Pieter de Bouwer….Pieter the Builder

February 24, 2008 -

John Heald

It’s 7:05am and I just made my first announcement………….and I sounded like I had a clothes peg on my nose. You will be glad to know that I will not be moaning on and on about my cold today but I will just say that I sound dreadful on the PA system this morning………………if Heidi saw me writing this she would say “wind your neck in” that’s wind not wind which I also have plenty of as well.

Debarkation started at 7:05 am and normally here in Miami I can make the announcements from the pursers’ office which allows me to mince around the Lobby saying goodbye to everyone however considering I look like an extra from the movie Outbreak I thought it best to stay in the cabin.

I managed to sum up the energy to put the Dolly Parton dress on last night. You know, it doesn’t matter about sophisticated comedy, thinking of that one line that will bring the house down…………just stick a big bloke in a dress, give him a false pair of humongous thingies………….and that’s the audience rolling on the floor laughing hysterically……………..I really should consider wearing the damn thing all the time. Maybe I could have a special one made just for formal night.

Talking of formal night or elegant night as we are calling it at the moment I wanted to show you the information that is going into the guest cabins here. This is a trial basis, in fact this is the last week we will place this flyer in the cabins………….anyway……have a read and see for yourself.


Now, as mentioned yesterday the resulting change on formal night has been minimal and even on non-formal nights the number of guests choosing to wear “dress shorts” has been virtually none. Now, this may be a different scenario on the shorter cruises. For example on a three- or four-day cruise guests may take this opportunity however here, I have seen mostly everyone wanting to dress for dinner. Anyway, as always your feedback is appreciated and I look forward to reading it.

We have a big change over of crew today. Did you know that every week approximately 500 crew leave for vacations, vessel transfers and a few for other reasons. That means every week 500 crew joins our fleet. Hiring is a huge challenge and the rotation of crew requires expert planning from ordering airline tickets, hotels, transportation and making sure that when one position leaves that you have someone ready to fill it.

This is one of the industry’s biggest challenges and that’s why Carnival puts so much time and effort into picking the best of the best. One concern we all have at the moment is the weakness of the dollar …… especially to the Euro and Sterling. Before, the dollar was king of the currencies but now for European crew its worth much less. Therefore, hiring European crew is these days much more of a challenge.

However, the crew we do have are fantastic and through our onboard training staff they have the chance to learn so much more than just how to perform their own job. They have computer classes, language classes and of course specialist courses as well. For example, on March 25 we will have a very special group of people onboard…………actually………… a special group of dogs, as well. We will have 29 sight-impaired guests who will all have a Guide Dog……………now………….that’s what we call them in the UK, however I understand that in North America they are called service dogs.

Anyway, taking care of a sight-impaired guest needs special training so last year a friend of ours David who is sight impaired himself sailed with his beautiful Labrador Goldie. He prepared a “do’s and don’ts” presentation which the service staff will all watch before this group sails……….we want to give them the best possible service and this video will allow us to learn the best ways to do this.

Now, if I don’t answer this now I know I will get asked by many of you………………..where do the dogs……….go. Well, we have special areas reserved for this by the embarkation areas to the lifeboats………..it is usually called deck 4 but when the dogs sail we change the name to “The Poop Deck”…………..One good thing……..at least if Heidi puts me in the doghouse I will have plenty of company.

Well, it’s 8:18 am now and we already have 1,208 people off the ship which means we should be finished just before 10 am. This is so much better than those embarrassing days when we would finish at 11:30 am or later.

Heidi is busy doing what she does best…………organizing and I just organized a clean-up operation of the computer screen which has just been cluster bombed by a 1,000 pound snot bomb…………I seem to be sneezing every two minutes now and sometimes I cant get my handkerchief up to my face in time………….that’s probably because I have only one handkerchief and I have been sneezing and blowing into it since yesterday morning. Therefore it’s very heavy and overnight it seems to have become rock hard…..it’s like blowing your nose on Hulk Hogan’s jockstrap.

