- Captain Albert's Blog -

Stories from the Sea, Past and Present

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 9)

2022, March 31: ms Volendam to help with the Refugee Effort in Rotterdam

Good morning, You might find the below Press Release of Interest.

Holland America Line Ship Will Become Temporary Home for Ukrainian Refugees in the Netherlands

 
Volendam will house and feed up to 1,500 people as part of government’s commitment to help families

 

Rotterdam, Netherlands, March 31, 2022 — Holland America Line‘s Volendam will be used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees as part of an agreement announced by Netherlands and City of Rotterdam government officials. The ship will dock in Rotterdam for three months to provide a temporary home for approximately 1,500 Ukrainians, part of a larger commitment from the Netherlands to accommodate 50,000 people who fled the war in their homeland.

 

“We are in a unique position to accommodate the immediate need for food and housing, so we felt it was very important to work with the City of Rotterdam and charter this ship,” said Gus Antorcha, president, Holland America Line. “Our company was founded in Rotterdam around the mission of helping immigrants find a better life. So today we’re proud to be a small part of a similar mission for Ukrainians who have tragically been displaced.”

 

Under the agreement to charter Volendam, Holland America Line will provide three hot meals per day, private stateroom accommodations, housekeeping services, use of public spaces, fitness facilities, internet access, and other necessities. Volendam will be staffed with approximately 650 crew members.

“We are known for our service and hospitality, and our team is ready to welcome our new guests as we would welcome guests into our own home,” said Captain Ryan Whitaker. “It will truly be an honor for us to make Volendam a comfortable and caring environment for these families who have been through so much.”

Volendam was scheduled to return to service May 15, with voyages from Rotterdam to Norway, the British Isles and Iceland. To accommodate the three-month commitment, Holland America Line will cancel three of those voyages and resume service on July 3 instead. Guests on canceled cruises are being notified today and will be accommodated on similar itineraries.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will cause to guests booked on the three canceled cruises,” Antorcha said. “We hope they understand the unprecedented nature of this situation and why we felt it was important to work with the government on this initiative in support of these families in need.”

Volendam will be docked at Merwehaven, a cargo port on the north side of the River Maas in Rotterdam. Remaining docked will ensure Ukrainian families can transit easily to and from services in Rotterdam.

 

Holland America Group has already been working with its own team members who are Ukrainian. A $1 million emergency assistance fund provides direct financial support. Team members from the region also receive counseling assistance, free internet service to communicate with family, and scheduling accommodations such as early disembarkation or an extension to remain on board as needed.

 

The family foundation of parent company Carnival Corporation’s chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine also announced a pledge of $3 million to charities helping Ukrainian refugees. In addition, Holland America Line will look to raise awareness and funds through its On Deck for a Cause program, in which guests on every cruise may take part in a non-competitive 5K fundraising walk. The money raised will go to Direct Relief.

“We stand for peace and our hearts go out to everyone whose lives have been upended by the invasion of Ukraine,” said Arnold Donald, president and chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation & plc. “We have crew members from 145 countries and we sail with guests from nations around the globe, so we feel deeply the impact of this humanitarian crisis and we join many others in supporting relief efforts.”

2021 oct. 28; Latest Press Release Art on board the ms Rotterdam VII

Holland America Line’s Rotterdam Sets Sail with World-Class Floating Art Gallery Valued at Over $4.1 Million

More than 2,500 pieces from dozens of global artists enhance the ship’s design 

 Seattle, Wash., Oct. 27, 2021 — Holland America Line ships have long been regarded as floating art galleries for their extensive collections of museum-quality pieces. When Rotterdam sets sail for the first time Oct. 20, 2021, guests are in for a visually rewarding journey with some of the most thought-provoking, striking and bold pieces in the fleet — including historical works and memorabilia from beloved previous sister ships.

Rotterdam’s art collection is valued at more than $4.1 million and was curated by Oslo-based YSA Design and London-based ArtLink, who collaborated with acclaimed hospitality design atelier Tihany Design. The result is a museum at sea with 2,645 pieces of diverse works ranging in value from $500 to $620,000 that spans the decks, public rooms and staterooms.

More than 37 nationalities are represented by Rotterdam’s artists, with the greatest number of contributors coming from the Netherlands, United States and United Kingdom. Artists also hail from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.

Many of the pieces focus on entertainment, showcasing themes of music, dance and movement, weaving the ship’s narrative of a “new sound of cruising” into the art. The works are in many media, including photography, painting, mixed media, illustration, prints and sculpture.

