- 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

Notes for the Reader & My sailing Schedule


Why this blog.

I enjoy writing and I love to write or talk about my job. About the great company that I work for and about life at sea in general. As the cruises tend to go to less and less sea days and the work of the captain gets more and more intense, there is less and less time to communicate directly and on a regular basis with the guests. Thus a blog is an excellent opportunity to alleviate this a little bit. As explained below it does not cost me that much time and hopefully the “daily result” is enjoyed by the readers.

You will not find issues about the ships or the company on this blog that involve customer relations. That is for the company head office to deal with through the proper channels. Whether the issues are positive or whether they are negative. A ships captain executes company policy; he does not make it.

I am trying to give the reader a bit of insight in what the world looks like from the captains perspective. As I try to live my life with a smile of my face, you will not find much moaning and groaning. A problem is for me a challenge and an opportunity and the glass is always half full, ………..even if I do not drink during my tenure on board. If you raise a question that fits in these general parameters that I have set myself, I will try to answer it during one of the next blogs.

My sailing schedule
As announced on 20th. of March 2014,  my career took a partial turn with working as a travelling trainer Master/ captain. Since the summer of 2018 it is now called Fleet Master. This means that in the forsee-able future I will not sail on one ship but travel from ship to ship.  My sailing schedule was always  already “subject to extremely much change”, and that is the one thing that will not change in the future.

Future schedule:

I arrived home on 10 April as the ships were going in warm -lay up with only the minimum crew needed on board.

So my schedule will be announced when the ships can sail again.

My blog and other articles such as the ships and captains from the past.

I try to write one page each day during the time that I am at work. During my time off, I add pages with articles about cruises in the past, based on books and other material that I have in my collection. I am spending a lot of time at the moment on the biographies  of the captains of the ancient days and I will let you know through the blog each time an update takes place.

The blog is now officially a part from of the Holland America blog part of the Holland America.com website and be reached by clicking on the blog area on the main page.

I normally write my blog in the evening. It takes about 20 minutes to make a rough draft and another 10 to take the mistakes out. It goes on line, whenever I get a chance to log on to the internet. If it goes on line the same evening, then you will see it during breakfast the  next morning. However as I travel worldwide, “breakfast time” might be variable.


With more and more people reading my blog, I get more and more spam. Most of it is filtered out automatically by a spam filter. I try to check this spam folder regularly and sometimes, lately quite often, I find genuine comments from readers in there. When I find them, they get re-instated, whether positive or negative. If your comment does not appear under the blog-day that you clicked on it most likely got lost in the spam filter permanently.


  1. Elinor & Bob Corley

    September 25, 2007 at 10:37 am

    I did send a note yesterday (24th) but will try again. As I stated, we will join you Oct. 9 in Montreal following a one night stay at the Queen Eliz. Our year-round home is Sarasota so will be wonderful to end up in Tampa.

    I just discovered your blog a few days ago via information on Cruise Critic and it is marvelous. We are taking 10 of us on the Zuiderdam in June 2008 (too big) for a graduation trip so have also enjoyed your European blogs. We have not been on the Vistas — intentionally- but teen-age calendars gave us no choice. It will be about our 35th HAL trip and much prefer the S Class and especially the Amsterdam.

    We have some VERY favorite HAL employees — I would say Tri is #1 in the dining room and Henk and Crystal Mensek are super. Our favorite bar manager is Raymond and I believe he sails from the Tampa area quite often. We were with him on the Amst. last Jan. but started with him on the old Noordam at least 10 years ago. Over the years Margaret Bennendyke has been a jewel to provide many special requests.

    Look forward to greeting you very soon.

    Elinor and Bob Corley — Suite 024 /Oct. 9.

  2. Thank you for taking the trouble to write your daily blog to give we Holland America passengers a better insight into the sometimes difficult job you and your crew are faced with. We sit comfortably in our cabins or by the pool, enjoy the wonderful meals and generally have a great time being pampered, perhaps not thinking too often about all those cheerful people who work so hard to make our cruise experience so enjoyable.
    My wife and I can’t wait to join you on 9 October for the trip to Tampa. We rarely see many other Brits onboard but we always enjoy meeting the cosmopolitan mix of passengers who sail with HAL. Thank you to everyone for the 70+ enjoyable days we have spent aboard ships of the HAL fleet.


  4. I certainly enjoy reading your Blog!

  5. I am really enjoying your blog after discovering it only a few days ago. I read with interest the following…
    “The last time I was involved in an SAR operation was in the summer 2004 when in command of the Maasdam and on the way to Hubbard Glacier. A fishing boat reported having engine trouble and because of following seas started to take on water. An USCG helicopter was coming out with a portable pump but as the boat location was on the edge of the helicopters radius, the Maasdam was directed to be on standby near the fishing boat incase the helicopter could not cope. So we waited until the pump was lowered into the boat and a local USCG cutter was able to reach the scene with the fishing boat still afloat. Unfortunately this waiting cost us so much time that I had to cancel the call at Hubbard Glacier one of the highlights of the cruise. But our presence might have been necessary and thus we stood by until the fishing boat with two men on board was safe.”
    We were on The Statendam to Alaska departing Vancouver on 1st July 2001 when this exact same incident occurred…you were the Captain of that ship …I still have all the information about it eg announcement letterts from the Captain etc…Did this happen to you twice??

