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Ocean Liner History and Stories from the Sea, Past and Present. With an In Depth focus on Holland America Line

23 July 2014; Juneau, Alaska.

The weather that was supposed to change for the better really did not. It remained overcast with dark clouds gathering at times but it remained dry. Which was fortunate for all the guests we had on board, and on the other ships.  Four ships in port, two HAL, two Princess, meant a full house and the weather was not much of an issue to upset a good day in port. The clouds stayed fairly high making it possible to have all the flight adventures take place as well. By Alaskan standards it was a good day, with regular Alaskan Weather. I was happy as well, as the wind stayed between a Gentle and a Moderate Breeze keeping the chop of the water down to small waves, so we could do our training classes.

For the rest it was a bit of a sad day, at least for all the Dutch on board. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is in official mourning, due to the airplane disaster in Ukraine where this Malaysian Airplane was downed, killing all on board. A large number of them were Dutch Nationals or people who lived in the Netherlands so it was a heavy blow to the country.

The Dutch are very peace loving in general and generally  go by the rule of live and let live, and this un expected and unnecessary act of violence shocked the Nation to its core.  Now the coffins are coming home, the country is marking that awful fact by stepping back in contemplation. TV programs have been adapted and a hush lies over the land, where the high summer with tropical temperatures normally assures much happiness.

As a cruise ship company, there is not much that you can do, but what was possible we did. All day long, on all Holland America Line ships, the National flags went Half Mast.  The Jack at the bow was not flown at all and the large Nation Flag at the stern was lowered as much as possible.  A small token from us to all of those innocent travelers who were killed in a random act of violence.


The flag of the ms Amsterdam at half mast

The flag of the ms Amsterdam at half mast


The flag of the ms Oosterdam at half mast

The flag of the ms Oosterdam at half mast


  1. Condolences to all who lost loved ones and thank you to the Dutch for bringing them home with the dignity and respect which they deserved.

  2. I was curious what might be done on HAL ships, thank you. Every news channel in Seattle showed bits of the ceremony and procession in The Netherlands. A very solemn and heartbreaking event..

  3. On dutch TV we saw the bringing home of the bodies in Eindhoven. After that the row of cars driving them to Hilversum. It was very impressive and unforgetable.

  4. Our hearts go out to the families, who have lost so much and are grieving; to friends, to the Nation. Our thoughts are also with the passengers who had devoted years of their life to research, and were now on their way to the Melbourne conference on AIDS. This, too, is a huge loss to millions of people in need of help.

  5. Missed Career at Sea

    July 27, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    The half-mast flown national flag on the Volendam, which was in port that day, was the first thing I saw walking towards the promenade. The great loss of lives always hits an airliner hard, (ex- or not). When still on the job, we would put all phones on hold and look at each other with a blank stare in the eyes. It always hit us hard. All competition for survival among airlines was wiped off the minds of its workers. Yes, death has never been meant as a reward for anything.

  6. Albert, thanks for todays blog. Already for a week it s front news and 4 days in a row the coffins. We went to Hilversum and stood at the entrance of the Korporaal Oudheusden kazerne to show our respect to the deceased and their beloved. It was impressive to see the 75 funeralcars(hearses) and the silence.

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