- 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

13 May 2011: Time to go home.

My sailing period has finished and I am going on leave.  And it will be a long leave. The company has decided that I have to use up some of my outstanding vacation days.  I have about 8 months of paid leave outstanding and the idea is that I will take six months of that leave now.

The result is that I will fall out of the sailing cycle of the Prinsendam. With each captain doing three on, three on in principle, a six month off period simply does not work.

Thus I will transfer for one or more contracts to the Statendam in October.  I love to sail in the summer in Europe; on the other hand to have the opportunity to have the whole summer off is something that is not to be discarded either.

The next daily blog should pop again around 17 October and then we will do Trans Canal cruises from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale.

I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to read my daily blog which I hope you found interesting.   A special thank you to those readers who took the time to respond to the blogs.

Thank you for the remarks and the questions. I was glad to answer them.

As normal, there will be no daily blog during my vacation period. I do not think that you will be very much interested in “honey-do” list, which seems to be equal in length to my vacation time.  Still there will be some activity.

I will be attending some training courses while at home and I might drop a note in, about captains sitting in a school class.

Also I will add some more captains memoirs to the site.  There will be two large ones coming, Captain Haagmans who spent 54 years with the company from 1914 to 1958 and Captain Deddes, who was the 2nd captain of the company in 1871. Both families have graciously given permission for publication. Some others will be in the pipe line as families are gathering information. Eventually there will be more information about Capt. Van Deventer and Capt. Timmermans and hopefully quite a few more. Also a few ships biographies will be added.  At least both Prinsendam’s and all the Statendam’s.

The company is going to roll out a revamped HAL BLOG site in the near future, so you might want to keep an eye out for that as well. Especially as quite a few of you have automatic updates/links to the site and I do not know if they will still work after the revamp.

Tot Ziens,

Captain Albert


  1. Sorry to see you go. We are coming aboard on May 13 for our first trip on the Prinsendam and were hoping to meet you. Thank you for your blog and we hope to meet you someday aboard a HAL ship.

  2. Dear Captain Albert – enjoy your time away. We will miss your great daily updates and look forward to your return!

  3. Sorry to hear you are leaving the Prinsedam you are so well suited to be the Captain of the elegant explorer. We will all miss your blogs with such expert knowledge of all those fascinating ports and sea conditions. Have the management of Holland America got rocks in their head? There should be a petition to bring you back.
    Good luck have a good break.

  4. Graham Spearman

    May 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Captain Albert,

    Thank you so much for your informative and entertaining blogs. Enjoy your well deserved break although for me 6 months will seem an awfully long time without your daily epistles! I too will look forward to your return.

  5. Whishing you both a good off-time and hope you have some nice “bus-man’s holiday” adventures. Will you ever return to Prinsendam ?—- Happy Vacation !!!!

  6. When I went to sea 1960-1976 as US flag engine room crew we got 3 days paid vacation per sea month worked. Later when I got my engineers license we got one day of paid vacation per day worked at sea. So one could sail six months then have six paid months off. Rarely were our voyages as short as your most recent 62 days. Four or more month voyages were the norm in those stick ship days. Port time as well often extended into days and sometimes weeks.

    Due to our ships speed clock changes occurred no oftener than every other day or every third day. There were wooden signs with a rope lanyard that had stenciled on one side Advance Clocks one hour tonight, retard clocks on the other side. The navigating officer, the second mate, hung these signs on the officers saloon and crews mess room clocks at breakfast of the change day.

    Clocks were changed at the middle of the 4-8, 8-12, 12-4 watches: 6PM-10PM and 2AM. The bridge would call on the sound powered phone to remind we in the ER. This way each watch worked an extra 20 minutes or 20 minutes less. Labor contracts specifically called out that no overtime would be paid for clock changes nor would there be any docking of pay when retarding clocks.

    Our Chelsea eight day clocks everywhere except in the engine room were wound by the second mate every seven days after we had our weekly fire and boat drill. When I say everywhere I mean bridge, captain and chief engineers offices, saloon and crews mess room.

    I dunno I guess there must have been something wrong with me? I NEVER considered going aboard another ship for any reason except perhaps to visit in port while on my vacation.