  6. We just got off Veendam this morning in Tampa. Ruth & I would like to thank you for a very enjoyable cruise experience. We will be back on the Veendam Nov 25 for 14 day cruise.

    Thank you for your help with the computers.

    Best regars

    Ruth & Jim

  7. Hello, and thank you for all the great info about the “inner workings” of a cruise ship!
    We are on the 36 day veendam out of vancouver leaving Sept 26, 2008. I note you say you will be joining the veendam again on Oct 16, 2008, but cannot understand how you will do that as we are at sea that day. Perhpas it is earlier in grenada that you return from your leave? Just curious…as I read your schedule, I wondered why you would not take it all the way from Vancouver or at least san Diego which leaves 4 days later. Hope you will be our captain…

  8. Captain, you mention that you collect books of maritime interest. Would you consider having a section of your blog list some of your favorites and ones that you could recommend to readers? I collect such books myself and am always seeking ones that I have not read. Any suggestions for “good reads” would be welcome.

  9. Kapitein ik kwam uw Blog tegen via de Eurodam Blog. U geeft een fantastisch kijkje achter de schermen aan boord van de Veendam. Ik hoop u en uw bemanning aan boord van de Veendam in de nabije toekomst te kunnen begroeten in thuishaven Rotterdam.

    Groet Ben van Zeijl

  10. Captain Albert.
    Thank you so much for the time you take to write your daily blog. It is amazingly informative and educational. We will be sailing with you from Tampa on April 6. I am looking forward to the experience.
    Jim and Gevanne

  11. When I was a student, I worked my way up to Purser on the St Lawrence River With Canada Steamship Lines.
    I loved sailing but for me the choice was to remain single and sail or get married and have a land job.
    Our first extended cruise was on the Noordam from New York to Vancouver.
    In July 2009 is our 40th Ann. If you had a choice of a 15 -25 day cruise, What would be your choice?

  12. Hallo Captain, I am enjoying your site and all your writings. I sailed with you in 2005 and this spring on the Veendam. Would like to send you a picture I took of you from the wing above the bridge. You asked me if I was staying on to Europe. I am retired from the New York office, member of both ‘de Lijn’ groups and invite you to see my revived website: http://hollandamericahistoricalsociety.org
    Goede vaart,
    Laurens van der Laan

  13. Hallo Kaptein,
    Ik was wat aan het surfen op het internet, toen ik opeens een bekend gezicht zag.
    Hopelijk is alles goed aan boord van de Veendam. (dat was trowuens een van mijn babies die ik heb helpen opzetten in Italie)
    Nog veel goede reizen en ik hoop in de toekomst als passagier mee te varen.
    Met vriendelijke groet.
    Ruud Lodder
    ex CHK

  14. I’m a travel writer who has been covering the passenger shipping industry for 15 years. I’m learning fascinating things on your blog, getting answers to so many questions I’ve had. Thank you so much for taking the time to write about your job.

  15. Captain Albert – thank you so much for your daily blog. My husband & I fell in love with cruising back in the 70’s when we both worked at Port Everglades Authority, FL (he in Harbormaster’s & I in Finance). We’re sailing the Veendam on 12/16 so will miss meeting you for which we are very sorry—hopefully, another time in the future. Just wanted you to know how much your comments & the information you share is valued. Our best wishes to you.

  16. I find your Blog to be most interesting, perhaps something about myself will reveal why:
    I have spent most of my life in a seafaring capacity and have had command of several ocean going ships of various types. Since making the sometimes difficult transition to shore based employment, but associated with shipping, I thought that to become a passenger would be the worst possible way of wasting my time.
    A few years ago, when my wife and I were well into retirement, we decided to take a cruise and, with some trepidation, joined the “Zaandam’ for a week in the Caribbean. It was a huge success. The following year we took a ten day cruise on the “Volendam”. In February of this year we join the “Veendam” for fourteen days.
    We find the tranquillity, together with all of the shipboard attractions and amenities, very much to our liking and in fact the port visits and tours to be no more than diversions.
    I must add that as a passenger I keep my seafaring experience to myself and enjoy meeting fellow passengers while apparently being as ignorant of seamanship as they are. We trust you will be enjoying your leave during our trip on the “Veendam”.

  17. Dear Capt. Schoonderbeek,

    The first books on cruising I ever read was your 125 Years of Holland America Line, lent to me by a friend to read during my first cruise (on Maasdam). I’m a history buff, and the book lent a fascinating perspective to my trip. I haven’t stopped cruising since … my husband and I even got married on a HAL ship.

    Thank you for your engaging blog. It is wonderful to follow the continuing story!

    All the best,

  18. Edwin Hoenderdos

    January 22, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Hallo Kaptein Schoonderbeek,

    Ik las in de december editie van Hallo je relaas “The Latest News”.
    Daarin vermeld je je ervaring met mijn vader Kaptein Hoenderdos. Hij had inderdaad een nogal luide stem , kan me dat goed herinneren als zoon zijnde. Heel leuk om dit te lezen. Ik heb zelf een aantal jaren gevaren en op kantoor New York gewerkt bij de Holland America Lijn. Heb op de oude Prinsendam gevaren en de oude Veendam.

