My sailor's life...

Fred's life at sea.


Van der Steng In 1952 I made my first sea-voyage with the ms Van der Steng. It was a one-day trip with a small Navy cruise ship from Willemstad to Veere.
It was a recruitmentday for the Navy. But I had other plans for making a career. After my education and military service I became a sales rep at Electro-Therm settled in the Schiedamsevest at Rotterdam. The company was specialised in cooling and I sold bar- and butcher cooling installations in Rotterdam-North en -East. I rented a room the the first house on the left, seen from the Schiekade in the Proveniersstreet. At night I used to have a beer in town in at the Heinekencorner on the Coolsingel. That was a popular place because of the the Italian bands that were performing there, like Enzo Gallo, Marino di Marini and Peter van Houten.

 


Seaman's record bookNight steward I also visited some other places in the Proveniersstreet. There was a little bar of Henk van Gellekom, a popular place for ship people. There I heard them telling to go to human resource of the HAL as a working student and ask for mister Engel or Hengel. This man immediately hired me as a night steward. That was on Friday and Tuesday afternoon at four we went sailing with the Maasdam to New York. I liked it very much and as nightsteward in New York I had two days off. That were a couple of pleasant days.
At my return in Holland I had troubles with my boss, because in that time you had only one week of holiday and 5 extra days off. But because I sold well, he kept me. HAL kept on sending me telegrams with the text: “You can come back again”. I fell in love with sailing and I went back to HAL for a job as nightsteward.

 

 


Haiti After the winter of 57-58 I made ten cruises to Havanna, Port au Prince, Haiti and Nassau/ Bahamas. I came back as diningroom-steward. I well remember a heavy storm on December 10, 1957. Directly after we sailed the Atlantic two port holes were crashed. In order to be able to repair these port holes we had to make a turn through the wind. The watertight doors were closed. Turning through the wind gave an enorm effect on the ship and within short all passagers were anxious on deck, half dressed or in night gown.As nightsteward we had our hands full, so we asked help from the other stewards. Later I found my cabin filled with water and a wet mattress.

 

 

 

 


Salon

Cabin stewardDuring 1958 we made several trips to Rotterdam via Le Havre, Southampton, Hoboken vice versa, with sometimes an extra port like Cobh and Galway in Ireland, Hallifax and Montreal in Canada. One time we sailed to Antwerpen. After some trips in the diningroom I followed a course for cabin steward. From December 9, 1958 I became assistent cabin steward by steward Fransen on the Nieuw Amsterdam. On December 12 1958, we just left Cobh (Ireland), and some windows of the bridge were broken. The Captain or the helmsman got glass in his eyes.
We went back to Cobh in order to bring him to a hospital. Because of that we arrived to late in Hoboken, so that the also started to late cruise. Two of the cruisetenders, working on the front deck were missing. The went overboard.

After seven cruises from New York to a.o. St. Thomas and Havanna, (On Januari 8, 1959 we were the last cruise ship that left the harbour after the take over by Fidel Castro). I remember well that we were drinking in the bar at Dos Hermanos, were we met some soldiers who never got paid. They were glad with the drinks we offered them. The Sanghai-bar was closed immediately, but the Apple bar was a madhouse that night.
Proclamation There we said good bye to Havana. In Hoboken I sailed back to Holland as a passenger with the Noordam. I’ll never forget that I was seasick during the whole trip. After a holiday with my parents in Breda I took a job on the Nieuw Amsterdam form april 13, 1959 till august 24, 1959. As new and youngest cabin steward I got the worst deck: the B-dek, directly above the propellor: emigrants en youth. It was cosy but it did not pay well. From October 8, 1959 I became cabin steward on the new ss Rotterdam (middle maindeck), for the cabins 263 tot to 385 starboard, behind the Pursers office [incl.the Purser Mr.Suister].

Folder Folder In the winter of 59-60 we made a cruise to South America via the Panama Canal, Chile and through the Street of Magelhaen with Punta Arenas and the Falkland Islands (which became famous afterwards), Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santos, Rio, Bahia, Trinidad and St. Thomas, On December 19, 1959 we were baptised by Neptune. Back to Hoboken for the second cruise of 16 days Caribbean. After that we sailed the Four Continents cruise to Port of Spain, Bahia, Rio, Santos, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Tristan da Cunna isl. (here the passengers did not go ashore but the inhabitants came over with their boats, to get something to eat. From here we took two Penguins for the pet shop of Van Dijk in Tilburg) and Cape Town. We made an excursion to Kaap de goede Hoop and sailed to Durban.

when we arrived a group of Zulu dancers gave a performance for us. And we made an excursion to the Valley of the Thousand Hills. After that to Zanzibar and Mombassa, Aden, Suez and at the entrance of the Suez Canal we met the Willem. This ship greated us as first because we were tha flag ship of the Dutch commercial marine. In Port Said we made an excursion to the pyramids follwed by a city tour through Cairo. After that we sailed to Napels and Lissabon via Haifa and Athens.

