- 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

21 July 2014; At Sea, British Columbia.

Today two blogs in a row because when I tried to upload yesterday, the funnel was in the way, cutting out the Satellite signal. So we have the 20th and the 21st.

We are still under the influence of this small depression that caused all the rain in Ketchikan, wind in Victoria and gloomy weather in Seattle.  It should be gone by tomorrow but today we had the last of the rain and the grey skies. Also we had ships movement. The wind two days ago must have been strong enough in the Gulf of Alaska to create medium height waves that are just enough to make the ship pitch on occasion. Just gently. Just enough to give the kids on board a very good day, as the pool water was rolling along nicely. That creates a sort of wave pattern that no wave pool at home can re-produce. It was just nice to splash about in and not creating any dangerous situations that would warrant the pool to be drained. So a lot of small happy-campers today. Those who were not in the pool were busy with creating mayhem in Club HAL, supervised by 5 youth staff. I greatly admire them, as I would not be able to cope with this continuous mountain of sound coming at me, created by over a 160 kids, from 3 to 15.  But as long as they are there, it is quiet in the ship.

At least reasonably quiet as this week Trivia seem to have a rowdy attendance and the game is played with “the knife on the table” as we call it in Holland. When things are heating up, there is always a wise guy who knows better than the official answer on the Trivia card and then you have arguments. When passing by the crow’s nest I overheard something about Babe Ruth and his records. Luckily I do not know anything about Base Ball, so the finer points eluded me completely. I have heard about Babe Ruth, who hasn’t, and I also know that Marilyn Monroe may have married him briefly but there my knowledge stops. I tried to play American Trivia in the past and sometimes managed to win on points, as long as there was a lot of history, politics and Geography involved, but the moment it dealt with cartoons, American TV and American Sports, then a trivia team would wish I was not there.

Today I had an interesting challenge on my hands and that was the discussion with the Purser about how much space does $ 1 mln. Dollars take up in an overnight bag. Part of the new alarm system is the introduction of a group, led by the purser who is solely designated to take all passports, seaman’s books and all paper money ashore. This to make Identification and processing by the local authorities at the landing point of the lifeboats and life rafts easier.  All those documents will be carried ashore by the Purser and his/her team and we have 8 crew for that purpose = 16 bags, so the question was: is it enough?

In an emergency it is not expected that the Purser has time to carefully stack them up in a bag, but just throw them in, plus is then the weight still low enough to be carried. As we could not test it by a emptying the contents of the safe, we had to calculate. So $ 1 million in 20 dollar notes turned out to be quite a lot of weight and on international cruises; we also have foreign currencies on board. More weight, more bags. It will keep the Purser occupied for a few days, to figure out what is needed, or whether he has enough.

Thus I felt that I had done my good deed for the day. The good ship Amsterdam in the meantime plodded along nicely on the North Pacific Ocean. By early afternoon we passed the Queen Charlotte Islands and  that means by tomorrow morning we will enter Chatham Strait. Here, near Kake, we will collect the Alaskan Pilots and then head towards Tracy Arm for our afternoon Glacier Adventure.

Now we have to keep our fingers crossed that the Glaciers inside Tracy Arm have not been too active and produced too much ice. Especially in the beginning of the season it can clog up the whole fjord and make an entry into the fjord completely impossible. We are now midseason, so the chance is less, but it has happened before and the poor cruise ship was stuck outside.

With the weather system passing by, it should be a nice and dry day tomorrow, with hopefully not too much sunshine, otherwise we might get those very low hanging clouds again.


  1. Beste Captain Albert,

    Ik ben erg benieuwd hoe het voor u is om als Captain op een Holland America schip te zijn terwijl een andere Captain de “baas” is. Is het niet lastig om niet aan roer te staan?

    Hoe gaat de omgang met de Captain die wel op de brug staat? Mag u aanwezig zijn op de brug en eventueel op dan wel aanmerkingen geven? Kan me voorstellen dat u soms zaken anders zou doen en de handen kriebelen.

    Misschien iets om een keer een stukje blog aan te besteden?



  2. Much enjoy your blog, don’t know how you find the time. But….Marilyn Monroe & Babe Ruth? Check out Joe DiMaggio
    Best regards


  3. Good Morning Captain, Enjoy reading your blog – must be a different life jumping from ship to ship – no home base. Probably a better sleep pattern for you however. I am really sad to see the smaller ships leave the fleet as they seemed to be the perfect size for my family – not too big (as they are now) and not too small.
    Re: Trivia contest —- If I am not mistaken, Marilyn Monroe was married to Joe Di Maggio (among others) — also a Yankee

  4. Love your reports. One small correction. Marilyn Monroe was married to Joe DiMaggio, not Babe Ruth. Babe was well before her time. And ours.

  5. Captain. I so enjoy your blog. I believe that Marilyn Monroe was married to a different baseball great…Joe DiMaggio.

    Kindest regards.

  6. Captain,

    Marilyn Monroe was married to Joe DiMaggio, not Babe Ruth. Question. What’s the best time to sail to Alaska? I’m on the Oosterdam, first week in September. Is this a good time?



    • Good morning,

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      I knew that she was not married to Babe Ruth, I indicated that this was the other Famous American Baseball player I had heard of. Maybe I was not clear enough.

      What is a good time to go, difficult to say:

      In may /june alaska is crisp clear and with still a lot of snow looks like an winter wonder land postcard in Glacier Bay but still few whales as they are still migrating. Mid summer gives warmer weather and wildlife is there, but the prices are higher as it is mid season.

      Late summer, and if there is a good indian summer, you have the best time of the season as the scenery still looks good and wildlife is at its most active, as the whales have eaten their belly full and can put up quite a show.

      As with every cruise, you have be lucky with the weather. September is when the change starts, if you have a dry and sunny week, then you will have chosen the best time of the year.

      Captain Albert

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