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

Sunday 11August 2013; Vancouver.

 So today I arrived back on the ship. After a direct flight from Europe and a nice early arrival at Vancouver; which gave plenty of time to catch up on lost sleep. Holland America has a contract this year with a hotel at the airport, The Fairmont, and that makes life really easy for all of us. Even if you now come in on a late flight, you do not loose sleeping time anymore by having to wait for a hotel shuttle or trying to find a taxi. All was well in the world. I will be doing a nearly 4 month contract this time, due to the fact that my time on board during my last tenure was shorter. Then I had cut the contract short, to avoid travelling to and from the Senior Management Conference for the Company in Rotterdam. Saved me, and my colleague, a lot of flying to and from the ship, and the company a considerable amount of money on flights.

 This time the ship will do various things. We will have the Alaska sailings until the end of September followed by a 28 day South Pacific Cruise. Then a cruise along the coast of South America and by that time it is 04 December already and time to go home again. That means that I will be able to blog about different routes and different ports and all the different things that TEAM Statendam pulls out of the high hat to keep the guests happy on longer cruises.

For now it is Alaska, and I am starting my 236th cruise to Alaska since my first one back in 1982 on the old Statendam. The scenery and the currents have remained the same, the surroundings not. More houses along the routes and much more tourism in the ports that we visit. That “more tourism” is the result of more cruise ships going to Alaska and we will see several of them in the various ports. The Statendam has been sailing for the whole summer from Vancouver with the Celebrity Century which docked at the other side of Canada Place. While in Alaska she has a slightly different route than we do, but we see her every time we return to Vancouver. The Statendam is on the 14 day loop to Seward, which are really two cruises, seven days up and seven days down, although you can book the two together as a 14 day cruise. Then you see the same ports twice, except that we change Skagway (Northbound) to Haines (Southbound). Not much of a problem as every port has much more to offer than you can do during a one day cruise call. So we always have quite a few guests who do the Up and the Down. For the crew it is really a 14 day cruise as we calculate from Home port to Home port. Then for the winter season, San Diego will be our home port until in May next year when we return to Alaska.

All our guests were on board nicely on time and that meant that we could pull off the dock by 16.40 and slowly glide away from the berth. We are for this evening not in a hurry, as the slack Tide at Seymour Narrows is a late one tonight. The first slack tide is very early and as the Statendam is not a jet-liner we cannot make that. Thus we go for the later tide and that will be around 03.00 hrs tomorrow morning. So we will sail slowly through Georgia Strait this evening and then go a bit faster after we have passed the Narrows. The weather in Alaska has been very good this summer, not too much wind, nice temperatures but also not too warm. Hence there have not been many periods yet with “very low hanging clouds”, the phenomena that can make my life a misery.

 So hopefully the weather will hold for the coming weeks and we can do our cruises as promised in the brochure. Alaska here I come.


  1. Welkom terug.

  2. Nicholas Sabalos, Jr., CDR, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

    August 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Glad to have you back, Captain! Looking forward to all the interesting itineraries coming up on your current contract!

  3. Welcome back captain. Looking forward to sailing with you on september 15th. Until then, like to read your blog.

  4. Dear Captain,

    schön Sie wieder “online” zu sehen – da ich immer wieder mit Freude Ihre Reports lese.
    Many thanks again for your efforts and indeed good explanations.

    Anna & Gerd

  5. Robina Herrington

    August 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Wonderful to have you back I am looking forward to your interesting blogs as I am sure a lot of others are,

    happy sailing from Robina

  6. Welcome back Capt.Albert

    The days have not been as interesting since you left. Trust Norwich is still as beautiful as ever. I miss my home country…

    Hope you caught up with your ‘history’ writing.

    Safe travels.

  7. Welcome Home!
    So happy to read the start of your latest blog. Have learned so much and expect to learn even more with 4 months of your excellent writing.
    Thanks for taking the time to take us along with you.

  8. Hello Captain Albert,
    Welcome back. Can hardly wait to sail with you on the Statendam as we sail to French Polynesia out of Vancouver on September 29. Counting the days…..

  9. Welcome back,Captain.
    Nice to resume our daily ”blog” reading.
    The summer meteorological conditions in Alaska have indeed been well above the ”norm”….hope it stays that way until you ”migrate” south .

