Tag Archives: Staff & Crew

Guest Michael McNerney was grateful for Rizi and Ari, who made his cruise to Alaska extra special.
Guest Michael McNerney was grateful for Rizi and Ari, who made his cruise to Alaska extra special.

Cruises offer guests the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world while being treated to caring service and making memories with loved ones. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, and across the country guests are counting their blessings. In honor of the holiday Holland America Line asked Facebook fans if there was a special crew member, fabulous destination or other Holland America Line experience for which they are grateful.

The question was met with a resounding ‘yes!’ Guests were most thankful for the people that made their experiences so meaningful. Warm memories of exceptional Holland America Line crew members and family gatherings along with anecdotes and images, poured forth. Also noted were the beauty of Venice, heavenly Half Moon Cay, St. Kitts, Hawaii and astounding Alaska.

Photos shared by Mallemolen Poots, Lucy Goei and Greg Krysia Moyle.

Photos shared by Mallemolen Poots, Lucy Goei and Greg Krysia Moyle.

Several guests mentioned Hunky Dorey, the server with a great talent for remembering names, and Jean-Pierre, the unforgettable dining room host on Volendam. Margadana and Yanuar Dwi — among the best dining room managers at sea — Lawrence the charming singing wine steward and Eric Bob the fabulous dining room supervisor were all praised. Some recalled inside jokes and bonding moments with their buddies onboard. Like Mallemolen Poots who wrote,

“Cheers Bouzie Bouzie from ms Rotterdam! He brought me cold beer and always made me laugh! For bouzie: woensdag gehaktdag.”

Lucy Goei mentioned Paulus from housekeeping who is hilarious. Others were thankful for cabin stewards Wisnu, Jay and Putu that dazzled on Nieuw Amsterdam, along with pairs like Mus and Ali who were ‘the greatest’ on the Alaskan Cruise on Statendam, Ari and Kolich from Oosterdam or DJ and Lu from Ryndam who helped to make Darla Isbell’s 50th anniversary cruise more memorable.

Holland America Line and its guests are grateful for the fabulous crew. Ozgur Turnuklu shared this photo of members of the Rotterdam team.

Holland America Line and its guests are grateful for the fabulous crew. Ozgur Turnuklu shared this photo of members of the Rotterdam team.

Sea days are made all the more pleasant thanks to Holland America Line’s professional entertainers. Jazzy Jeff Davis, the DJ that makes cruising fun; Lucky Lee the awesome entertainer from Noordam’s piano bar and David Anthony, the piano bar singer on Prinsendam who Margaret Chute credited with countless hours of good times.

Many echoed the sentiment that the crew on Holland America Line goes above and beyond to make sure their guests are enjoying their vacations.

Emmy Banning said she is grateful for Henry, the waiter on Oosterdam last September who was thoughtful and insightful. Henry went out of his way to accommodate dietary needs and gave special attention to Emmy’s guest that was recovering from a stroke.

“Full marks for Henry!” she said.

Scott and Marty Lara pose with Stan Kuppens, hotel manager, ms Eurodam.

Scott and Marty Lara pose with Stan Kuppens, hotel manager, ms Eurodam.

The hope is that all goes well in travel, but in case of conflict Holland America Line professionals have been known to rise to the occasion. Scott Lara, an avid mariner, mentioned that he was grateful for Stan Kuppens, the hotel director on ms Eurodam. A friend they were traveling with had to cut her trip short due to a medical issue and Mr. Kuppens went the extra mile to help return her to the states. She recovered quickly and Lara maintains a friendship with Mr. Kuppens to this day.

