Skip to content
Borealis’ naval architect to make inaugural return to ship with exclusive talk for guests on Iceland cruise

Press release -

Borealis’ naval architect to make inaugural return to ship with exclusive talk for guests on Iceland cruise

The naval architect behind Borealis will enjoy a walk down memory lane when he steps foot on the ship for the first time in 27 years.

Dr Stephen Payne OBE, who was the project manager for the building of the ship, formerly known as Rotterdam VI for Holland America, will be joining a Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines sailing to Iceland this summer.

During his time on board for the ‘Whales and Volcanic Landscapes of Iceland’ cruise in July, the Royal Designer for Industry will be delivering three talks to guests about his role in creating Borealis, another on the Battle of the Denmark Strait in 1941 and a third on HMY Britannia.

Dr Payne, who discovered that he wanted to design and build passenger ships after watching Blue Peter as a five-year-old boy in 1965, said:

Rotterdam VI, now known as Borealis, is very special to me as it was built to replace the iconic Rotterdam V, which I’d fallen in love with because she was so different to modern ships.

Rotterdam VI, now known as Borealis, at the Venice Cruise Terminal. Credit: Stephen Payne
“When the decision was made to build the new Rotterdam, the requirements were that it had to have all the attributes of the former ship, but with the new facilities that passengers were looking for.

“As the project manager, I oversaw the contract negotiations and the build through to the sea trials and delivery. There was such a big build up to the handover and I can only describe the occasion as like a daughter leaving home.

“July will be the first time that I’ve been on the ship since 1997 and I’m hoping I’ll rediscover the warmth and personality that she was built with. It’ll be a real walk down memory lane.”

Stephen Payne (right), owner's Project Manager with Loris Di Giorgio, shipyard Project Manager, at the keel laying of Rotterdam VI. Credit: Stephen Payne

During the cruise’s hand-crafted itinerary, guests will also have the opportunity to seek out whales and dolphins with marine wildlife charity ORCA, witness awe-inspiring waterfalls and spurting geysers and immerse in the Icelandic way of life.

The aft pool deck of Rotterdam VI, now known as Borealis. Credit: Stephen Payne

James Moss, Itinerary Product Manager at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming Dr Stephen Payne OBE on board Borealis for the first time since he built the ship.

“We know our guests are curious and look for enriching experiences, so this will be a golden opportunity to listen to talks from such a renowned expert in his field.”

Borealis’ 11-night S2415 ‘Whales and Volcanic Landscapes of Iceland’ cruise, departing from Dover on 11th July 2024. Prices start from £1,499 per person. Enjoy free parking in Dover.

  • See puffins before they migrate from Iceland
  • Join a tour to Vigur Islands from Ísafjörður to spot puffins
  • See the awe-inspiring Strokkur Geyser and powerful Goðafoss Waterfall

Itinerary: Dover, UK – Cruising by Duncansby Stack, Scotland – Cruising Pentland Firth, Scotland – Akureyri, Iceland – Cruising Eyjafjörður, Iceland – Cruising by Hrisey, Iceland – Ísafjörður, Iceland – Reykjavik, Iceland – Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland – Lerwick, Scotland – Dover, UK
For more details: Visit S2415 ‘Whales and Volcanic Landscapes of Iceland’

For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines sailings from Dover, visit
Book online or call Reservations on 0800 0355 242 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm), or contact your ABTA travel agent.


Ellis Orchard

Ellis Orchard

Press contact Public Relations Manager Public Relations 07557672265
Georgina May

Georgina May

Press contact Public Relations Executive Public Relations
Lauren Gardner

Lauren Gardner

Press contact Public Relations Manager Public Relations 07546807099

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

At Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines we are very proud of our smaller ships – Bolette, Borealis and Balmoral - and the imaginative and unusual itineraries they allow us to offer. Every cruise is hand-crafted from scratch by our team of in-house Journey Planners to make sure you are not only visiting the best destinations, but at the best time to experience them.

For us, it’s not just about where we go but how we take you there. We put as much time into planning scenic cruising as we do in choosing the destinations themselves. On board, our Signature Experiences showcase the history, culture, nature and flavours of the destinations you’ll visit – from Treats of the Region, where you can enjoy local delicacies, to our Sky at Sea star-gazing sessions where you can relax with a hot toddy out on deck while our astronomer talks you through the night sky.

Plus, with each ship carrying 1,300 guests or less, our ships are small enough for us to offer a warm, friendly and personal service where nothing is ever too much trouble, as we visit a host of exciting ports in every corner of the globe.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred. Olsen House, White House Road
IP1 5LL Ipswich, Suffolk
United Kingdom