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.
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.
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.
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.