In addition to presenting Captain Frans with an award of his own (made from the old propeller of the Beautiful and Elegant ms Statendam) at the Mariners Awards to a packed auditorium of five-star mariners and Staff Officers, Officers and Crew, we were able to have a surprise evening of drinks, food and merriment for him up in the Staff Officer’s Corridors/Cabins. Here we were able to show two videos specially made for Captain Frans collaborated from photos received from across the fleet and taken on board the Statendam by the human resources manager assistant, as well as from video clips from the Photo Department. It was a relaxing night to sit around and chat with our dear Captain, talking about the things he is planning to do when he gets home. Captain Frans Consen will be missed by all, but we all wanted to wish him a wonderful retirement and happy days ahead.
“Kiss the fish! Kiss the fish! Kiss the fish!” Thousands of voices chanted from Statendam’s pool deck.
On December 16, as we crossed the equator, it was time for our traditional ceremony where King Neptune and his Queen judge the pollywog’s fate. There were 25 pollywogs, all of them crew members who had never crossed the equator before. There were representatives from each department including the deck department, engine department, housekeeping department, administration department, front office and entertainment department. All pollywogs were dragged by pirates from the Oasis to the lido deck where they were caged while waiting for their fate to be decided.
Have you ever wanted to swim with stingrays and sharks in the Pacific Ocean? Here on Bora Bora Island, Polynesia (self-claimed the best island in the world), we did just that during the Bora Bora Shark & Ray Encounter. Departing the pier in Vaitape, our guide and the captain dropped us on a shallow sand bank where we discovered the elegant yet harmless stingrays. We fed and played with them, then the next stop was Motu Lagoon where the harmless black tip sharks welcomed us. While snorkeling with the sharks, they glided effortlessly around us, and our guide free dived and swam with a very big shark more than three meters long in depths ranging from 5-10 feet. It was enough for us to overcome our thoughts to swim with the medium size ones . The final destination was a private island where we relaxed on the white-sand beach and enjoyed some local fruits. It was an amazing day and everyone had a great experience.
Aloha! During our call at Hilo, Hawaii some of the crew took the opportunity to take the Waterfall, Cave & Black Sand Cove tour. James, our tour guide, explained a little bit of Hawaii’s fascinating history along the spectacular wild beauty of coastal Hilo on our way to Rainbow Falls. Eleven of Statendam’s crew also explored the Kaumana Caves that were formed by the 1881 eruption of Mauna Loa, the largest volcano in the world. Our final attraction was the rugged coastline and Black Sand Cove. Here we had a great time enjoying snorkeling, swimming with turtles, sun bathing and, of course, relaxing on the black sand itself.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico was a beautiful place to spend our leisure time. The day was a perfect mix of ecological discovery, natural beauty and spirited entertainment. We were greeted by Jaime, our tour leader for the Sea Lion Encounter tour, at the pier. Then a private catamaran sailed us to a private resort where sea lions live. Marina and Marta, the sea lions we played with, are big, cute and absolutely hilarious when they waved their hands to welcome us. We got nose to nose, kisses and hugs with our sea lions. They jumped over us for a comical and entertaining encounter like no other in the world. After enjoying fun activities with the sea lions, we had lunch and then met and greeted some parrots and iguanas. Also, our physician took his family on the tour, of course with his little cute kiddos, Aryn and Ryan. We really enjoyed the tour. Believe me, this is truly a unique and magical experience full of unique interaction and fun water activities.
On August 16, 2012, the 67th Indonesian Independence Day celebrations kicked off with the flag hoisting ceremony on the bow of the ship while we were in Skagway, Alaska. The ship’s officers and crew members from Indonesia and other countries participated in this ceremony.
The following day, Statendam’s staff helped out by volunteering to serve food for The Indonesian Independence Day & Eidul Fitri dinner. The happiness of the crew brightened up the room. It was so great to see that the celebrations were attended by all, Indonesians and other nationalities alike. The crew members and officers of Statendam constantly display respect for one another, no matter where we come from, or what we do here on board. Here on Holland America Line, we are family.