On that note I had better slap on a few random photos. Now I use the word random as that’s exactly what these photos are……..random. I know once we return to Europe we will structure them more around the tours and sights but for now these odds and ends seem to be popular with you all……………here then are some more.




Adele, one of the social hosts


Ketut and I Made get ready to vacuum the carpet


The bell on the bow of the ship


Let’s hope we never have to use this

As much as my two fingers are protesting I will ignore them and proceed with some Q and A…………..here we go.

GREG BALDASARRI……………It does not matter how many times I type in your name I always automatically spell it with two S’s and not two R’s and then I realize it……….swear…………and go back and change it. I am glad you liked the blog thingy about the Captains and it was good to be able to salute them. The CD schedule will be posted on Monday’s blog as Chris Prideaux is making the last changes to it over the weekend. Thanks for all the kind words and especially the regards you sent to Stephanie and Roberto who work so hard to keep pace with all the thingies I send them. Cheers mate.
JESSICA………..I will………..as requested there will be many more photos coming your way. Thanks Jessica and have a great weekend.
BIG ED………….You are correct of course. I do have a bathtub which on many occasions has magically become a Jacuzzi. I have often wished I had a Bidet but have reigns myself to just doing handstands in the shower. Have you tried that? My best to you, your crew and the very very lovely Mrs. Big Ed.
LINDA – MUM OF DJ…………..I looked at the list of ships that you have sailed on since 1998 and I was not aboard any of them at that time. I never served as CD on the Tropicale – in fact amazingly it’s the one ship in the fleet I have never been aboard …..actually that’s not true………..I have never been on the Carnival Elation either. Anyway, you mentioned Peter Gibbs who was a fantastic Cruise Director. He left us a few years ago and last I heard he was working in Africa raising money for various charities. Lenny Halliday is still with us and just left on vacation. He does a brilliant job and his Tom Jones impression is legendry. So, I guess the only time we have met was recently on the Carnival Imagination …………I hope we get to cruise with each other soon.
JULIE GANTT……………….Thanks for your posting and I have good news and bad news in answer to your questions. The British Cruise Director you referred to as Dave was in fact the one and only Dave Armor who sadly passed away two years ago. He was a great guy a great Cruise Director and more than anything he was a true gentleman…………we all miss him. The Captain you “fell in love with” Antonio Marcetti is now working as Master of the Carnival Spirit. Hope all is well with you Julie and thanks for reading the blog thingy so much.
CARY…………Your wish is my command…………….more photos are on the way.
MRANDMRSMISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISEBUTLOVEDTHESMOKEFREECARNIVALFREEDOMANDLOOKINGFORWARDTOTHE2009BLOGGERSCRUISE……………………I typed all of that and then realized you didn’t even have a question…………….bugger. Oh well, please give your lovely wife my regards and I think indeed as to avoid the early onset of arthritis I will indeed just call you “Jon.”
MIKE L………………”Why,” asks my chief security blog officer “Are all the Captains Italian?” Good question. Well, first of all they certainly are here at Carnival Cruise Lines. However, if you go back a few blogs you will see interviews with two British Captains who command the Queen Mary and Queen Victoria. Some Holland America ships have Dutch Captains and other lines will have a mixture of all the above plus a few Norwegians, Swedish and one or two other countries. Carnival has always had Italians. The country has a great tradition in maritime exploration and that tradition is handed down at some of the best nautical schools in the world which are to be found in places like Genoa, Venice and others. They also have wonderful flair and they are………like Ferrari says …………. The Ultimate Driving Machine. Hope that answers your question. You mentioned one of those voice activated things on computers ……………..I tried that you know…………..but the words would not come…………and when I read it back it lacked ……….. well ……………me. So here I sit typing away……………bugger.
Cheers mate and Heidi and I send you our best.