Holland America Line History Finds a Home on Rotterdam

Holland America Line’s newest Rotterdam is the seventh ship in the fleet to bear the name, and some previous works of art from Rotterdam VI, which left the company in 2020, have found a new home on the newbuild. Eight historical paintings are now on Rotterdam, including depictions of Rotterdam I, Rotterdam II, Rotterdam III, Rotterdam IV and Rotterdam V. The ship also hosts three previous Rotterdam ship models, and the bell from Rotterdam VI can be found in the Crow’s Nest.

Fun Facts, Figures and Highlights About Rotterdam’s Art Collection:

  • The Atrium Sculpture

    The largest and most expensive piece is “Harps,” a 7.5-ton stainless steel sculpture in the Atrium that spans three decks. With dynamic color-changing spot lighting and a mirrored ceiling, the work is a striking focal point on board. “Harps” was produced and designed by ArtLink, based on a concept by Tihany Design. It is valued at $620,000.

 

 

  • Book art

    The smallest works are by Betty Pepper, who uses reworked books and adds intricate details and scenes made from old maps. They can be seen in the forward stairwell between decks 7 and 8. The exquisitely small elements are a testament to Pepper’s ability to work at a scale that few artists can master.

 

 

 

  • Aft Staircase Zoology

    Each of the stairwells has a theme that reaches from top to bottom. The theme of the forward stairs is architecture, midship stairs is music and aft stairs is zoology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Rolling Stone

    The oldest artist is Baron Wolman (deceased), born in 1937. The U.S. native was the chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine from 1967 until late 1970. He was ranked among the 20th century’s elite and most collectible photographers.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Neptune Lounge

    The youngest artist is Leva Berlande. The 31-year-old rising artist is a student from Latvia and has a painting featured in the Neptune Lounge.

 

                                                       Sel de Mer Wall mural

  • As with Rudi’s Sel de Mer on Nieuw Statendam, Master Chef Rudi Sodamin’s son and emerging artist Magnus Sodamin created a visually stimulating mural that adorns the wall in his father’s namesake specialty restaurant on Rotterdam. Called “Oceans Feast,” the work measures 23 feet long and 3.6 feet tall.

  • Italian artist Federico Picci contributes conversation starters that tie in magically with the ship’s design. His photographs capture how music would look if we could not only listen to it but see it, too. In one image, balloons float out of a piano, representing the evanescence of something that evaporates in the air as it is created, like the element of sound.

 

  • One of the most striking and expensive pieces is a dazzling, illuminated crystal “Key” (treble clef) created by Dutch artist Hans van Bentem for Deck 3, midship. The piece is valued at $27,000.

 

  • Considered among the most avant-garde pieces in the collection is a fiberglass sculpture of an otter in the aft stairwell lobby on Deck 9 by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel. San Miguel is known for his distinctive style of colorful geometric patterns that portray animals, skulls, religious iconography and human figures.

 

  • In the embarkation area is a work titled “Billie Holiday” by Ani Abakumova. It is made up of 3 miles of threads — 8,000 threads in total. Abakumova’s husband is a mathematician who developed an algorithm that enables her to create images from threads that change color without using paint.

 

  • One of the most valuable works is a mixed media on canvas piece in the forward stairwell lobby on Deck 8 by Mehdi Ghadyanloo, an Iranian artist, painter and muralist known for his gigantic trompe l’oeil–style murals. Ghadyanloo recently had solo exhibitions in Almine Rech’s galleries in Paris and Brussels, and now Holland America Line guests can enjoy his captivating art.

 

  • Yongsun Jang, from Republic of Korea, welds cross sections of stainless-steel pipes to configure clusters of “cells,” then puts it all together to represent different organic beings. For Rotterdam, he created cello and pan flute sculptures for the B.B. King’s Blues Club/Lincoln Center Stage space.

 

  • The vibrant work of Lisa Krannichfield is on display in the Club Orange specialty restaurant. Her pieces meld the border between masculine and feminine and explore what it means to be fashionable and make a statement.

Art in Club Orange Restaurant.

Art in Club Orange Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guests can admire the decks inside and out and discover inspired works from a global assembly of emerging artists who share the spaces alongside some of the most renowned talent in the world.

 

Japanese Dress

 

Strawhouses

 

Dubai

Musical note

2021 Oct. 15; Prinses Margriet will christen the ms Rotterdam (VII) in 2022

Fresh from the Press: Press Release by HAL this morning.

Holland America Line Names Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands Godmother of Rotterdam


Rotterdam marks the 13th ship for the cruise line to be named by a Dutch Royal

Her royal Highness Prinses Margriet of the Netherlands and God mother of the whole Dutch Merchant fleet.

