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"Rotterdam' cruise ship bowing out of service

Holland America Line has announced the final sailing schedule for its Rotterdam, a favorite of many cruise passengers, before it is decommissioned at the end of September 1997.

This summer it is sailing seven-day Alaskan cruises, until Sept. 22. It will then do a 50-day South America Grand Voyage (available, as are most of the longer cruises, in shorter segments), to be followed by a series of Caribbean cruises in December. In January 1997, the vessel will take its final World Cruise, after which it will go to Alaska for one last season.

Then, on Sept. 12, comes the grand finale: an 18-day last voyage from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale.

On the day the ship is decommissioned, Holland America plans to accept its newest ship _ to be christened Rotterdam, the sixth HAL ship to bear that name.

Passage is still available on the current Rotterdam, says HAL spokesman Lawrence Dessler, "but bookings are coming in strong. We expect her to sail full for the rest of her time in service."

What happens to the ship then? No decision has been made, Dessler says, but options include a transformation into a floating museum in Rotterdam or hotel, or a transfer to another line for further service _ an option considered by most to be unlikely.

For more information or to make reservations, contact a travel agent.

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