted the best terrace in Rotterdam. It’s really a delightful place with a shallow pool for children. “Mom, I’ll splash you wet.” Our daughter loves swimming and she enjoys it here to the fullest. Especially when other kids come to play too.

It’s really a plus that we have a room here. Even as a restaurant guest, you can swim here, but there are no changing facilities. Now we can just walk back to the room after swimming in our towels and take a warm shower directly into bed.

SS Rotterdam swimmingpool

Even during our second day on the SS Rotterdam, we come back here for a few hours to relax. Swimwear is not allowed for adults, so this is not a place to sunbathe all day. The location is great, the view over Rotterdam, the pool, comfortable chairs, and plenty of choice for shade or sun. But to be honest: the service left much to be desired and the only dinner options for children are fried dishes (ask for them, as they are not standard on the menu), while I prefer healthier children’s menus.

SS Rotterdam swimmingpool

Breakfast on the SS Rotterdam

After a good night’s sleep, it’s time for breakfast. This is really outstanding on the SS Rotterdam. A very extensive breakfast buffet with many fresh dishes. Have your own egg cooked, opt for an English breakfast, or go for the healthy option with fruit, yogurt, and cereals.

Breakfast on the SS Rotterdam

We find a spot by the window where we have a view of the European Beach Volleyball Championship, which happens to be taking place on the quay. The skyline of Rotterdam is also clearly visible. My daughter makes a beautiful “treasure map” for dad, and we put it in the message in a bottle.

Guided tour

We start the day with the audio guide tour of the SS Rotterdam. This activity is also one of the fun things to do in Rotterdam with children, regardless of whether you are staying here or not. I get my own audio guide and my daughter gets the kid’s tour, where she can also choose a booklet with tasks. We quickly find out that these are still a bit too difficult for a preschooler, and she already finds the tour super cool, so that quickly goes into my bag. I am regularly pulled on my arm, “Mom, you know,” and then there’s a whole waterfall of stories she just heard.

SS Rotterdam guided tour

Nice is that the story for adults lasts about as long as that for children, so we’re ready to move on at the same time. My story is informative but certainly not boring, with a good mix of facts and life on board. Like the time when there were a lot of single ladies (“misses”) on the passenger list and the disappointment when it turned out to be a group of nuns going to America.

What’s fun about the audio tour is that we encounter staff members from the SS Rotterdam everywhere who want to show off “their” ship with pride. “Their” ship often literally in the sense of the word because the older gentlemen actually worked here in the past. The regular tour is always available, but the staff take you to spaces that are not always open. Our advantage of staying on the SS Rotterdam is that we do the tour directly at 10:00. We can now take a look at, among other things, the large ballroom and the nightclub (spaces that are often rented out and then inaccessible).

SS Rotterdam

We later see the large ballroom again in the experience center where a video takes you back to the time back then. From feminine dresses, high buns, white gloves, and special glasses. A boat trip on the SS Rotterdam as a first-class passenger was truly a luxurious experience.

Not only the passenger spaces are accessible. We come to the foredeck, the wheelhouse, and the captain’s bedroom. “Just ring the bell, sweetie, says Dries.

The guided tour is scheduled for an hour, but thanks to all the extra spaces we were allowed to visit and the fun anecdotes from all the staff, we ended up spending almost two hours. Highly recommended for the whole family!

Rotterdam Water Taxi

Practical information about sleeping on the SS Rotterdam

For more information about the tour and staying on the SS Rotterdam, you can visit the website or check for prices and availability. We had a wonderful two nights, and you don’t even have to leave the ship as a family because there’s plenty to do. But if you want to go into the city, it’s easy and quick with the water taxi. There’s a parking lot next to the SS Rotterdam on the quay. This is where we parked our car. Public transport is also an option, but expect a short half-hour journey from Rotterdam Central Station with the metro/bus combination.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top