- Captain Albert's Website and Blog -

Ocean Liner History and Stories from the Sea, Past and Present. With an In Depth focus on Holland America Line

31 March 2016; Marghera, Venice.

So today was the big day. Although we could not do everything that was supposed to happen. A flag raising ceremony was planned with everybody being present on the Sea View deck aft, where you can see the Flag pole, but the deck had not been cleaned yet and work was still on going with the Glass Stairs. So it meant that the amount of “everybody” had to be reduced to the senior office people and the ships officers. That worked and the Italian flag came down and the Dutch flag went up. Hence it was hard for me to get some good photos but here is the flag hanging.

Here we are Holland Glory in top.

Here we are Holland Glory on top.

Thus what nobody saw wis the installation of the Builders plate with the shipyard name and the builder’s number of the ms Koningsdam. It is hanging on the Sb. side Lido deck a much more prominent place than is the case on some other ships.  Here at least the majority of our guests will be able to see the plate and see where the ship was built.

Fincantieri Buildiers Plate with our yard number 6241.

Fincantieri Buildiers Plate with our yard number 6241.

Soon as the flag was up work continued in a frenzy as there is still a lot of cleaning up to do. I have not posted any photos yet from the Crow’s nest and the Children’s playroom. Main reason is the fact of the furniture not having been delivered but which is taking place at the moment. Although Holland America does not tend to have that many children on board, except with Thanksgiving and Christmas but those who will sail with us will enjoy it. It is a large area split up in toddlers, teens and tweens and each as an outside deck area as well, screened off from the rest of the ship. The parents can be very happy. My experience is with Club Hal and the kids is for the first day; they are reluctant to go but as soon as they are there, you cannot get them out again. Much to the upset of the parents who want to take “little Johnny” to dinner in the evening and little Johnny much more prefers to eat pizza with the rest and create mayhem behind the Club HAL door. But it is the first step in creating a platform which will bring little Johnny back when he has become a Big John.

Kiddie Furniture arriving and being installed.

Kiddie Furniture arriving and being installed.

The ship is now really gearing up for the start of our cruising life but first we have to get through the all the formalities of being a new ship. Tomorrow around 4000 guests are  expected, invitee’s of the shipyard. I wonder if we will be able to cope with the amount of cookies as the Grand Dutch Café has now opened for business and there are a lot of nice cookies and pastries on display which can be had free of charge. They also have Dutch “drop” or liquorice which of course has to be paid for.




Another piece Art and this one really attracts me as I find it really clever what the artist did. Transforming piano keys into zebras

Today was also the last day of the pre sailing audits which the ship had to go through and the Captain is now a happy man as all the certificates, which will enable him to sail, are being issued now. A funny part of this inspection was that these Auditors were being audited themselves. Lloyds carries out all the ships inspections on behalf of the Dutch Government and the Flag State has to ensure Lloyds is carrying out the inspections according to the standards set by the Flag State.  The question now remains, who audits the auditors who audited the auditors??

Panorama Bar. Not a bad spot to watch a movie from in the evening on the big screen.

Panorama Bar. Not a bad spot to watch a movie from in the evening on the big screen.

This is the first ship of the fleet where we have a double level Lido Deck. Lower level is around the pool and the up upper level is a sort of balcony overhang with white leather benches. This means we also have two Lido bars now and the upper level the Panorama Bar appeared today from behind all the protection. It is located on the starboard side deck 10 and the regular lido bar is on deck 09 port side.

If you still have a old sewing machine and an old record, then you can make your on art.

If you still have a old sewing machine and an old record, then you can make your own art.

Not all that is going on is hard work. Tonight there will be a party for all the officers to thank them for their hard work and tomorrow there will be a similar one for all the crew and for that purpose the yard has hired a public area down the road from the yard and they will throw a party organized by Heineken.  Most crew has been working long and irregular hours in the last days to get the ship ready. Often irregular hours as they had to work around the activities of the yard. So a thank you is appropriate and no doubt a free drink will be appreciated.


