- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

30 August 2009, Dublin, Ireland.

Although Dublin is much frequented in the summer by cruise ships, it does not have a dedicated cruise terminal. Where we docked was a regular cargo pier that had been made “cruise” friendly for buses and taxi’s. The area can take two cruise ships, one on either side of a large semi triangular dock. Today there were two cruise ships in port. Apart from us there was also the Crystal Symphony. She was going the opposite way to us, at least that was her schedule. After Dublin the ship was scheduled to call at East Dunmore, where we came from and then go on to Guernsey. The call at East Dunmore had already been cancelled and so the Symphony stayed overnight in Dublin. I was not amazed because after we left the weather had deteriorated over there considerably. We just had a lucky window in between a series of bad days. The crew of the Symphony were also talking about the cancellation of the call at Guernsey. Thus we were not the only one having multiple port and weather issues. That just reminded me; the day we were supposed to call at Guernsey, a Silver Sea cruise ship cancelled the call at Dartmouth next to Torbay. They were suffering from the same weather that we were supposed to have had during our call at Guernsey.

Because we are just a little bit shorter than the Symphony we docked at the short side of the docking area and by the time we were alongside our nose was barely inside the line of the dock. Not the way I prefer to be docked but with no other options available, I had to be happy with it and stay. Instead of the bow lines being nicely spread out over the dock, they were all more or less lined up as breast lines and spring lines. No head lines as the nose was only just in line with the dock edge. Maybe we were not lucky with the dock, we were at least lucky with the weather. It hardly rained at all during the day, at least not on the pier. We had our music players in the box again. The box is a sort of caravan of which one side folds open and inside there is a complete music stand set up. Today it was occupied by a ukulele and mandolin player who regaled the leaving guests with Irish tunes. Not a bad idea; if you are going to provide arrival music anyway. It saves the time to rig things up each time. Especially if the cruise ships are docking all over the harbour.

Out Hotel manager and Cruise director had been fretting over how to make the life of our guests even more pleasant and to give a bit of an extra antidote against the still
un-pleasant weather. The first idea was to hold an Irish barbecue. However the Irish weather soon put a stop to that idea. The expected rain would have doused the flames quite quickly. Next plan was; why do we not organize a pub night onboard. The agent managed to find, at very short notice, an Irish band and the main show lounge was converted into Thommy O’Faulkner’s Irish Pub. Our cruise director Tom Faulkner comes from Oakland California which is as we all know an extended part of Ireland. So it all made sense. Also the dining room was converted in to an Irish scene which was carefully looked over by Syarif O’syarif, our diningroom manager, who was born in Djakarta which is a town not far from Cork……….

It might not make much sense if you read this with a cup of tea in your hand but after two pints of Guinness, it somehow all comes together. For those who were not into Guinness there was an Irish show buffet set up in the lounge as well. Everybody had a great time while listening to authentic Irish music.

While everybody was re-discovering their Irish roots, I was otherwise occupied. My big boss was coming for a visit. Our President and CEO Stein Kruse was in Europe for business and used the opportunity to visit and inspect the Prinsendam to see if all was well. It was, apart from the weather of course. Now we are such a big company, there is less and less time for his ship’s visits so when the opportunity does arise it is very much appreciated by the whole “Club Prinsendam” as I call my crew. Smiling faces everywhere when he walked through the ship. Our ship always ventures far away from the beaten track and therefore it is not so easy to catch the ship. We received a full briefing about the challenges that lie ahead of us with the difficult operating circumstances in the current economic climate. However the message was upbeat. We are a strong company with a very loyal clientele and eventually the future will be very bright again. As with everybody in the business we just have to get through it and keep everybody focused on doing the best job possible. Tomorrow I am having a ship meeting with the whole crew and then I will be able to pass that message on.

Dublin is a late night call due to the evening tours. The last one coming back was a pub dinner and as soon as those guests had staggered back onboard, we pulled out of the harbour and cranked the ship up to full speed. Tomorrow we are in Liverpool and I have to get there on the incoming tide. Hence an early morning for me again. The weather does not look too bad for tomorrow; I think it will stay dry until about 6 pm, an hour after we have left again.

3 Comments

  1. Great blog post today. Dublin’s Fair City. I wish I’d been on board.

  2. Having just left the Prinsendam in Tilbury after a wonderful 37 day cruise, I love reading about what is going on. Thommy’s quick thinking for his guest doesn’t surprise me. I also love reading the Captain’s blog, you make me feel like I am still sailing. Hello to Leslie!

  3. I am coming to think that you never have any time to sleep! What with visiting CEO’s, staff meetings and keeping us all safe and happy on this somewhat difficult cruise, we should all be buying you a drink or two. It reminds me of the American definition for the expression “Dutch Courage” which is the quality of spirit that enables you to face challenges or danger without showing fear. Now if only we could find a wise old “Dutch Uncle” who could advise us about tomorrow’s weather.

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