- 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

2023 May 25; Change of Course.

Dear Readers,

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.

Book I Published 20 January 2023. It gives the FULL history of the company from 1872 onwards to the current day in 375 pages with lots of  photos.

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.) 

18 April 2023 Book presentation on board ms Rotterdam (VII). From left to right:  Captain Bas van Dreumel, master ms Rotterdam, HAL President Mr. Gus Antorcha, Capt. Albert Schoonderbeek (Rtd.). Dr. Nico Guns Co-author and Publisher, Mr. Nico Bleichrodt VP. Sales Europe.  (Organiser) (Photo Courtesy: Mr. Ruud van Deventer (Son of the late HAL Captain H.L van Deventer)

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).



  1. Laurens van der Laan

    May 25, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    Hoi Albert, Enjoy your retirement days !!

  2. Willem de Groot

    May 25, 2023 at 5:23 pm

    Happy retirement! Enjoy!

  3. Captain Albert, congratulations on your retirement, enjoy your cruising as we will no doubt enjoy reading about them 😉

  4. Congratulations on your retirement – may you have many healthy years ahead of you. We hope to see you one day on a Dam ship somewhere in the world.

  5. Congrats! May you have a long, happy, and healthy retirement! ❤️

  6. Natasha van Bentum

    May 25, 2023 at 11:06 pm

    Greetings Captain (Ret.) Albert – the books look wonderful, congratulations. We’re glad to hear you will be keeping the blog. Best wishes as you embark on the next chapter in your life. Cheers!

  7. Capt. Albert,

    Thank you for your wise contributions all these years. May your retirement be filled with the delights of your choice. We’re flying to to England on Sunday for a two week cruise and time in London’s West End.

  8. Good luck in your retirement. Have enjoyed reading your blogs.

  9. Tallulah and OK Bryant

    May 25, 2023 at 11:10 pm

    Thank you for letting us know and please, please keep us on your email list. We have so enjoyed sailing with you as both our Captain and our friend and dinner companion through the years. Enjoy your well deserved retirement.
    Warm regards
    Tallulah and OK Bryant

  10. Tom Blanchard

    May 25, 2023 at 11:38 pm

    Thank you Captain Albert for all the knowledge you have shared with us over the years, you will be missed, but not forgotten.

  11. Thank you for the lovely article! I was recently thinking’ I haven’t heard from Captain Alberts site in a long time’ ! Glad you are putting the books together! Glad I have had the pleasure of meeting Lesley on former cruises , and maybe meet up again in a future cruise! I’ll be looking for the publications on my next cruise to add to my other HAL books, along with the diaries I have written on former HAL cruises!

  12. Congratulations on your early retirement.
    We’re delighted that you will continue your blog and I personally look forward to reading every post and enjoying every one as much as I have all of your postings in the past.
    Very Best, Don

  13. Hallo Kaptein Albert; it is very good to hear from you again post-Covid and glad that you and the Mrs. are both doing fine! Congratulations / Gefeliciteerd on your retirement with HAL! Just about 42 years is a loooong time! Awesome! You will always be the uncontested HAL historian as far as I (and many others) am/are concerned and it is good to hear you will be continuing in this quest! It was a pleasure sailing with you as a passenger (Veendam 11/09), for you as crew/SECO (Statendam 09/13 & Noordam 04/15), as well as watching you in action as part of the Onboard Team Support Program on various ships I worked on! Het beste met je pensioen en geniet er met volle teugen van!

  14. Congratulations on your retirement and we look forward to more tales of the sea and tales of travel coming from you.

  15. So happy you are going to continue your own blog! Happy Retirement and best wishes

  16. Hello Captain!

    Well, on one hand, I was really disappointed to hear that you were retiring early because I love the blog.

    On the other hand, I’m very happy for your family, as if they were good to see you more regularly.

    I look forward to reading your blog and whatever shape or form it comes in the future, and I’m definitely gonna buy a book.

