- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

16 March 2019: At Sea.

Well, the weather system moved towards us quite rapidly and created a bumpy ride during the night. It also brought enough wind on the starboard side of the ship (As with Trade winds strong or weak it all comes from the East and we are going north) that he captain gave the orders to close off the outside decks on the starboard side. The reason that we are doing this is not so much that guests cannot walk or stand against the wind but because of the angles of the wind. You have to push hard to get the wooden doors to the open decks open against the wind. Not all guests are good at that. But then you have to step through and that is when a lot of guests run into problems. While stepping through the door normally moves a little bit and then it gets the full blow of the wind with a varying angle. And that full blow is then of a different force (due to the angle of the door) than when you started pushing the door open. Guests often do not realize that and with a bit of bad luck the door slams shut again. With or without a part of a guest in between…………………….

Another danger is when guests walk the deck. They balance against the wind until they make the turn, either away from the wind (un-expected push in the back) or into the wind (really slows you down).And that change has us seen people running into the bulkhead or falling over. It has caused many accidents, especially with people who ignored the signs and still went on deck. So we close the whole deck on one side and hope the guests stay in. We cannot lock the doors to the outside deck as they are emergency exits and also the inside side of the lock is not a key hole but a turn bolt. So you can always open it.  In the old North Atlantic days, when the ships did not deviate nor slowed down for a storm, I have heard of stories of locking the doors or placing a rope or other obstruction on the outside. Maybe not correct to do but it is not always easy to keep people inside.

This is bad weather. The mighty bow of the ss Rotterdam (V ) crashing into the North Atlantic waves, (Photo courtesy Commodore Bouman, first Master of the ss Rotterdam)

I remember from world cruise 1993, that we were leaving Suva and that a hurricane was getting closer very rapidly. As 2nd officer Sr. I was tasked to make a final round on the outside decks to see if the sailors had secured everything safely and everything was closed that should be closed. At the same time the captain made an announcement to all guests of what was going to happen and gave the order to stay inside. To the utter amazement of all of us, instead of listening to the Captain, a lot of guests came out on deck, to see where the hurricane was as the ship was not rocking and rolling yet. So after getting the order from the bridge to get them all back inside, I starting doing that. I ran into a lot of abuse from the world cruise passengers as “they knew how to deal with this as they themselves had done world cruises before and also had real bad weather before” The captains comments during coffee the next morning were quite unprintable. And he was not very much in the mood then to change course to make more things more bearable as the ship was now standing vertically on occasion. Luckily it was the ss Rotterdam (V) and I have never been on a better sea ship. With the modern ships you slow down and you are perfectly safe; with the old Rotterdam we sometimes sped up a little bit as then the mighty nose came out and she then rode the waves a lot better.

Looking towards the stern it was not much better. ((Photo courtesy Commodore Bouman, first Master of the ss Rotterdam (V))

Although some guests were convinced this morning that they were battling a mighty storm, it was not that exciting. The ship was just a bit lively as the swell went over 12 feet and then cruise ships start to dance a little bit.

We are moving towards Cuba so entering dark blue = quiet waters again. Plus note the green “plume” on the west side of Mexico, that is the Tehuantepec wind blowing.

We are supposed to run out of the wobbly weather sometime this evening and looking at the weather chart, it will remain fairly quiet from then on. There is some disturbance on the West side of the Gulf of Mexico but it looks like that it will not come close to us as we are heading towards the east side of Cuba.

Also for the Bahamas things look well. And that is what we need as Monday will be our last day of the cruise, having a nice sunny day at Half Moon Cay. The only thing that makes it not perfect is that we will be there with the ms Koningsdam. On the other hand the island can handle 5000+ guests without any issue and even if the Koningsdam is full, we will only just have over combined 3300 guests ashore.


  1. When is your sailing schedule going to be updated?
    It’s still showing 2018.

    • Captain Albert

      March 17, 2019 at 7:43 pm

      Thank you for letting me know.

      I just updated. I made an update about 3 weeks ago, but I think it got lost with the recent server change.

      I am now up todate until mid June. I am waiting for confirmation for the rest of the year.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  2. Hi Capt Albert
    Your photos of the Rotterdam V in heavy weather remaind me of a westbound end-of-world cruise trip on the ship from Rome to NY. Bad weather off Newfoundland , I believe, forced the ship to slow, but the burners in the boilers were changed and the ship was only a few hours late arriving in NY. Your comments are great and thank you.
    Bill Cashin

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