Rotterdam Bars & Nightlife

Editors rating:

Rotterdam Bars & Nightlife

Editors rating:

The Rotterdam bars and nightlife have something for everyone, with excellent live music venues and the World Stage for big production shows.

By Published On: 8 Aug 2022

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The Rolling Stone Rock Room

The Rolling Stone Rock Room is a live music venue on Rotterdam. It is a partnership with Rollingstone Magazine, so it’s no surprise the venue feels like stepping into the pages of the glossy music mag.

The Rollingstone Rock Room on Rotterdam.
Enjoy classic rock ‘n roll at the Rollingstone Rock Room.

There is a cool, five-piece rock band playing the best of rock ‘n roll. There are usually three shows each night and each one is unique.

Like the other live music venues and Rotterdam bars, the Rolling Stone Rock Room can get crowded. So if you want a seat I suggest arriving early.

There is bar service, but the staff do seem to get overwhelmed when it gets busy.

Showtimes: Three shows per night. See When & Where for showtimes.

Billboard Onboard

Billboard Onboard is another live music venue on Rotterdam. Here, it is a partnership with Billboard Magazine. Duelling piano players challenge each other to belt out the biggest hits from the last 50 years. You’ll hear standards by Billy Joel and Elton John, as well as new tunes from Adelle and Ed Sheeran.

The shows in Billboard Onboard all have a theme. There’s The Great Standards, The 1960s, The 1970s, Piano Celebration, Icons, One Hit Wonders, Hot 100 Hits and All Requests. I really enjoyed the All Request show. Guests write their request on a pad and pass it forward to see if the pianists are up to the challenge!

It’s worth noting that Billboard Onboard is one of the most popular Rotterdam bars, so arrive early if you want a seat near the pianos. Also, the bar service can be patchy – especially when things get busy.

Showtimes: Three shows per night. See When & Where for showtimes.

The Lincoln Center Stage

The Lincoln Center Stage is a partnership with the Lincoln Center in New York City. It showcases some of the World’s favourite orchestral works.

Rotterdam's resident quartet perform on the Lincoln Center Stage.
Rotterdam’s resident quartet perform on the Lincoln Center Stage.

Rotterdam’s talented musicians perform multiple programs of chamber music. During my sailing that included Pops Restrung, La Musica Latina, A Night At The Ballet, French Connection, British Isles and All American.

There are performances most evenings, as well as afternoon recitals during days at sea.

Showtimes: Showtimes vary. See When & Where for details.

B.B. King Blues Club

The B.B. King Blues Club brings the beats of Beale Street to the Rotterdam cruise ship. Like the other live music venues it’s a partnership, this time with the original B.B. King Blues Club in Memphis.

There are two vocalists and an eight-piece band backed by rhythm and horns. During my voyage they were the most popular live music act on board. You can watch them from the balcony upstairs or get your grooves on the dance floor.

It’s worth noting that the B.B. King Blues Club doubles as a night club and Rotterdam bar later in the evening.

Showtimes: Usually two shows per night. See When & Where for showtimes.

The World Stage

The World Stage is the main theatre on Rotterdam. It is a theatre in-the-round with a 270-degree wraparound LED screen. The effect is to immerse you into the heart of every show.

Cast members perform on Rotterdam's World Stage.
Enjoy cast shows on Rotterdam’s World Stage.

There are different shows on The World Stage throughout each voyage. These can include multimedia destination talks, spectacular dance company performances or full-scale production shows.

There is bar service in the World Stage – just flag down a waiter and place your order.

Showtimes: 7:00pm and 9:30pm.

The Crows Nest

The observation lounge at the front of Rotterdam is known as the Crows Nest. It has panoramic views across the bow, which makes it one of the most popular bars onboard.

The Crows Nest is the observation lounge on Rotterdam.
The Crows Nest has great views out to sea.

During the day the Crows Nest has a bustling cafe vibe. You can enjoy coffee and teas, as well as lite snacks. In the evening it becomes a Rotterdam bar as guests gather for pre-dinner drinks.

Sometimes, the Crows Nest can be almost too popular. So if you want to avoid the crowds I recommend coming after the dinner service has commenced.

It’s also worth noting that the Crows Nest is home to the shore excursions desk known as Explorations Central, or EXC.

The Tamarind Bar – the most intimate of the Rotterdam bars

My favourite bar on Rotterdam can be found inside the Tamarind restaurant. Best of all you don’t need to be dining there to enjoy it.

The Tamarind bar is a hidden gem with an elegant, oriental ambiance. But what makes the Tamarind bar extra special is the exclusive cocktail list. It includes the Wasabi Cocktail with Momokawa Silver Sake, Lychee Liqeuor, Sour Mix, Agave Syrip & Orange Juice, as well as the Far East Legacy with Absolut Mandarin, Moonstone Asian Pear Sake, St. Germaine, Cointreau & Peach Puree.

Opening hours: 5:30pm – 9:30pm.

Half Moon Bar

New to Rotterdam is the Half Moon Bar on Deck 2. This small, but very popular bar has won awards for its cocktails which celebrate the history of Holland America Line.

The Half Moon Bar on Rotterdam.
The Half Moon Bar’s cocktails celebrate the cruise line’s history.

One of the most popular cocktails they serve is “The Original”. This homage to Holland Americal Line’s first ship (Rotterdam I) is made with a Dutch gin and a hint of single malt Scotch. I also liked “De Halve Moon” made with Old Duff genever, lemon rosewater shrub and DDG Bitters.

Opening hours: 4:30pm until late.

Ocean Bar

The Ocean Bar is midship on Rotterdam with adjacent lounges full of sofas and armchairs. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view from the large picture windows.

It’s worth noting that like many of the bars on Rotterdam it can seem crowded at times.

Opening hours: 4:30pm until late.

The author sailed as a guest of Holland America Line.

About the Author: Jason Kerr

Jason is the founder and Managing Editor of The Luxury Cruise Review. He has a passion for travel, a weakness for espresso coffee and a love of Greek cuisine.

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