- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

28 May 2012; Gulf of Alaska.

The weather forecasts are advising Gale Force winds but by the time that it will start blowing, we will be back inside the Alaskan Inside Passage. With wind around 15 to 20 knots it is a bit breezy on the bow but for the rest it is a very smooth transit of the Gulf. Most guests are busy with trying to sort themselves out after their overland tour and the rest are exploring the ship. Again most of those who came on board are first time cruisers and everything is new and exciting to them. I am busy with reviewing the rest of the schedule for this southbound cruise so that we can finalize all the happenings for the season and lock them into the schedule. That will avoid conflicts in the long run and makes it easier for everybody. We will then be set for the rest of the season until the final departure from Vancouver. Then I will have the challenge to get everybody out of that schedule again. Some routines tend to start living their own lives and it has happened that suddenly in the middle of the cruise a table appears out of nowhere and then we find out that it was because that table was used on Wednesday’s in Alaska; thus it is now also there on Wednesday’s while on the way to Panama.


The Staging Permit as in use on all HAL ships.

Tables and other items standing in the ship is a more complicated issue than you might think. We have a whole system for that. Tables, stands, display cases, banners mannequins, it is all put out on display and it could all fall over, if the ship lists or rolls on the ocean’s waves. Then that same item might become very dangerous to all around if it starts moving. Thus we have devised a permit system to ensure that this danger is contained and managed. Before somebody even thinks about displaying anything in a walkway or corridor, permission has to be obtained from the Chief Officer. That is being done by submitting a staging permit request. This permit shows where the display will be, for how long, who is in charge and who will look after it. If the Chief Officer agrees with it, e.g. he does not think that it will affect the safety of the ship (does not block any escape route) then permission will be given. The signed permit goes back to the originator and the display can be set up.

During the regular rounds that we make, we verify if the displays are in accordance with the permits. The most important part is ensuing that there is somebody indeed in charge and keeping an eye on it, so that in the case of emergency the displays, tables and whatever else can be quickly cleared away and safely stored. Apart from the safety issue it also makes commercial sense as it reduces the damage to ships inventory to nearly zero. Everybody has seen clips on You tube about guests rolling through the ship with furniture coming by, computers and screens sliding all over the place, creating havoc, danger to life and limb and lots of damage. We do not want that.


The PAR signs.   To the left the picture of a dining room steward in charge of keeping the area neat, tidy and in good repair and to the right a picture of the bo’sun who has to ensure that this area remains dry as it is a staircase connected to the outside deck.

When items are not out in the open, then it has to be stored safely at all times as well. So that even in the lockers and store rooms there will be no damage due to inclement weather. For that we have assigned PAR areas. PAR stands for Personal Area of Responsibility.

 Each crewmember is assigned a certain location in the ship that he/she has to keep in a safe condition. If anything is the matter, he/she has to rectify it or report it higher up the chain for corrective action. This works very well and apart from a safe ship, it also results in a litter-free and neatly organized ship. On my rounds I know exactly who is in charge of a certain area. Why? Because a picture of the crewmember is on display in that area. It all takes a bit of organizing to get this going but once it works, it greatly enhances the safety of the operation.

Tomorrow we will be in Glacier Bay. We have a late arrival there, scheduled like this so we do not interfere with the Oosterdam who will be the early ship. Park rules demand that there can only be one ship in front of the Glacier at one time and thus the sailings into Glacier Bay are staggered. The weather looks similar to 3 days ago, overcast with low hanging clouds. Just perfect for bringing out the best of this wonderful area.


  1. Update on Supplies for Corinto, a message for the Southern California folks:

    I have spoken with the Port Agent in San Diego who would like to ask that we co-ordinate getting our packages together in one place, sometime in the September 15-Sept 26 time frame and plan to have just a couple of people deliver it all at once, to their office, not long before the Sept. 27 sail date. They will then take it all to the ship along with everything else that they’ll be responsible for on September 27. . Would those of you who live in Southern California and want to send school supplies directly to the ship rather than mailing them to Seattle e-mail me so that we can work out a plan together that works for all of us? The Port Agent says that they don’t have room to store things over the summer and that having everything come in at once, labeled, will make their job much easier. Of course, if someone else lives closer and wants to do this I don’t think it matters; we just need someone to sort of get it organized.

    This is just for Southern California packages; Captain Albert’s system is already working out well for everyone else as he described last Sunday here.

  2. IAW the above guidance from Marney, we will send $ 500+ of school supplies from Florida to the San Diego HAL port agent to arrive between 15 and 26 September. Need a shipping PoC and a shipping address. Please advise if the above schedule/destination is not optimal.


    • Good afternoon,

      thank you for all your efforts. By mid september that should work out.

      ms Statendam
      attn: Hotelmanager Bert van Mackelenbergh
      Paxton, Shreve & Hays. Inc
      453 54th. Street Suite 101
      SAn Diego CA 92 114

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

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