    I read your posts everyday and enjoy seeing pictures you post of ports I visited. When I think of how in the dark we were weather forecast wise compared to today. One ship I was on we were in the backside of a hurricane for days being tossed around. We did not know we were in the backside until after everyone had had enough the master reversed course — that was wild nearly 90 degree rolls — and within a day we were out of the storm.

    Thank you sir,
    Greg Hayden

  7. So disappointed to hear you won’t be our captain in September…was looking forward to meeting you and reading your perspective of our cruise. But what a lovely long vacation you will have. Hope you and your wife have a wonderful time.
    Lynn Savin

  8. After reading the post for yesterday, I was going to ask if Lesley had bought the carpet, and wondered if you would use Plan B– store it onboard until you get back. But today I see the reason for the worry about packing ‘everything’. Plan C could be to meet the ship as a Visitor or Passenger in Europe and then take the extra bags off with you at the end of your visit…I am guessing– but some uniforms are making the trip from the Prinsendam to the Statendam?

    I’m looking forward to your blogs from the ms Statendam – since the Panama Canal is being renovated and widened and the 14-day schedule permitting more social events. I was a little excited at the possibility that you might blog about the ‘adventure’ of the cruise from Vancouver to San Diego, but that is not to be…

    I hope you have a restful and fun vacation.

  9. Enjoy your summer in Europe.
    I hope to catch you om the Statendam.


  10. Wow! Six months is a long time – enjoy your time off and don’t let your wife make you do to many of those chore lists. We look forward to hearing from you on your new ship.

  11. Lynn Kirkwood

    May 13, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Captain Albert, I am pleased for you on your extended vacation, but,selfishly, upset that you will not be on the Baltic cruise. I was so looking forward to meeting you. As you are the historian of the Prinsendam, I will still leave an envelope for you with the pages from OHRG 1989 on the specs and info on the Royal Viking Sun. It really is
    rather interesting and entertaining to see the changes to the ship in regard to the deck plans. and itineraries.
    Have a great vacation.
    PS. Do you know who the Captain will be beginning on 6/27?


  12. Captain:

    Before you go I was wondering if you might recommend any modern day sailing memoirs. I find many things written by cruise ship past employees , but I’m really interested in reading memoirs about actual bridge crew, cruise or other vessel.

    Could you suggest anything?

    Again thanks for everything, hope to see you on a future sailing.


    HAL 3 star mariner.

  13. Margaret Weiner

    May 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Thank you, Captain. You will be missed. I look forward to reading your blog every day. I wish you and your wife a wonderful vacation.

  14. Jennifer Saker

    May 14, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Captain Albert,

    We are disappointed we will not see you in September, however we had a wonderful time with you last year at the Top of the World.

    Enjoy your long break, and hope the list of jobs is not too long!! We will think of your wife if we get to Egypt and take the dinner on the Nile trip, its sounded great and we were looking forward to asking her about it. We look forward to your blogs again when you regurn on the Statendam.
    Regards to your wife and yourself
    Cheers from Australia Janet and Jennifer

  15. Thank you for your most interesting blog from this voyage.

  16. Dear Captain Albert,
    Hope you will enjoy your extended vacation at home and in the classroom.
    Looking forward to reading your future blogs from the Statendam.
    Thank you so much for keeping us informed about your daily interesting work on the Prinsendam.
    Kind regards and God bless you and your wife.

  17. Captain Albert:

    Thank you for your reporting on this Holland America blog. I enjoy reading about your fine seamanship and what it entails to be Master of a cruise liner.

    Have a nice summer, think of the things you can get into with 6 months to do it in!

    High Regards

  18. Enjoy your long long vacation, but like others I will miss your interesting reports.
    Also no waving in Noordzeekanaal to you this time.
    Hope to see you back on the blog in Ocotober

  19. Your blog is a daily tonic and I look forward to reading it first thing every morning. It is a real joy and I’ll miss it until you return.

    Meanwhile, have a lovely summer, stay well and enjoy your vacation.

