- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

30 June 2019; At Sea, Final Prinsendam Cruise day.

Today we are sailing in the North Sea and are on our way home to Amsterdam. This is our final port of destination and the end of the final cruise of the ms Prinsendam. Voyage 307 will come to an end and with it 17 years of cruising under the Holland America Line banner.  All guests and 270+ of the crew will disembark but a small skeleton crew will sail her to Hamburg. There she will be handed over in Dry dock after the new owner has checked if all the propellers are still there. The last of the crew will then leave on the 7th. of July.  The ship will receive an extensive refit and come back into service in August. Not too much will change. The Casino will go out and be replaced by 10 new Guest Cabins and the Explorers Lounge will receive a new bar area.

We had a bit of a bumpy ride today as the wind breezed up this morning due to a storm raging east of Iceland and that storm had decided to dip a bit further down than was forecast yesterday. So the Prinsendam moved a little bit to let the world know she was still a ship and not an Apartment of the Seas. That wind is expected to abate this evening and then peace will be restored to the North Sea. But it was nice and sunny so a good day could still be had by all.

On Board it was the last day of everything. Last chance to get 75% discount in the shops, last chance to go to America’s Test Kitchen, last chance to go to Bingo, last chance to go to a Microsoft Workshop, etc. etc. . Or do a good deed and take the Walk with a Cause at 09.00 hrs. in the morning. So the guests where everywhere but at least half the ship was at 10.30 in the show lounge for the Crew Farewell of the Prinsendam Crew.  This is an emotional happening at the best of times but it being the last cruise of the ship and with Guests and Crew alike leaving tomorrow it was a very poignant happening.

The Final Farewell of the ms Prinsendam crew.

The ship had created a crew photo slide show which showed many of the crew in their working environment. Seven of my photos were included and these you will find back in my own Prinsendam crew tribute on this website. But the main happening was the appearance of 200+ crew on the stage to say goodbye to the guests whom they served for the last 14 days and many times before. Concluding with a speech from the captain, it was a memory to savor for a long time to come.

I have been trying to do my little thing to help to make this a memorable cruise by giving 5 lectures in the course of the 14 day cruise and be around in general to talk to guests anytime and anywhere. Of those lectures 2 were dedicated to the history of the Prinsendam before and after she became Prinsendam. The first lecture is on line on this website already, the second lecture will up in a few days as I have trim the dpi of the photos a little bit.  My last lecture was this afternoon about the Heydays of Ocean Liner Travel with the Blue Riband Liners. As I finished before the Bingo started, it was a least a success for my side, but as nobody walked out, I assume the guests liked it as well.

An event that turned out to be popular as well was the book signing of the complimentary Prinsendam book which each guest received. I learned to my utter amazement in the past years that a book, any book, increases in value if it signed by the Author. My 125 year History of Holland America Line book which I published in 1998 retails 2nd hand for approx. $ 45 on the antiquarian websites. But some of them have my signature in it and then suddenly it is $ 135, — Whether the guests knew about this or not, I do not know, but there was a long line waiting with books for the author Joshua Schwartz to sign. The Entertainment Manager had decided to spice this up a little bit by asking the Ship’s captain and Yours Truly to join in, which must now send the 2nd hand book value through the roof………………………..

The signing session team, Author, Captain Jeroen Schuchman and I.

So the cruise is now coming to an end; the life of the ms Prinsendam is coming to an end and we all will return to our Hum Drum lives without having the excitement of looking forward to another cruise on The Elegant Explorer. The other ships in the company will continue there cruises and hopefully they will give the same guest satisfaction as the Prinsendam gave to all of us in her 17 years with Holland America.

I will be flying to Seattle and from there to Seward to join the ms Westerdam for my next ships visit which will last until 28 July. So my blogging will stop for a few days but will start again on July 8.

For those of you who want to savor the memories of the ms Prinsendam;

You can find Prinsendam lecture 1 : HAL History and its ships past and present.

Click drop down box:

Then click: Prinsendam (II) of 2002


You can find Prinsendam lecture 2:   (will be on line by July 8th.)

