- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

15 Dec. 2016; At Sea on the way to Tampa.

Well, somebody in Seattle office must be reading my blog as suddenly Bing Crosby’s White Christmas was heard in the ship, but only in the Atrium. Some of my dear blog readers currently on board had made a “sound inspection” of all the public areas where there is Christmas music and since 2 days Bing is there. Our music does not come from CD’s but is digitally transmitted to the ship so a new file must have arrived. Now we just have to wait for the snow to fall on the ship and then we are not dreaming anymore.

The good ship ms Oosterdam is sailing today between Costa Maya and Tampa and that means that last night we sailed through the Yucatan Channel, this morning we crossed the Straits of Florida and now we are in the Gulf of Mexico heading on a East North Easterly course to the Tampa sea-buoy were we will arrive in the early morning for the 4 hour transit to the dock. The weather has been great today with the sun shining and no wind until we came north of the Florida Keys. No we have a force 4 blowing and that is normal for the time of the year.

The Oosterdam received during her last dry dock also the upgrade of interactive TV and now you can follow the whole route nicely on the screen with constantly updated navigational and weather info. While I am writing this I see on the screen that our course is 023o and our speed 15 knots. We have a humidity of 76% with a temperature of 80oF / 27oC. And the weather prediction for Tampa is partly cloudy and a very warm day again, basically the same as today.

This is going to be interesting for me as I will be leaving the ship tomorrow. This time it was nearly six weeks onboard while I normally stay for three weeks. But my school class fell through and as there was sufficient work to-do here, it became nearly six weeks and they have gone very fast. Today is my last day and all my work is done apart from sending of my final bye – bye email and packing my suitcase. Then I have the peculiar flight of going from Tampa to Toronto and from there to Amsterdam and then doubling back to England. So I am going from 80oF / 27oC in Tampa to 23oF / -5oC in Toronto to 46oF / 08oC in Amsterdam.  My hometown is located straight across from Holland so there the temperature is the same. It seems that everybody is trying to fly early for the holidays and therefore it is difficult to get more straight flights. So I am keeping my fingers crossed for fast immigration in Toronto and no weather delays so I can make my connecting flight.

Then vacation starts with being at home for the Holidays. This summer I mentioned that my focus was then on scaffolding with outside/roof maintenance of the building in which our apartment is located. The last installment of that roof maintenance will commence in May but for my winter leave the focus is on the upgrading of the 5 lifts in the building which are now 20 years old. That is going to be quite costly so I will be busy with trying to get the best value for money. Luckily the ships electricians have told me a few things to look at and to take into consideration so I am well prepared.

I am not dreaming of a white christmas but of setting it all up. Decorating trees and setting the table is my job as part of the Christmas celebrations.

I am not dreaming of a White Christmas but of setting it all up. Decorating trees and setting the table is my job as part of the Christmas celebrations.

That brings me to ending my last blog of this period. I have uploaded my tentative schedule for next year but there might be some changes even before I end my vacation. I hope to continue uploading historical material as I try to add a few things every time I am at home.

I would like to say thank you to all my readers who are (still) willing to keep up with my daily ramblings and observations. I like writing the blog and I hope you like reading it.

Happy Holidays to all on behalf of myself and my wife Lesley who always keeps a close eye on what I do and how I do it.


  1. Captain Albert: Many thanks for your fantastic blog. You’ll be missed by us all during your well deserved holidays…..and we’ll all look forward to your return on the high seas.
    Happy Holidays. Enjoy your ”rest”…well…sort of a rest…Good luck with the ongoing,everlasting maintenance work .

  2. Happy Holidays from another fan who looks forward to your daily blog as much as you enjoy writing them. We missed you by two months on a wonderful, memorable Europe cruise on the Oosterdam with Captain Willems and will be leaving the Maasdam the day you join her in Ft. Lauderdale, “subject to much change” but hopefully not for us.

    Best regards.


  3. Missed Career at Sea

    December 15, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    I have been waiting for this opportunity of writing about weather in the north of the American continent.
    There is something happening with the jet stream dipping over the west coast of Canada, Captain. Your predicted temperature in Toronto are for a change milder that in Vancouver. Forecast calls in the West for an overnight temperature of a balmy -10°C … Also, the two lifts now some 50 yrs old in my apartment building are being replaced by up-to-date mechanisms lasting 6 months total …
    Alas, the airport in Toronto in no Schiphol …
    Wishing you and Lesley a wonderful holiday. May there be lots of marsepein I miss so much …

  4. Thank you very much for these posts.
    It’s a shame I won’t be able to sail with you in January, but I hope you will be able to enjoy the holidays with your family. I wish you safe travels and happy holidays.

    Vrolijke Kerst en prettig Nieuwjaar.
    Festive regards from Belgium

  5. I’m looking forward to your posts resuming. Best wishes!

  6. I hope you have a great vacation and a very Merry Christmas with your family. All the best for 2017.

  7. Thanks for the time and effort you put into your blog. We love seeing how the other side of the ship operates(so to speak). Your blog is not only very educational, but very entertaining.
    Happy Holidays,
    Erik and Diane Madsen

  8. Ferissa & Raphael

    December 16, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Thank you very much Captain Albert for your super interesting and fantastic blog !!! We always enjoy reading it, wishing you Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year !!!

  9. Captain Albert, Merry Christmas to both your wife and you! I hope you will enjoy a pleasant holiday season and a refreshing break from your duties for HAL. May the New Year bring good health to both of you!

  10. Captain Albert…
    Thank you very much for your always-interesting messages.
    Get home safely, and very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Bill Cashin

  11. Thank you for taking us along on this fascinating ride and providing a view that us mere mortals never see.
    I hope you enjoy your vacation at home.
    All the best to you and yours this Holiday Season.

  12. Happy holidays to you Capt Albert, and to your “management” Ms. Leslie, the HAL roaming photographer who’se pictures I miss….Ruud

  13. Hope you make it to Toronto tomorrow as we are expecting another snow storm starting tonight (Friday).
    All I can say it’s “bl**dy” cold here

    Wishing you and Lesley a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


  14. G. E. "Robbie"Robinson

    December 17, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Thanks for the blog, Capt. Albert. <y wife and I have sailed with yo several times in the past and we are headed tomorrow to Ft. Lauderdale to be on the Prinsendam for the Holiday cruise. We wish you and your wife a Merry Christmas as a Very Happy New Year.

  15. Robina Herrington

    December 17, 2016 at 2:13 am

    Safe journey Captain, enjoy your well deserved vacation. Thank you for your interesting blogs
    I will miss you.
    Happy Christmas to you and Lesley

    From Robina

  16. Elbert L.J. Bosma

    December 17, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Dear Captain Albert, I wish you and all your beloved ones a Merry Christmas and the best wishes for the New Year 2017. Hope to find your blogs in the in-box again sometime in February(?).
    Regards from Holland.
    Elbert L.J.

  17. Happy Holidays to you and the Boss Lady

  18. We enjoyed reading this post Captain Albert and hope we sail with you on our January 8th voyage. Happy New Year and blessings to you and your family. Fred & Cheryl Johnson

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