In Lissabon we again made an excursion and by coming back from that we found out that our ship was moved to the opposite side of the harbour. excursion and after returning we had to board with the tenders. During our excursion all cables were broken. Even big iron boulders on the wall were broken by the strong waters of the river Taag. Back in Hoboken we again became a mail ship till August 27 1960. Then we made the first cruise with the Rotterdam in Europe, from Rotterdam to Tilbury and Oslo. There the story was told that the harbour had to be made deeper especially for us to arrive. A heavy old war bomb was found during that operation. This was my last trip as crew member and the last time I arrived in Rotterdam. From the “four continents cruise” I shot a long 8 mm film and many pictures including descriptions. I also have the building drawings of the ss Rotterdam, the Maasdam and the Rijndam, my booklog and pocketbook, the membership of the personnel club of the ss Rotterdam, and most of the brochures of the different cruises.

Sailing and the ships have always had my attention. Since our first cruise with the ss Atlas in 1989 [ex Rijndam] my wife and I made a lot of cruises, and especially after my retirement we went to sea two times a year. After the ss Atlas we made several cruises. See ships and cruises

I made several video tapes from all over the world. With the Serena we made a cruise from Arnhem to Vienna through the new Rine-Main-Donau Canal. On one of our cruises with the Black Watch we came in Freeport/Bahamas and there was the ss Rotterdam We saw a new name being painted: the Rembrandt. We went aboard but soon got send away.
On October 19, 1998 we made a cruise with the ss Rembrandt from Barcelona to Rotterdam where we were welcomed with great enthusiasm on October 27 1998. From Hook of Holland to the Wilhelminakade thousands of people were waving at us. Cars horned, ships sprayed fountains of water and blew their horns. That was very impressive. The next day the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad mentioned the fact that Fred Claessen in Augustus 1960 arrived in Rotterdam as cabin steward at his last trip, but now as passenger and in a suite. With the ms Rapsody, the ms Astor and thems Seebourn Sun we visited Durban. The welcome there was the same as in1960: a the same pier and also a Zoulou dancing company welcomed us. After all our cruise experiences we can say that cruise ships up to 30.000 tons and with 500 to 800 passengers are the most intimate. That gives back romance and the old cruisefeeling to the passenger. Taller ships are no real cruise ships but floating resorts with great shows and lots of glamour and glitter. All well organised but it resembles Las Vegas.
Barbedos

In February 1960 I was, as a crewmember of the Rotterdam, in Rio during the carnival. In February 2004 I returned to Rio and the Carnival but now as a passenger on the Queen Mary II. The Cunard Line had made reservations for all passengers in the Carnival Dome. It was a tremendous experience. The Queen Mary II has two theatres on board and a wide variety of restaurants most of which we did try ourselves. Afternoon tea and the dance parties in the Queens room are of the same splendour and grandeur as in the old days. The Queen Mary II is a floating palace, overwhelmingly big and with the same glamour as its predecessor. Never before did we travel on such an elegant and beautiful ship. It is beyond imagination. This ship doesn’t sail it glides across the seas. One doesn’t sense being on a ship although we did experience wind force 7. Our cabin was very nicely furnished with an interactive Philips television set and a luxurious bed(we overslept every morning). This ship is build to sail the transatlantic seaways just like the Queen Mary I. It is one of our dreams to fly out to New York spend a couple of days in America and to sail back with the QM II. This way you’ll avoid the jetlag and you will be totally relaxed.
Queen Mary IIYouTube

Maiden voyage On the 25th of April we were present at the ceremonial inauguration of the Westerdam, by Dutch filmdiva Renee Soutendijk, after which we boarded for a 12 day cruise on the Mediterranean.

