- 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

20 December 2012; Final Day at Sea.

Today is our final day of the 7 days that it took to get from Nuku Hiva back to San Diego. Tomorrow at 05.30 we will be at the pilot station and coming alongside B Street Pier an hour later. The weather will start out quite chilly but is supposed to reach 70oF by lunch time.  It is not so bad to have bit of a cool port day, especially when it is a changeover day. For some reason, everything runs a lot smoother and faster when it is not too warm, or not too cold.  That should help with getting our guests quickly on the way to get home for Christmas.


The weather chart of today. The yellow blip to the south on the edge of the wave field is the Statendam. The yellow blip to the north is the Zaandam, just riding the edge of the bad weather system. (The yellow centre indicates 25 feet of wave height. Not very nice)

As expected the ship started to behave a lot better around 9 am in the morning and later on there was only the occasional lurch left when a deeper wave met the ship. The wind died almost down completely and with the sun shining it gave us a nice day to end the cruise. Most of us, including me will go home but some of the guests will travel on to Fort Lauderdale and will celebrate the holidays on board the ship.

We will arrive at our regular time tomorrow morning at 05.30 at the pilot station and we will be docked an hour later. Normally when we arrive San Diego already has a pleasant temperature but this weather front that has been making our life miserable is also bringing a lot of cooler air to Northern California. Thus we will all be wearing our coats when coming in.

This will be my last blog for a while. I am leaving the ship tomorrow, as the latest news is that my relief is indeed under way and will be here on time. I am flying on the 22nd and that means that I will be home on the 23rd. As my wife is with me, it will mean that it will be a bit of a scramble to start the apartment up again, get the car going after 2 months and get the shopping in before Christmas Eve. The Christmas trees are the simple thing this time, I put them back in the loft on top of my apartment, completely decorated. I only have to lower them down.

I hope to add a number of items to my blog during my leave period. I have accumulated quite some information about the older captains and I hope to put that on line, together with some more ship’s bios. 

I would like to say thank you to all my blog readers. I hope that I did not bore you but that you found it diverting at times and interesting at other times.  If the schedule stays the same, I will return to the Statendam on March 16th.

 Noordam christmas 1985 bridge front letters small


So I wish you all Happy Holidays with Smooth Seas and Following Winds in the New Year.


  1. Merry Christmas Captain Albert and a joyous New Year to you and to your ‘Senior Management’! Thank you for your blogs (it’s 1000x’s better than reading the news here in the US) and your special sense of humor…Safe travels home.


    What happened with the supplies that were for Fanning Island?

  3. Merry Christmas to you, Captain Albert and your wife. Thank you for your informative, interesting and fun blogs. We’ll miss them while you’re on your well-deserved break and look forward to the next series.

  4. Hello Captain

    I hope this finds you well and looking forward to some well earned rest…

    Having been fortunate to sail as a guest with you as Captain on your previous cruise (Fort Lauderdale to San Diego) my wife and I have seen first hand the hours you work and are amazed that you still find time to do this brilliant blog.

    We thank you and your staff for a fantastic cruise, you guys make it very hard to leave. Your blog however is as good a virtual stay aboard ticket as any disembarking guest could get, it makes the transition back to normal life much easier.

    Thanks again, hope you have a great leave with Lesley and hope to see you in the New Year.

    Kevin and Jan…

  5. Merry Christmas, Captain! Will be waiting for your return!

  6. Wishing you a smooth flight home, a car that starts on the first try, and a very Merry Christmas. All of us “armchair” passengers look forward to cruising with you again in March!

  7. Thank you for your blog which was very interesting as we have done this itinerary. Happy holidays! Britain will be colder than San Diego.

  8. You have never bored us with your perspective of cruising. Safe and smooth flight home. We will be waiting for you to begin you adventures in March. Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you and your wife.

  9. Thank you for your time with writing and posting the blog each day. Wishing you and Leslie a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  10. Captain Albert and ‘Senior Management’ Leslie,
    Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    I always look forward to reading your blog posts and seeinng Leslie’s photos.

    I also look forward to reading more HAL Captain history this winter (after all, there are plenty more North Pacific storms to send their rain and wind to where I live).

    Ps- how many coats of paint to cover up the greeting on what I guess is the Noordam? I’m guessing it would not be a ‘good look’ to have during the Alaska season 😉

  11. Merry Christmas to you and Mrs. Captain, Leslie. Safe trip home and a very Happy New Year.

    Thank you for writing. It’s a treat for me each day.

    All the best,

  12. Kim Micahel Rolls

    December 22, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Captain Albert. Just want to thank you for taking the time to write this blog and keeping us informed of the work of the crew and the effort that goes into giving us, your guests, wonderful travel experiences. Safe travel and catch up with you upon your return.

  13. Safe flight home, and there-after Merry Christmas and for the new year the very best, health and an interesting next contract.!! Would be nice for us to see you back on Prinsendam !!! Thank you for all the interesting blogs and for the wonderful pictures taken by “Senior Management” .

  14. Captain Albert:
    Zalig Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Niew Jaar for you and “your master” Lesley. Hope your travel home is a safe one, and your holidays wonderful. As always, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and concerns on this watch on the Statendam.

    Don’t be too long relaxing and vacationing. I get Capt Albert withdrawal symptoms and really miss your blogs.

    Happy Holidays….Your fan Ruud Hartog

  15. Captain Albert and Leslie, his ”senior management” partner: Best wishes of the season and a super trip home (not the best time of the year for long overseas flights but you’ll manage !!! ).
    Sincere thanks for your reliable and faithfully daily blogs. So informative, and well written with a sense of humour only certain people possess….and you’reone of them.
    Do you know yet which ship will be blessed with your mastership when you return sometimes in March ? Are you discreetely wishing you’d get assigned on one of the Vistas after serving so many years on board the ”smalls”?
    Best regards
    Claude ( Vancouver)

  16. carlos salabas II

    January 11, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Belated happy new year to you and to your family Captain! i really enjoyed reading your blog most especially when people respond positively,,its been a great pleasure and an honor to be sailling under you command. Thank you verry much caprtian?

  17. Dear Captain,

    Hopefully you have enjoyed your time ashore these past few months and you and your wife are well.
    I can say I look forward to your blogs once more and I wish you safe travels to your ship.
    All the best,

  18. Welcome back Captain!

  19. While currently missing our planned Jewels of the Baltic, I decided to revisit one of our favorite cruises from the past. Reading your blog again brought back wonderful memories of our South Pacific adventure with you. I did not need the “why we love to cruise eith HAL” reminder, but your words have certainly fanned the flames of desire to return aboard.

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