- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

13 September 2009, Lisbon (2nd day), Portugal.

The weather remained glorious for the day and night and this is going to be a great call. We are here for the weekend and that helps for getting the tours going around Lisbon. Work traffic on the roads is a lot less than on a week day. Especially in the port areas there can be a nice traffic jam created when all the container traffic tries to get in and a 100 tour busses (from three ships) try to get out. On a Sunday at least the container traffic is not there. As Lisbon never sleeps it does not make much difference to the atmosphere. When we arrived yesterday near the dock at 7 Am there were still two big parties going on at restaurants overlooking the river. The pilot thought that they would stop at the “normal” time of around 9 am. They had also started at the “normal” Lisbon time of about 11 pm in the evening with a dinner and progressed from there.

My colleague arrived onboard last night and so we had the whole morning for a hand over and to get the paper work squared away. By noon time we both put our signatures in the logbook, I handed over the beeper and the ship was his. My vacation had officially started.

As this was a contract of nearly five months I will now have four months off and will return to the Prinsendam on 6 January 2010, the moment she has arrived in dry dock.

To all my readers, I would like to say thank you for reading about my daily trials and tribulations while going around the world with the “The Elegant Explorer”. In July we went all the way to the North Pole ice and by the end of January next year we will be near the South Pole. By the middle of next year, we will be sailing around Europe again and we might even make it to Scrabster……………….

Although the Prinsendam is an older ship and does not have ice skating rink, nor a rock climbing wall or a Wii lounge it still offers something that appeals to our 75% and over repeater rate. A nice club like atmosphere with the well known HAL service and outstanding sea going qualities. I am looking forward to returning when we go around South America for a 65 day Grand Voyage.

Please check my blog occasionally in the coming months. I am hoping to add a number of ships histories to the blog side, including the two most famous ships that we had; the Nieuw Amsterdam of 1938 and Rotterdam of 1958.

In the mean time I leave you with a beautiful photo of the Prinsendam taken in June 2009, when we stayed in Oslo until midnight.

Tot Ziens.

Prinsendam Oslo middle scalePhoto courtesy: Andrea Consentino, Crew Purser ms Prinsendam.

35 Comments

  1. I, and many others, will miss you. Thank you so much for such a fascinating and educational blog.

    Have a wonderful vacation. Regards

  2. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  3. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  4. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  5. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  6. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  7. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  8. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  9. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  10. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  11. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  12. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  13. Captain,

    Thank you so much for the wonderful journey.
    I have followed along every day.

    Have a wonderful vacation I will be back with you on
    your return.

    Thanks,
    Rich

  14. Thank you. Your daily blogs have become mandatory reading with my second cup of coffee. They are interesting and informative. Enjoy your leave. You earned it! Regards

  15. Captain Albert,
    Thank you for your blog, it means so much to many. You are blessed that you love your job, and your attitude makes this world a better place. I bid you peace and a great vacation.
    Mark (in North Carolina)

  16. margaret and louis cesanek

    September 14, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    We will also miss you. Thank you for making this information so enjoyable.
    We would love to read your blog from our trip with you to the Black Sea and the Mediterrean last year during May and June.
    Have a wonderful vacation.

  17. Thank you for taking all the time and trouble to write an interesting and informative daily blog. My wife and I were passengers on the Princendam when it travelled round he Baltic last year and your recent account of a similar cruise brought back many memories. At the time you reported you were joining the Princendam as Captain I wrote saying it might be one of the smallest ships in the ‘Dam’ fleet but it has a big heart and is a wonderful ship to cruise aboard. I am sure you will now agree. This year we arrived in Oslo for a land based holiday the day after the above picture was taken. I look forward to reading your history notes as you put them on the web and to the return of your diary next year. Have a wonderful holiday.

  18. Captain,
    Your blog will be “MISSED” as my husband & I read it daily & also follow the ship on Marinetime (Anal i know)… What are we to do with that hour out of our day ? Ah well we shal find something, Have a GREAT Holiday !! Looking forward to any blogs from you… 🙂 Thank You for all the entertaining hours you have provided….

  19. Tot Ziens Captain Albert. I will miss reading your daily blog for the next five months. You provide incredible insight into a cruise Captain’s job, the worries, and the satisfactions. We sailed with you on the Veendam several years ago, but the Prinsendam sounds good. Have a nice leave, we’re looking forward to your return to the Prinsendam

  20. Enjoy your vacation. We’re disappointed that you won’t be IC for our October cruise. What a pity that you had such bad weather over recent cruises and your vacation coincides with a return to the warmer Mediterranean climate.

