- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

08 Aug 2008, At home and ………….Breaking News.

Good morning,

It was not my intention to write blog pages during my leave; the idea was to only add maybe a few more Avid Cruiser articles and some more photos to the photo gallery.

However I have just received my schedule for 2009 and as a few of you were inquiring about whether I would be on the Veendam in 2009 or not, here is the schedule and it has a twist to it.

14 October 2008 to 4 Jan 2009

30 April 2009 – 23 Aug. 2009
18 Oct. 2009 – 10 Jan. 2010

That means that after 4 years on the Veendam I will be transferring to the Prinsendam in April 2009. This is a smaller ship and not a single cruise will be the same as the last one. I loved sailing on the Veendam and I will happily return to her for one more contract but the Prinsendam is going to be a challenge that I welcome very much. The Prinsendam does do a lot of longer cruises and goes to places where the larger ships cannot go to. She would be the one to go to Timboektoe, if there was a Canal that could take her there.

It will certainly make my daily blogging different from day to day, so I hope you will enjoy reading about ports that are normally not featured on the regular cruise calenders.

I will upload her history in the coming period and it is quite an extensive one. She came to Holland America through the Carnival Family from Seabourn as she used to sail as the Seabourn Sun. Before that she was the Royal Viking Sun being built in 1986. Holland America has been investing heavily in her in the last few years, to bring her up to date and now she sails for us as the “Elegant Explorer”. She is the smallest ship in the Holland America Line fleet and can thus go to places where the bigger ones would have an issue getting into.


  1. Jerrell Snyder

    August 5, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Congratulations! I’m certain that the move to the Prisendam will be an exciting change for you as you visit new ports. It will also be interesting for those of us who read your blog to hear about many new ports and itineraries.

  2. Congratulations on your new assignment. May you enjoy your new ship and the adventures she holds. We hope that we will be able to sail with you on one of the voyages.

  3. Best wishes Albert. We sailed with you this summer for 14 days.What a pleasure. I hope we can take a trip on the Prinsendam to hear your “Voice From The Bridge”

  4. Good for you Captain! Sounds like you’re going to have some exotic cruising to nice places heading your way on the elegant explorer! 🙂 If you can divulge this, are you taking Capt. Gunderson or Capt. Turner’s place onboard?

  5. Congratulations, Albert. So glad that we sailed with you and Lesley this past May as I doubt we will ever sail on the Prinsendam.

    Enjoy your “new” ship.

  6. Congratulations. With that schedule it means you will be back in Amsterdam a few times in summer.
    When you see people waving near “Pont Buitenhuizen” , starboard about 70 minutes after leaving Amsterdam, it could be us.

  7. Good luck .I look forward to reading the new ports of call.
    Mr Veendam

  8. Perhaps you will share some history of the Prinsendam I too? My parents think the cruise to Indonesia back in the 1970s (pre-kids) was the best one ever…they still get tears in their eyes when they think of the ship and its sinking in the early 1980s…

  9. You will be sorely missed when we cruise the Veendam next April. It has been a real pleasure cruising with you and your lovely wife over the years. We hope the slippers keep your feet warm on the new ship. We may try the Princendam since you will be there. Good speed and good luck in all your future endeavors.

    Ruth & Jim

  10. Best of luck to you when you take command of the Prinsendam. I enjoy your daily blog and look forward to hearing about all the new ports.

  11. I hope you are looking forward to being the Master on the Prinsendam as much as I am looking forward to reading your blog postings from that wonderful ship.

    From my point of view as one of your fans, I’m delighted about your new position….and I hope your are also delighted about it.

  12. Dear Capt. Albert,
    We are so excited to hear your news! We have been booked for some time on the July 17 cruise on the Prinsendam. We had thought we would never get to cruise with you. We are thrilled that we will finally get to meet you. Although after reading your blog for such a long time, we feel we already know you.
    Norma & Bill

  13. Tony Llewellyn

    August 7, 2008 at 9:13 am

    I enjoy reading your blog captain, we have not had the pleasure of sailing with you “yet” but that will be rectified when we sail on the Prinsendam October 18/09 (Black Sea and Mediterranean Odyssey)
    I do hope you enjoy the Prinsendam we sailed aboard her in 2004 and fell for her charms, you will too I’m sure.
    I’m keeping an eye on the Georgia situation, it would be a shame to miss that port of call.