    Met vriendelijke groet en een behouden vaart,

    Edwin C. Hoenderdos

  19. So sorry to read that you will not be on Veendam in August when I will be aboard. I enjoy your blog and had hoped to meet you (at least over the PA system!). Can you tell us who will be in command of her during your August break? Thank you!

  20. Enjoy your blog. I was in Grand Cayman on vacation and saw you come in through the rain squall on April 4. I completed a 25 day WW2 historical cruise on the Statendam on March 26. A great trip.

  21. Charles Helsby

    April 14, 2008 at 2:07 am

    I have recently discovered the benefit of having the Captain’s weblog sent daily to my email address. Reading about the Veendam’s progress each morning is almost like being aboard. Well not quite the same – I’d rather be cruising. But having the various events of each day explained by Captain Albert gives a real insight into the skills required, and many difficult tasks involved, in managing a cruise ship.

  22. I have been thoroughly enjoying reading your weblog. My wife and I have cruised on HAL 4 times in the past 5 years and we’ll be on Veendam December 7, 2008. What I have found most interesting is the way you describe weather conditions and the challenges of docking at the various ports. I usually get up early on port days when we are cruising and head to the lower promenade deck to observe all the maneuvering required to dock the ship safely. Weather has always been one of our special interests since we are Florida residents (my wife is a rare native Floridian) and I obsess with weather forecasts pre-cruise only to discover (as you have noted in your blog) that they are often inaccurate. By the time December comes around I’ll feel like you’re an old friend and I hope that my wife and I get a chance to meet you in person.

  23. Captain:
    Enjoy your blog, very informative. I recently purchased your book
    “125 years of Holland America Lines”. I will be on the Veendam
    April 28, San Diego to Vancouver. I would very much
    appreciate it if you could find time to autograph it for me.
    I will leave word at reception with my cabin #.
    Looking forward to the cruise and meeting you.

    Greg Haller

  24. I googled Virgin Carmen and Found out in Spain it is Virgin Del Carmen. This goes back to the Holy Land when Elijah went to Mt. Carmelo and those who followed his footsteps in pilgrimages later on asked the Virgin Mary for her protection. So it is the Virgin Mary and the child is Jesus. She is also known as Stella Maris; hence becoming important to fisherman and fishing towns.

  25. Captain Albert,
    I follow your blog every day. It is so interesting and helpful. I have a question about the schedule of the Veendam when it leaves Tampa in April, 2009 for the repositioning. From the brochures, it appears that the ship is heading to Ft. Lauderdale and then to Alaska. My goal is to be on the ship when it leaves Tampa for the repositioning, but am confused about why it’s going to Ft. Lauderdale. I am aware that schedules change, and I will not hold you to anything that you say, but if you have a clue about what is going on, that would be great! I called HAL in Seattle, but their computer was down and they couldn’t answer the question.

  26. Your blogs are great.. We plan to sail on the Veedam next june. What side of the ship is it best to have a cabin on when sailing south from Seward to Vancouver?. What side of ship is usually tied to the dock when at the ports of call ? We have sailed over 124 days on Holland Amercia ships and find dock activity very interesting, let alone cruising and being on the correct side for viewing from your cabin. Thank you for your answers. Sincerely Howell Dyson

  27. Is there any site or info on schedules of which captains are on which ship and when?

  28. We discovered your weblog two months ago. Now, my husband and I are in the habit of reading and discussing each day’s postings. The Captain’s perspective is fascinating. Tom and I have never been to Alaska or on the Holland American ships. We are looking forward to our first Alaskan cruise when we will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. On July 18, we board the Veendam after we complete the land tour. We are looking forward to meeting you if there is not too much fog! I am sure that we will continue reading your weblog long after our cruise. Thank you for your detailed insights.

  29. Melanie Pedersen

    July 7, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    I stumbled on to your blog late one night as I explored the HAL website in anticipation of my cruise to Alaska July 11. Reading your daily blogs has been so interesting and certainly has added excitement to the wait. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and descriptions of the ports of call. Reading them has added so much pleasure to this cruise experience and I’m not even on the boat yet. I eagerly look forward to the adventure of sailing with you and all the fine crew members of the Veendam.

  30. Steve Chisholm

    July 10, 2008 at 11:17 am

    How wonderful this is! Thank you Captain for taking the time to do this. As one of the passengers who’s interested in the inner workings of the ship as much (and sometimes more!) as the cruise itself, your daily dose is most appreciated.
    I will be checking in daily from now on, including during my week on the Amsterdam next month!
    Dank u!

  31. Charlene and Gary Bunas

    July 11, 2008 at 11:38 am

    What a joy to hear from “the boss” even before our cruise! Like your other reading fans, I am impressed with all you must know. To top it all off, you are a techno-expert as well. I feel in good hands with HAL!

    Thanks for adding to my excitement, Captain Albert.