    All the best, DFD

  20. Marcia Buompensiero

    May 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I will miss your daily blogs but you some private deserve time and a much deserved vacation time with family. Don’t work too hard on the “honey-do” list!

    Godspeed …

  21. Tallulah Bryant

    May 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    What a surprise to hear that you will be on the Statendam for a while. We will miss your blog, but look forward to your reports on the Panama Canal. We booked the Statendam for the Feb. 3 2012 sailing while on board with you and Leslie to the Amazon in Dec 2010. Perhaps we will be fortunate enough to meet again! Enjoy your vacation.

  22. I have truly enjoyed reading your blog this past year, especially the description of the Baltic ports. I will be sailing on the Prinsendam in August on Kiel Canal and Baltic Treasures and was looking forward to meeting you. I’m sure you’ll leave her in good hands. Please enjoy your well earned time off and I look forward to following your blog in the future.

  23. George Swindell

    May 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Oh dear!!

    Whilst I wish you a very pleasant holiday/break.. Having only recently “discovered” your blog…I am really going to miss your comments, news and opinions.
    I hope you find time to occasionally to let us know what you are up to and , if not possible, look forward to reading your blogs on/from your new ship later in the year.
    Hope you have a great holiday
    As you say Captain

    Tot Ziens

  24. Dear Captain,

    This will be a long wait for your daily readers!
    Nevertheless enjoy your vacation and I will look forward to irregular updates in the next six months. If you do decide to post before October would you be so kind to inform us how you prepare for a new ship?

    All the best,

    Tot spoedig ziens!


  25. Sue in Nebraska

    May 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Captain Albert,

    Thank you again for all the blogging that you do. It is very interesting to read on a daily basis. I always enjoy them.

    I hope you enjoy your time off and I will look forward to your blogs from the Statendam, my “very first cruise ship” in 1999.

    It would be very interesting to hear about Captains sitting in a school class while you are off. (If you have time).


    Susan in Nebraska

  26. Captain, Enjoy your summer on vacation to the best you can. We are going to miss your great blog for the summer for sure. That “Honey Do” list can also work both ways, and you should also make one to compare to Leslies.. I hope you don’t mind but I saved all your blog reports on the Prinsendam in Word format so I can always reread it when I have the time to do so… Have a great, enjoyable, and safe summer, Jon

  27. Missed Career at Sea

    May 17, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    This must have been a surprise to many of your readers, Captain! And this at a time when your gold went flying out of your money purse. As long as you don’t let go of your golden nugget(s). Many are bemoaning the fact of not meeting you on planned cruises or not reading your dailies for half a year. I’m joining them by bemoaning the switch-over port is in the States and not in Canada 🙂 I wonder how many years it has been since you set foot on the Statendam as a Captain? In my corner of the world it is again a very confusing time of new ships and new faces. Especially, when a ship carries guest-passengers who wave with paper hands instead of using the hands that hold the paper hands …
    Many thanks once more, Captain, for always findings new things to tell and teach your readers. You will have no problem creating jobs back home and 6 months will probably fly by for you and Lesley. Wishing you and Lesley a specially relaxing and recharging time.

    ‘t Allerbeste en ‘n goede gezondheid toegewenst.

  28. We would like to wish you a pleasant and long holiday but we will miss your visits to Tilbury. It has always been a pleasure to see you and your crew passing through security.

    Sorry for all those times we did extra searches on you.

    Stuart and all the Security Officers at The London Cruise Terminal.

    PS We hope we can see the Statendam if you come this way.

  29. Prinedam’s loss will be San diego’s gain when you assume duties onobard STATENDAM. The Port of San Diego looks forward to welcoming you back to San Diego. God Lord willing, will see you in October Captain.
    Harry Jones
    B Street wharfinger
    Port of San Diego

  30. Captain Albert,
    Great blog, very informative. I was las thru the Panama Canal for their 70th anniversary. Now I will be going RT from FTL on 14 October. Wonderful to have you on my cruise. Ha!

  31. Paul & Cheryl Darby

    September 6, 2011 at 2:41 am

    We will be on your first cruise back from vacation, so welcome! We can’t wait to meet you when we board the Statendam for the first time!

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