SHIRLEY CALES……………..Can you please send me your cabin number Shirley or a booking number and I will gladly do my best to fulfill your request. I know you and the family will have a wonderful time here and I look forward to being your host. Please write back and I will see what we can do. Cheers.
TXLADYDI……….I took the liberty of mailing you some fries as you said they looked so good. Anyway, before you know it the Bloggers 2009 cruise will be here. I am glad you found the blog uplifting yesterday and that in turn makes me feel good. Our best to you and your family and see you soon.
RBGATES………Stephanie…….there has been a request from RBGATES to set up a link on the thingy with my schedule on it. Can you do that?
There you go, I just asked Stephanie who can do wonders with the flick of a mouse so I am sure this will be done soon. OK, I may be a little thick but who the heck is Captain Schoonderbeek………does he have a blog? Anyway, let me know and I am so glad that you brought up this great suggestion as I am indeed asked for my schedule quite a bit. Cheers.
LV2CRUISE…………..I see you regret never working on a cruise ship. I regret never becoming an International Playboy and Underwear model………….still………….as you said…………..life is too short to carry regrets around with you. I am happy though that you are enjoying all the photos and I will make sure we continue to provide them for you. Thanks as always and all the best.
RICK…….Oh, Richard. After reading your kind words I feel so guilty that I will not be here for your cruise. It would have been so nice to have met you. I am so glad you have enjoyed the blog and I hope that will continue for many more months. Please send my kindest regards to your wife and maybe next time I will be lucky enough to meet you onboard.
KERSPLOTT……………..Captain Scala is indeed one of a kind. I have never had the privilege of working with him but I do know that he is a great Captain and a great entertainer as well. Thanks for the information and it won’t be long until we see each other again.
MARK TWAIN AND A HALF…………….Goodness me. I think you must have been the first ever blogger to slap on a very important history lesson for us all to enjoy. I never new Columbus was stranded in Jamaica and the Mark Twain information was very interesting indeed. I can see why you would use him as your screen name although there was no mention of his other half.
Thanks again for sharing this great post and I think we all appreciated it very much. Cheers mate and my best to your other half.
RUTH JAMISON…………….Good question and I love the “fiercely loyal to Carnival” statement in your posting. I think an overnight in Istanbul would be amazing and to see the Blue Mosque and the other highlights at night would be simply stunning. Then you asked about Egypt …………mmmmm………well………..I have not heard of any plans to visit this sometimes unstable country however the Pyramids is something everyone should see if they can. I have forwarded your question to the office and I will let you now what is said. Thanks Ruth and we appreciate your fierce loyalty very very much. Heidi and I send our best to you as always.
DWA76…………..The eye wash stations are so important and are actually now required to be stationed all over the ship. The crew is constantly working with cleaning chemicals and paint and although they wear safety glasses splash injuries can happen. These eye wash stations are therefore positioned all over the vessel and thank goodness thanks to the safety training the crew has injuries are scarce at best. I am very happy that you are enjoying the photos and the blogs and as always its great to write back to you mate. Cheers.
NANNI…………….Can you please come to the ship at 6 pm. Heidi will meet you and bring you onboard and then we will have an hour or so together for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. I have a meeting at 7:30 pm so I hope 6 pm is ok for you. See you soon and don’t forget you all need photo ID por favor.
TOM AND JANE………….I got your post Tom and Jane……….is there something you need from me? Let me know as I am at your service.
MYRA BUSHNELL……….Wearing a see through nightie in the main theatre will indeed get you noticed however there really isn’t any need to take that drastic action to get involved in one of our activities. If you would like you and your hubby to take part in something during the trans-Atlantic cruise just let me know and I shall make it so. Maybe we can put him in a nightie.I am glad you are enjoying the blogs and the random photos. See you soon and bring your nightie just incase.