    Charlene Bunas

  32. Captain Albert, I hope you continue your blogs from the Prinsendam also. I enjoy your blog as HAL is my favorite cruise line. The Alaska cruises have always been a favorite so I enjoy hearing about the various trips, and will look forward to the new adventures on the Prinsendam.

  33. Hallo Captain Albert.

    Leuke Blog ik was even op het internet aan het kijken
    en daar zag ik een bekend gezicht.Ik heb met u op
    de Noordam gevaren als store keeper.
    Alweer een tijd geleden met Willem de Vis als F en B manager
    Nu Kapitein de groeten en tot Horens


  34. Hello, Captain Albert,

    We were very pleased to see that you will be on the Prinsendam in 2009. We will be sailing on her on the July 17 to August 7 Top of the World Cruise in 2009. We are looking forward to seeing you again.

    We are having difficulty locating the book you co-authored with H.A. Dalkmann, 125 Years of Holland America Line: A Company History. Do you know if there are, or will be, any for sale onboard any of the ships? If there will be some on the Prinsendam, we would like to wait to purchase it, and perhaps get it signed, too.

    Please enjoy your time off, and say hello to Lesley, too. We enjoyed meeting her on the Veendam last year.

    Colleen Walker and Peter Mousseau

  35. Hallo Captain Albert,

    Ik was zeer verrast te horen dat we ook op de Incotrans Speed
    hadden gevaren, ik heb eens in een oud monsterboekje gekeken
    maar dat klopt wel,nu Captain goede vaart en tot horens.

    Groeten Leo de Zwart

  36. james & nikki kelly

    October 21, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    hello captain
    we are looking forward to our first cruise ever ever
    we will joining you on the 14th dec 08 can not wait

    great blog keep it up

  37. Captain Albert,
    we were in rm #838 on your AMAZON EXPLORER cruise. We left 2 throw-away cameras and a book in our cabin. Who must we contact to retrieve these items?
    Thank you– we most thoroughly enjoyed cruising with you and your fine staff!
    John and Helen Davis

  38. Just a word of thanks for your instructive and entertaining blog. It’s a “daily read” for me and was a great help (in terms of behind the scenes info) during a Vancouver/Hawaii/San Diego cruise on the Zaandam this past Sept./Oct. Your obvious care for the crew is particularly impressive. I’m sure that they enjoy sailing with you. Have a great Christmas/New Years period. I look forward to hearing from you on the Prinsendam.

  39. Hi Capt.Albert:

    I went looking for your schedule for after March,2009 but was unable to find it. I enjoy your blogs so much as they are so informative and also makes us realize that life gets somewhat more complicated on board than we realize. Look forward to your next posting and reading the history of HAL.
    Cheers, Barnie

  40. Hello Captain: This will be our first sailing on the Prinsendam June59 Rome – Amsterdam. It was planned a few years ago while sailing
    Alaska – must say we are truly looking forward to another outstanding vacation with Holland America – your company has always proved to be the best. See you soon – great sailing. Don

  41. Charles Helsby

    June 17, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Just seen your schedule and realised that you’ll be back in command on the day our cruise departs Civitavecchia on 18 October. Looking forward to our first Prinsendam cruise after reading your blog – and our first visit to the Black Sea.

  42. Elbert L.J. Bosma

    July 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Geachte Kapitein,
    Wat een schitterende reisverhalen! Te mooi om in de vergetelheid te laten verdwijnen.
    Als oud-stuurman van de HAL ,o.a. op s.s. ‘Rotterdam’, en gepensioneerd loods in Rotterdam-Rijnmond ervaar ik uw blogs als een stuk nostalgie en sweet memory, waar ik dagelijks van geniet.
    Behouden vaart en vriendelijke groet,
    Elbert L.J. Bosma, MTh, MM.

  43. Arlene Ricki Le Vine

    December 26, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Dear Captain Albert,

    You have created and interesting, meaningful and entertaining blog. Thank you for taking the time to write and share your knowledge. My husband, David, and I will be on the April 15, 2014 sailing on the Statendam and look forward to meeting you.

    Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy 2014!

    Ricki (Arlene) Le Vine

  44. Geachte Kapitein Schoonderbeek.

    Ik lees met veel plezier Uw blogs. Op 19 januari tijdens de nieuwjaarsreceptie van “de Lijn”heb ik U wel gezien maar niet gesproken. Ooit hoop ik een keer met U te varen als Uw schip een bestemming heb die bij ons past. Ik ga nu met de Rotterdam op 28 februari van Singapore naar Indonesie.

    Ik wens U veel goede zeedagen toe in 2014.

    Dirk en Corrie Korevaar

  45. I came searching for your 2014 schedule. We sailed with you for a month on the V’dam (with the “bug”) and for SA & Antarctica on the P’dam (without the “bug”). Per chance, will you return to the P’dam this year?

  46. H.Slierendregt

    March 29, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    beste Albert,

    IK krijg mails die ik naar jou stuur iedere keer terug, klopt je emial adres nog steeds ?