 Seattle, Wash., Oct. 15, 2021 — Holland America Line announced today that when Rotterdam is named next spring, Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands will be the ship’s godmother, carrying on a tradition that began in the 1920s.

Holland America Line’s connection to The House of Orange goes back nearly a century to Prince Hendrik launching Statendam III in 1929. Since then, members of the Dutch Royal Family have launched 11 more Holland America Line vessels throughout the years, including Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet who named Prinsendam (1972), Nieuw Amsterdam III (1983), Rotterdam VI (1997) and Oosterdam (2003).

“We are deeply grateful that Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet will once again act as godmother to a Holland America Line ship, carrying on a long tradition with the Royal Family that continues to honor our Dutch roots,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Rotterdam will be named in Rotterdam next year, celebrating its namesake city and our historic connection with the Netherlands. We look forward to commemorating the occasion where it all started for Holland America Line.”

The ms Rotterdam VII arriving in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam arrives for the first time in the port of Rotterdam on the morning of October 14. 

Additional members of the Dutch Royal Family who are godmothers include Queen Máxima, who named Koningsdam in 2016 and Nieuw Amsterdam in 2010. Then-Queen Beatrix served as Eurodam’s godmother in 2008. Rotterdam V was launched in 1958 by Queen Juliana. Then-Princess Beatrix named Statendam IV in 1957 and Prinses Margriet in 1960. Nieuw Amsterdam II was launched by Queen Wilhelmina in 1937.

 Rotterdam’s maiden cruise departs Oct. 20, 2021, from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and embarks on a 14-day transatlantic journey to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During its inaugural Caribbean season from November to April, Rotterdam will sail a variety of five- to 11-day itineraries that span the southern, western, eastern and tropical regions, all roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. In mid-April, the ship makes a 14-day Atlantic Ocean crossing back to Europe to spend the summer in Norway, the Baltic, British Isles and Iceland, all sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam.

Rotterdam was delivered by the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy July 30, 2021. The date for naming the ship in Rotterdam will be announced in the coming months.

For more information about Holland America Line, consult a travel advisor, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425) or visit hollandamerica.com.

 

30 July 2020; Rotterdam VII

I normally do not post during my leave but I am making an exception as what was announced today is very important for the company but also goes right to the core of my belief that strong roots make it easier to go forward. Hence a small blog  with the news, although, no doubt, the news will come from everywhere tomorrow.

Holland America has made the decision to rename our newest ship the ms Ryndam  still under construction, to ms Rotterdam. Thus the Ryndam (IV) as was originally the plan, is now becoming the Rotterdam (VII).  And this is possible as the Rotterdam VI is leaving our fleet.  I am not that easily excited about what is normally announced but this is special. The name Rotterdam, after our homeport the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, has been in our fleet for nearly our whole history.

Rotterdam I  1871 – 1883

The ss Rotterdam I.

 

 

 

 

 

Rotterdam II 1886 – 1895 (she was later renamed to Edam when the next Rotterdam came into service)

The ss Rotterdam II

 

 

 

 

 

Rotterdam III 1897 –  1906

The ss Rotterdam III

 

 

 

 

 

Rotterdam IV 1908 – 1940

The ss Rotterdam IV

 

 

 

 

 

Now we get a gap due to the war and the flagship of the fleet became the ss Nieuw Amsterdam (II). But there were tentative plans for a sistership and if the war had not happened that sistership might have been built and guess what the name would have been ??? !!! After WWII the company needed time to rebuilt the fleet and also had to deal with the inroads of the airplane on the North Atlantic routes. Hence it took until 1959 before there was a new Rotterdam. A multiple ship as she was a Traditional North Atlantic Liner but at the same time a modern cruise ship who could change roles, just by opening a few doors. And thus ready for extensive cruising during the off-season in the early years and later permanently.

Rotterdam V 1959 – 1997  (she is still there as a great Hotel in Rotterdam)

The ss Rotterdam V

 

 

 

 

 

Rotterdam VI 1997 – 2020

The ms Rotterdam VI

 

 

 

 

 

Rotterdam VI 2021 and onwards

The ms Rotterdam VII

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the list above it is also not the first time that we renamed a ship in relation to having the Rotterdam name available for the newest ship of the fleet.

See below the press release of this morning 30 July 2020 which can also be found on the regular Holland America Line blog.

What might be of interest, if you have an facebook account, our Brand Ambassador Seth thought it was a good idea to get me involved in this whole naming business.

www.facebook.com/SethonHAL/

Hopefully we will be able to get the ships out of the warm lay up, not too far in the future and I can start blogging again.