OK, to keep this in timeline so you can see when I am writing this its now 10 pm and I have to get ready for the welcome aboard show ……….let’s hope I have a vat of adrenalin because I feel pretty errrrrrr …………..back soon.

Here I am and thank goodness that I had a pint of adrenalin in me as the show actually went well and as normal there were lots of characters. I have just returned and am going to say goodnight and take a shower as I am soaking wet and Heidi has just informed me I smell like a pair of marathon runners socks…………….so, I shall boldly go where no Frenchmen has gone before and take a shower and hopefully feel better in the morning


Good morning……Bugger……..I feel the same and I guess its time to go and see the Doctor and get some medicine. Oh well, the show must go on. Therefore, please allow me to continue answering some of your questions.

SUZANN…………..I am glad you liked the photo of Captain Los and yes he is indeed still with Carnival and currently serving on the Carnival Triumph. I spoke to him today actually. I know you both had a great time with him. I will see you next week. Cheers.
KEVIN……….Your continuing concern for PA 007 and Alan is very kind. Both are great friends and both are doing very well……our Super Spy will be back to full revealing mode very soon. Always great to hear from you mate.
MARY ROSS…………What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing and give Chi a cuddle for us.
MARGIE TRACY………I suggest that you forget about a roll call on the first day as everyone arrives at different times and what with unpacking, boat drill etc I would wait until the first sea day. How about 2 pm on the first sea day. If this is OK, let me know, I will reserve a room and the Capers will say “Cruise Critic Roll Call ” and advertise when and when. Let me know if this is OK and see you soon.
OLD YEOMAN……….I may have mentioned this before but one of the nicest things about writing this blog is that every now and then people who used to work with us onboard discover it and write in…………..as you did. I remember the old position of Yeoman very well, it doesn’t exist anymore but I do remember our Yeoman being great characters………you had to be to do what you did. The people you refer to as onboard colleagues are now Vice Presidents and, in the case of Natko, a Senior Vice President. It would be great if you could reveal your secret identity and even greater if you would as suggested send me a photo of Roger Blum from the old days. I am so happy you are enjoying my thingy and I hope you will maybe treat us to some memories of the good old days. Cheers.
SUSAN B………….I got the photo but no raise…………..maybe next time. Thanks Susan and the photo will be added to my scrapbook. Heidi and I send you our kind regards.
SUZANNE…………I see that you are married to a Brit and that he is indeed correct that although British breakfasts will never be found on the Heart Foundation menu they are fantastic. You asked where you may find a good Dutch breakfast in St. Martin. Well, personally I think Dutch breakfasts are pretty boring. It’s bread and cheese mostly and they have this strange thing about pouring chocolate sprinkles over bread ………… for breakfast! Anyway, I have never eaten breakfast in St. Martin but I do know of a place that serves great Dutch food. It’s called Holland House Hotel and it is right on the waterfront. Hope this helps and please say a special hello to your husband……..where is he from?
CRUISIN SUE……………Who will be the Cruise Director on the Triumph for your cruise was your question. The answer will be Matt Ross. He has been with us for quite some time and is a firm favorite with many guests and I am sure he will be with you as well. Please let me know if there is any other information you need and until then I hope you continue to enjoy the blog thingy.
SUSAN V………….. I read with interest that after posting my offer to arrange Cruise Critic meetings onboard you said you received some “smart a$#$ responses” What were they ?
Anyway, all you have to do is have someone from CC write a posting on the blog and I will arrange for you. Please make sure you give me two weeks notice that’s all. I am happy to read that you found the St.Thomas information useful and say “Ciao” to your Italian husband for me. Please write soon.
JO ANNE P………………I love the way people say they have been “lurking” in the background and not posting and then eventually they are brave enough to come out and say ” Hello, my name is Jo Anne and I like John’s thingy.”……..so……….welcome Jo Anne it’s an honour to have you with us. You asked about Heidi and I. We have been married for 4 years and we met in Holland 12 years ago. Back then Heidi had never heard of Carnival or what a Cruise Director was and had never been on a ship. I am very lucky to have met her and also very lucky that so far today ………….its 8:40am………….I am yet to banished to the doghouse.
I see that you have never cruised on Carnival but you have with other lines………that’s OK………….and I just saw that you have booked the Bloggers Cruise for 2009 and that just made me very happy. Usually when I hear news like this I tend to run around the cabin in my underwear singing Queen’s “We are the Champions” but my cold has got the better of me today. Anyway, thank you for making your first Carnival cruise the Bloggers one and I have a feeling that after that you may be hooked. Great to have you with us and our best regards to you and the family.

