- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

26 January 2010; At Sea, heading for Callao Peru.

The weather did not change very much and it was a really pleasant day at sea. Partly cloudy but with temperatures in the mid 70’s so perfect cruising weather. The only thing was a slight increase in the movement of the vessel, mainly the pitching. Although the weather charts do not indicate that much of a wave field, I think this swell is coming through all the way from the Southern point of South America, where the weather is truly atrocious at the moment. However it looks that it will slowly get better and thus we could be lucky by the time we leave Valparaiso.

Apart from our lectures at sea, we have on Grand Voyages also Support Staff on board. These are people who are not a regular part of the ships entertainment team but have guest status and come on board as they have a special talent or trade to share with the guests.

A Tai Chi & Qijong instructor,
A Bridge Instructor Team
Arts and crafts (Macrame and other things) teacher
Dance instructor Team
Water Color Teacher.
Four dance hosts
Holy Trinity (Priest, Reverend, Rabbi)
Celebrity Chef.

Apart from that we have of course the activities in fitness by the Ocean Spa Ladies and those of the Hostess. Together with the Enrichment Lectures that I wrote about yesterday, it creates a very full program that can keep everybody occupied from early in the morning until late at night. Not everybody participates in everything and some guests are quite happy to relax with a book on deck and watch the world go by.

This very full program reminds me of an experience from the very beginning of my career. On board the Statendam IV, arrived a gentleman, whom we thought was a bit jittery to say the least. It turned out that he had been sent by his psychiatrist on a cruise to have a REALLY relaxing time. However, the moment he got hold of the daily program he started to join in. Join in, in all the activities going on and as a result he went quite quickly into “overload”. To such an extent, that we had to remove him from the public eye for the remainder of the voyage. Me as a junior officer was one of those assigned to look after him and I got a really good insite into the mental processes of this gentleman. Our ships doctor contacted the Psychiatrist at home to discuss how to get this person safely home again. It was decided to send his brother to the port to pick him up. Brother duly arrived and it quickly became clear that both of them operated on the same level as far as these “mental processes” were concerned. The port police took them to the airport in the end but I always wondered how the flight staff had coped with the two of them. Later on when cruising became more and more mainstream we did not have these issues anymore as I assume that also psychiatrists went cruising and at first hand experienced that cruising can be very restful but not necessarily so.

Tomorrow we are in Callao and it looks like a very nice day. Partly cloudy skies but temperatures might rise into the 80’s if the clouds disappear. Eventually we will get different weather, although I hope that we will not be exposed to what the Veendam had on their first day near Antarctica. You never know of course though……………..

White ship, white snow, white ice berg.

Antartica bog 2

Today no shorts and or flip-flops

Retreatblog 4

This is called The Retreat on the top part of the ship and somewhere under there, there is a wading pool.


  1. I was about to ask ‘what happened with the Veendam?’ when the pictures scrolled into view. Oh, my. I have never seen snow on cruise ship before.
    I am guessing that a snow shovel is not part of the standard equipment check list for a cruise ship. I wonder if any store in Callao has snow shovels for sale?

  2. Ruud van Deventer

    January 27, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Captain, I hope for you, you don’t get these amounts of snow. I think you had enough back home. For the passengers it is quite an experience i think. You have to send out some crew to throw salt. I hope you have lots of it, in Holland we ran out of it at an critical moment.

  3. Great photos of the Veendam ! Thanks.

  4. I wish I was on that ship! We don’t get snow by the Adriatic sea really.

  5. Hello Captain Albert,
    It is really a pleasure to read your daily blog. It is a little bit like joining the cruise. We are planning (but not yet booked) to do the South America Grand Voyage next year. But seeing the photo’s of the Veendam we have to think it over. We anyway will wait for your experience when the Prinsendam is in Antarctica. We hope that next year you also will be the master of the Prinsendam. We are looking forward to attend your lectures. We enjoyed your lecture about the HAL history en the HAL ships, during our cruise last summer to Norway and Spitsbergen.

    We don’t know if you have time or if you want to answer questions, therefore we didn’t ask for answers in the past. But some days ago we saw that you took some time to give answers to comments of readers. We therefore are encouraged to put some questions on paper. This doesn’t mean that we expect an immediate answer but maybe it fits in one of the subjects of your blog in the coming weeks.
    * Are the new cabins in the aft finished
    * Are the workers still on board and where will they disembark .
    * If the new cabins are ready will they be occupied by new guests during this voyage.
    * Is it possible to show a side-view photo of the Prinsendam to see how the new part changed the appearance of the ship.
    * Then a question about our national flag at the aft of the ship. We noticed that the flag is not always there. When exactly will the flag be hoist.

  6. Missed Career at Sea

    January 28, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    There’s a lot more to a Deck Officer than meets the eye, isn’t there Captain? I wonder what’s worse – dealing with a mentally overloaded guest on board a ship, or dealing with a Casius Clay who changed into Mohammed Ali, on board an airplane? Or a passenger who kept squeezing lemon in his milky tea as a Flight Attendant kept snatching his cup away every time the contents curdled! I suppose it’s quite an awakening for your readers that Captains have sailed around the world in any kind of weather, who knows for how long in history, and are suitably prepared for what’s ahead :). Last but not least; the list of Support Staff coming on board – are they guests as in paying guests, or going for a free ride? (simply a rhetorical question, Captain … ) How do a coupla friends and I get on board to form another kind of trio? (don’t dare to even quote You!)

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