- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

09 Dec. 2015: Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas.

We sailed into Crown Bay after the exact correct time of 06.00 at the pilot station, first line ashore at 06.30 and being fully docked at 07.00 hrs.  If you are on a regular cruise schedule you can achieve such a routine and through the season a certain competition element comes forward among the Navigators to keep it exactly at the correct timing. When it does not work the whole sequence is carefully dissected to see why it did not work out. I like these sorts of things as it forces the Navigators to constantly review their procedures. Today the pilot hopped on board at 06.02 but the main thing was the ship was in position at 06.00 after having followed exactly the correct & safe routines. It cannot be helped by us, if the pilot had a hard time finding a parking space for his car and thus left the dock too late.  The main thing is the schedule was adhered to, as per voyage plan, and it was done so safely according to the exact parameters laid out before.

I think I am getting old as during this cruise I have being asking the class about why certain things are named in a certain way and “who was John Glenn”.  They knew Glenn Campbell. So I sent the whole gang ashore to visit the little open air museum in Grand Turk dedicated to US space travel (See one of my previous blogs). That filled a gap in culture and knowledge straight away. I do not blame them as I do not have a clue who Taylor Swift is.  We are just different generations.

However the fact that the US Virgins Islands used to be the Danish Virgin Island in the mists of time was something new.  When I first joined Holland America in 1981, the good old Statendam IV sailed to St. Thomas an island I had never heard of before as in Holland the emphasis was on our own islands in the Carib. But when we docked I found out that we were not docking in St. Thomas as such but in a place called Charlotte Amalie.  Not really an American name.  It sounded very European. A quick look in the Encylopedia Britannica (my answer to all questions in life before the arrival of the internet) learned the place had been named after the Danish Queen Charlotte Amalia in the early 17th. century. Before it had a Danish name in connection to the many pubs the area. (If we would have to rename the town back to that sort of logic I think the new appropriate name would be “Diamond Shop”.)

Thus all the cruise ships are docking in Charlotte Amalie; either at Havensight at the dock of the West Indian Dock Company or at the Crown Bay dock which was developed with Carnival money.  All HAL ships dock permanently at the Crown Bay pier and so do the Princess ships which belong to our sister company inside the HAL Group.  I have not been able to find out yet why this area is called Crown Bay and not something else but it has been called so for a very long time. The US navy occupied the area for a long time and used it as a submarine base and then it was already called Crown Bay; although the locals simply called it Sub-Base. One day I will come across the reason for the Crown Bay name.

Today we were docked in the shade of the Allure of the Seas which is currently the largest cruise ship in the world. But as there are a few more sisters coming in that class, I think those will be at least a few tons bigger even if it was only for P.R reasons.  Crown Bay is already nicely sheltered but being in the shelter of an Apartment of the Seas is even better and thus St. Thomas is our favorite port to conduct drills. This morning we first had a confined space drill (rescuing somebody out of a tank) and then our regular lifesaving drills which involved the Class as they had to do it all by themselves today. More about that tomorrow. We left at 17.00 hrs. after having to wait for a few guests who could not pull themselves away from the shops in town and then we set sail for our next port of call, Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas for the day after tomorrow.

1 Comment

  1. Misssed Career at Sea

    December 11, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Join the club, Captain! Being totally shielded from the Hollywood culture for several years in an upcoming new country with a very old history, I was lost with this avalanche of names that were supposed to be famous on my return to the North American world. I tried to catch up, but have pretty swiftly given up. The English language itself has also moved swiftly away from what I learned from the (Encyclopedia Britannica) Canadians since my arrival here …

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