After a long and exhausting flight, we arrived at Honolulu. We enjoyed Waikiki beach, the beautiful boulevard and the friendly people of Hawaï.
On the 17th of March we left Honolulu on board of the Legend of the Seas for Lahaina Maui were we moored. When we looked around us at the breakfast table we saw whales surfacing , a beautiful display but very hard to photograph. After Nawililiwili and kailua Kona [famous for its coffee] we passed the active volcano op Hilo, red lava was flowing from the mountain in the sea. An astonishing site.
After we visited Hilo and four days at sea. All passengers but us and three others disembarked and left for the U.S. 738 crew members where working just for us now. We sailed for San Diego where we experienced a silent but impressive arrival.
Dansing Easter Sunday very quiet in San Diego, we made a long walk we followed the Seafront turned into Front street then 5 street back to the station and the famous aircraft carrier Midway that has been transformed into a museum. Our second cruise has started to Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Hutatulco Mexico, Puntarenas Costa Rica through the Panama Canal (where you can always feast your eyes) the port of destination is Cristobal where we had the opportunity to buy souvenirs.

For us Aruba is the place to be with for more beautiful beaches then on Hawaï with very friendly people. This cruise ended in Fort Lauderdale where we made a long walk, accompanied by an American comedian, to the marina of the Marriot Hotel.
Captain Our last cruise started in Fort Lauderdale we sailed first to Bermuda then to Ponte del Gado and the cruise ended on the 20th of April in Lissabon. After a tiresome day at the Portuguese Airport we arrived at Amsterdam airport on a delayed flight. We took a cab to Eindhoven where we arrived at 9.30 PM. This was an exceptional cruise on an beautiful ship where we enjoyed the entertainment. Each night we danced to the music of our friend Stanley Tyranowski and his quartet.
We also became friends with the friendly and charming Captain who invited us twice to the Captain’s table. We related very well with the crew and Captain these fabulous people have made this one of the friendliest cruises we have ever made. With hindsight to the 35 different cruises we have made I can say that the romance of cruising is fading away. The future will bring a sort of Las Vegas at sea, cheap cruises with different restaurants French, Italian or American where you have to pay for each meal and each drink.
1On the 18th of December 2005 flew to Sydney where we embarked on the P&O Artemis for a half worrldcruise of 58 days which ended on the 12th of february in Southampton. New for us were the pacific islands of Tonga, Western Samoa and Christmas Island. We had nice weather during the entire cruise, altough it were a lot of days at sea we enjoyed the beautiful ship.
From Sydney December 18th 2005 to Southampton February 12th 2006.

Cruise route

The last cruise we enjoyed was on the ms Amadea. After a long and very laborious flight from Amsterdam with Lufthansa via Frankfurt, Munich, we arrived in Tokyo after a frightening landing, due to windshear on the 12th March 2006. From Tokyo Airport, where the ship's crew welcomed us, we made our way by coach to the modern and very comfortable cruise terminal at Yokohama where we attended the Christening of the ms Amadea, a beautiful and cosy ship with a friendly and attentive crew. Video Doop Amadea.Maiden voyage Om de Video-clips te bekijken dient u te beschikken over Quick-Time Player U kunt deze gratis downloaden via: http://www.apple.com/nl/quicktime/download/win.html

Amadea is a stable ship with a kitchen that is very clean and fresh looking with excellent food. Amadea is a 4 star vessel, whereas the Artemis, (see previous cruise) in comparison, is only a 3 star. Its kitchen did not come up to anywhere near our expectations. The duration of the cruise was 42 day's. We had only one day of rain, in Hiroshima, and not one heavy day at sea. We had very few long stretches at sea, mostly only a day at a time. We visited many different countries, which included ports with a very nice city such as Yokohama, Osaka, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Port Kalang and Singapore. Our Itinerary enabled us the experience of sailing on many different seas. The Amadea carried us to 20 different countries and after many years of travelling by ship our World journeys are now complete. From Yokohama March 12th 2006 to Venice April 23th 2006.

Cruise route

Fred en Rita's Combi-Cruise on MSN Century & MS Amsterdan (October-November 2006)
USS Wasp Rita and I found two cruises that we were able to combine into one holiday. We found a 13-day cruise.
on the MS Century that sailed from Barcelona via Villefranche and Malaga to Miami. We then transferred to Fort Lauderdale and on the 9th November we embarked on a 10 day cruise on the MS Amsterdam via Half Moon Cay - Bahamas, Oranjestad - Aruba, Willemstad - Curacao, Panama Canal and Puerto Limon - Costa Rica, then returning to Fort Lauderdale on the 19 November. During the Atlantic Crossing on the Century, one day out of Spain, a sick passenger was evacuated by helicopter from Cadiz. On arrival in Madeira we had heavy rain, which meant that we were unable to go walking through Funchal. A day after leaving Madeira we had a passenger missing. (overboard???) Which caused a lot of consternation on board. The next day an emergency evacuation of two passengers who required medical assistance in a land-based hospital was successfully completed, with the assistance of the U.S. Navy carrier, USS Wasp, which has safely transported the guests to a hospital in the Azores. It was a very impressive goodbye to them with the ships both tooting farewell.
USS Wasp, Rescue-work November 2006 YouTube

