This week on The Joy of Cruising Podcast, I am honored to welcome and bring to the listeners, Captain Albert, of Holland America Line. Captain Albert created and curates Captain Albert’s Website and Blog, described as “Ocean Liner History and Stories from the Sea, Past and Present. With an In-Depth focus on Holland America Line.” Captain Albert J. Schoonderbeek joined Holland America Line in 1981 on the old SS Statendam. He sailed a variety of HAL ships, attaining the rank of Captain in 2000. Captain Albert’s longest stints as Captain were on Veendam 2004 to 2008 and, Prinsendam 2008 - 2011.
In 2014, Captain Albert was offered the opportunity to assume the function of Travelling Master, and later Fleet Master, to lead a first-in-industry program to provide training for captains and deck officers. Like everything else, the program was put on hold when Covid hit. Earlier this year, burdened by having to repay the debt incurred due to the need to keep the fleet in running order while not generating revenue during the pandemic, the decision was made to shelve the program for at least three years. As that would put the restart of the program beyond Captain Albert’s official retirement date in 2025, the company offered early retirement this year after 42 years of service to HAL.
Working onboard HAL cruise ships has been Captain Albert’s vocation, his avocation is also cruise ships: running Captain Albert’s Website and Blog, traveling on non-HAL ships with his wife Lesley on what they call “busman’s holidays” (a vacation spent observing someone else in the practice of one's usual occupation), and writing books including Captain Albert’s current massive project—a five-part history of Holland America Line.
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