  47. Gidday Edwin,
    We went to nautical college together, I think in Den Helder in the 70s. So you followed in your father’s footsteps and made it all the way up the ladder! Good on ye !
    I sailed as a 2nd officer with Jumbo Shipping on heave lift ship “Gabriella”. Was 1 of 2 survivors of a shipwreck off Newfoundland in October 1976.
    I have moved to New Zealand. Married a NZ girl nearly 40 years ago. Had several jobs and finished my working life in December 2013 with Air New Zealand.
    We have 2 daughters and one son, 2 granddaughters and one grandson. We moved from Auckland to Taupo in April this year.
    We will visit the “Oosterdam” in Napier today. An ex girl friend of mine is a nurse on the ship.

    Looking forward to a reply.



  48. February 11, 2015
    Great to have your interesting blogs coming again. Today’s brought back memories of an HAL cruise when the port was Key West. I am counting the days until my cruise on HAL in June along Norway’s ports.

  49. Carol Errickson

    April 19, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Wish so much we were with you again on the P’dam. Reading about the P’dam has me looking at a future cruise. Thank you for taking the time to bring us along on your “travels”.

  50. Captain Albert:

    Where are you ?? Your original email said that after your leave you would return in early June (2015).

    I am having severe withdrawal symptoms, missing your blogs.

    Sincerely, Ruud Hartog

    • Sorry,
      early June is becoming late June, as I was drafted in to help out with the Senior Management conference of the company. the SMC is the 18 month cycle of the gathering of all captains, and ships staff officers in two groups for about 4 days. We are now in the middle of the 2nd one, and then I will return to the ships. You can expect me blogging again coming sunday when I board the Zaandam for three weeks and we are going to Alaska.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  51. Dear Captain Albert Schoonderbeek,
    Re: Throwback Thursday
    I would like to Email you the HAL dinner photograph and (2) other images pertaining to yourself from the Noordam cruise of April/May 1995.
    Yours truly,
    Clark & Wendy Smith
    West Vancouver, BC

  52. Great blog and great reading it and getting your “inside” insight.

    I do have a question about that inside – are there any plans to continue or bring back a tour of behind the scenes on the HAL ships, whether the engine rooms or bridge?

    I will be on the Koningsdam Feb 2017 and am counting down the days already!


    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      I have no idea what the plans are with the Behind the scenes tour as of this moment. The entertainment department is only starting to gather now. These have been taking place on other ships with the caveat that it is not possible during every cruise due operational reasons. No doubt it will be reviewed and considered as soon as the Koningsdam has settled down. If I find something out in the days before the ship actually sails, then I will let you know.

      Best Regards

      Capt. Albert.

  53. Love your blog on the Kdam – we’ll be aboard in October for the inaugural transatlantic!

    One quick question – the website schematics show no obvious “ladies dressing area” in the standard Neptune suites. I’ve got to believe that this exists, if it does for the other categories. Any idea where it is? It would be great if we could see a photo!

    Thanks so much again.

    Ted Strauss

    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      I can not get into those cabins yet as they are still under yard control and the soft furnishings are not in yet. But I will see what I can do in the coming days and post a photo on the blog of some of the cabins.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  54. Kim and Jenny Chapman

    March 14, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Excellent reporting…you have us anticipating each day’s blog. Hope to see you on April 8.

  55. Capt. Albert:
    I am a Naval Architect /Marine Engineer (retired) who will be aboard MS Koningsdam on April 15 to 27 on Voyage 3 with my wife Joan. I am enjoying your blog on the final days before delivery. I look forward to meeting you.
    Paul Mentz, Maryland USA (Life Member and Fellow, SNAME)

  56. Dave Thackeray

    March 27, 2016 at 8:49 am

    Capt. Albert,

    I am thrilled and honoured to be sailing ms Koningsdam with you as our esteemed leader for our 27 April itinerary. I have never seen such a garlanded master mariner.

    May I also take this opportunity to wish you and your lovely wife Lesley a fabulous silver wedding anniversay.

    Samantha and myself are looking forward to meeting you.


    • Mr. Thackeray,

      Thank you for reading my blog and for your congratulations for our coming silver wedding, much appreciated. But I will not be there. 27 April is the day I leave. Also I am currently on board not as the Captain of the ship, which is Capt. Emiel de Vries but as the Travelling Master of the company. I am here to support the Koningsdam captain with whatever is needed and that is a slightly different function than being the one who pushes the buttons.

      Still I hope I will have a fabulous cruis and will be very impressed with the ship.

      Best regards and safe sailing

      Capt. Albert.

  57. Billie Jo Kaufman

    March 27, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Your blog is truly amazing. My husband and I leaved 4/18 from Fort Lauderdale to Copenhagen then fly to Rome to board the Koningsdam on 5/9 to 6/12. We cannot wait.

  58. kathleen matthews

    March 27, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Really enjoying your blogs. Will you still be on board Koningsdam sailing from Rome on 27th April.

    Also I cannot find a cinema in plans of this ship. Is there one- very disappointing if not.

    • Thank you for reading my blog,

      but I have to disappoint you twice, one,I am leaving the ship the day you join. Two, there is no real cinema on board anymore, so the ship does not offer the intimate movie experience of the other ships. But there are movies under the stars on the big screen on the lido deck and what I really like is the number of movies available on the TV in the cabin. It is interactive TV so there are a quite a large number of movies you can watch at the time you want and when you want. I have been experimenting with it all and you can even stop them and start again the next day where you left off. I think it is quite a good compensation for not having a Cinema. I watched Mad Max three times to get all the details right and that I could not have done with the regular cinema.

