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.