Sailing into Malaga is one of the easier approaches in the Mediterranean. There is a wide entrance and you just follow the long break water in. The inner basin is wide as well as the port is sort of horse shoe shaped. The cruise terminals are on the starboard side, along the Eastern Breakwater. The cargo piers are mainly on the west side and the Marina and ferry docks at the top of the horse shoe close to the city itself. Although the city is not on top of the port as such. Some time ago I walked it once from this terminal and it was a good 20 minutes before I reached the first signs of civilization. (=Read Shops) I emphasize” from this terminal” as there are more and the last berth on the breakwater is another 10 minute walk from here.
We were at the best terminal and closest to the city. Whether that was because we are new or because we are the biggest one in port I do not know, but here we are. Behind us was the Mein Schiff 2, which is one of the older Celebrity ships from the 1990’s. TUI which is the owner is part of Royal Caribbean and so is Celebrity and they have also used the system of pushing their older tonnage to 3 star emerging markets.
That German emerging TUI market has exploded in the meantime and Tui / Mein Schiff is together with Aida a major player in the German market, is so successful that they have been building new ships. These are also called Mein Schiff and with the same numbering. That makes it a bit confusing as with one number going out another number is coming in.
On the other hand, Holland America is also quite good at it, with repeating the glorious names from the past. If we forget the word “Nieuw” for the moment, then we are now talking about Statendam nbr 6. (1898 Statendam, 1913 Statendam/Justicia, 1929 Statendam, 1957 Statendam, 1992 Statendam) Not much different than Mein Schiff 5, although I like a real name much better.
That Statendam name, is also a matter of deep discussion, as where is it coming from ?
There is no city in the Netherlands with the name Statendam or a river with a name of “staten” or something similar. Also the HAL archives in Rotterdam are deadly silent. There is hardly anything in there about naming of ships at all, although the Board must have discussed these things.
Theory one: The Statendam was / is named after Staten Island in New York, to keep the balance between Dutch and American names. Theory two: the ship was named after The Hague, were we have the “Staten Generaal” which is the Dutch Parliament. Theory three: named after a Dam which connected the islands of Goree and Overflakkee in the Netherlands, south of Rotterdam. …………….. Sounds all very nice, but no proof…………………….
And now we have the “Nieuw” Statendam a name chosen to lay a link between our heritage = Statendam and to indicate that Holland America has chosen new directions in what it offers our guests; as is clearly visible in what we offer here on board the ship. Food options, entertainment options, Music Walk, etc. etc. Also here there is a connection to a previous Statendam. When Holland America went full time cruising in the 70’s, the Statendam IV was the first one to be converted for cruising and the first one to carry the new house colors. The three waves especially chosen to show the world that: “Holland America was going to make waves in the Cruise Industry”. And that we did as also in the early 70’s the new ideas of the company had a major impact on the cruise industry.
For those who are wondering if the Nieuw Statendam is also gearing up for Christmas, these are the Christmas trees in the BB King Jazz Blues Club. The doors to back stage are open giving a rare view to what goes on behind the scenes. Slowly but steadily there is more decoration coming but it takes time as it is a big ship and we only have two florists.
From Malaga we sail directly westwards to the Straits of Gibraltar and the Rock, which we hope to pass around 21.30 hrs. Then it is a straight course for a point south of Funchal. We had glorious weather today and that is set to continue. A little bit cooler as we are in the open seas but I hope for high fifties / around 15oC in European speak and not much movement. The surf forecast gives nothing over 10 feet, so things are looking good for our first part of the North Atlantic crossing.
Ps. a thank you to the readers who wrote a reaction to the “big sailing boat” picture I published yesterday; now we know what it is. It is called “A”; and that raises the question, is using letters from the alphabet similar or different then using numbers to name a ship????