      I hope this helps

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert.

  59. Mary Beth Burns

    July 31, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Just now read your latest blog and now I have a question. Will the gift shops carry copies of your newest book. I will be on the Veendam Nov.9th to Cuba. and then Dec 23 thru Jan 6.2019 on the newest big “dam” ship. Hope it will be available.

    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      Yes that is the plan, HAL retail is in discussion with the publisher and if all goes well,
      then the books should be in the shops on board later in the summer.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  60. Captain Albert, I noticed that you are scheduled to be on the Nieuw Statendam, running thru the Premiere Voyage on December 16th. Actually, that date is probably in error since the ship docks in Ft. Lauderdale. I have had the pleasure of hearing one of your lectures on a previous HAL voyage and it was truly the highlight of a wonderful cruise.

    Two questions:
    1. Will you be giving a lecture(s) on the Premiere Voyage?
    2. I am coordinating the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet for the Premiere Voyage (December 6th @ 10 am at Billboard-on-Board. As of today we have over 125 Cruise Critic members that have indicated they will be on the voyage. I would guess that 75 to 85 will show up at the Meet and Greet. Of course I will deliver invitations to the Caption, Hotel Manager, and Beverage Manager. Would you be interested in joining us? No firm commitment is necessary (I am sure you will have all sorts of HAL duties) and you wouldn’t need to speak nor answer questions. You are such an icon to the HAL fleet, and it would be an honor to have you with us.

    • Good morning,

      Thank you for reading my blog. And Mea Culpa, I still have to update the date. When the sale of the cruise started the arrival time in FTL was amended.

      I hope and will offer the company to do a lecture but I will only know what will happen once the cruise starts.
      Thank you for the invite, I will gladly attend if I receive an invite to do so. See you then.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albet

  61. If it is OK with you, I would love to post on our Cruise Critic’s Roll-Call for the Dec. 5th Voyage that there is a good possibility that you will join us. As I mentioned yesterday, it would be a great honor. My usual plan is to drop off special invitations at the Front Desk to the ship’s VIP Officers. You would not get yours until December 5th. So, please consider this the “informal” invitation for the Meet and Greet on December 6th, 10 a.m. in the Billboard on Board area.

    By the way, after hearing your lecture, I was determined to obtain a copy of your book, 125 Years of HAL. Sure enough, my wife found a copy (in excellent shape) and I received it as a holiday gift. If I bring it with me, would you be willing to autograph it for me?

    Thank you so much – Martin Kushner
    (I vote for Captain Albert as the Godfather of HALs next ship)

    • Thank you for your kind words.

      Please go ahead. It is almost certain that I will be there, so there should not be any disappointments. I will gladly sign the book if you bring it with you. According to book sellers the value seem to increase if it signed. so I will turn you purchase into a sound investment.

      Best regards and until 5 december

      Capt. Albert

  62. Looking forward to your return to blogging. I hope you had a great vacation.

  63. HI, I am currently in the final stages of publishing a (photo) book, a tribute to MS Prinsendam here: http://www.theelegentexplorer.com. Please contact me Captain Albert. I would like to converse with you and also inquire as to your experience on this ship and any comments you may wish to offer. Thank you.

    PS, Here’s my BLOG post on Koningsdam you may find interesting,,,

    • thank you for contacting me.

      But I can not get into your website. Somehow the ships fire wall is stopping it. So I have to try in the near future again.

      For your information. In a few weeks there will be a book about the Prinsendam published in Holland. It is in english and written by a 2nd officer who was on board when it all happened.

      when it is published it will appear on this website http://www.gunsathome.nl/maritiem/

      ps Guns at home has nothing to do with shooting guns, the publishers name is Nico Guns.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  64. Thank you so much! I’m learning a lot reading this blog (as being a “landrot”), and enjoyed your stories so much at the famous ss Rotterdam, working and learning (a lot 🙂 )as a shiphost.
    So… please go on, so many people are satisfied and happy reading, listening these stories and information.
    Best regards,

  65. I am always happy when I am on a HAL ship. The only time I have been frightened was either 2016 or 2017 when the Amsterdam got into a rogue wave and the ship listed about 12 degrees port. Capt. Mercer assured us that everything now was back to normal.
    Keep up with all the new postings, very informative and you certainly share a lot of knowledge with us.
    Thanks, Looking forward to 3 more cruises this year, especially “Voyage of the Vikings” adding this to my over 800 days.

  66. Can I subscribe to Capt. Alberts Blog on a weekly basis?

    • Captain Albert

      March 5, 2019 at 4:06 am

      thank you for reading my blog.

      As far as It stands at the moment, you just sign up on the front page, where the blog is and the sub directories and then you get everyday the post in your email in box.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  67. Dear Capt Albert,

    Thank you for mentoring on the Volendam , greetings Jan Jaap Maes

  68. For some reason I am not receiving your blog as an email these last few days.
    Could I please sign up again. It’s not in my spam.
    I hate to miss anything.
    Thank you.