Considering all the delays we had, we finally arrived in Miami 4 hours late ie 11.00am. This meant that we had to make haste to Fort Lauderdale to embark at 1400 hrs. The cruise on the MS Amsterdam was very luxurious. It is a beautiful ship with teak wooden sun decks, lots of artwork and cosy lounges. The kitchen is Michelin star quality. My impression is that the ship is two stars better than the MS Century.We both enjoyed swimming in the very clean Caribbean Sea at Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s private Bahamian Island. It was like being in Paradise. Aruba to us is still the “happy Island”. We love this beautiful island. We enjoyed the ambience on the boulevard at the Café Plaza and also the "Eet Café" The Paddock. We enjoyed our meal of Sate and French Fries there. The quality hasn’t altered since our last visit.Upon arrival at the pier at Willemstad we were surprised to be met by the daughter of our friend Brigit. This was a pleasant surprise for us both.We were also delighted to be able to get so close to our Queen Beatrix who was visiting the Antilles. She was visiting Fort Amsterdam and as she walked past Rita she smiled at her. Rita was thrilled to think that she had been able to be so close to her Queen and that she smiled at her. It was definitely a highlight of our stay in Curacao.
Willemstad Curacao November 2006YouTube

We passed through the Panama Canal on our way to Puerto Limon, our 6th passage through the canal. It seems that no matter how many times we travel along the canal we always find something of interest. Puerto Limon was a new port for us and we did not find it very interesting. However we did go on an interesting excursion on an old banana train through the forest and many banana plantations. The trip took 3 hours and we felt that it just a bit too long.

The next day at sea we were invited to join Capt. Dirk van den Berg and the Hotel Manager, Willem Cruijsberg at the Captains table in the Pinnacle room. We thoroughly enjoyed their company, the excellent meal and maybe a little too much wine!

In the foremost staircase we saw a painting of Stephen J. Card, through which I was very impressed, because I have sailed on these ships Each for one year. More of his work you will find on: Maritime Artist Captain Stephen J. Card
Artwork

Rita and c. Columbus The ms c Columbus, 14.000 tonnes, is the smallest cruise ship we have sailed on. Our cruise was for 11 days, departing from Nizza, France on the 2nd of May 2007 via the Iberian Peninsula to Ijmuiden, Netherlands. We were the only two Dutch passengers on board, all the other passengers being German. This was good for us as we were able to improve our German language skills and we made many new friends. Along the way we visited Barcelona, Malaga, Cadiz, Lisbon and La Coruna. We enjoyed these cities an found them to be very vibrant and exciting. The day we were to visit St. Malo we had a force 12 storm. That meant we had to bypass its beautiful harbour. We were disappointed that this was so. However our visit to Oostende certainly made up for our disappointment of missing St. Malo. On our arrival at IJmuiden we disembarked at 9.00 hrs. Our friend met us and we were home in Eindhoven by 10.30 hrs. We enjoy travelling on smaller ships, as they have access to harbours that the larger ships cannot enter. For us this is a plus. The ms c Columbus is a comfortable and cosy ship in very good condition. The ship is very clean and provides excellent service. The cuisine was by far the best we have ever encountered on our many cruises and we felt that the Chef and his staff were deserving a Michelin Star.

On the 24th of May 2007, I visited my daughter in New York City for 4 days. The next day my daughter and I visited the Holland America Line pier on 5th Street in Hoboken NY. The last time I was there was way back in 1960, 47 years ago. I could not believe my eyes when I saw the changes that had taken place in the area. The docks & shipyards have been transformed into a superb boulevard with nice apartments, landscaping and Hotels. The boulevard is named the Frank Sinatra Boulevard as he was born in Hoboken NY in 1915. The area is now called the Gold Coast. Here you can see the old Hoboken and how it is now: Hoboken Pier 1957-2007YouTube