Best regards

Captain Albert

Today’s Press Release:

In honor of some of the most memorable ships in Holland America Line’s nearly 150-year history, the premium cruise line is changing the name of its newbuild from Ryndam to Rotterdam and designating it the new flagship of the fleet. The seventh ship to bear this historic name, Rotterdam will be delivered one year to the date on July 30, 2021, pushed back slightly from its original delivery of May 2021 due to the global health situation.

When Rotterdam is delivered from Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy, it will spend the summer exploring Northern Europe and the Baltic on roundtrip cruises from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Guests and travel advisors with clients who were booked on the ship’s Premiere Voyage in May and itineraries through July 30 are being contacted with rebooking options.

“The first ship for Holland America Line was the original Rotterdam, the company was headquartered in the city of Rotterdam for many years, and the name has been a hallmark throughout our history since 1872 … so clearly the name is powerful and symbolic,” said Gus Antorcha, Holland America Line’s president. “With the current Rotterdam leaving the company, we knew we had a unique opportunity to embrace the name as our new flagship and carry on the tradition of having a Rotterdam in our fleet. Seven is a lucky number, and we know she’s going to bring a lot of joy to our guests as she travels across the globe.”

The History of the Name Rotterdam
Holland America Line’s first ship was Rotterdam, which sailed its maiden voyage from the Netherlands to New York Oct. 15, 1872, and led to the founding of the company on April 18, 1873. Rotterdam II was built in 1878 for British Ship Owners Co. and purchased by Holland America Line in 1886. Rotterdam III came along in 1897 and was with the company until 1906. The fourth Rotterdam joined the fleet in 1908 and also served as a troop carrier when World War I ended. Following the war it made regular cruises from New York to the Mediterranean.

Rotterdam V, also known as “The Grande Dame,” set sail in 1959 and began sailing transatlantic crossings with two classes of service. It later converted to a one-class ship in 1969. She sailed with Holland America Line for 38 years until 1997, including several Grand World Voyages, and currently is a hotel and museum in the city of Rotterdam. Rotterdam VI, the most recent to cruise for Holland America Line, was introduced in 1997 and the first ship in the R Class.

Inaugural Season to Explore Mediterranean, Baltic and Norway
Cruising aboard Rotterdam VII begins Aug. 1 with the ship’s seven-day Premiere Voyage departing from Trieste, Italy, to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, with port calls throughout the Adriatic Sea and southern Italy. The ship sails Aug. 8 from Civitavecchia on a 14-day cruise through the western Mediterranean and on to Amsterdam.

From Aug. 22 through Oct. 10, the ship will sail roundtrip from Amsterdam on three seven-day itineraries to Norway, one 14-day to the Baltic and one 14-day to Norway, Iceland and the British Isles. A trans-Atlantic completes the inaugural Europe season with a 14-day voyage from Amsterdam to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

To accommodate guests booked on cancelled itineraries of Ryndam from May through July, Nieuw Statendam cruise itineraries also will see some changes to match up as much as possible with former Ryndam sailings.

“Guests and travel advisors will be notified today of this news and coming changes to current itineraries,” added Antorcha. “We ask everyone, though, to please bear with us just a few weeks for all of the details as we rebuild itineraries and put the finishing touches on several desirable alternatives. We will follow up with specific details very soon so everyone knows their options.”

Guests booked on the originally scheduled Premiere Voyage will be rebooked on the Premier Sailing for Rotterdam, departing August 1, and will receive a $100 per person shipboard credit. All other guests who were booked on impacted Ryndam or Nieuw Statendam cruises will be automatically rebooked to a similar future cruise date during the summer at the same fare paid. Guests will receive a $100 per person shipboard credit for cruises 10 days or less and $250 per person for itineraries of 12 days or more. Guests are asked to wait until they receive updated booking confirmations in the next several weeks before contacting Holland America Line for additional changes to the booking.

 

24 March – 10 April 2020; Panama to Fort Lauderdale.

So I am back on the blog. A blog which I had to stop as things were getting too confused and fast moving for me to relate correctly and with sufficient authority. If you look at the last blogs, I had mentioned already a few times that the company was moving faster than I could record it. Then throw the world stage, with all its politics into the mix, and I did not know any more if I was coming or going. So we stopped.

On 09 April the last guests left the ship, and then ship went into warm lay-up. Healthy guests but a few guests remained on board who could not leave as they could not get home for all the reasons that went with the current situation. Things on board are now returning to a sort of normal, albeit a new normal.

This blog is a compilation of the past period as seen through the eyes of yours truly and as I am not involved in politics (*) there is no opinion about why something happened, just what happened and how the ships made it work.

