Holland America Line has named Werner Timmers, a captain with nearly 40 years sailing for the cruise line, to take the helm of Rotterdam when the ship enters service in July next year.

Timmers joined Holland America Line in 1984 and has worked on all classes of ship within the brand, most recently as master of Koningsdam.

He will head to Rotterdam in the coming months for sea trials and then relocate to the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, where the ship is being built, to oversee the finishing touches before delivery.

“As one of the longest-serving officers in our fleet with a wealth of experience, we are pleased to name captain Timmers master of Rotterdam,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line.

“His years of seamanship and hospitability with both guests and crew will continue to create a culture on board that promotes excellence in service and a passion for travel.”

Since first joining Holland America Line in 1984 as an intern, Timmers has worked his way up the ranks to captain, which he achieved in 1996.

He has since been master of Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Ryndam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam.

“I am deeply honoured to be named the first master of Rotterdam, and I look forward to getting on board for the sea trials and seeing the ship come together during the final stages of construction,” said Timmers.

“My long career with Holland America Line has been filled with so many wonderful milestones, and this appointment is a highlight.”

A native Dutchman, Timmers grew up in Roosendaal, the Netherlands.

He chose a career at sea in his final year of high school after hearing a seafarer tell tales of adventure during career day.

He joined the Nautical Academy in Vlissingen, the Netherlands, and after graduating with a degree in nautical sciences, he obtained a second degree in marine engineering and rejoiced Holland America Line as a fourth officer.