    • thank you for reading my blogs.
      I do not know what is going on, but more readers have lost the connection.

      I will try to put your email adress in again. Hopefully it works from a different computer.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  69. How do you sign up to get your daily blog?

    • Captain Albert

      July 13, 2019 at 8:34 pm

      Thank you for joining.

      There is a entry box on the front page of the blog. I have put your name in, so you should get an confirmation email.
      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  70. Captain Albert,
    I’ve recently come across some old HAL memorabilia while cleaning out a storage room,
    I found old postcards and an SS Rotterdam ships service directory. Any interest in having them sent to you ?

    • Captain Albert

      July 26, 2019 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      I would be delighted. I have a lot of material but I am forever busy with filling gaps. As the company kept publishing new stuff all the time.

      If it is not too much to ask, assuming you live in North America, could you put it in an envelope and send it to

      Capt. Albert Schoonderbeek
      Marine Services
      450 Third Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119

      Then it will reach me the easiest way. Please put your address inside so I can send an envelope back with the postage costs.

      Any donation is much appreciated. Thank you very much.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  71. Bruce from St. John's Newfoundland Canada

    September 24, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Hello Captain Albert. I hope you are enjoying your vacation time away from HAL ships and enjoying house and home stuff! I am wondering if after your Canadian voyages on Zuiderdam, and after your disembarkation in Fort Lauderdale from Koningsdam that you could leave copies of your Book, 145 Years somewhere on Koningsdam (gift shop/front office) to be purchased. We will be on Koningsdam on November 24 for three weeks. We were in Rotterdam and Amsterdam earlier this year on a transatlantic Rotterdam cruise and I could not find your book in any stores we visited. It may come down to ordering online, but I enjoy seeing the book in person. Let me know when you return to your blog. Kindest Regards, Bruce

    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      The shops on board have for the time being decided not to carry any historical company books and thus the books are not there.
      So I will see what can be arranged for leaving books behind. The blog should start again on October 8, when I step on board the Zuiderdam

      Best regards

      Capt. albert

      • Bruce from St. John's Newfoundland Canada

        November 14, 2019 at 8:05 pm

        Hi Captain Albert !
        We are looking forward to embarking MS Koningsdam on November 24, 2019 for three weeks. Not that we do not love Newfoundland and Labrador, but The Caribbean in December is much more pleasant! We were hoping you would be on for another week or so, but MS Nieuw Statendam needs your wisdom for the balance of this swing before you go on vacation for Christmas and New Years. Have you had any success with arranging any of your new book with Guest Services or another person or venue before you leave? If you are not able I will continue to search and hope it may come to our large bookstore, Chapters and Indigo Books in Canada. All the very best and continue keeping all of us safe. Kindest Regards, Bruce

  72. Captain,
    I will be on the Veendam December 28, 2019-January 8, 2020. I notice from your “Current Captains” listings that the Captain will be Marek Zoll. However, I do not see a biography for him. Do you have any information that you can share?

    Thank you!

    • Thank you for reading my blog.
      No I still have to convince Marek about joining the HAL wall of fame and I will do that when I see him next time. He joined HAL a number of years ago when we were very short of 3nd officers. Every so often Dutch pilotage purges the company of Sr, officers who want to start a family and thus they are home more often. He liked the company so much that he stayed and thus entered the promotion flow. He has been Captain now for about 6 months I think.

      Have a great cruise.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

      • Captain,

        Is there a way for us to contact Captain Kevin Breinaert? On the Dec 22 cruise he performed our 30th anniversary vows and sat with my parents and children. We want to formally invite him to my son’s wedding in April.

        Thank you

        • Thank you for reading my blog.

          It is against company policy to hand out emails, so what I have done, I have forwarded your email to his attention so he can contact you directly.

          Best regards

          Capt. Albert

  73. Hello Capt. Albert,

    In 2013 I was on the Statendam for 30 days (Florida to Vancouver + one week in Alaska). I have quite a few pictures, some of which are pretty good, of the ship (I enjoy trying to get the most dramatic photos as possible), and also some of yourself. My favourite ships have been the Statendam, Maasdam & Veendam, in large part because of the incredibly rare and stunning teak bow decks, which I could access easily while sailing into or out of port, and I was often the only person there. Another feature of those ships were the stairs that went by the bridge, which I used as a perch and, after getting visual permission from the captain, took quite a few shots. Add the bow deck perspective and I was loaded for bear. They were always courteous and understanding, allowing me to be part of the moment and to capture it extensively. Two of these were Ane Smit and Noel O’Driscoll, who got copies from me of the better shots. I would like to do the same for you if you can tell me how to get them to you (email, your blog, social media platform…). . Mike

  74. Since this is an international business, cruising, I write in English, but if you prefer Dutch, let me know.
    I am collecting stories and particularly photos about Dutch Merchant Navy officers who are or were also Koninklijke Marine Reserve. What I am trying to collect are photos of ships where one can see the typical special flag of the Dutch Naval Reserve. One captain was Piet Visser of VOLENDAM.
    If you have, or know where such photos are available, I shall be grateful.

  75. Dear Captain Albert,

    I hope you are o.k. in these unusual times! And Thank you for your brilliant blog!

