- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

Current Fleet

My company Holland America line has 13 cruise ships and two on order. The ms Eurodam the first ship of the new signature class will enter service in june 2008 and the No-Name-Yet Dam which is scheduled for 2010. Since december 2004 I have been assigned to the ms Veendam. The ships fleet is subdivided into classes. (Vista Class, R Class and S class, and the one off Prinsendam) The Veendam is one of four ships belonging to the S-class. Here follows some technical and historical information about the ship.


TONN. BRT: 55,451 NRT: 26,945 DWT: 6,604
BUILT AT: Cantierie Navali Fincantieri, Maghera Venice, Italy.
BUILT IN: 1993 YARD NO: 5954
ENGINES: Two Sulzer 12ZA40S + three Sulzer 8ZA40S diesel engines by New Sulzer France
connected to two 12 MW ABB Cyclo converter electro motors.
ENGINE OUTPUT: 2 X 8640 Kw. + 3 X 5760 Kw. PROPS: Two (pitch)
SERVICE SPD: 20 Knots MAX.SPD: 22.60 Knots (trials)
LENGTH.O.A: 219.30 Meters LENGTH.PP: 185.00 Meters
BEAM OA: 30.80 Meters (Hull width) DEPTH: 40.00 Meters (Top Deck)
DRAFT: 7.70 Meters max. at a displacement of 30.305 Tons
PAX.CAP: 1266 , Max. 1516 (including 250 Pullman) in 625 cabins 501 outside.
CREW: 589 certified, max. beds 618.
SISTERSHIPS: Statendam (5), Maasdam (5) Ryndam (3)
REMARKS: 2 Becker Rudders, 2 Bow and 1 Stern thruster of 1,720 Kw. each..

Constructed of steel as a purpose built cruiseship. Became the fourth ship of what was orginally supposed to be a three ship S- class. The contract for the 4th addition was signed on 25 feb. 1994 and the keel laid on 20 September 1994. Floated out on 24 June 1995 and delivered on 1 May 1996 at the shipyard. Sailed empty to Florida under the command of Capt. W.H. Eulderink.

The ship was named on 25 May 1996 in Port Everglades by the actress Debbie Reynolds and sailed the same day with a full complement of passengers for her first commercial cruise. (10 day Caribbean cruise). She remained the whole year of 1996 in the Carribean and then sailed to Alaska for the summer of 1997. In 2005 Holland America decided to upgrade all the existing ships under a project called “Signature of Excellence”. It was the Veendams turn between 3 jan. and 28 Jan. 2006 during a dry dock period in Freeport Bahamas. The refit included the addition of a two story Youth centre behind the funnel, remodeling of some public rooms and extending the Ocean Spa above the bridge. During this refit the ship was flagged into the Dutch Registry on 10 Jan. 2006 (Capt. Albert J. Schoonderbeek.)
For the year 2007, the ship will sail in Europe during the summer and in the Caraibbean in the winter.

The Veendam is the fourth ship of this name. The first one was commissioned for the company in 1889, the second one in 1922 and the third one in 1973.

The name Veendam comes from a little village located in the North Eastern part of the Netherlands. Veen means peat in Dutch, Dam means Dam as in HooverDam or BoulderDam. Thus Veendam is a village located around a dam in a river in a peaty area.

Note: above information was partly extracted from 125 Years of Holland America Line, a book I co-authored in 1998, when the company existed for 125 years. The book sold out long time ago but is regularly offered for sale on Abebooks.


  1. Can I subscribe to your reviews when you write them?
    Please send to email: ilovechocolate44@aol.com

  2. Captain, this is the first time I’ve had a chance to look at your site, and it’s just as interesting as my friends on Cruise Critic said it was. I love learning the details of passenger ships, and am becoming something of a ship-spotter. My father loved ships and the sea, and expressed his passion for them by crafting models of the USS Constitution and other tall ships without benefit of any kits. He was working on HMS Victory when he died at 82.

    My husband and I will be taking our fourth HAL cruise to the Sea of Cortez on October 31, on Veendam’s sister Ryndam. I will be a frequent visitor up until that time.

  3. Looking for to our next cruise on the Veendam, less than a month away. this will be our third cruise aboard Veendam, our ship of choice.

    And this time, I will remember to bring Captain Albert’s book!

  4. I have been on many cruises starting when I graduated from high school back in 1973 with my first cruise being aboard P&O Lines ship, the S.S. Oriana from Vancouver to Southampton’ England through the notorious Panama Canal. Other cruises were all successful as being wonderful, but in September of 2006, I boarded ‘ms Veendam’ for her 34 day repositioning cruise from Vancouver to the Carribean via the Amazon River. I had never had a balcony suite before so I thought that since where I am going in the future, my money is only going to burn anyway, why not? Surprisingly enough, the suite that I had on the Veranda Deck, Cabin 212 was very affordable and to say the least, a wonderful expirience with all the comforts of home. Veendam is certainly a “ship with a soul”. She has character with a certain smile on that bulbous bow face. Clean ship and efficient crews were always there when needed and the meals being absolutely supurb. The 34 days were only 3.4 days in my mind, since before I knew it we were gliding into Tampa, Florida with the horrible thought of disembarkation. Certainly the best cruise I have been on thus far. Also may I add that my loving parents’ Mrs. Joyce and Mr. John Lanning were to do this same cruise earlier on before the ‘Veendam’ was delivered into service, aboard the ‘ms Westerdam’, but unfortunately, my Mother took sick and the cruise on the Amazon had to be cancelled at the last moment. My Mother became terminally ill and passed away two months later with my Father joining her less then a year later. So in essence the wonderful cruise aboard the ‘Veendam’ was done in a certain memory of my most loved Parents. I also was able to purchace a second hand copy (in excellent shape) of the book ‘125 Years of Holland America Line’ by H.A Dalkmann and A.J. Schoonderbeek. It was great to sail with Captain Schoonderbeek and I would like to ask that should I sail with the Captain on my next HAL cruise, I will bring this book with me so I may ask that it be signed by the author and Commander himself. My extended thanks to Holland America Line, the Captain, Officers and crew of the beautiful ‘ms Veendam’ for such a memorable cruise. Also many thanks to those new friends I made with my fellow passengers who also made my cruise that much more enjoyable. I will never forget……………