  1. Captain Albert-

    How long are you going to be on board? Sailing on April 27th and would love to buy you a drink! Love the way you close each post with some art. My hope is they have an “art tour” for onboard guests. Thank you so much for this fascinating blog. We have enjoyed it every single day.

    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      The drink will have to wait until another time. I will be leaving the day you join. Higher management is calling me home for a vacation and my apartment building is waiting for me to supervise the roof maintenance.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  2. I am not an “artsy” person but I have to admit that I am enjoying the pictures of the art that you have taken. I absolutely love the zebra picture and my grandma had a similar old Singer sewing machine in her basement. It’s lovely that HAL is appreciating all the hard work everyone has put in and throwing the parties to celebrate the completion of the job. Thank you, again, for all the blogs and pictures. My first cruise on the K-Dam won’t be until December but I am already looking into the booking another one in the summer. Great job, Captain Albert. I hope I get a chance to meet you one day.

  3. This ship seems to be coming out with very little fanfare and publicity. If it wasn’t for your most informative blog, we wouldn’t have a clue about the happenings on Koningsdam. Thanks so much for your time writing this blog. Still looking forward to more pictures.

  4. Congratulations, HAL is now the proud new owners of a brand new ship. Hope to one day cruise on her & also to one day cruise on an inaugural cruise. Any idea when or if HAL is building the next new build??

  5. Missed Career at Sea

    March 31, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Too exciting again! For me, after all. A little bit of tradition is still tugging at some of my heartstrings. Especially, when I got to watch a short video of “Sail Amsterdam 2015” last night at a meeting! Wish I were there, Captain. That is, at both places, admitting at the same time that those tall ships still win the prize in more than one way, as far as I’m concerned.

  6. Sandra Hutchins

    March 31, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Your Photo of the kids furniture made me smile.
    I love the name. Does Hal think that the kids will be putting on weight, with the extra Pizza, Ice Cream and Pop?

  7. I love these updates!! I really appreciatw the inside look. Your comment about the sewing machine and record made me laugh. I look forward to taking a picture with it when we board in July.

  8. Captain Albert – Your blog has afforded an angle to cruise travel that many of us find fascinating. You offer an operational and procedural realism to what many of us consider a fantasy product. Now with crisp detail you have afforded us to join daily, the realization of Koningsdam, HAL’s first pinnacle class ship. And your blog has, well, also reached a pinnacle. I find it more than educational as I journey to a place I wish to be.

    There are several blog recognition and award communities that I feel would agree. With your approval, I would like to nominate your blog for consideration in the 2016 awards. And with the support of your readers, I am sure second and third nominations will follow. Would you permit me to do so and share with your readers?

    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      Mr. Tampa – Mike, please go ahead. If there are people out there who consider my humble efforts of sufficient quality and enjoyment then who am I to stand against it.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  9. Congratulations to Hal on taking delivery of their new vessel! Thanks for all your very interesting blogs regarding the final phases of getting vessel ready for service. I wonder how many people were aware of all the background work that has to be done and still meet delivery date. Your photos were also most informative. I do have a questions regarding the Promenade deck.
    From photos it would seem that the lifeboats are low slung and thereby restricting sea views when walking on the deck, is this correct? Also the deck seems very narrow when compared to other vessels and is this the reason mustering now being done in a public room?

    Please keep your blog going I look forward to reading.

    Best regards

    Ted Dixon, Cape Town

    • Thank you for reading my blog.
      Yes, the lifeboats are hanging low and there is now view while walking by them. But you can still walk all the around the deck. The main reason for the change was that when they made the initial design they found it was impossible to muster 2500 guests on deck in an orderly and quick way. It would simply take too long to get the last one past all the others. Even if they made the deck twice as wide. Thus they decided for indoor mustering. Easier to get to the public rooms which can be reached by multiple flows. As a result the deck could now be smaller and more room given to the interior.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

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