- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

26 June 2019; At Sea.

Today we are sailing Southbound in the Norwegian Sea. And the weather is not too good but also not too bad. With not too good I mean that for the time of the year it could be full summer in this area with sunny skies and warmer temperatures and that is not the case but it is also not too bad as we do not have storm and a bouncing ship. We have some (cold) wind and some waves but apart from a gentle movement at times the ms Prinsendam is as steady as a rock. And thus we have nothing to complain about.

Geiranger Fjord. We will follow the dotted line all the way to the end. Geiranger pilot station both serves Alesund and the rest of the fjord.

Due to angle of the coast, the Prinsendam stays far offshore and will eventually come closer to the coast again when getting near Geiranger Fjord pilot station. That will be 2 am in the morning and then it is another 60 NM. to the end of the fjord. As we cannot race with 20 knots full sea speed through the fjord it will take much more than two hours to get to the end and thus we expect to be at the anchorage position around 07.00 hrs.

This was the one but last sea day of the cruise and thus the day was full with shipboard activities and Holland America specials. So today we had the Mariners Society meeting which had to take place in two sessions as nearly everybody on board is a Mariner. From a reliable source I was told that the total of Mariner days accumulated by all on board was somewhere near 112,000 which means that most of our guests must be far over the 100 days.  An accomplishment we otherwise seldom see on shorter cruises, but then the Prinsendam is special.

Another highlight was a lecture by photographer Mr. Joshua Schwartz who has been taking a lot of ships photos through the years (www.site2sea.com) including the ms Prinsendam. It was decided to create a commemorative book for the final voyage of the Prinsendam with those photos and that book was handed out to all guests and crew a few days ago. I am not a good photographer; I have a self-thinking pocket camera and I push the button when I think the camera has figured out the right setting, so I am always impressed if I come across people who can make something artful out of a bit of water and steel.  For those who would like to order a copy, this is the link: https://www.tributestudios.com/product-page/prinsendam-elegant-explorer

Although a smaller ship, the Prinsendam is equipped with a delightful little theatre for movies in the afternoon and Americas Test Kitchen in the morning. Today was on the program Salmon and Southern Snacking. The latter got my attention as it quoted: “Learn how to make snacks from the American South; buttermilk drop biscuits with tangy pimento cheese and crispy fried pickles. I could not attend any of the two sessions but I have a complete set of recipes so black clouds will emit from my apartment at home some day in the future when I attempt to make crispy fried pickles. The demonstrations are always well attended, either by guests who are just interested in cooking, or by those who want to up their game.

The captain will most likely taking a good nap in the afternoon and then another rest in the evening as it will be early hours when starting to go in, a long day in the fjord and then a long evening out again followed by two more port days and scenic cruising.  Staying at anchor in Geiranger is also not always a happy affair as the fjord is sheltered from most winds, except from the west and then you can have a real nasty funnel wind coming through speeding up to a considerable velocity.   Thus the captain will be on short notice all day as well. Norway is beautiful sailing but for everybody on board it is long days and short nights.

Weather for tomorrow in Geiranger, Partly Cloudy, 9oC/ 49oF no rain and very little wind. So chilly but dry. The temperature on the water might be slightly higher as there is a north westerly breeze coming in, bringing during the day time air from the mountain side that has been in the sun all morning. Still chilly is good as it will mean good visibility on the top of the fjord for the tours.

I have attached two crew photos again:

This time from two groups of crew who hang around the gangway a lot. First there is the Security team who does the gangway scanning, the ID card check and makes safety & security rounds around the ship.

Then there are the two Boatmen or officially called Lifesaving Attendants or LSA’s. These are dedicated sailor functions who maintain the lifeboats under the direction of the Safety Officer. These two gentlemen are up and about at the most unusual hours as they are also in charge of opening the access doors to the ship and the safely rigging of the pilot ladder. So lots of broken sleep. Tomorrow morning they will be there at 02.00 hrs. to help the pilot on board, then at 06.00 hrs. to help prepare for the tender service; in the afternoon present again when the tenders are retrieved and then late in the evening again for the access doors for when the pilot leaves again.

The ms Prinsendam is equipped with a access door very few other ships have. It is on “boat level” height which means you do not need steps when you run a tender service and when you do a pilot transfer you do not need a pilot ladder. For a safe pilot transfer you only need a stout rope for the pilot to hold on to. (Or as some pilots do swing in and out as a nautical Tarzan)



  1. Chilly,but dry with good visibility is a big improvement over chilly, snowy and 200ft visibility! Went to the top during the first call by the ‘new’ Westerdam her inaugural year and could not see anything beyond the parking lot that the busses stopped in. Took photos of the snowy scene instead of whatever it was we were supposed to see. Thank you for doing the posts so I can travel on the Prinsendam ‘in spirit’

  2. Jennifer Saker

    June 27, 2019 at 12:17 am

    What a shame the tribute book is only available in America. I live in Australia and have been on the Prinsendam a few times and would have loved a copy. Its a wonderful ship and I am very sorry to see it go. Being a small ship it appealed to a different kind of traveler.
    I would have thought Holland America would have kept a smaller ship in their fleet, rather than letting their valued clients go to another line with smaller ships and less passengers.
    I sailed with Capt Albert on the Top of the World Cruise years ago it was a wonderful experience.

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