From left, Port of Dover's Christian Pryce exchanges commemorative gifts with the ship's captain, Eric Barhorst
Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam made its inaugural visit to Dover on 8 September 2023, a milestone that was commemorated with a traditional plaque exchange ceremony onboard the vessel.
Nieuw Statendam, which debuted in 2018, was welcomed to the Port of Dover by a water canon salute and representatives from the port, local government, destination authorities and media. While guests disembarked to explore Dover, the representatives were invited to watch exclusive entertainment provided by Morris dancers and a pianist in the cruise terminal, before boarding the ship for the plaque exchange ceremony.
During the event, attendees were given a brief overview of the history between Holland America Line and the Port of Dover during speeches by Nico Bleichrodt, the cruise brand’s vice president of international sales and marketing, as well as Christian Pryce, the port’s chief commercial officer. In addition, Deidre Wells, chief executive of Visit Kent discussed recent tourism developments in Dover, noting that the organisation is creating 300 new shore experiences for visitors.
“Nearly 30 years since we first welcomed the previous Statendam to the port, it’s fantastic to see our partnership with Holland America Line reach a new level as we become its UK cruise destination of choice,” said Pryce. “With the dramatic and unrivalled views of the White Cliffs and Dover Castle, inspiring local culture and heritage, plus a vibrant new waterfront surrounding the cruise terminals, Dover provides the perfect welcome to the ‘Garden of England’ for hundreds of thousands of cruise passengers each year.”
Pryce then presented Nieuw Statendam’s captain Eric Barhorst with a commemorative plaque and a decorative plate handcrafted by a local artisan. Barhorst reciprocated with an identical plaque and a handmade Delft Blue plate, saying: “These items celebrate our history and symbolise the beginning of a new chapter. We look forward to many more years of successful collaboration.”
In 2025, Nieuw Statendam will sail 10 roundtrips from Dover, becoming the first Holland America Line ship to homeport in the UK for 10 years. The vessel’s voyages will range from 14 to 42 days and take guests to destinations in the Canary Islands, British Isles, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Iberia and the Eastern Mediterranean.
“The UK market is one of the biggest cruise markets in Europe, and it’s also one of the most important and high potential markets for Holland America Line,” said Bleichrodt. “With Holland America Line homeporting in Dover, we will bring our ships closer to home and allow British guests the chance to explore exceptional destinations in Northern Europe and the Canary Islands without having to take a flight. We would like to thank all port officials for the great cooperation and making this possible, and we look forward to a close partnership in the coming years.”