  21. If you ran an open-bridge policy, I’d spend most of my HAL days there! As a young lad, I had enough sea experience on the BC Coast to know that I did not have the aptitude to have been a navigator (even less an engineer!), but always kept the wish. Thanks for giving us some insight on the challenges and routines of the job. I’m sorry you won’t be on board the Prinsendam when I board Nov 1, but I look forward to your resuming your daily posts in January.

  22. Captain Albert,
    Enorm bedankt voor de prachtige verhalen die ook bij veel van uw lezezers ‘sweet memories’ oproepen! Een fantastisch verlof toegewenst. Misschien tot ziens op het ss ‘Rotterdam’ wanneer het binnenkort als hotel, restaurant, casino etc. zal worden geopend. Levert vast weer een prachtig verhaal op. We kijken er naar uit en houden uw blog in de gaten.

  23. Thanks again captain Albert another job well done .I look forward to reading the Blog when you get back .Have a great time on Vacation and catch up on your sleep !

    Mr veendam

  24. So Captain, back to Ingerland?

    We live in the West End of London (Marble Arch) and just couldnt work out how to come and see the Prinsendam when you sailed oop the Thames.

    We have fond memories of our cruise on her last year to Iceland and Greenland. An unforgettable experience.

    We cruise much of the year, but could really be in a land-based resort, so it is fascinating to learn about the nautical side of the voyages.

    I will miss following your adventures. Roll on January!!

    • Sorry to read that you could not follow the ship but with Greenwich it is not so easy. Long pilot times (6 hours) dictated by high water arrival in Greenwich. Next year we are again scheduled for Greenwich so if you are interested, drop me a note on the blog a few days before and I will post the tentative scheduling of the ship for going up the river. pilot, southend, gravesend, barrier and greenwich

      best regards

      Captain Albert

  25. Thank you, Captain Albert!!

    As the commenters before me have said, your blog is a great read – always full of insider information, and there to provide those of us who love crusing some insight into how the “magic” happens!

    Following your ship on the blog allows me to feel, for a few moments each day, like I am on a cruise to one of the beautiful spots you visit. Thus, I cannot wait until January when I’ll have the honor of joining you (via the blog) on what looks like an incredible journey around South America!

    Thanks again & enjoy your vacation!

  26. Missed Career at Sea

    September 16, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Tot Ziens, Captain ! Here is “spuit 11” still running after HAL ships for another 11 days (not on water, that is) with one more straggler to come in October. Then I can think of a (short) break myself. I very much appreciated your log of 9 September, the insight you gave your readers on far remote places, and esp. the many meaningful pictures, including the last one. While you’re recuperating from your trials and tribulations I can catch up with reading your blogs that I haven’t dissected yet. It’s possible that I’ll avoid “vragen naar de bekende weg” in the future. Have a very good rest, Captain, and may you and your wife, Lesley, enjoy your time off thoroughly.

  27. Jeffrey Matthew Cohen

    September 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Hi Captain! Enjoying your blog. Safe travels to you and your wife.

  28. Thank you Captain Albert,

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog. It will be hard to wait 4 months for you to return to your “Elegant Lady”. Have a well deserved time off and I look forward to your South American adventures. Hopefully, my husband and I will be able to cruise with you someday.

    Thanks again for giving so much pleasure to so many cruisers.

  29. And another thank you Captain!

    My late father was a master on oil tankers and I think there is some of the sea in my blood. I have only discovered cruising relatively recently and HAL was our first and best experience. Your blogs help keep the withdrawal symptoms away! Enjoy your vacation and I look forward to the return of your blogs in the New Year. Many many thanks.

  30. Dear Captain!

    Enough said by others and offcourse I wish you a well deserved vacation!

    I hope you understand that you have forced us readers, into a mandatory time-off. What will we do without the info, the comments, the daily going-ons, the life onboard, the fun, the whimsical, and the dreaming of being onboard…?

    Hopefully we’ll hear from you soon and enjoy your writings!

    TOT SNEL,

    Mark Vlcek
    Rotterdam – NL

  31. Dear Captain,

    Your blog and your enthusiasm for your profession made our journey on the Prinsendam extra special. Your interesting blogs regarding the journey to ‘The top of the world’ give another view on the itinerary. It was great to have you as a captain (and to dine with you as well). We felt very safe and were lucky that you arranged special detours for us on Spitsbergen.

    Wij wensen u een prettige vakantie

    Mirko en Anita

  32. Dear Captain…….may you and your wife have a great four months together. We look forward to seeing you when you return. Yes, we will check back for ships histories. Maybe one day we will be able to sail with you.

  33. Have a great vacation Capt! Enjoy!

  34. Very much looking forward to your return today. I am sure it will be a busy day as you join in Freeport! Post photos, want to see the new back-end that you are adding to the P-dam

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