Hoboken docks On the Bridge

Our second combined cruise. With the Brilliance of the Seas and the Prinsendam in 2007.
Barcelona 2 Dec. Transatlantic to Miami. Capt.Hakan welcomed us onboard. He has been promoted to Captain of the Brilliance of The Seas. Previously he was Captain of the Legend Of The Seas. Both Rita and I were pleased to meet up with him again. We also met his mother Karin who was travelling with her son over the Christmas period. One evening Rita and I were invited to dine with the Captain at his table and also to have pre dinner drinks in his appartement. It was a very enjoyable evening. On an other occasion we were pleased to be invited up to the bridge along with Karen.
On the 8th of December we visited Vera Cruz, Tenerife. It was the first time we had been there. We enjoyed looking around especially admiring the old buildings, beautiful parks and greens and we were surprised to see such modern streetcars. After walking around for about 2 hours it was a relief to sit down and enjoy a nice cup of coffee at one of the terrace cafe’s. After a calm crossing to Antigua we found that since our last visit to that port a lot more shops had opened. However they were much the same shops as on the other islands.
MS PrinsendamYouTube

Brilliance of the SeasYouTube 17 Dec. Miami. We said goodbye to Karin en Hakan
To Fort Lauderdale via Aventura mall where we, after hours of delay, left on the Prinsendam for a 17 day Christmascruise in the Caribean. After three days at sea we spend af few hours each day in a different harbour. New for us were Beqiua and St.Barth. We anchored between no less than 50 very large yachts including the Octopusy and the Rising Sun. Also a beautiful small dutch cruiser the Sherakhan.

We had an enjoyable Christmas on board and we were well catered for. The huge onboard choir sang all the popular Carols and we all joined in the singing. It was a wonderful time enjoyed by all. The New Years Eve party was held in the Crowsnest and of course a lot of Champagne was consumed during the course of the evening. All the people at our table had a wonderful evening together.
January 3th 2008. We arrived back in Miami where we stayed at the Cordoso Hotel. The hotel is situated in the Art Deco Centre on Ocean Drive and is owned by Gloria Estafan. They play her songs all day long. We visited Lincoln Blv and the beach where we enjoyed taking long walks. January 5th we flew home from Miami and arrived home in Eindhoven the next day at noon.
Hotel Miami Rita on the tarace We celebrated Rita's birthday on the MS Astor in Katakolen Greece. The weather was beautiful which enabled us to have a delicious meal on the waterfront terrace. In the evening we partied late into the night with friends we met on board the ship. In 2001 we we had a splendid cruise from Sydney to Capetown on the MS Astor. However this time it was not the same. We felt that the staff were not interested in what they were doing, the lounge was closed most of the time and the band gave the impression that they were there for themselves and not for the passengers. Rita and I love to dance and during the cruise we must have danced for no more than 5 minutes in total. We were very disappointed with this cruise experience. So much so that we wouldn't travel on her again. For us the itinerary was perfect however the ship was not.
AstorYouTube

Our Queen Queen Beatrix

Our third combined cruise was a classic Trans Atlantic crossing on the ms Eurodam and back on the QM11. The Eurodam sailed from Copenhagen to New York.She is a beautiful ship and although she has more decks, more cabins and her tonnage is greater than the Westerdam she is roughly the same size.The decks on the ms Eurodam are all covered in vinyl except for the Promenade deck.There was a lot of good food served during the course of the day but it was not what of the standard you would expect from a high profile cruise ship.En route to New York we called into Thorhavn, Reykjavik, St. John and St Pierre.The passage through Prince Christian sound in Greenland was very interesting.The last time I visited Halifax was 50 years ago aboard the ss Maasdam. During that visit disembarking passengers were travelling to all parts of Canada by steam trains that left from the Quay. Some people had to travel for more than 5 days to reach their destinations.Now there is an old railway wagon there, as a monument to those old times.Of all the ships in the Line I think that the friendliest of them is the ms Amsterdam. It does not have as many passengers as the ms Eurodam, which makes the ms Amsterdam more intimate.. We had a very busy time in New York and after 6 days we were relieved to board the QM11 to head home. We had a good rest and no yetlag.This was our second journey on the QM11 and it was just as enjoyable as it was 4 years ago. We were very impressed by the friendliness and the discipline of the crew. The ballroom was superb with a different orchestra every night and also a big 16 piece band. Rita and I enjoyed the dancing whilst onboard.The last time I left New York by ship was in 1960 and my experience now was just as exciting as it was all those years ago. EurodamYouTube Queen Mary IIYouTube