  14. Capt. Albert,

    Congratulations Captain! This will be a HUGE adventure for you. I sailed on ms Prinsendam for my first contract in 2006 as the Security Officer. We did the first sailing of the West African Coast. Now it circumnavigates the continent, and more…watch our for spears. You will get to Antarctica as well and Alaska will seem benign after that, and the Chilean fjords with it too. Way cool!
    You will need an able Environmental Officer so please keep me in mind, Ha ha!

    Regards, Joe

  15. Are u kidding me? thats so stupid, i booked a cruise on the veendam after u leave just to see you, that sux. that was very rude of you

  16. Suzanne Thompson

    August 9, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Congratulations! I can say that with my whole heart because you will still be the Veendam’s captain during our November 30 cruise. Really, the Prinsendam seems to be a glorious ship with exciting ports, it should be a wonderful adventure.

  17. I am returning with great happiness to Royal Viking Sun on the Black Sea cruise in May/June. I have not met Captain Albert but, from these comments, he must be a fine Master.

    I was looking forward to singing the Royal Viking Line’s Sailaway song with Capt. Gunderson, but now I look forward to meeting Capt. Albert and enjoying Prinsendam under his command. Perhaps I can brush up on my nonexistent Dutch before Civitavecchia.


  18. Congratulations, Captain! I’m sad that our paths will not cross next year, because we board Prinsendam Aug 23, 2009 … just as you head off for leave.

  19. THis must be the rudest thing anyone has ever done. just stay on the veendam.

  20. We look forward to joining you on the Athens to Fort Lauderdale voyage in November 2009!

  21. Congratulations captain,
    I know you will enjoy the challenge of ports that are not a routine. The prinsendam is a nice ship, I’m sure you will keep her safe so she does not follow in her predecessors footsteps.
    And I personally believe you are a great choice for the Prinsendam.
    Hope to sail with you when soon.
    Regards to you and Leslie, enjoy the rest of your vacation
    Ruud Lodder

  22. Shirley and Willem

    August 11, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Good choice for the Prinsendam. Hope she will be a good ship for you. She is on our plans for next year and this will make it easier to decide to sail on her. We have yet to meet your Lesley, so please don’t forget to bring her along on your voyages.
    Hope to see you somewhere along the way.
    Much luck and “Behouden Vaart”.;

  23. Congratulations Captain Albert. We had the privilege of cruising with you in 2006 when we sailed from Vancouver to Tampa via the Panama Canal and the Amazon. It was a great cruise with many happy memories.

    I have just read that you will be on the Prinsendam next year. We are doing the Transatlantic cruise from Athens to Fort Lauderdale in November, 2009 so look forward to cruising under your command.

    We love the Prinsendam, having cruised the Black Sea on her in October, 2004 and we look forward to being on her once more.

    Jennie Lynton

  24. Congratualtions, Capt Albert.

    The history of the Prinsendam will be fascinating reading when you upload it, in particular, the episode of the sinking of the Prinsendam in the Gulf of Alaska in October 1981 with the amazing rescue and survival of all 524 passengers and crew. Reflecting on this amazing event will provide new meaning for all those drills and safety procedures & inspections that you have described in your blog.

  25. Congratulations on your new posting. We sailed with you on the Veendam in February 2007 out of Tampa. We loved the ship, and it became our favorite in the HAL fleet. As it happens, we will be sailing with you on your first Prinsendam transatlantic voyage 30 April 2009, and will continue on with you to the Black Sea. We hope to meet you in person and will keep reading your blog in the meantime.
    Bob & Cindy Kocher

  26. Hey Cooks, how old are you?? That’s three posts in a row that should get deleted! Has it ever occurred to you that where and to what ship a HAL captain goes is decided not by the individual captain(s) but by a person or persons in Seattle with a big scheduling board in front of them? Instead of acting like a spoiled eleven-year old child who got her favorite toy taken away, why don’t you complain to HAL HQ in Seattle! Capt. Schoonderbeek is nice enough to take time out of his no doubt busy schedule to give us all a daily look behind the scenes of the day-to-day operation of a modern cruise ship and you got nothing better to do than to start giving him a bunch of grief? You should be ashamed of yourself!

