- Captain Albert's Website and Blog -

Ocean Liner History and Stories from the Sea, Past and Present. With an In Depth focus on Holland America Line

04 Aug. 2018; At Sea.

This is the last day of Voyage 87; another 7 day cruise to Norway almost completed. The Koningsdam is making a varied pattern of 7 day and 14 cruises to Norway and then in between a cruise going another way. That is what she will do when she starts voyage 88, called the Northern Isles and includes calling at Scottish ports and visiting Iceland. The mixture of various lengths of cruises and destinations is a pattern which Holland America’s prefers to have so it can attract guests who stay for more than one cruise.

The next cruise of the Koningsdam which will offer a few more sea days to relax and enjoy.

Nice for the company but also nice from the focus of the guest. Especially those who come from far away. It does not make much sense to fly all the way from Vancouver to Amsterdam, do a 7 day cruise and fly all the way back again. Jet lag will cost you 2 days and the last day is half gone with packing. Thus on our ships we see a pattern of travelers coming from far way staying on board for multiple cruises or combing a cruise with overland activities. Because Holland America is offering that option we see a lot of Aussies and Kiwi’s on board who have made the 26 hrs. journey from down under and then embark on a month long (or longer) period of traveling through Europe. We often see them near the end of their overland travels so they can make a cruise and at the same time relax without packing and unpacking their bags, as we will park their hotel for them in a new place every day. The company even has a name for them. CVG guests. Collector Voyages Guest and, time permitting, we treat them to an extra lunch or cocktail party out of appreciation.

Club Hal is made up out of three sections. Toddlers, those in between ( a bit of a vague area)  and teenagers up to 17. This the Loft, a place for teenagers to hang out and to be cool.

The Koningsdam is focusing on 7 day cruises as it expects that all the amenities this ship has will attract a younger crowd and families with children. We need to do this as otherwise there will be no HAL cruiser left in the future. With our 7 day cruises we do have a lot of families on board, at least during the school holidays. Not only Dutch but also from the USA, Canada, Russia, India and this cruise also from the East Mediterranean. It gives for a nice kaleidoscope of languages, sometimes clothing, but above all the various ways of families bonding and having a great time. For an interested observer the actions going on in Club HAL are even more interesting. We always have one or two child minders on board but when the bookings indicate that there are a lot of children expected, then those numbers go up pro rata to 6 or 8 club HAL staff. Kids do not do politics (except when it comes to hoarding toys) and it is interesting to see that all the nationalities just mix in without any reservation. Sometime I wonder if it would not work better if we put all the big political shots of the world on a HAL cruise (without advisers), make the drinks half price and let them sort it out. It is amazing what you can agree upon after five Heineken’s. I know from experience, I sold one of my bicycles once that way. Turned out the next morning that it was not my bike at all but nobody could remember who the real owner was and what had happened to him. But the evening before it all made sense. And I wondered ever since what happened to that person as we all came to that party on a bike. Maybe he got a date with a girl who had a tandem.  This was in Holland and with bikes everything is possible, there is even a pub on wheels where you peddle with 10 people and drive the thing around the town while drinking.

On the last day of the cruise Holland America puts out scales in the staircases on every deck. The idea is that you can weigh your suitcase so it is not too heavy when going back on the plane. Some people use it for that purpose, but a lot of guests step on it to see how much weight they have put on during the cruise. Most of the time they are not very happy with the result. But then they have 358 days to deal with it before it is time for the next cruise.

This is most of the time the main cause for frowning at scales. The Dining Room of the ms Koningsdam.

The good ship ms Koningsdam will dock at 07.00 hrs. tomorrow morning in the port of Amsterdam and that is also the end of my cruise. At 09.30 my private car (Holland America looks after its captains very well ) will be waiting at the gangway. Schiphol is only 30 minutes away and by 2 pm. I will be home in England, ready to face the Honey Do list from my Lord and Master and that of the Apartment building. My focus point for the coming period is designing and building new garbage sheds that offer enough space for the recycling requirements of the local council.

That brings me to the end of this period of blogging on board the various ships of the company and my blog will now stop until approx. 5 October. Then the plan is to go to the new building of the Nieuw Statendam in Marghera near Venice. As I did with the building of the Koningsdam I will take you again through the preparations of bringing our next new ship into service. I thank all my readers for their continued support and I hope I did not bore you too often.