My Queen Rita with the captain

On the 18th April to the 2nd May,2009 we cruised on the Regatta Oceania Cruises ship, ms Regatta, from Istanbul to Venice. She is a very good ship, beautifully decorated and has excellent dining facilities. There were no big shows of a night however they had a lively orchestra that was a pleasure to dance to. We were sailing with 580 other passengers which made it very comfortable to move around the ship especially when going ashore. We had a new harbour each day of our cruise which we like and the organisation on board made it a delight to sail on the ms Regatta.
RegattaYouTube
Restaurant Toscana

We sailed on the Norwegian Gem cruising for a week on the Mediterranean Sea. We then sailed from Malaga to New York. The Transatlantic crossing took 6 days. At times the weather was quite stormy and rough with waves from 8 to 10 metres high which is not unusual for December. The bad weather did not cause us to get seasick however as the ship ploughed her way through the huge waves it was nog so pleasant but very interesting to watch as the waves broke over her bow. Considering the rough weather we sailed through, the ship handled it very well and is beautifully decorated and comfortable. Norwegian Gem The onboard management was very good, particulary on embarkation and disembarkation. The sympathetic Captain and the Filipino crew were very friendly and made our trip as comfortable as could be expected considering the bad weather we experienced. There were many Americans on board who appeared to be very much overweight and always eating at the Freestyle restaurants. From out experience on this cruise, we feel that we would nog travel on a ship that had exclusively Freestyle dining again. There was always a long queue for meals.

Norwegian GemYouTube

On the 16th December 1959 I first sailed through the Panama Canal as a crew member on the ss Rotterdam on her South American cruise. Now 50 years later and after many cruises on many different ships I have sailed on all the oceans and through all the canals and big rivers in the world.
Rita and I have shared many cruises over the years and this Christmas cruise on the ms Rotterdam was our 46th. When we sailed through the Panama Canal this time (24th December 2009) it was exactly 50 years and one week since I first sailed through the Panama Canal. It was quite an emotional time for me.
MS RotterdamYouTube
I still have all the brochures and diaries from my time on the ss Rotterdam as well the 8mm films I took which have now been converted to Digital format. (See You Tube). ss Rotterdam eerste jaarYouTube
Rotterdam folderProclamation
The dining on this particular Christmas cruise was excellent. We had many formal dinners with the passengers always dressing up for the special occasions. The atmosphere on board was really friendly and relaxed . The dance music in the Ocean Bar was much appreciated by all and we enjoyed lots of dancing to the music played by the very talented musicians.

The tropical weather was enjoyed by every one and the aft deck chairs were reserved by 260 Dutch every morning so nobody could blame the German passengers this time.

Our flight to Miami from Dusseldorf with Air Berlin took 10 hours. Upon arrival in Miami we didn’t have to wait too long before the Shuttle bus arrived to take us to The Crown Plaza Hotel at Miami Airport. The next morning we went to Fort Lauderdale to board the MV Prinsendam. Getting on board was made very easy by the efficiency of the staff processing the passengers and their luggage. After lunch we met our daughter Marie Claire and her husband Robert on the docks and we drove to Plantation Florida. There we went to a Greek Restaurant for lunch and coffee. It was a very special time for all of us and of course when we had to say goodbye it was quite emotional.
The cruise across the Atlantic was very smooth. I have sailed across the Atlantic at least 40 times and never has a cruise been as smooth as this one. Not only that, we had sunny days with temperatures around 25 degrees centigrade every day. Horta and Ponta Delgada are both charming places and Rita and I enjoyed our walks around these cities. We enjoyed walking around Cadiz and also sitting on the terraces and enjoying the local coffee whilst also enjoying the ambience of the beautiful town.
Portimao has a wonderful Marina and the beach at Praia de Rocha is beautiful, very wide and also very clean. Upon arrival in Lisbon we walked into town and visited the Basilica, the Botanical Gardens and the Houses of Parliament. It was a very hot day and it was quite refreshing to sit on the terrace and enjoy a lovely cup of coffee. We were glad to get back to the coolness of the Prinsendam that day after our long hot walk.
The next day we sailed slowly down the Taag river to avery enjoyable day at sea. As we sailed into La Coruna I was taking movies of us sailing into port whilst my friend Jose was on land filming our arrival. The following day we strolled into town and later on we walked to the beach it was a very cold day so we virtually had the beach to ourselves.
It was the first time we had visited Bilbao and we were keen to have a good look around the town. We visited the Guggenheim Museum which was too modern for us to appreciate. We then decided to visit the town centre which was for us a shopping paradise. After leaving Bilbao we sailed on to Falmouth in Cornwall which is a charming English town and boasts the deepest natural harbour in the world.
Maritime Paintings In Le Havre we enjoyed our walk window shopping in the town centre a very pleasant day and very hot. Our final port was Dover where, on the boulevard, they were celebrating the anniversary of Charles Rolls first flight across the channel. He was the first man to make a non-stop double crossing of the English Channel by plane on the 2 June 1910. The flight took 95 minutes.The Rolls club had on display over 100 Rolls Royce.
In the evening it was time to say goodbye to our newly made friends over a Baked Alaska. It was a wonderful evening. The following morning I was up early to film our arrival into Amsterdam. We disembarked at 0800hrs and headed off to catch the train home to Eindhoven. Even though we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise it felt great to be home again. On this journey I made friends with the Food and Beverages Manager, Norbert Kovacs. He gave me a book with paintings in it by Stefan J. Card. It is a beautiful book which I will treasure very much. PrinsendamYouTube

