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SS Maasdam Passenger Lists 1953

SS Maasdam (1952) of the Holland-America Line.

SS Maasdam (1952) of the Holland-America Line. GGA Image ID # 1d21c550bc

Maasdam (1952) Holland-America Line.

Built by N. V. Wilton, Fijenoord, Schiedam, Netherlands. Tonnage: 15,015. Dimensions: 474' x 69' (503' o.l.). Single-screw, 16 1/2 knots. Two steam turbines on one propulsion shaft. Two masts and one funnel. Laid down December 19, 1950. Launched April 5, 1952. Maiden voyage: Rotterdam-New York, August 11, 1952. Passengers: 39 first and 836 tourist. Sister ship: Ryndam.

All Digitized Passenger Lists For the SS Maasdam Available at the GG Archives. Listing Includes Date Voyage Began, Steamship Line, Vessel, Passenger Class and Route.

1953-07-15 SS Maasdam

1953-07-15 SS Maasdam Passenger List

  • Steamship Line: Holland-America Line
  • Class of Passengers: Tourist
  • Date of Departure: 15 July 1953
  • Route: Rotterdam to New York via Le Havre, Southampton, and Cobh
  • Commander: Captain J. B. Van Gaart

Passenger Lists contained in the GG Archives collection represent the souvenir list provided to the passengers of each cabin class (and other classes). Many of these souvenir passenger lists have disappeared over the years. Our collection contains a sampling of what was originally produced and printed by the steamship lines.

A Voyage on the SS Maasdam

Last week we took the rattler out of New York. We lurched overnight to Montreal to board the SS Maasdam, the newest ship of the N.V. Nederlandsch-Amerikaansche Stoomvaart-Maatschappij, also known as the Holland-America Line.

The Maasdam, we hasten to explain, is not just another ocean liner but the second edition of a daring and successful experiment that began with the arrival here last year of the SS Ryndam.

This ship provides more than 90 percent of its cabins and deck space to Tourist-Class passengers. The Maasdam, an improvement over the Ryndam, follows the same scheme, with 842 of its 881 berths set aside for that former untouchable of the Atlantic, the Tourist-Class passenger.

The other thirty-nine bunks are more elegantly outfitted and occupy a penthouse section on the boat deck. Each has a private bath, and its passengers dine in private elegance in a small, carpeted salon and bend their elbows in a private lounge up forward, just underneath the bridge.

We found ourselves assigned to Cabin 203 in Tourist Class, a cheerful compartment on the Main Deck with two beds, a disappearing upper berth, and a porthole giving out to sea or, at that moment, to the dockside in Montreal. The cabin also contained:

  • A full closet.
  • A pair of storage bins.
  • Stowing space under the beds for hand luggage.
  • A washstand and medicine chest.
  • A full-length mirror.
  • A combination make-up table and desk.
  • Two chairs.

The baths are direct across the hall. In the summer season, Number 203 will ferry tourists between Manhattan and Southampton at $185 each, three in the room. For the rest of the year, the berths will cost $197.50 each if there are two passengers and $172.50 if there are three. Other Tourist Class cabins, perhaps smaller and without direct optical liaison with the sea, begin at $160.

With some 300 members of the press, travel agents, freight shippers, shipping executives of rival lines, and a pair of admirals of the US Navy aboard, the Maasdam edged away from the Montreal dockside near noon of a late August Saturday and headed down the St. Lawrence seaway.

It was a route that the Maasdam, or any other passenger liner, would not soon again follow. The new ship had sailed on its maiden westbound voyage directly to Montreal as a gesture of friendship to Canada, which has lately been supplying a considerable amount of Holland- America Line business.

Now she would roll down the river, head across the Gulf of St Lawrence, slip past Cape Breton Island, run down the coast of Nova Scotia, cut through the Cape Cod Canal, and show herself to New York Harbor four days later.

By Saturday afternoon, we were past Trois Rivières, about midway between Montreal and Quebec. The lowlands of the river valley, sliced into fertile green strips by the waterway, must have stirred deep and homesick thoughts in the breasts of the 240 Dutch crew members.

Their duties or curiosity led them to a railward look. The villages of French Canada slid past the rail, each marked by a great pile of logs, and a church, the steeple and slanted roof glinting silver even in the gray weather.

Dinnertime and Quebec City arrived virtually together. A tremendous white electric cross gleamed out of a port-side porthole. Then, somewhere between the Corton Charlemagne 1947 and the Château Palmer 1943, the Château Frontenac appeared, on the opposite shore, an immense displaced skyscraper dancing with lighted windows, high up there on the bluff.

Then there was the open sea again until night fell, and Coney Island lay suddenly off the starboard, a glittering string of yellow sparklers. The parachute tower was an umbrella overall.

A man with a discerning eye could pick out the tiny gray parachutes being pulled slowly up to the top and then released to drop quickly back to earth. The sky glowed from the excitement of the lights, and against it stood the unlit black hulk of the Half Moon Hotel. 

Montreal to Manhattan had taken four days, over a 1,380-mile course. Manhattan to the channel ports would take passengers eight days because the faster a ship travels, the more expensive it is to operate. It is the SS Maasdam's idea to keep its prices low.

Staterooms without baths require fewer stewards, and the dining room, which can be set with long tables, employs fewer waiters. Nine- and ten-course meals are served course by course rather than by individual order. An official of the line explained, "We try to keep the prices down. We consider it's a nice thing to do."

Accordingly, a man can have his hair trimmed for thirty-five cents and spend the whole afternoon in the barbershop for less than a dollar. He can sit in a little gem of a bar or the glass-walled cocktail lounge (both Tourist Class), sipping two-bit highballs or sixty-five-cent French champagne.

Excerpt from "Booked for Travel: The Zee Around Us," in The Saturday Review, New York: Saturday Review Associates, Inc., Vol. XXXV, No. 37, 13 September 1952, p. 48-49


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