I have been awfully quiet for a year, apart from adding material to the history part of the blog. And this for good reason. Ever since Covid I have been at home, still employed by the company, but waiting for my support program to be re-integrated in the company system. E.G the moment I would be able to travel freely again from ship to ship and support the ships in whatever ways needed.
However the company recently had to decide that for the near future this program (called the Onboard Team Support Program) would not be able to restart for the time being. In the aftermath of Covid, and the enormous costs made for keeping the fleet in warm lay-up without any revenue coming in, every cent and penny has to be carefully accounted for. Hence it was/is not expected that the program could return to operation before my legal Dutch retirement date. (September 2025).
Thus I was offered early retirement with a nice farewell package. After having been with Holland America for nearly 42 years, I was willing to step aside and let somebody younger take over when the time was there. Hence in April of this year I said goodbye to my beloved Holland America at least for the operational part. My interest in the companies past, present and future, will continue unabatedly.
And that is already happening, This year Holland America Line exists for 150 years and in the same way, as for 125 years and 145 years, I wanted to put it all on paper. For this purpose I teamed up with well known Maritime historian and publisher Dr. Nico Guns (Gbooksinternational.nl) to write something extensive and also have it published as the last part is not so easy in the current world situation. While working on the book, we realized that it would be impossible to poor our combined knowledge into one book and thus the idea was born to go to five books. (And even that might not be enough)
Book I A chronical of 150 Years was published on 20 January 2023. 375 pages of text and (colour) photos, it give the general history of the company. Officially from 1873, but we started the story in 1836 when the first steamship arrived in Rotterdam. (See picture in the “Time Line” located elsewhere on the website.)
Book II Particular History HAL topics was published on 18 April 2023. 375 pages of text and (colour) photos giving background information to topics which could not be looked at in more depth in part I.
Book III, IV and V, are photo books, and each one will cover a 50 year period. Two photos to one page with extensive captions. Again 375 pages with photos in colour where possible. This will all be published before Christmas 2023.
For details see the publishers website: www.GBooksinternational.nl. Apart from ordering there, there are also “wheels in motion” to have the books available in the shops on board, hopefully sometime in June/early July.
What will happen to “captainalbert.com blog and website ? Well, it will stay. It has now been disconnected from the main HAL website and as I am now retired, there are also no constraints about what I can publish or not. Thus in the coming weeks, I will revamp the website, which will keep HAL as a core focus but you will see other things appearing as well such as travel reports when My lord and Master Lesley, and I, will resume making cruises. And I will cast my captains eye of the product that we will be enjoying.
That is all the news for the moment. I would like to thank all readers for their patience while I was silent and for the support given in the years past. Give me a few weeks and captainalbert.com will be up and running again.
Albert (Captain HAL. Rtd).