Our table From 7 Dec. 2010 until 11 Jan. 2011 The ms. Marco Polo Amsterdam-Amsterdam. 2 Times across the Atlantic to the Caribbean vv visit 16 Ports traveling 10 000 nautical miles in 35 day's. Nice old ship very nice sailing clean and cosy. We had nice weather only one afternoon rain in Aruba. We visit nice friends in Curacao and Aruba. We started by embarkation in the terminal to make very nice friends and we had a lot of fan together. This was a nice cruise to the Sun without flying.
MS Marco PoloYouTube


Rito on the cablecarDinnerCruise 49. On the 27th March 2011  Rita and I flew from Dusseldorf to Miami. Upon arrival we transferred to our hotel for an overnight stay before embarking on the ms Marina at the Miami cruise terminal. The Marina is a luxurious middleclass cruise ship decorated with beautiful artworks and adornements. After two days at sea we visited Savannah, Georgia. It is a pretty town but it rained all the time we were there. Our next port of call was the historical Port of Charleston. After leaving Charleston we sailed for two sunny days up to New York where we were able to stay overnight in Soho with our daughter Marie -Claire and Robert, her husband. Soho is a very nice area and we were pleased to be shown around by son in law Robert and he was able to show us where his next building project is going to be. It was special occasion for both of us to share a very enjoyable evening meal as a family . The next day after a delightful lunch with Marie -Claire we bid her a fond farewell and then we adjourned to the ship for the next part of our voyage. The departure from New York was very enjoyable. During the sea days to Bermuda  and Madeira it was good sailing weather. The weather was so beautiful in Madeira that we went up in  the cable car where we had a clear view over the Island. From Madeira we sailed to Malaga and there it was nice to be on familiar territory and be able to visit our favourite coffee shop on the terrace. The disembarkation at Barcelona went off without a hitch and once again we were able to reflect on another wonderful voyage together. MarinaYouTube

 

GibraltarGoodbye Cruise 50. ms Ryndam 2 May-2 May. 2011. without flying. The trip from home, Eindhoven, to the Cruise Terminal took 1 hour 10 minutes. We were surprised to arrive in Rotterdam in such a short time. Whilst waiting to go onboard Rita and I and our friend who drove us to the ship enjoyed a cup of coffee in hotel New York. Leaving the Quay was the same as it was years ago, friends waving and watching the ship go out of sight. As we sailed along the waterway we saw a lot of people watching us sail by and after sailing for two hours we left the Hook of Holland behind. The itinerary was perfect for us. In 21 days we visited 16 ports. We enjoy visiting a lot of ports because we are able to get plenty of exercise walking around the various cities and towns. Our Stateroom was very comfortable and we were pleased with the food on board. As usual the crew were very friendly and accommodating, the staff they where not so friendly they walk around with there nose in the air and did not seem to be there for the passengers. This cruise was hardly three star. RyndamYouTube

RitaWith the captainCruise. 51 ms Nieuw Amsterdam Very nice cruise on the Mediterranean starting in Venice and ending in Barcelona. The weather was perfect right through out the itinerary. We met up with very nice and interesting people and visited interesting places, every night a wine and dance in the Ocean bar. We got a medal for good behaviour. ms Nieuw AmsterdamYouTube