  5. Dear Captain Albert,
    My apologies for sending you an e-mail during your holidays. Should you have some time to answer your inbox, would you please answer my 2 questions (for now)?
    Do Chief Officers (1st stuurmannen) working for HAL have the same privileges as Captains with regard to holidays? Meaning – do they also have ” shifts” of 6 months off and 6 months on?
    Are Chief Officers also assigned a ship or can they “bid” on other ships to work on?
    I am a retiree from Air Canada but have always been interested in the organization of merchant shipping companies from the time I sailed on the Johan van Oldenbarneveldt from Soerabaja to Amsterdam!
    Many thanks and have good holidays


  7. The Veendam is still my favorite ship . I was just on the Noordam 2/16/08 cruise round trip out of NYC 11 day’s .The Noordam like the Veendam i fine to be the best in there class! Being the last one’s built .Captain i go way back with HAL .Growing up in Hoboken NJ .Watching all the old HAL ships come in at the old 5th st pier !! I saw the Statendam of 1957 come in for the first time also the Rotterdam of 1959! My grandfather is Dutch so i got to go on all the ships with him for visits .He had alot of friends who work for HAL .And some Captains he went to school with .They would sometimes stay at our house .At that time ships didn’t come & go in the same day !! My all time favorite ship is the Neiw Amsterdam of 1938 .Maybe the best Art deco ship ever !! I could tell you story’s of the 5th st pier .When movie stars former Paz. would come to Hoboken to board a HAL ship ! It was alway a big deal when a new HAL ship would come in .I remember how sad it was when HAL moved to pier 40 in NYC !! Thanks alot for this great web site .
    Mr Veendam Bill Miller is also from Hoboken .I know him .He”s done books on HAL .He went to school with my older brother in Hoboken .HAL is his favorite line too !!


    The Spottiest fleet !!

  8. Greetings Captain;
    We are taking our first cruise in June and we will be on the Veendam. Your writing is interesting and well done.
    If you have time, can you answer a question as I have a very curious husband. He is an old school mechanic and loves to tinker when he has a chance on old cars. My question is how much fuel does the Veendam use on a trip from Canada Place to Seward?
    Have a good day and we look forward to our cruise.

  9. Roger Tollerud

    May 12, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Dear Captain Albert
    My wife and I cruise often on Carnival and though we have never cruised on HAL I really enjoy the inside information you provide to us cruisers who are interested in how the ship works.

    Thanks so much.

    I wish you fair winds and following seas.

    Roger T

  10. Captain,
    I stumbled across your blog researching the Veendam. Fascinating! I am looking forward to joining you on the June 13th northbound voyage. I hope the weather improves in the next month. I will certainly be paying more attention to route, berths and tides than usual. Thank you for sharing with us.

  11. Steve Chisholm

    July 9, 2008 at 9:09 am

    I love the “S Class”. Perfect size I think. I cruised on the Statendam in 1994 just after she completed her inaugural world cruise. I took the Grand Mediterranean and Black voyage from NYC to London. It was wonderful. I’ve sailed on her several times since. Hawaii and Alaska…

  12. Arthur Rosenberg

    August 19, 2008 at 6:55 am

    I know we cruised with you to Alaska on the Maasdam. You don’t mention being on that ship.

  13. Dear Captain Schoonderbeek

    As I was looking through our picture album of our East Coast cruise from Monteal to Tampa last fall, I noticed for the first time a reference to your blog website. I read all your behind the scenes comments and your battles with tides, currents, gulfstream and the like. Absolutely fascinating reading. You are an excellent writer. Thank you.

    It was also humorous to read your comments on judging the ship-building contest. We participated in that, you may recall the cardboard Viking ship with the barbie figurehead. We had a blast.

    Although our first Veendam cruise, we have cruised HAL several times before and always enjoyed it. Keep writing, I will check your blogs faithfully.

    Ruud and Barbara Hartog, Tierra Verde, FL

  14. Captain Albert, I was on the Veendam in the month of Sept. 2008. I was greatly disappointed that you were not the captain at that time. I was looking forward to meeting you. I had read all your blogs after subscribing a few months earlier.
    I loved sailing on the Veendam to Alaska on the 14 day cruise. What a wonderful ship – and just the right size. I had sailed the year before on a different line – a much larger ship – and I liked the attention given to me by the crew on the Veendam – much more than I ever expected. I plan to cruise many more times on the Veendam as well as the other ships of Holland America.
    I love your blogs!

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