OK, its morning show time………..back soon.

Here I am. I went to see the doctor after the Morning Show and he has given me some Ibuprofen which are huge and have to be taken with food……..which is the good news of course. I am now off to tell everyone about the ports of call and will write more this afternoon.

It’s afternoon………Heidi has told me to go to bed and rest but I ignored her and sat down here to get this blog posted. Let me continue therefore with the last few bits of Q and A.

JUSTJONNOTMISSINGTHESMOKEFREEPARADISEBUTLOOKINGFORWARDTOTHENEARLEYSMOKEFREECARNIVALFREEDOMSCREENNAMEANYMORE………………….I tried typing “Just Jon” but it didn’t feel right somehow. Anyway, I was sorry to read that you may not be joining us on the Carnival Splendor. Is there anything I can do to change your mind mate? Let me know and send my best to MRSMISSINGTH……….my fingers refuse to type it…………your wife……….send my best to your lovely wife.
PAUL F. PIETRANGELO…………..I certainly new that you would enjoy Mr. Antonioni’s interview. I am excited about the Carnival Dream and the Carnival Magic and I am sure in some way I will be onboard both these great ships. I will keep you updated as to the news on the grab handles you suggested and as I always say when I write to you that I hope we will be together one day soon. Cheers Paul and best from us both.
JAMIE………………just typing the words “Turkish Bath Experience ” makes my bottom cheeks close together like a clam on steroids. However my horror of that day and the same horror that you encountered was quickly forgotten when I read the news that you returned from the cruise with an extra souvenir your new baby daughter Gabriella. I hope by the time you are reading this reply that she will be out of hospital and that you have her home with you. I am sure having been born early that the last few weeks have been hard for you and Kevin and knowing that the blog has provided you with some much-needed laughter makes me feel very honoured. Please will you keep in touch with us and let us know how little Gabriella is and until then we all send our warmest regards to you and the family.
RIKKI BOYCE…………..I am trying the smarter than a 5th grader thingy tomorrow afternoon mate………..I will send you a full report. I didn’t get to do it last week but with the extra sea day time on the Eastern Caribbean cruise I can finally give it a go. Cheers.
MYRA BUSHNELL………….I see we have another big fan of Corrado Antonin’s interview………….that’s great to hear. He is a true gentleman and spends his life flying all over the world. It was a true honour to meet him and he left quite an impression on me. I have never been to the ship yard in Genoa and therefore I am uncertain of it’s demographics however I will be visiting it shortly and will of course send in a full report.
Your information on the Contemporary resort made for great reading as your postings always do and therefore I encourage you to please keep writing. Thanks for your kind words and hopefully I will start to feel better. Our best to you and the family.
JONAH……………….Why, you asked is the signage on the side of the Carnival Splendor (the lit up signage on deck 5 in all capital letters ……………What a great question and you know what……………I had no idea. So, I thought this would be the perfect time to unleash our Super Spy………the dashing and brave PA 007.
This is what he sent me.
Hello everyone, it is nice to be back in blog land with you all. It was a bit scary back in November when my boss “M” became suspicious of me so I have had to lay low. Things have cooled off now and I can return to passing hot information to you via John’s Blog.
The question you asked Jonah was an excellent one and myself and other lower management I asked had no clue. I therefore had a quick look at the Carnival Splendor plans in M’s office and I found this quote from the top brass at Carnival.
SPLENDOR should be in all CAPS as the present lettering when a letter needs to go below the line like the “p” in Triumph looks something like the Triumph. This looks much grander and much nicer.
So, there you go. The order was given and not that anyone takes notice of my opinion but I agree ………..it looks much grander and makes sense. Time to go, I must turn the light switch off in M’s office as I never turn lights off and I have become well known for this in the office. PA 007 is back and my ear is to the ground looking for more hot topics to tell you about. For now it’s back to my cubicle. Over and Out.

Thanks 007………..it’s great to have you back with us but please be careful.

OK, that’s all the Q and A for now. If for some reason I have forgotten or missed an important question you may have please send it again and I promise to answer it this time. It is always helpful if you add the words “PLEASE REPLY ” to your posting as well.

