- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

25 December 2008, Costa Maya.

I arrived at Costa Maya at sunrise with a heavy heart because of the forecasted weather. The weather chart indicated very strong easterly winds and a heavy easterly swell and that meant that it would be difficult for the ship to remain alongside the dock as it would move up and down on the swell. If we had to cancel it would mean that two HAL ships would be missing Costa Maya as the Statendam was right behind me. However while I was inching the Veendam closer and closer to the dock to see how much she would move on the waves, the wind decided to abate and thus the waves leveled of a little bit as well. Not much but just enough to make docking feasible.

I let the Veendam drift slowly to the pier on the wind and as the swell was more to the North East I could use the NE outer dock. That made it possible for the Statendam to dock as well using the other side of the dock. With the Veendam blocking the wind and providing a lee it was workable for my colleague to come alongside next to us. With the two sister ships together in Costa Maya it was a pure Holland America Christmas in the resort. On board the day was filled with preparing for all sorts of Christmas activities. Apart from the guests that have to be served there are also a number of activities for the officers and crew. It is a tradition in the company that the officers serve the crew their Christmas dinner in the crew mess. Normally I can attend as well, my specialty is manning the bar when it is a sea day but this time departure got in the way and I had to sail the ship. The officers do the serving in 30 minutes shifts as all other work continues as well. It is appreciated very much by the crew and therefore fun to do.

The officer dinner is held in the Lido Restaurant with a cocktail reception before it starts. As we are an operational ship, we can never have everybody together, but with moving around a little bit with the shifts, everybody can attend at least for a short while. Again work interfered for me here. Tomorrow morning the ship will be in Roatan and I am going to be early, in position at sunrise, so that we can start as soon as possible with getting the guests ashore. It is a very short call and we have to do it by tender as well. Thus I had to go to bed early but my wife was able to continue to socialize until late in the evening.

Today is Christmas day and my wife and I would like to wish all of you a very merry Christmas time. Some of you already posted a Christmas greeting on the blog and I would like to say thank you very much for doing that. Our christmas wishes came this year in the form of a power point. As soon as I have figured out how to post/attach it to the blog I will upload it.

Tomorrow we are in Roatan and the weather looks good.


  1. Captain Albert,

    A late Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Burbank, California. I wish I could have been there on the Veendam on Christmas to hear the crew singing Christmas carols.
    Thank you for your wonderful blogs. I feel like I’m traveling with you through the gales and storms to the various ports. During my trip in Sept. on the Veendam we had gale winds one night, and when I woke up the Captain told us the ship would right itself in a few hours. It was leaning and the Captain told us not to be afraid. What a wonderful time I had on the trip to Alaska!

  2. Hello Captain,
    We arrived home on the 28th from this cruise. Me and eight other family members. Had a wonderful Christmas. Thanks!

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