    Best regards

    Your friend and Celler Master

    Leo T Flynn

  17. Fred Essenberg

    May 26, 2023 at 12:21 am

    Beste Albert,
    Bedankt voor de leuke en onderhoudende verhalen die je de afgelopen jaren hebt geschreven onder de vlag van de Holland Amerika Lijn.
    Het verhaal in de pandomietijd over de Zaandam en Rotterdam leek wel een triller. De manier van schrijven was en is bijzonder prettig om te lezen.

    Het is fijn om te horen dat je het schrijven doorzet in de blog en website, ik kijk er graag naar uit.

    Hoop je nog vaak te zien in het Nederlandse en je hebt het al aardig druk met het uitbrengen van de resterende boeken.
    Geniet van de nog overblijvende “vrije” tijd met je gezin en reizen.

  18. How do I subscribe? I can’t find it anywhere!

  19. Thanks

  20. Enjoy retirement and I hope to meet you on a DAM ship some day in the future.

  21. Jeannette Seale

    May 26, 2023 at 1:19 am

    Carson Albert, I was hoping to see you in the port of Whittier, Ak. on the HAL ships. That still may happen! Please keep us on your blog.

  22. I have enjoyed your blog over the years and thanks for doing it! Congratulations on your retirement and I wish you many more happy and healthy years of sailing!

  23. Jacquie Beveridge

    May 26, 2023 at 3:33 am

    Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement! May you be blessed to enjoy it for many years!

  24. Helmut & Teri Shandl

    May 26, 2023 at 4:54 am

    It is a pleasure to have known you…and we wish you many happy years ahead…I am sure that your “MASTER LESLEY” is glad to have you home…and free to travel wherever and whenever…or just to “work at home”!

    Yes CoVid definitely change a lot of lives, and plans…however you and family have survived it, as have we…but I am not sure the world has.

    Enjoy each day, and I pray for many, many more years for you and yours, and for ourselves

  25. Maggie Morris

    May 26, 2023 at 6:07 am

    The end of an era, but the start of something new.
    I’ve enjoyed your blog and hope to read your personal one too.
    Good luck.

  26. Dear captain Albert, Congrats! May you have a long, happy, and healthy retirement. This is alsof a right and deserved change of course !!
    Good luck!!!

  27. crescenzo guardascione

    May 26, 2023 at 7:10 am

    I would like to understand if this book are the officially story of HAL. I mean the book containing your interpretations of the HAL’s story or it is a documented, officially history of this honourable and big company? I already purchase previous book and there was a lot of facts that doesn’t were supported by documents but only some hearsaies; and this is not the rule of an historian, as you define yourself.
    I will await your captain

    • Captain Albert

      May 26, 2023 at 8:45 am

      Thank you for the reply.

      the books – five of them- are the best there is. the HAL archives are scattered, incomplete and sometimes the information is contradictory. So we do the best we can. Luckily more restrictions on archive access are lifted and thus mistakes from the past can be corrected. these books are based on all the information I have collected from the official sources and notes I kept myself since 1981 as then the company had left the Netherlands and record keeping became even more challenges. So this is the best there is. If you are a historian yourself, then you will know that a researcher will base his findings on the documents available and provides the best interpretation if there is a gap in sources. Our inside in the Roman Empire has also drastically changed since the 18th century with more and more excavation work being done. And in the future new insights will come based on new findings.
      I hope you will enjoy the books.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  28. Irene Verschoor-Loggen

    May 26, 2023 at 7:55 am

    Beste Albert,

    We hebben genoten van je geweldige verhalen, belevenissen en vooral je historische kennis! Opgegroeid in Rotterdam waar ik de schepen zag binnen- en uitvaren, mijn opa die bij de HAL had gewerkt /gevaren, en ik als kind al dacht “als ik later groot ben stap ik ook op zo’n schip” nu sinds 2010 verslaafd aan cruisen vooral met de HAL ook voor de historische binding. Veel geluk, gezondheid en cruise plezier (niet alleen met werkblik maar ook gewoon genieten!) tijdens je pensioen. We hopen nog veel belevenissen en verhalen van je te lezen!


    Mvg Irene Verschoor-Loggen

  29. Julia Peterman

    May 26, 2023 at 8:01 am

    Happy retirement! So happy you will continue your blog. You have been missed!