    An old Merchant Marine Seafarer myself, I am currently building a model of the Liberty FORT ORANGE (NSAM managed) in 96th scale and do some research on the vessel and crew. I would like to get in touch with you, also regarding her Captains like Hans Lohr and Gemert…
    I hope you can assist!


  76. Dear Capt. Albert,

    I hope this finds you well in these extraordinary times.

    I am currently building a Model of the FORT ORANGE (Liberty) and would like to get in contact with you.


  77. Hello Captain Albert,
    One day a few weeks ago, I was Googling for the Veendam, and came across your incredible blog. Really enjoyed yours and those who sailed on HA.
    I am married for over 67 years to a Marion Blumenthal Lazan. She, along with her late mother & late brother,, immigrated to the US., and arrived in Hoboken, NJ on April 23, 1948. Marion at the time was a 13 year old. Marion has quite a story to tell (and she has shared it with over 1 1/2million students and adults. Her memoir is titled Four Perfect Pebbles, A Holocaust Story- In Dutch, it is titled Vier gelijke stenen Op de vlucht voor de holocaust,
    Marion and her family spent several years in Westerbork before being shipped to Bergen-Belsen for close to a year and a half. Her father passed from typhus a few week after liberation. The family was on a train for 1 2 weeks headed east from BB when the Russian Army liberated it – The Nazi guaards fled, Afr several months of recuperation, Marion, mother & brother returned to Holland. She & her brother were put into a children’s home to recuperate, and get back to a sense of normalcy. As mention earlier, in 1948, emigrated to the US.

    Just a few years ago, we sailed on a HA liner to surprise a granddaughter who was working as a “dancer” on HA ships.
    Can you find for us the passenger list for the Blumenthal Family that arrived in Hoboken on April 23, 1948? Marion’s mother’s name was Ruth, or Mimi Ruth, and her brother’s name was Albert, and Marion’s name was Leonie Marion Blumenthal.
    I wish you smooth sailing!
    Happy, healthy New Year of 2021!
    Nathaniel Laan

    • Thank you for your comments. always very interesting to read about this period and very tragic. I have a few files in my collection from Jewish passengers who escaped just before the war and left my their paperwork as there was nobody else left.

      Your family travelled on voyage 140 Captain Cornelis van Beek in commmand. The hsip left Rotterdam on 13 April and sailed via Southampton to New York. On 27 April it started a 6 day cruise to Bermuda and back and then sailed back to Rotterdam. Due to Covid 19 I can not travel to Holland at the moment ( I live in england) otherwise I would lift the booking details from the archives. On line does not work yet as only until 1920 has been digitised so far. That is the only way to get a passenger manifest. I tried to look at Ellis Island records but your family does not show up, neither the voyage of the ship, so I wonder if Ellis Island is not ready with those years. So until I can get back into the archives in Rotterdam I can not help you (yet) But I will keep your name on file, and hopefully things will be better in the future.

      Best regards and thank you for sharing this story with me and the readers

      Capt. Albert

  78. I’m so glad I found you. I was wondering what I would do for ‘cruise reading’ now that Jonathan Mercer has retired. You’re stuck with me for a ‘fan’ now!
    Much Aloha – Dee

  79. J.P. ter Brugge

    July 9, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Een opmerking met betrekking tot uw achternaam. Nicolaas Kramer Freher’s moeder (Anna Maria van Dillen) was dienstbode in het huishouden van Nicolaas Freher en diens (eerste) echtgenote. Uw voorvader had enkele broers en zusters die uit de relatie van Van Dillen en Freher geboren waren. Zij kregen de achternaam Kramer van een ‘verzonnen’ Cornelis Kramer omdat de echte vader nog getrouwd was. Hij scheidde en na overlijden van zijn eerste vrouw kon hij hertrouwen en deed dit met Van Dillen. Om de band met hun biologische vader te bevestigen bedienden de voorkinderen zich ook van zijn achternaam. Mocht u meer over deze geschiedenis willen horen dan graag bereid die te delen.

  80. Via een familielid met de achternaam Schoonderbeek en een herinnering aan mijn schooltijd is jouw naam gevallen en werd je ambitie in de scheepvaart genoemd. Daarna heb had ik je snel gevonden. Als klasgenoot ben ik wel eens bij jouw ouderlijk huis aan de Kreelseweg geweest.
    Vóór de pandemie hebben mijn vrouw en ik drie Cruises met de HAL gemaakt en hopen komende jaren de draad weer op te pakken. De HAL is een fantastische organisatie en wellicht kom ik je nog een keer tegen.

    • Captain Albert

      April 22, 2023 at 1:11 pm

      Samen op de Cavelje school, 1964 – 1970
      ik herinner me je naam. en even de school fotos opgezocht in de albums.

      Je woonde an de Bettekamp met een klein trapveldje achter je huis en een park/grasveld voor je huis.
      En ik ben een keer op je verjaardag geweest.

      Inderdaad, wie weet komen we elkaar nog een eens tegen. Iedereen aan boord kent “captain albert” dus het is nooit moeilijk om mij tevinden als ik aan boord ben.

      Success met de volgende reis.


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