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

11 May 2011; Fifth day at Sea.

Why is it always that with bad weather the predictions seem to be right and with good weather it always seem to be worse. Today the weather forecast was right, maybe because it was worse…………….. The frontal system did deepen and increase in strength. The centre still lay above Bermuda so they must have had “a very nice day” there. I can say that, because with us being about 300 miles to the south of Bermuda we still had wind force 7 to 8 blowing around the ship.  More than was mentioned in the forecast. With so many hundreds of miles of open sea over which the wind could blow, the seas were nicely whipped up to heights of 14 feet, which is nearly 5 meters.  The good thing was that this swell was on the beam, so the stabilizers could take care of most of the movement. Still the ship was lively and “lurched” on occasion when an extra high wave was coming by.  The worst was around mid day and then gradually it became less and less. By late evening the ship was quiet again. Tomorrow will be a quiet sea day and tomorrow evening will be as well as we will be in the shelter of the Bahamian islands. From now on the weather looks good, with nearly wind still weather when we arrive in Fort Lauderdale on the 13th.

None of the guests however showed the slightest indication of being sea sick. All were out and about doing things.  Last minute shopping for bargains as the shops normally sells off the logo wear for a nice discount and our experienced guests are fully aware of that.  Then there was the daily program that as usual was chock-a-block with activities. One of them is the coffee chat time by the Cruise Director. During the whole cruise, Thom has been inviting entertainers, officers, Guest chefs and various other staff for a 30 minute chit-chat at 9:30am. Those coffee chats are always well attended as it gives the guests a bit of insight in what I call “life behind the stripes”.  For the final chat it was my turn and that normally takes a bit longer than 30 minutes, as guests tend to be as interested in my work as a captain and in my activities as a Holland America historian.  To top that off, there is always the surprise and puzzlement about the fact that my wife and I also cruise when on leave.  I do not think that it is that unusual at all. Bakers eat their own bread, Bar owners tend to like a glass of wine and those who work in hotels do not refrain from staying in hotels when travelling privately.  So, why not a cruise ship captain on a cruise? But it takes a bit of explaining every time.

The final high light of the day was the Captains fare well reception. This is something we have resurrected from the past.  On world and long cruises in the past, there used to be a fare well party of some sorts to say good bye to everybody by the captain in bit of an official way. With the appearance of the more elaborate Mariners party’s this faded a bit out of the routine. However as the current ships staff firmly believes in throwing a party whenever there is an opportunity, it was put back on the agenda.  To makes a bit lively, I introduced the employee of the month of April, who had been duly selected at the beginning of the month but due to the lack of any large guest gathering was never introduced.  So I corrected that today, although the May month is already in progress.  The May employee can then be introduced during the new voyage starting on the 13th.  

To make these days go as perfectly as possible, I have scheduled the last two hours of time difference to tonight and tomorrow night. So tonight  we go one hour back, as it is a formal night and tomorrow night we do the last hour, so there is some more time for packing  before leaving the ship.  Also it will give the crew an extra hour of sleep before Fort Lauderdale, as that is going to be a very busy day. The sun rises according to the laws of nature, however as a captain you can decide when the sun rises or sets over the ship, just by tinkering with these hours.  On a crossing with multiple sea days it really does not matter when you do the time changes, as long as you are on the right time by the time that you arrive in the next port.

Tomorrow will be a very nice day, with nearly wind still weather and sunny skies. The sea will have returned to its normal state of being the “North Atlantic” and everybody will have the chance to pack without being thrown around in the cabin.  Last day of the cruise is coming

1 Comment

  1. Marcia Buompensiero

    May 13, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Thank you, Captain Albert, for your wonderful blogs on this grand Africa/Med voyage! You have not only been informative about weather and ports of call, but you have taken excellent care of my dearest friends (Vera Adams and Therese Clawson) insuring that their voyage was everything they hoped it would be! I hope to have the good fortune to travel on the Prisendam sometime in the future and know that I, too, will be in the best of care aboard your vessel.

    Smooth seas ahead to you, your crew, and all your passengers. God bless!

    Marcia B.

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