  30. Hallo Albert, have a nice retirement.
    Please stay involved and keep us informed about Holland America Line.

  31. Jan Willem Goudriaan

    May 26, 2023 at 11:15 am

    Beste Albert,

    Heel veel dank voor zoveel leesgenot!
    Ik zag u in april nog aan boord van de “Rotterdam”, maar het lukte me helaas niet om u de hand te schudden.
    Geniet van uw pensioen en ik kijk uit naar waar uw nieuwe koers u gaat brengen!
    Behouden vaart!
    Met vriendelijke groeten,
    Jan Willem Goudriaan


    May 26, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    Dear Captain (ret) Albert, Wishing you the very best of times with YOUR Master Leslie. I have personally enjoyed and have learned a great deal about HAL whilst reading your Blog and Posts. “Damn the Torpedoes…Full Speed Ahead”! Enjoy your retirement. You and your wife deserve it…after 42 wonderful years with HAL!


    May 26, 2023 at 12:52 pm

    Having read all the remarks from others who have enjoyed hearing from you over the past many years, all I can say is enjoy whatever time left with your family.
    It is part of life that we all go thru when we have to step aside and let the young ones take over.
    Beste wensen voor de volgende jaren hopelijk in goede gezondhed.

  34. David and Ardele Bond

    May 26, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    Great to see that your blog will be continuing. We always looked forward to your postings and to review all other parts of your blog.

    Looking forward to it.

    We were wondering why Capt. Jonathan Mercer is not listed as a retiree in your “Captains from the past”

    Best wishes on your retirement.

  35. Graham Spearman

    May 26, 2023 at 2:07 pm

    Dear Captain Albert, Congratulations on your retirement. I do hope that it will be a long, happy and healthy one and no doubt full of travel experiences!
    My late father was a Master Mariner on oil tankers and I found your blog most interesting, entertaining and informative. I will miss it.
    Thank you for all the effort you have put into the blog over the years.

  36. colleen davis

    May 26, 2023 at 4:04 pm

    There is something to be said about retirement, and it is all good!! Glad you decided to do that! I learned so much from your blogs, and now that you are writing books I know I will learn much more! Good luck with your next chapter of life!

  37. Wecome to the so called Golden Years Captain. Enjoyed your messages thruout the years. Have a healthy and happy retirement.

  38. Captain Albert we will certainly miss you on some of our voyages, glad we got to spend some real time with you and Captain Peter Bos on the Zaandam in 2019 just before Covid. But we have good memories of you from the Nieuw Amsterdam and the great and very well attended lecture you gave when the Nieuw Statendam did its maiden voyage from Rome. We wish you all the best as you certainly deserve it after 42 years at HAL. de hartelijke groeten van THE BREGMAN’S

  39. Beste kapitein Schoonderbeek,
    Wat een abrupt einde van Uw loopbaan bij de Holland Amerika Lijn. Ik heb altijd genoten van Uw berichten over het wel en wee van de schepen. Ook de lezingen die U hield aan boord van het s.s. “Rotterdam” heb ik regelmatig bezocht en waren altijd interessant, zeker op de manier waarop U die ten gehore bracht.
    Ik zal de website zeker blijven volgen.

    Nog vele gezonde (pensioen) jaren gewenst.
    Met vriendelijke groten,
    Chris Knape

  40. Beste Capt. Albert. Jaren lang heb ik uw blog met plezier gelezen en ervan geleerd. Dan nu genieten van een welverdiend persioen maar gelukkig nog geen afscheid met alle plannen die op stapel staan. Succes en geluk gewenst met het volgende hoofdstuk in uw leven, waarvan ik nog vaak hoop te horen/lezen.

  41. Sarah King Kerr

    May 26, 2023 at 10:25 pm

    Thanks for the update. Our times will you on the Princedam were some of our very favorite cruises. Today’s ships are too large

  42. Happy Retirement.
    Hope to join the continuation of your blog
    Please put me on your mailing list

  43. Wishing you a long and travel-filled retirement. Thank you for the knowledge you have imparted over the years. Looking forward to following the revamped blog and reading your books.

  44. Having sailed with you a number of times back in my lecturing days, I can truly say you were truly one of a kind! Wishing you smooth seas in your retirement.

