From Dover to Copenhagen it is almost 700 miles as we have to take the long route. There is short cut through the Kieler Kanal, (see also one of my other pages, A Gentlemen’s cruise to the openeing of the Kieler Kanal) but there is a bridge over this canal and the Veendam is too high for it. There are plans to raise this bridge, so maybe in a few years from now, we can go through it as well. Which would be nice as it is a very scenic sailing. Most of guests are packing,as they will be leaving tomorrow at the end of the cruise. 188 are staying on they have booked a back-to-back cruise and they will leave 10 days later.
My final day was filled with clearing away the paperwork and writing my end of term report and hand-over. The ship is sailing off the coast of Denmark and in this area there is not much traffic so I do not have to be on the bridge. I just walk in and out occasionally, to keep an eye on things. I will be on the bridge for most of the night during our approach to Copenhagen. Denmark is made up of a peninsula that is stuck to the top of Germany. Most of it is called Jutland and there are a number of islands as well. Copenhagen is located on the East side of this Peninsula and thus we sail around the top and then come down on the east side. That east side is called the Sont. It is a very shallow area and most of the time there is considerable traffic. Thus I will be present on the bridge.
Tomorrow I will go on vacation for three months until 9 September. Since two years the company has a policy that each ship has two captains who alternate. It is better for the continuity on board. The crew only has to deal with two different sorts of management instead of somebody totally different every few months. Because we alternate, we are doing three months on, three months off. This is really a necessity because of the long working days. You can not do four months of Alaska or four months of Europe if you have days between 10 to 14 hours each day. Holland America asks a lot of its captains and that makes for long days. Thus 3 on 3 off, to keep us smiling and to keep us sane.
A few people have asked me, how long does it take me to write my daily blog and do I have time for it. It takes me about 20 minutes to write one A4 page. Then I have my breakfast. When finished, I check for spelling mistakes and then it takes 5 minutes to upload. So about 30 minutes in total, in the period after docking the ship and before my ships round starts.
This will be my last blog for awhile. But check again between 14th of and the 21st of August. Then I will be sailing with my wife on her ship. Normally my wife sails with me, but in the summer time when I do boring things, such as 12 Alaska cruises in a row, she sails on the Ocean Majesty. She started doing that a few years ago and although the past period with the Veendam was not exactly boring, she promised her boss to be there, and thus she left the ship in Venice to join the Ocean Majesty.
The Ocean Majesty is a small Greek ship and is chartered by an English company called Page and Moy. They cater for the retired middle class of England with cruises in the Med, the Baltic and they go up to Greenland and Iceland as well. Lesley works on board this year as the Future Cruise Consultant. She advises guests about the cruises of the Ocean Majesty for the next year. They have a spouse policy, so there I go.
I love being a captain on the bridge, but being a captain sitting in the bar, has definitely its appeal as well. Also it gives me the chance to do each and every tour they offer and see a bit of the ports and the countries that I normally visit with the ship but never get to enjoy.
So I will report my captains observations from the bar about what there is to be seen in Iceland and Greenland and what the special cocktail of the day is.
Also I will try to add a few more articles Of days gone by to the website. Ralph Grizzle the editor of The Avid Cruiser, places them on the last page end of each quarterly issue but that is the short version. The long version is posted on my blog. I have close to 1500 books in my library about ocean liners and cruises. Among them there are a quite a few obscure travel books, reports and other published items from the early days of sea travel, that merit some attention.
Thank you for reading my blog everyday. I will be back on the Veendam on September 9, sailing from New York to the Canadian Maritimes. Please join me then.