FireworksRita and JoseCruise 52. 20 Dec. 2011-5 Jan. 20012. Christmas cruise on the Queen Elizabeth a beautiful ship very nice decorated and a lot of entertainment, and a good itinerary. We where very lucky with the weather very nice. After a long contact we met Jose Montero he is the photographer who all the nice pictures made from ships coming in and out of the harbor of La Coruna, he shows us around the city. The fireworks at Madeira on New Year where spectacular. Queen ElizabethYouTube

FriendsDubaiCruise 53. Dubai-Civitaveccia. We had with two of our good friends Toine and Franz a perfect KLM 6 hour flight Amsterdam-Dubai it was a very late arriving in the hotel so we had to wait to see Dubai. The next morning we had a quick taxi sightseeing before embarking the Brilliance of the Seas. Amsterdam - DubaiYouTube

After 5 years [cruise 39] again this nice ship with his very nice entertainment and weathers.We had a nice and sonny sailing together with a lot of fun and we met Stanley and his Trio again he did remember our favorite dans tune withs he played every night. The cruise romantic is completely gone its now pure business, they skipped a lot of usual items you now have to pay for like visit to the bridge 150$, so on the end of the cruise you have paid twice as much or more for the cruise.The cuisine was not tasty, not variable, no yogurt cups, or berries for breakfast, to much chicken and salmon for lunch en dinner. The harbors where not very interesting they just visit for making 12 a 13 our tours expansive 200$ even 250$ a glass of the cheapest wine 9.20$. Brilliance of the SeasYouTube

Rita and StanleyFred and RitaCruise 54. Civitavecchia-Amsterdam. After 54 cruise we are cruise professionals, we must say this was the worst from all. Still the ship, the weathers, the entertainment are very nice. It was a cheap cruise, cheap food, cheap people, cheap hubbub, cheap office. Bat balcony cabin we did not sleep well we did not eat well. We dissuade this cruise ship. Gibraltar and La Coruna nice places to visit the town and shopping, the other two harbors Le Havre and Dover we used to have a sleep that what we missed at night. Civitavecchia - AmsterdamYouTube

FredRotterdamCruise 55. Rotterdam-Singapore. Asia Cruise ms Rotterdam. Very nice on a calm sea with a lot of harbors we had been before but some nice to visit again where we had long walks. This time we had a Lanai Cabin. Still in Europe the weather was cool so we where not using our deck chairs often but it was nice to have a back door. In Abu Dhabi we did have a upgrading to a Veranda Balcony Stateroom. In the ding room we had the same table 304 for two like we had before four years with a couple of very nice weathers Demy and Atang. Before dining we had a drink in the Ocean Bar and a little dance, after dinner we visit the show or we had a nice talk with passengers. During the cruise I made photo's for the Holland America Blog and Shipping-newsclippings Julie Ellis give me 500 internet minutes mail for it. We met Leni and Roel and together with them we where invited by Piet Sinke from Shipping-newsclippings he and his lovely wife Elisabeth made us a great visit of Singapore.

FredRotterdamCruise 56. Indonesia Cruise Rotterdam. Many nice harbors in acquaintance places with very nice people a nice temperature some times a lot of rain in a short time. We had a lot of fun with several Becak taxi rides one’s for more than 3 ours so I did a lot of filming while riding. We visit several traditional Schooners old sailing ships. Indonesia Cruise RotterdamYouTube

Map Map

Christ the RedeemerLoungingCruise 57. Rio-Barcelona 2 April-20 April 2015. Seven Seas Mariner. Very good organized by VCK Travel with a group of 40. Amsterdam Rio good Hotel Windsor Atlantica. Next day excursion to the Corcovado a nice lunch together and a visit to the Pao de Acucar. Next morning a walk on Copacabana beach. In the afternoon boarding on the Seven Seas Mariner the checkin was on the ship very handsom. The ship had to be 6 Star we think 4 Star is more than enough. The group made the stay on board very pleasant and together we had several excursions and meetings after dinner. The ship was very smooth sealing and a lot of sun made the voyage. A relaxt 20 day. The transfer in Barcelona to the airport was with a little sightseeing good organized. Regent Seven Seas MarinerYouTube

Cruise 58

Cruise 57 and 58. With the Liner Queen Mary 2 we sailed Southhampton New York 22-7 11-8-2015.
From 31 July in Soho NY 2 days and Clinton Dutchess NY 3 days by our daughter and son in law. We had a wonderfull and pleasant stay. The 4th of Augustus we sailed out of New York back to Southhampton. Queen Mary 2 CunardYouTube

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