Throughout the last few weeks, exciting plans have been set in motion to remodel the nonfood side of Veendam‘s crew mess. In order to create a multipurpose area that all crew can enjoy, the stage was (literally) set for improvements. In addition to being an eating area and hangout spot, the room was previously home to our video game systems, e-readers and various other entertainment items. These items have now been moved to a new game room facility. Made possible by a joint effort of the nautical, technical and hotel teams, the project was implemented as a way to improve morale and offer our crew a comfortable place to relax and spend time with friends. Coined as “The Lounge,” the area was celebrated with a grand opening ceremony and reception.
This is one of the most amazing photos I have ever seen! It was taken by our very own Photo Manager Dan Wallace on a small island off the coast of San Blas Island, Panama. Using a super cool technique with a panoramic feature, he was able to capture this great photo.
Brandi Johnson is Veendam’s human resources manager.
Our first soccer match of the year took place this week agaisnt the Oosterdam in Juneau, Alaska. It was a great match up, with some very skilled players on each side. The weather was cool and rainy, but the players didn’t let that slow them down! The final score of the match was Zaandam 4, Oosterdam 5.
Joe Reina, the human resources manager for the Oosterdam, has worked very hard to arrange the field and transportation for these two ships, as well as the Statendam, which will alternate calls to Juneau with Zaandam.
Brandi E. Johnson is Zaandam’s human resources manager.
Our May 23rd call to Haines was special for the small Alaskan village, as we were the very first cruise vessel to visit for the 2012 season! We had a really fun welcome back celebration by way of a community vs. crew showdown! Members from the tourism board arranged locals to meet us in Tlingit Park for a variety of physical activities ranging from tug of war, a bigfoot relay race (where participants wore very large rain boots), “Banana Olympics” which involved several events with the fruit, and a bucket brigade with the passing of water from cup to cup over your shoulder. Everyone had a great time, and we enjoyed the interaction with the community members who came out to show their support for us.
Here is a great photo of our 2012 Asia season security team. They put in extreme effort to keep us safe throughout the season and even stood on 24-hour duty while we were in freezing weather in Beijing, China. Their efforts are greatly appreciated by their Zaandam family!
Brandi E. Johnson is Zaandam’s human resources manager.
This week aboard the ms Zaandam, we had the pleasure of celebrating the milestones of some of our very hard working crew members. A coffee chat was held in the Rotterdam Dining Room to welcome over 40 new HAL crew members and four Service Awardees were honored for their dedication. In front of their peers, Senior Locksmith, Mr. Oscar Pardilla and Chef de Partie, Mr. Mamerto Ballesteros were honored for 20 years of service by Captain Jan Smit, and were awarded with a badge of nobility proclaiming their accomplishment by Hotel Manager Edwin Brunink.
Each were presented with a gold watch as a symbol of our gratitude for their years of service. Wine Attendant Mr. Mario Gabon celebrated 15 years of service and received his coveted badge of nobility as well. Last but certainly not least, our Dining Room Manager Mr. Dwi Agus Susanto also received his badge for 10 years of service.
As the 2012 Asia season is coming to a close, the Zaandam is still treading through exciting waters as we continue to make inaugural calls to Japanese ports. A recent visit to Naha, Japan and the island of Amami-Oshima, Japan brought great new opportunities to introduce HAL to new communities and for our guests and crew to experience local culture. We soon found that the hospitality offered to us in these ports is almost unmatched.
The genuine enthusiasm of the crowd in Amami-Oshima could be felt by all as the Mayor addressed the gathering on the pier. The local weather was very tropical with plenty of rain fall, and we got to experience this sprinkling as the ceremony was held. The rain did not dampen anyone’s spirits though! A kiss on the cheek was given along with a very unique bouquet of flowers to our Captain Jan Smit, Hotel Manager Edwin Brunink and Cruise Director Michael Headla. Along with a gorgeous plaque outlining the island of Amami-Oshima, a bottle of spirits was presented as a welcome gesture. The Mayor was very proud to offer this item, as he explained it is only licensed to be made on the island and nowhere else.
Meanwhile, in Naha, a ceremony was held on board to celebrate our very first call. Staff Officers gathered with the tourism committee members and port officials for the ceremony.
Beautiful flowers and a very nice wooden plaque were given to the Zaandam, which will be proudly displayed in our forward staircase for all to see.
As the ms Zaandam sailed into Nagasaki, Japan for the first time on April 7th, we had no idea what a warm welcome we would receive from the Port!
A flag show featuring the Dutch flag was performed and a plaque exchange ceremony was held along the pier. Flowers were presented to Officers by members of the performing group, which were graciously accepted with brilliant smiles.
The exchange ceremonies are meant to celebrate the inaugural visit of a vessel to a port city, and this ceremony was a wonderful reminder of the gratitude felt by the communities when Holland America Line ships visit them. The sincere feeling of welcome that was created by this ceremony created a lasting positive impact for all who witnessed it.