  10. Welcome back Capt

    What is the latests on the book you are writing. Cant wait to read it

  11. Welcome back Captain Albert. I’m sure it must be nice to be in charge again, as I’m sure there must be someone of higher authority at home.
    Safe sailings

    Allan and Barbara

  12. Welcome back Captain, another 4 months of blogs. I am really looking forward to them. The first period is Alaska, you certainly make some interesting out of it, but the most interesting is the 66 day cruise is to Hawaii and South America. Hope you make it this time to Fanning Island.

  13. Thanks for rescuing me from these summer doldrums. Now the excitement starts. Looking forward to all those ports. Carol

  14. Dear Captain,

    Welkom terug!
    It is great to be able to read your daily blogs once more for the next few months. Especially with the changing itinerary! I hope you do not mind me asking a question straight away… I was wondering if you could tell a little bit more about the conference and the meetings onboard the old Rotterdam in Rotterdam earlier this year?
    Behouden Vaart!

  15. Elbert L.J. Bosma

    August 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Welcome back, Captain Albert.
    Looking forward to read your daily stories on the “Statendam”.
    Have you been able to work on “Captains from the past?”
    As a cadet I sailed on the ‘Kloosterdyk’ with captain W. F. Th. Lunenburg. (on the list it says: H. J. Lunenburg (or is this somebody else?)

    And as a Holland America Line Mariner I have experienced during our cruises on several HAL-ships that the slogan ‘It is good to be on a well run ship” is still in force!

  16. Gosh! It’s good to have you back.

    My morning coffee has not been the same since you have been away.

  17. Welcome back Captain Albert. Missed you a lot, and looking forward to 4 months of your insights and observations. Hope your mother in Holland is still OK, and that Lesley is with you as the “roving reporter”, she always does such a nice job.

    Ruud Hartog

  18. Welcome back. Hopefully, you were able to accomplish all the ‘honey do’s’ that were assigned to you. Hope your mom is well.

  19. Welcome back Capt.! The Vancouver Airport Fairmont is sure a nice and comfortable one, being connected right to/above the ticker counters. Have a great time on SADM and in Alaska! 🙂

  20. I look forward to the next 4 months of your posts – welcome back to Vancouver!

  21. Glad you are back! As we discussed with Hotel Manager,Bart, we are collecting a number of items for Fanning Island including new tee shirts,socks,school supplies and reading and sun glasses.We will deliver approximately 4 cartons in time for your Sept 22 ,2013 sailing. Is there any other items of need?

  22. So good to have you back! I’ve missed reading the daily reports. Here’s hoping the weather in Alaska holds as I’m heading there at the end of this month – unfortunately, not on the Statendam!

  23. Welcome Back!

    Looking forward to your posts as we always do. Sent a birthday greeting to Leslie and she informed us that you were back.

    Enjoy the voyages and we do hope the good weather holds out.

    Best regards!

    Phyllis and Robert Poda

  24. Welcome back !
    We are on the Prinsendam at the moment, Ireland and Baltic, but things are just not the same without your singing the “hand-wash-birthday-song” , and so much more. We still hope you come back to Prinsendam before we kick the bucket !! :-)) . — Wishing you a good contract time, hopefully with your “roving photographer” on board, too !

  25. Welcome back. I missed your daily blogs.

  26. Missed Career at Sea

    August 16, 2013 at 12:39 am

    Indeed a nice contract to have with the Fairmont hotel at the airport, also for the crew, Captain. When they are going “pulang” (home), some usually drop their luggage off at the hotel only to come back downtown. They highly appreciate one more scrumptuous Indonesian combo meal at a non-disclosed location near the ship. That’s the time I prepare a “tot ziens” gift package that gives a select few insight in the bigger picture of the world 🙂
    What an itinerary you’re looking forward to again, Captain! The South Pacific and the Antarctic region I can now only dream about. No regrets though, that I shifted “careers” as I am now content with having “sustenance and covering”. I do hope Lesley will be on board for another try at catching the Mount Otemanu (Bora Bora) on her camera, and other renowned islands in the vast Pacific Ocean.
    What a happy reunion of your support team on board having again the Hotel Director, the Cruise Director and the Bridge Director (oh well – something like that) of last year working with you. Of course, they all report to the one and only President & Chief Executive Officer of The Ship.

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