(*) Maybe Captains should all run for office, each in their respective country, I am absolutely convinced the world would have less issues. Continue reading

16 March 2020; Puerto Vallarta Mexico (Day 3) … Day 1 without guests.

This is our first day without guests and the ship has moved to a regular work day from 08.00 – 17.00 hrs. for those who now do not need to work shifts. Similar as with a dry dock, the Hotel department grabs the chance to turn all the cabins and the whole ship upside down. Compare it to the Spring Clean ashore. Also because it is now expected that we will be out of service for a considerable amount of time (see the publications to the outside world) the cabins are stripped from all linens and the mattresses put in an upright position as that is better for them when they are not used.  This whole operation will keep everybody occupied for quite a few days, maybe even a few weeks. The Bar service is doing the same thing, turning all the bars upside down and having a complete inventory count. That is already normal practice but it is hard to get it completely right when service continues to the guests at the same time. Continue reading

15 March 2020; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

I am somehow not in synch with the world leaders as every time, just as I have published my blog, something exciting happens. Same yesterday, I put my blog on line by 1600 hrs. ships time; early as I had to go on standby to teach the cadet and at 16.30 hrs. the Captain received orders to stay in port and send all the guests home.  After careful consideration the decision was made to abort our cruise and ask the guests to fly home, as at this moment they would still be able to reach home. As well as in the Europe, as in the USA and anywhere else, the countries could stop all (international) travel by Monday. Mexico is not yet in lock down as there are hardly any cases here but that might well happen as the numbers in other parts of the world continue to rise. Most of Europe will reduce travel and movement as of Monday and then it might become extremely difficult to get home. Continue reading

11 March 2020, San Diego, California.

As mentioned yesterday we arrived very early, to start the CBP inspection by 06.30. Contrary to Fort Lauderdale here they wanted to see the in transits first instead of last.  So we all marched through the world stage “in the dark of the night” to show that we were no danger to the country. I got another entry stamp for my collection and I was in compliance again. We were the only ship in and thus we had a large number of CBP officers in attendance which sped up the process considerably. Because here in San Diego there is no option to process people in the terminal; we first see the CBP Officers doing their immigration job on board the ship and then we see the same ones again doing the Customer Officer Job in the terminal. I ended up with the same officer twice and thus first he gave me a new entry stamp and ashore he checked if he had stamped me. Continue reading

07 March 2020; Manzanillo, Mexico.

Sailing through a smooth Pacific Ocean, as smooth as I have ever seen it, we approached Manzanillo. It was smooth enough today to see the birds sitting on the water and the turtles peddling by.  Or better said surfing by if they were close to the ship. When I first went to sea I always worried about turtles getting in the propellers until I started watching them to see what happened when they came by. Well, what happens is that they are pushed aside by the bow wave. Turtles, due to their shape, are like corks on the water; corks that can swim. So when they are swimming on a ships course line, they are pushed aside by the pressure wave that is generated by the bow. That bow wave spreads out further and further away from the ship’s hull and the turtles follow, bobbing along on the crest of the wave. By the time they near the stern of the vessel where the propellers are, they are well clear. It might be a bit of a startling experience for Mr. or Mrs. Turtle to be lifted up by this un-expected wave and carried sideways but it does ensure that they do not come to harm.  Bulbous bows were invented to reduce fuel consumption but they also work very well as a gigantic turtle mover. Continue reading

04 March 2020; Corinto, Nicaragua.

This is one of the trickiest ports to get into. On bad days there is a long and deep swell running over the large area of shallow water outside the entrance which makes it hard to keep the ship steady, even with the stabilizers out. Then there are two turns while sailing in, and at the 2nd one, you can have current from 3 directions at the same time. Something that asks for careful planning. But the company is now coming to this place since 2011 with the cruise ships and thus we have a lot of experience to expect the un-expected. And there is always something.  Also today. With the Corona virus a concern of every health authority, Nicaragua has decided to do a special health check at the sea buoy before sailing in clearance is granted. And thus four doctors boarded the ship and had a discussion with the ship’s Doctor to see what the situation was on board the ms Rotterdam. Well we are completely clean, not even a little bit of Noro virus on board, and after a short time the medical quartet disembarked again and gave permission for the pilot to board. They themselves then continued with a visit on board the Seven Seas Splendor which has been following us since the Panama Canal. They were with us in Puerto Caldera and now also here in Corinto. (Maybe they do not know where they are going, so they are just following us? So I would not be amazed if they pop up as well in Puerto Quetzal) Continue reading

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