Holland America Line will name its latest Signature Class ship and the 15th in its fleet, ms Nieuw Amsterdam. To be delivered in 2010, the 86,000-ton Nieuw Amsterdam will be built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard and its interior design and art collection will reflect the glamour and history of New York City, formerly called Nieuw Amsterdam.

“The Signature Class marks Holland America Line’s latest series of new-build vessels and with a guest capacity of 2,106 for Nieuw Amsterdam, it reaffirms our commitment to the mid-sized cruise ship market,” said Stein Kruse, president and CEO, Holland America Line. “This name has a rich heritage in our company with this ship being our fourth in 135 years. We are proud to extend this illustrious ship name to our current fleet.”

The first Nieuw Amsterdam was launched in 1906 and used both a full set of sails and steam engines. She was 17,149 tons and carried 2,886 passengers, 2,200 of them in third class. She sailed in regular service through World War I and then through to 1932.

The famed Nieuw Amsterdam II joined the fleet in 1938 as the company’s flagship. The silhouette of this ship can still be seen today behind Henry Hudson’s Half Moon in the company’s logo. At 36,287 tons, “the Darling of the Dutch,” as she was known, was decorated in great style and was launched by Her Majesty Queen Wilhemina of the Netherlands. Nieuw Amsterdam II served proudly in World War II completing 44 war time voyages carrying nearly 400,000 passengers (mostly troops). Following the war, she was rebuilt and, as the queen of Holland America Line’s “spotless fleet,” hosted countless well-known figures among her guests, including Katherine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Spencer Tracey and Albert Schweitzer.

Nieuw Amsterdam III was launched in 1983 as one of the most elegant ships of her time. At 33,900 tons, Nieuw Amsterdam III sailed in Alaska in the summers and in the Caribbean in the winters.

“With innovative design and guest offerings, Nieuw Amsterdam IV will continue the proud tradition of her name and continue to evolve of Holland America Line’s sophisticated mid-sized ships and further our premium leadership position,” said Kruse.

Previous new-build series include the four-ship Statendam Class group, four-ship Rotterdam Class and four-ship Vista Class. The line also owns and operates the 793-passenger Elegant Explorer, ms Prinsendam. The first Signature Class vessel, ms Eurodam, joined the fleet in July 2008.

Eurodam, and now Nieuw Amsterdam, further define and expand the Holland America Line premium brand with new concepts such as the innovative pan-Asian Tamarind restaurant and Silk Den lounge surrounded by panoramic views overlooking the ocean expanse and the Lido pool. Other additions are an Explorer’s Lounge Bar, a premium wine-tasting lounge, an elegant luxury jewelry boutique, new atrium bar area, enhanced and reconfigured show lounge, and a new photographic and imaging center.

Nieuw Amsterdam will feature 11 guest decks and staterooms will spotlight all the Signature of Excellence premium amenities of plush Euro-top Mariner’s Dream Beds, deluxe waffle/terry cloth robes, Egyptian cotton towels, flat panel TVs, dvd players, make-up mirrors with halo lighting, massage shower heads, professional grade hair dryers, fresh flowers and complimentary fruit baskets. The ship will also feature innovative spa staterooms with additional spa amenities.

The ship will continue several much-admired Holland America Line features, including outside-view, glass elevators at midship; the Explorations Café — a cyber-coffee house powered by The New York Times; the Pinnacle Grill and Pinnacle Bar; the innovative Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine, where culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and intimate classes in a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchens; an expanded Greenhouse Spa and Salon with thermal suites and hydro-pool, the largest gymnasium ever built for Holland America Line; and a youth facility that includes the teens-only Loft. In addition the ship will feature the family-style Canaletto’s Italian restaurant,

On the technical side, Signature Class ships will feature the latest state-of-the-art navigation and safety systems including dynamic positioning abilities to hold the ship in a precise position. The vessels will be powered by six diesel generators and propelled by the latest Azipod propulsion technology.

“This new class of ships demonstrates the strength of our brand, the loyalty of our guests and the dedication of our more than 16,000 employees worldwide,” said Kruse. “The added capacity will provide greater opportunities for our guests and employees alike.”