- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

21 March 2020; Puerto Vallarta Mexico (Day 7) … Day 6 without guests.

Another day with good weather and alongside in Puerto Vallarta. We are congratulating ourselves for the fact that we could go ashore for the last seven days, while our sister ships were at anchorage or are still trying to land their guests. Our Amsterdam, which aborted her world cruise is currently landing our guests in Fremantle. Although Australia is also in lockdown the local government has decided that as the ship does not have any Covid-19 cases on board, there was no problem to bus everybody directly to the airport and back home. Our Maasdam and Zaandam are still looking for a port and might, I say might, have to come to the States before that is possible. That gives the challenges with provisioning and the Zaandam went to anchor at Valparaiso and although also Chile and Peru are in lockdown, it was allowed to use a (small) shore boat to get 9 containers with fresh produce and other essentials to the ship. So the Captain had 150 crew working in relay from the tender platforms to carry everything by hand out of the boats and then at once to the cold and freezer rooms to ensure that it did not spoil. With the current situation at hand everybody has to be creative and make things work. Luckily ships crews are great in improvising and have faced bigger operational challenges in port and thus always works out one way or the other.

The Norwegian Joy and the  Europa making up a full port. The white strip in the water was an oil boom around the ms Europa which came loose during the day.

The Norwegian Joy came in yesterday afternoon but with crew only, although the agent had advised us that there were guests on board. Turns out that there seems to be many ways to translate from Spanish Passenger ship WITH passengers or passenger’s ship WITHOUT passengers and we got the wrong message. This morning the Europa departed and we do not know if she will return. But according to Marine Traffic the Europa is on its way to Costa Rica. Maybe she goes in lay up there or maybe she is going home to Germany. So many options, so many decisions that are possible.

Our current fleet status is now:

  1. Still on the way in the South Pacific: Maasdam, Zaandam,
  2. Disembarking guests in Freemantle: Amsterdam
  3. South of Freeport at anchor: (Grand Bahama Bank) Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam, Zuiderdam, Volendam, Veendam
  4. Cabo San Lucas: Oosterdam
  5. Puerto Vallarta: Rotterdam
  6. Eurodam approaching Cabo San Lucas bound for Puerto Vallarta
  7. Westerdam, approaching the Mexican West Coast.
  8. Noordam at anchor at Auckland
  9. Koningsdam currently heading towards Barbados.

Eventually a final destination for all these ships will be decided upon, either short term or long term depending on the way the situation develops. We are still expecting the Eurodam and Westerdam to come this way in a few days from now and then we expect to start rotating berths so they can load water and provisions etc. But at the moment we are scheduled to be alongside for another 3 days and by that time a lot can happen. And we have to load provisions as well.

Our Housekeeping band playing in the Lido today, supervised by Ex. Housekeeper Mr. Tetep and Asst. Housekeeper Miss Maria. Never was more “sanitized” music played than today.

On board things continue as routines are now settling in. The Captain has called up all the crew to let their creative juices flow to keep everybody in a positive mood.  This morning there was a lecture in the World Stage and during lunch time we were serenaded by a band made up by Housekeeping staff.  We also donated an amount of food to local charities. You might wonder why we should get rid of food in our situation but we stored for a 14 day cruise in San Diego and the guests left on the 3rd day. And although the crew is amazing in the amount of food they can consume, they can not eat what 1400 guests consume for perishables in a week period. (I think we were supposed to stock up again with fresh produce in Costa Rica but now we will do it locally) So instead of wasting the food, it now goes to a good cause.

Tonight we have music under the stars and games in the crow’s nest. The crew has free contact with home by means of Whats App and also with low calling cost options if a phone call needs to be made. In the coming days the number of activities will increase and I am trying to devise a few trainings and drills with a twist, which we can do now as we have the time available. I also have a Holland America Line History from the crew’s point of view so that might pop up as well.

According to the latest news Puerto Vallarta is still virus free, there only seem to be 8 cases in the whole of Mexico but the authorities are watching the situation and a lock down is still expected. Also there is still a lot of air traffic as we can see the planes departing in the evening but according from the security officer on the dock side, it is mainly holiday makers who are leaving now their vacation is over.

In the meantime the weather remains good: It will be a sunny Sunday with 27oC / 81oF not too high and that is courtesy of a gentle sea breeze which keeps blowing.  Which makes the Bo’ sun very happy as it means no flies in his paint……………

11 Comments

  1. Thank you for all the information on your blog. We are fresh off the Eurodam, so also interested to know that all is well with them.

  2. We, also, are just off the Eurodam, wanting to hear about their situation and praying they are all still well! Love your daily blog, so descriptive and colorful!

  3. JoAnn Stringer

    March 22, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    I just learned about your blog and it’s fascinating. I just read through the last week or so and no doubt will go back to read more of the “normal” postings. Thank you — we’re all in this together, no matter where we are.

  4. Herman Eberstadt van der Velden

    March 22, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    Nice to read your blog’s Captain Albert. I’ve recently experienced my first cruise on the Ms Nieuw Amsterdam. That was just after the refitting of the azipod and luckily before all this with the corona virus. We choose the NA because our youngest son is a 3O in his first contract on board. Our oldest son is 2O on the Maasdam, on his way to San Diego to disembark the remaining passengers (if possible).
    It’s nice to read your blog to get an idea of what my boys are experiencing at the moment. It is a comfort to know they are save and healthy on board and have less restrictions (social distancing) than we have at home in the Netherlands. I wish you and all the crews all the best in the coming times.

  5. Christina Stewart

    March 22, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Captain-
    Rumors are flying in Puerto Vallarta about the ships. There are many posts on social media about cruise lines bring their passengers to Puerto Vallarta and transferring them to the airport. Do you know if the rumors are true? The airport was absolutely packed wall to wall yesterday.

    These are usual times and people are frightened. If you can share any knowledge I would like to pass it on to a healthcare professional in Puerto Vallarta in hopes that facts can be told. The ships have been at sea X number of days, medical staff have cleared the passengers, etc.

    Thank you in advance if you are able to share any details.

    • Captain Albert

      March 22, 2020 at 6:27 pm

      Thank you for reading blog and keep doing so, I will answer all your questions, which I can or once I have the answers.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  6. Your daily updates from PV are really interesting. I hope you can continue them in days ahead. In this completely new situation in the cruise industry (and everywhere), every bit of information is really appreciated.

    Much Thanks

  7. Very glad to see you are continuing this blog, which you started more than a decade ago on avidcruiser.com. We can at least travel virtually with you for now. Thanks for the very good read and for giving us a sense of being there. Warm regards, Ralph Grizzle

  8. Doug Alexander

    March 23, 2020 at 3:35 am

    Thank you for sharing and your excellent blog! We spend a lot of time in Puerto Vallarta, and my in-laws are avid cruisers, so your updates are especially interesting to us.

    One point: Mexico has around 250 confirmed cases as of today, up about 50 from yesterday. It’s likely the low numbers are simply a reflection of the lack of testing (as there just aren’t many tests), so please be safe out there and keep up the great work!

  9. RTDM’s AHK looks a lot like Maria from Peru, nice lady and excellent AHK! All the best Kaptein to you and Rotjeknor’s crew! Stay safe!

  10. In my thoughts and prayers 🙏

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