Thanks as always to you all for writing in.

Yesterday I posted this marvelous interview with The Chairman of Fincantieri Mr. Corrado Antonini. He spoke of his relationship with the visionary that was Ted Arison and how that relationship has continued with his son Micky Arison. This relationship has resulted in Carnival Corporation & plc building many of their new vessels in the Fincantieri shipyards. One such vessel is Holland America Lines new EURODAM.

Many of you have been reading the Eurodam Blog which has given a new and exciting insight into the birth of a cruise vessel. Having read Mr. Antonini’s interview I thought it may be interesting to follow it up with a similar interview about ship building but this time from the Corporation’s point of view. Therefore let’s have a chat with someone from Holland America who is very much involved with the birth of the Eurodam. Please welcome the Vice President of New Ship Building Pieter Rijkaart.



Pıeter, can you tell us your background and what your current position is with Holland America Line?
I started as an assistant engineer with HAL in Sept. 1963. My first ship that time was the ms “Soestdijk” one the about 35 freighters HAL had in that time, next to their passenger fleet of 6 ships, as I remember well. After one trip on the Soestdijk I was placed on the Old Nieuw Amsterdam and that was my first experience of being on a passenger ship. I did both trans-Atlantic crossings with her as well as Caribbean Cruises. I sailed further on various passenger vessels, but mainly on the Rotterdam 5 for a total of 9 years on which ship I served in all engineering ranks and finally Chief Engineer.

In 1976 I came ashore for the first time as technical superintendent with HAL while our main office was still located in New York City. In 1979 I went back to sea as Chief Engineer. In 1983 I became involved in the New Building of our last “Nieuw Amsterdam” in France and took her out as Chief Engineer.

I became very interested in Shipbuilding and as part of our education was naval architecture I concentrated on that. In 1988 I was approached by the vice President new building and was offered to join their new building which directly worked under Nico van der Vorm, the owner of HAL. I was involved in the development of 2 new to be built ships for HAL and in the acquisition of the 2 ships from home lines. My first major job was the lengthening of the Westerdam (former Home Lines Homeric. During that period of lengthening, HAL was sold to Carnival. After that job was successfully finished I moved to the HAL main office in Seattle and started with the development of the first new build (Statendam) together with the Carnival team. Soon I was promoted to Director of New Builds and have been overseeing all our New builds since.

We are going to be talking about the art of ship building so before we do can you tell us what curent project you are working on and some facts and figures about this exciting new build?
At present I am working on the 13th New Build project since the Statendam.

She is the first of a new series of ships after the 4 Vista class ships have been finished.
We call this the Signature Class ships, although they are quite similar as the Vista class, they are slightly larger, hold more passengers and more cabins and public areas.

The Eurodam is an incredible project to be involved in. What exactly are your responsibilities?

My responsibilities include the total overview of the project from the HAL side, starting with the development to the finish of the ship. Further I keep constant contact with all the various departments in our Seattle office and provide them with all the information needed to market, sell and operate the vessel.

There are many milestones in the building of a new ship starting with the first weld. What are the stages of the building that are considered milestones?

A: Cutting of first piece of steel. B: Starting of erection of the first segment. C: Keel laying ceremony. D: Mast- stepping, Christening and floating out ceremony. E: Sea trials. F: Delivery ceremony. G: Naming Ceremony

At the time of writing, what is happening onboard? At what stage here in the middle of February is the vessel at and what major tasks are still to be completed.

At the moment the ship is located at the so-called outfitting dock, floating in the water and the various sub-contractors are busy with outfitting of cabins, Public areas, service areas, decks and technical and nautical equipment.

The yard is also preparing the ship for the sea trials, which start March 28 and end April 9.
What in your opinion is the biggest challenge in building a modern cruise ship such as Eurodam.
Our biggest challenge is always to have the ship properly finished at the date of delivery to receive our guests.

I see that you are one of the many success stories of Holland America Line and that you worked as a Chief Engineer aboard many of the their ships. Do you miss your days at sea and maybe you could share your most favorite sea going story.