The ms Nieuw Statendam under construction at Marghera late last year. She is going on trials this month and by the time I see her the shipyard they will be hard at work to finish the inside for a delivery date of 01 December.


  1. Looking forward to the resumption of your blog and your observations on the Nieuw Statendam and to being on board her in March, 2019. My wife and I have fond memories of the old Statendam when you were Captain and of meeting you and your wife on one occasion.

  2. Frans van Giersbergen

    August 4, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Captain, you never bore me!
    Awaiting your october reports. Have a nice holiday.

    Frans van Giersbergen

  3. Thanks for all the stories enjoyed all of them

  4. Havs\e a good holiday

  5. Have a fine vacation. You will be missed.
    Thank you for the work you put into this interesting blog.

  6. Thank you for your blog – I appreciate the time you put into it each day! I look forward to your return in September, to get a “sneak peak” at Nieuw Statendam before I board for the 10-night sailing in January. Enjoy your time off, and hope the Honey Do list doesn’t eat up all your free time!

  7. Darn, meant to say October – not September 😉

  8. Looking forward to December and the Premier voyage.

  9. Dear Captain Albert,

    You’re are now part of my DNA and not being able to look forward to your insight and daily routine will be painful until October 5th.

    I have to commend you not only for your expert knowledge of HAL history, but the demographics of your clientele and your product offerings – it’s so refreshing to hear your personal insight and opinion on a wide range of topics – you take calculated risks in your blog and me, personally as a reader appreciate that honesty – its comes through clearly in your writing and makes me smile.

    Thank you for being part of my life and I look forward to hearing about the new build and your impressions of the new ship.

    Please continue to share the ‘little’ details that provide us with insideres glimpse of the hard work and dedication that all seems to flawlessly come together in the eyes of me, the guest.

    Enjoy your holiday in England.

  10. Thank you for your most interesting commentary. I appreciate your taking the time to write it. Enjoy your well earned break.

  11. Robina Herrington

    August 5, 2018 at 1:04 am

    Happy vacation to you, I will miss your blog every day, thankso much it is my daily pleasure
    Reading you are so perspective with your observations, i just feel I am there. Enjoy your
    Break. From Robina

  12. G. E. "Robbie" Robinson

    August 5, 2018 at 1:47 am

    Thanks for your blogs. I always fine them interesting. We will be on the Maasdam in Sep/Oct for a 34 day cruise to Tahiti.

  13. Patricius Van Dijk

    August 5, 2018 at 5:06 am

    Dear Captain Albert,

    Many thanks for your very interesting blogs that we read every day. We like to read about the back grounds of what is happening on board that the guests normaly never know. We recognize a lot of things about ports in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Northern Europe where we have been ourselfs but also about the HAL ships we sailed on. We look forward to your blogs in October about Nieuw Statendam and the Transatlantic cruise we will do on this new ship in April 2019.

    Enjoy your holidays!

  14. Anneke Slagman

    August 5, 2018 at 6:29 am

    Thank you for your daily interesting blog.
    Enjoy your time off and looking forward to read your blog about the new Statendam.

  15. Thank you for taking the time to publish.

  16. We will be on the inaugural voyage of the Nieuw Statendam as we were on the final voyage of the previous Statendam and the Christening voyage of the Koningsdam. We look forward to meeting you on the ship. I really enjoy your blogs and insights.

  17. Richard Kroeger

    August 8, 2018 at 9:54 am

    It is always informative to read Captain Albert’s blog. I am looking forward to his blog regarding the Nieuw Statendam. We will be joining friends to sail on her premier voyage.

  18. Pat & Larry Stanley

    September 13, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you Captain for your insightful and entertaining blogs. For us, your writings and observations are indicative of that unique combination of professionalism, loyalty and enthusiasm which makes the HAL family so unique. It’s also what keeps us coming back time and again to enjoy the ever evolving experience.

    We are looking forward to joining the crew and staff of the Nieuw Statendam for the June 9, 2019 Norway cruise. We have been watching all the news and images of her build progress to date. Therefore we are awaiting your October return to your blog following a well deserved holiday. Thank you again.

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