  27. Cooks’ comments have been deleted. – Ralph Grizzle

  28. Connie & Gary Hunt

    August 18, 2008 at 10:24 am

    We wish you the best on your new ship, but we are so glad you will still be on the Veendam for our November 1st cruise. All of the comments we have read sounds like you are a superb Captain. We look forward to meeting you.
    Gary and Connie

  29. Congratulations! Prinsendam sounds like a vessel we would enjoy very much! I’ll look forward to reading the history when you find time to upload it.

    Frank in sunny Santa Barbara (Actually under a deep Marine Layer right now!)

  30. Congratulations. My wife and I recently had a super cruise and holiday on the Prinsendam. A wonderful ship that I am sure you will enjoy commanding and be very proud of. I’ve read your blog with interest as many of your notes and comments reminded me of our earlier cruise to Alaska on the Volendam a few years ago. I look forward to reading about your travels and exploits on the Prinsendam and joining the ship again one day soon.

  31. It’s time for me to hop on board. As far as I’m concerned, your new appointment is the real stuff, Captain! Your readers will find out what stuff you’re really made of 🙂 Once you set sail for the coastline of Africa don’t just watch out for spears. Also watch out for a good ¼M who have beaten those spears into pruning shears … You won’t find any cooks among them, even if you try!!! I’m sure you’ll be tapping your feet on the bridge getting through the “Caribbean bus runs” this Fall (after your run on the Grand Amazon). I’m so happy for you, Captain. This calls for a celebration. Let’s get the chop sticks out!! If Lesley is on board for the long hauls, may you have several reservations at the Pinnacle Grill to relive your world tour in 1987!
    (Saga Ruby – Captain Albert sings too! See Captain’s weblog 29Apr08, Captain’s answers to questions #4)

  32. Captain Albert, I am so sad to hear your leaving my favorite ship, but very happy for you be moving on seeing some of the most beautiful ports in the world. I want to thank you for your excellent service you provided my on my first ever cruise, which has kept me going!! Good Luck!!

  33. We’ll be joining you on October 18, 2009 and continuing on to Fort Lauderdale for a glorious 38 days on board our favorite ship. Welcome aboard!! Hope you love her as much as we do.

  34. Joseph LaMarche

    August 24, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Im so happy for you Capt. Albert hopefully I can go on your ship sometime.

  35. Joseph LaMarche

    August 24, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    And ive read what this cooks person has said. and its probly just some person being an idiot and thinking there funny ( there are evreyting but). but u are a great captain. and you will be great on the prinsendam.


  36. William Billings

    August 30, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    I have sailed on the Prinsendam in the past and loved every minute. I believe you will find the Prinsendam very much to your liking.

  37. I am so happy for you and your new venture. At least we will have you in Tampa the remainder of the year. The information that you share with us every day and take time out of your busy schedule to write has been so meaningful. I will be looking forward to you and the Veendam’s return next month. Take care.

  38. Great news, Captain.Hopefully we will sail together again, as I have the Prinsendam as #1 on my wish list for 2009!! Cheers. Elizabeth

  39. Capt Albert,congratulations on your assignment to the Prinsendam,as old sailors used to say when swinging the lamp “the last ship is always better than the one you are going to.” I look forward to meeting you on board in July of 2009. Beware of the tide in the Bristol channel,its a BORE.

    Bon Voyage,


  40. Kapitein, gefeliciteerd met uw verjaardag!/Capt. Happy Birthday! 🙂

  41. We just booked Nov 25 2009 on Princendam. South America and Amazon. We are so glad that you will be the master on duty then. It will be nice to sail with you and your lovely wife again.

    See you in Nov 16, 2008 Western Caribbean cruise.

    Ruth & Jim

  42. Belated happy birthday. May you have many more fruitfull years.

    From the both of us may you have good fortunes and smooth seas

    Ruth & Jim

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