I do not miss my days at sea, in fact I still have plenty of opportunities to be on ships.
Having sailed on ships my self is an enormous advantage in my job compared to colleagues who never had this experience. To give you just one example: We are planning on our next ship to place cabanas on the open decks. My plan is to bolt these solidly to the deck, while other ask me why do we need to do this, you see them everywhere at the hotels nowadays.

Forgetting that even with no head wind and doing a speed of 22 knots you have a 25 mile wind blowing over the deck.

With a headwind of 25 miles the wind on the deck is a near gale force of 50 miles per hour.
One of my favorite stories is from the time that I was Chief Engineer on the old Veendam (The old SS Argentina).

We were doing Bermuda cruises from New York and stayed moored for 5 days in the port of Hamilton at front street.

I was a fanatic Windsurfer at my younger age and traveled with my windsurfer all the time.
In every port where there was an opportunity I would get on it.

Being in the port of Hamilton for such a long time was always a great opportunity and I used it a lot, together with several other officers who had windsurfers on board. We got of course noticed by the passengers and one day during a cocktail party it was brought up by some of the passengers. Bragging that I really never fell of my board, they challenged me to go windsurfing in my uniform. Well that challenge I took up with my colleague surfers the next day and we gave a great show in full uniform, uniform shoes and cap. There was a big audience of guests watching from the deck and shooting pictures.

They started challenging my colleagues to run me over, but they never managed to do this, instead they fell and got soaking, but I stayed dry.

What Dutch traditions can still be found on Holland America Line? Are there any Dutch treats on the food menu and does the country itself still feel proud that your ships bear their proud name

We still offer a so-called Dutch night with a few traditional Dutch food items on the menu. Many Dutch people are still very proud to see that our ships still carry the Dutch flag and the home port of Rotterdam.

I remember when we sailed for the first time with the Oosterdam in to the waterweg on our way to the port of Rotterdam where see was going to be christened, both sides of the waterway were crowded with spectators all the way for miles.

Finally as always in this blog a personal question ………….and with you it is your ……….. Snor ……………. or Mustache in British. You have a fine example of one as your photo shows. How long have you had such a grand Snor and what care and dedication goes into maintaining it.

I am sorry to disappoint you, but I do not carry that snor anymore, you must have seen old pictures of me.

However I carried that snor for more than 35 years, never shaved it off.

It was indeed a lot of work particular in the morning after waking up and I was copied by several persons in our fleet.

Now I have a small and manageable snor.

Thank you Pieter or as you say in Heidiland……….Hartelijk dank. Congratulations also on getting married just last week in Thailand to the beautiful lady in the photo.

Remember to keep up with the latest news on the Eurodam by visiting www.eurodamnews.com

So, that’s about it. I am indeed going to take Heidi’s advice and rest before the Elegant Night festivities begin. Before I do however I want to say thank you for all the post I received yesterday. I got a big box with 78 letters and cards, a huge bag of jelly beans (thanks Kev) and two more baseball caps. Here are a few photos of said items.


Boston Celtics and Red Sox caps – LET’S GO HEAT!

Now, the last item I photographed was sent to me by Nanci Nurse a regular blog reader………….and I have to say I was intrigued by this little blue pot called DROP AND GO. Apparently you are supposed to sprinkle one of the packets into the toilet before you drop the kids off ………….. well, this is something new to me so I tried it. ……………..and Nanci, as much as I appreciate the thought …………….it was a dreadful experience.

The sweet flowery smell was so strong it made me feel ill and I found myself for the first ever time in history ignoring my magazine and hurrying up with the job in hand…………..honestly it smelt like a thousand roses had been planted in the toilet and that’s not what a toilet is supposed to smell like………….I prefer the good old fashioned honest smell…………………. of ham.

Anyway, this product should be banned…………its not natural ……….we should gather up every box of DROP AND GO and drop it from a great height over some place that needs this product to hide the most disgusting of smells………………………………..Paris perhaps?


Your friends
John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.