  45. Bruce from Newfouldland and Labrador

    June 6, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Captain Albert, we wish you all the very best in your retirement. I will miss your blogs while onboard HAL ships, but I am looking forward to your future posts!

  46. Congratulations and all best wishes on your retirement. You will be missed! I look forward to reading your posts and hope to purchase the books aboard Noordam in october. All the best!

  47. Anton Janssen

    June 15, 2023 at 9:03 am

    After the good old times, with retirement the even better new times….
    Congratulations !

  48. Hello Albert,
    First I would ay bravo for your blog and all the precious historical information that you put together.

    I work for the Port of Quebec and we are hosting the Zuiderdam on September 1. We want to mark the 150th anniversary of Holland America. I am looking for information and/or photos of the first HAL boats that came here in Quebec. The oldest that I found was the Volendam in 1948. Do you know if there were any earlier than that? Maybe the Postdam, the Ryndam or the Vendam?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    • Captain Albert

      June 30, 2023 at 8:27 am

      Good morning,

      thank you for your comment. I will answer you from my hobby email Captalbert1

      Best regards

      Capt. albert

  49. I am happy for your chance at early retirement. It is a fun highlight of my day when the blog email arrives in my e-mailbox, even (or especially) when it is reporting on the progress of the “honey do…” list.
    Although it looks unlikely I will be able to join a HAL ship this year for the 150th anniversary, it does give me time to fuss over my tomato plants.
    I hope you and Mrs will be able to sail this summer. Of course, I eagerly await any “reporting” you wish to share 😀

  50. Richard McIntosh

    August 9, 2023 at 2:05 am

    My wife is currently on Koningsdam which she describes as particularly beautiful, We first saw that ship in the Fincantieri yard while we were travelling by train from Milan to Venice in April 2016 only to see her backing into the dock in Venice two days later in advance of a shake-down cruise. Learned later that you were on the bridge. We have done quite a number of cruises but I only tend remember the captain’s names on Holland America. We were with you in 2012 from Fort Lauderdale to London and the Baltic.. Fond memories. Best wishes for your retirement.

  51. Hello Captain Albert

    I throughly enjoyed reading your blog. Very nostalgic for me having worked on many of the HAL ships as pilot from 1980 to 2017. I have many fond memories of the people you write about in your blog.

    I retired in 2017 but still live in Ketchikan about half the year, with the other half spent sailing with my wife Debby. We completed our circumnavigation at St Lucia in Dec 2019 just in time for Covid to keep us there for over 2 years. Not a bad place to be stuck!

    From our house near Potter Rock buoy we watch the Holland America ships parade past on their way in and out of Ketchikan. A pleasant reminder of years past.

    best wishes and keep your excellent writing.

    Mike. (Captain Michael Spence)

    • Captain Albert

      August 16, 2023 at 8:29 am

      Hello Mike,

      Glad to read that you are still doing well, and are still sailing. And yes indeed St.Lucia is not a bad place to be “marooned”. Writing the 5 book cycle for the 150 years of HAL is taking up most of this year and I am now busy with the photo books. After that my “lord and master” has decreed that we will return cruising with a focus on the smaller ships. So I have once again engaged to carry the suitcases…)

      Safe sailing

      Best regards


      • Catain Albert, Captain Jan Abelskamp was my late uncle. He was married to my mother’s sister Dorothy Abelskamp (nee Shaw). My aunt did stay in Rothsay ofcthecIsle of Bute. My grandfathe David Shaw was chief engineer of various Anchor Line ships and Uncle Jan most probably met Dorothy through my grandfather’s seafaring conevtion. Other than that I know very little else other than he aranged for my parents and their three children to sail in a Holland Africa line to Cape Town where we settlef in 1948.

  52. I am Jack van Coevorden’s ex sister in law. I respected him for his love of job he was doing.
    I liked him as a person and family. I needed to get out of a bad marriage with his brother Max and never got a chance to tell him how I wished I could have told him what rea)ly happened.
    He deserved to know the truth.
    If he ever sees this email, I respect and loved him.
    Wishing him and his brother the best
    I work for the military now. And loving it.

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