- 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

25 April 2012; At Sea.

 Today we crossed the Caribbean Sea on an almost northerly course (007) that will bring us eventually to the Windward Passage and from there into the North Atlantic above Cuba. A sea day to enjoy for all on board. I started the day with a more unusual item, ANZAC day. 25 April is the date that Australia and New Zealand are remembering their fallen and they use the 25th. as it is this the day of the ill fated campaign at Gallipoli. As we are getting more and more guests on board from down under, it makes it possible for us to organize a small remembrance service. This cruise we had 55 antipodeans on board and that was more than enough to arrange something. So at 0900 we had a service in the Crows nest. In Australia and New Zealand they have a ritual called the “Dawn service”. That is sort of moment of remembrance that sprung up spontaneously in the past and only loosely followed a certain routine. A routine varying from group of Ladies in a back garden, or a school class on the beach to a full memorial service with all the pomp and circumstance of Regiment flags, gun salutes and bugle calls. That made it easy for us to put a short service together and remember those who gave their lives so we could live in freedom. It was a good start of my morning. 

Then the day went into routine and in over drive; meeting, another meeting, check on the bridge, Mariners Medals, Mariner Luncheon, voice from the bridge, next meeting, deleting a 100 or so emails that had accumulated in the computer, check on the bridge, followed by paperwork. It was heralded that the paperless society had arrived with the advent of the computer/email & network but it is far from the truth. As long as it does not seem feasible to have a reliable electronic signature available that cannot be tampered with, we still have a lot of paperwork floating around. There is now more electronic storage (pdf files) than there was before, but we are still producing a lot of paper on board, and it seems that most of it is passing my desk, one way or the other.

That brought the time to 14.30 in the afternoon and that was time for my Holland America lecture. Today I had in the audience a greater number than normal of ex Holland America Line employees and even a relative of Viscount Reuchlin, one of the company directors who perished on the Titanic. I enjoy such a link to the past. I always have a full house for this lecture but to have people present for whom it is a pure trip down memory lane is very satisfying. Those 90 minutes flew by and then it was time for another check on the bridge. Yes, the navigators where still going the right way and thus I could continue deleting some more emails.

oldBy 1800 I had another pleasant function to perform. The opening of our renewed P.O mess. You might recall that some time ago I blogged about the crew of the Statendam receiving the HESS prize of the fleet. $ 3000, — for operating in a safe and responsible way. I then started a competition among the crew about what to do with the money. During my last leave that culminated in the decision to spruce up the Petty Officer Mess room. With the $ 3000 and a bit more from the crew fund new Formica was bought, new flooring; benches, bar stools and tables.

The way it was.



The two senior Petty officers on board who performed the opening. 

Now the P.O mess looks like an American dinner with very nice seating. The Officers mess has an Irish Bar theme and then the next thing to think about is the crew mess. That will take some more planning as it is a much larger area that is exposed to much more wear and tear. I had asked the most senior Petty Officers to do the cutting of the ribbons and that honor befell to the Senior Carpenter Mr. Heleno (34 years with the company) and Mr. Engine Foreman Mr. Wunarto (33 years with the company) After that; the drinks were on me.


new web

The way it looks now.

The day was closed out, with a party for all the Dutch guests on board and that brought my day to an end at 2100 hrs. A good day as I saw a lot of happy peoples and that is what cruising is all about.

Tomorrow will be our 2nd day at sea, sailing North of Cuba. the weather does not look very good, cold front laying over the Bahamas, but it will be a following wind. So no bother to us.


  1. Mr.Oosterbeek
    I will thank you very mucht for the news during the cruise off Ms.Hazenberg. We have looked every day if in her home is everything oke.
    Now we are waiting off her comeback.
    The whole cruise we have read every day your weblog and that was very interesting.
    Have a good live on board.Within four weeks we are going with The Rotterdam too the fjord in Norway.
    Thank you

  2. still it must be Schoonebeek, excuse me

  3. Gerd Fetchenhauer

    April 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    If you don’t mind, Captain Albert correct name is Albert Schoonderbeek – also excuse me…

  4. Dear Captain Albert

    Thank you for your blog which I enjoy reading every day. It brings back happy memories of my recent cruise on the Statendam 16th-30th March. I attended your talk on this cruise and I enjoyed it very much and found it very interesting and informative. I was talking to my dining room steward afterwards and he was asking me about your talk and was very interested to hear all about it. My question to you is do the crew get the opportunity to attend your talk? I am sure that many of them would enjoy the chance to hear it

  5. Wow! Tough crowd.

    On a lighter note, the new PO mess area looks very nice. Is this the norm that bonus money is used to upgrade crew accommodations? Does Holland America not have a yearly budget for upgrades for all areas of their ships? (crew areas included?

    Thanks…Captain Albert (hope I spelled it correctly! 🙂


    • Good morning

      yes maintenance and nice things are ofcourse covered by the company. Last year all the crew cabins received flat screen tv’s. (just calculate the cost for 15 ships x 400 cabins (minimum)) and that gives an idea about what is invested in the crew each year. But we can not expect the company to turn each mess room in a first class restaurant. So it was the decision of the crew (we had a competition for that) to spend this money on the PO mess. I have more money in the fund and that will go to another project of their choosing.

      Thank you for reading my blog

      Capt. Albert

  6. Actually, the dutch translation name is Captain Rammingspeed. 😉

    Your blog fan,

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