Click drop down box: HAL History and its ships past and present.

Then click: Prinsendam (II) of 2002 Part II


You can find The crew of the Prinsendam photos:

Click drop down box: HAL History and its ships past and present.




  1. Excellent commentary of this memorable time in Holland America History.
    Much Thanks.

  2. Ginny Husen ..Travel Leaders Network

    July 1, 2019 at 12:06 am

    I have so enjoyed the final cruise details of the Prisendam. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to cruise on her but have sent many very pleased guests who have enjoyed her hospitality.

    Thank you for all the time and effort you put into this blog. A long time HAL fan like me really enjoys your “footnotes of cruising “.

    Safe travels to the Westerdam !

  3. Is the Prinsendam book that you mention in this blog post available to past Prinsendam cruisers who could not make it on this cruise (We were on until June 3)

  4. We will never forget the Elegant Explorer or your great posts of it’s farewell journey. Safe travel to you. Alaska awaits.

  5. C aptain Albert> Thank you for your informative blogs. My name is Jim & live in Vancouver. Since you will be on the Westerdam, There are a group of us wha are cruisers & are always down @ Canada Place to see the ships sail away. Would it be possible for You to be on the bridge for the first sail away you will be here. We would like to wave & say thank you for keepings all of us interested & always looking forward to your Blogs.

    • Captain Albert

      July 1, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      I will try. I am joining on July 8 in Seward, so July 15, I will try to be on the bridge wing.

      Best Regards

      Capt. Albert

  6. Captain Albert,

    Your recent posts on the final ms Prisendam cruise are most interesting. It’s sad to see a ship go, but it’s the beginning of a new chapter in the history of this very unique ship. And, far better than to see a ship go to the breakers, as is sometimes the case with older ships.

    I have owned your ‘125 year History of Holland America Line’ book for about 20 years and I enjoy re-reading it on a regular basis. I purchased it onboard ms Rotterdam VI. Combined with a more recent book of HAL paintings by Stephen Card, these two books provide insight into the fascinating history of the Holland America Line. With the 150th anniversary of HAL coming up, have you considered publishing an updated edition?

  7. Thank you for blogging the last voyage of the Elegant Explorer. While we only were able to sail on her on two voyages, she remains our favorite ship. I look forward to your future blogs and also sailing with you on a future voyage (we were with you on the Nieuw Statendam’s inaugural voyage. We’ll be 4 days behind you on the Maasdam headed for Alaska and points west.

  8. Barbara Cummings

    July 1, 2019 at 4:55 am

    We will always remember our 2010 Top of the World voyage on the Elegant Explorer with you.
    Thank you also for this fascinating blog about the final cruise of ms Prinsendam.
    Has Captain Halle T. Gundersen been included in any of her final days?

    • Captain Albert

      July 1, 2019 at 5:37 am

      Thank you for reading my blog.
      Capt. Halle was invited for the whole 14 day cruise but he never showed up.

      So we had to do without him. It would have been nice to have had him on board, as then we would have had a captain from the beginning, a captain from the middle years and a captain from the end.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  9. I would love to have one of the Prinsendam books that were made for this last cruise .. calling HAL with its phone system isn’t working. No one knows how. What or who in that myriad would have that information? I tried guest relations , they too have only ?? Choices?
    Can you help?

  10. Great summary only surpassed by your outstanding presentations . These presentations were a major highlight of the voyage. The ship crew pulled out all the stops and did everything imaginable to make this a truly memorable occasion . Total 10s all around. And it was an added bonus the satellite went out cutting out the news channels to help us be more present. Safe travels and thanks again.

  11. colleen davis

    July 1, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute to an awesome ship. Thank you for the journey aboard her on her last cruise, though I never got to sail on her, I read all of your blogs while you were the Captain sailing her to all the nooks and crannies from the world. It brings a tear to the eye, but just knowing she is going to become a part of some more memories, for some people, is so rewarding!! Looking forward to hearing all about Alaska once again!!!

  12. Mary Lynn Kirkwood

    July 2, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    The site for the book is

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