“Last year on the Eurodam on a Canada to Ft Lauderdale repositioning cruise we had to disembark in Bar Harbor due to a family emergency. Our Cabin Steward Putu helped us get off the ship by assisting with our luggage, some pieces were bigger than he was.” – Michael Lewis

Guests were also grateful for the memories made while cruising and the time spent with loved ones on Holland America Line. Touching stories emerged of togetherness, like Rex Parker who said, “As the holiday season comes upon us I keep thinking of my last trip to Alaska in September 2012 on HAL with my parents. We lost my step-dad earlier this year and as I wrap myself in memories the week we spent cruising Alaska on the Westerdam keeps coming to mind as it was such a fun and special trip for all of us enhanced by the wonderful Westerdam staff and crew.”

Precious memories with Holland America Line shared by David Mellichamp and Linda Hansell.

Precious memories with Holland America Line shared by David Mellichamp and Linda Hansell.

Linda Hansell shared a story of special times onboard with her mother:

“Years ago we had a waiter in training while cruising with my Mom. He was trying so very hard to please. During one of the meals we hid the silver after he had so carefully arranged each piece. You should have seen his face when everything was missing.

“We later cruised on the same ship hoping to find Mom’s friend, and took a picture my Mom treasured of them together, just on the chance he would be there. Luckily, he was.

“I no longer have my Mom, but will always carry fond memories of a very special young man.”

Other guests were thankful for having spent anniversaries, birthdays and vow renewals with Holland America Line. David Mellichamp wrote on behalf of his family. He said that his vow renewal at Half Moon Cay was a day to remember forever thanks to the staff of Westerdam, especially Buzz, Nickie, Diane, Dr. Nancy and Phil.

Family bonding is certainly on the minds of many during this season. Carla Vleugels mentioned her daughter Lynn who is working onboard Volendam as a cadet, and Will Dean Pham who offered props to his parents.

“One of my blessings is my parents who have taken me on Holland America Line three times!!!! And I’m only 14. I also thank the crew, service and food on your line. You guys are just amazing.” – Will Dean Pham

Photos shared by Jackie Buonocore Ferriso, Dianne Dundon Betzel, Joanne Spirito Stigerts and Stephen Fowler.

Photos shared by Jackie Buonocore Ferriso, Dianne Dundon Betzel, Joanne Spirito Stigerts and Stephen Fowler.

All in all folks are grateful for intangibles in their Holland America Line experience. Like Marjorie Shenkir who got something back from cruising.

“I am thankful for Scotty, my personal trainer aboard my Panama cruise Spring 2014. He got me started on the Rennaisance of my life! I’ve never been fitter, happier or healthier!” she said.

Jo Ann Cheek Baker said the fun time she had with Holland America Line left her glowing.

“Three older women, me included, took the eleven day land and sea cruise two years ago. It was the best vacation any of us ever had,” she shared. “Especially the cruise. Just can’t say enough about it only if we had a chance we would do it again. Thank you for making us feel young again. And special.”

Debbie Gulnick summed it up nicely when she said,

“Whenever I am on a Holland America Line ship I always feel at home and there is always someone I know. They are a part of my extended family, and its like going home every time I am on a HAL ship.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!”

Do you have a Holland America Line experience for which you’re grateful? Share below!

Follow Holland America Line on Facebook to join future conversations!

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At Holland America Line, we hear a lot of praise and kudos about our crew from our guests. Many times, it’s the crew that make a Holland America Line cruise an exceptional vacation experience. Going above and beyond to add a special touch, taking that extra step to make things perfect, a simple smile and good morning. What makes Holland America Line’s crew exceptional is that all of these extra touches come from the heart. They are genuine and sincere, done out of a true desire to make every moment memorable. To thank our crew onboard, each ship honors an Employee of the Month, someone who has gone that extra mile. The ships also have a monthly Service Award ceremony recognizing years of service, as well as a new hire luncheon to welcome all of the new crew to the Holland America Line family.

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We just came back from a Caribbean Cruise on the Maasdam. We would like to thank the crew who served us so well. Our room stewards, Agung and Kadek, our room was always neat and clean and they were always helpful. Our dining room waiters, Trisna and AA, were friendly and always ready to answer any questions we had. Our wine stewards Neil and Jerry were always friendly with a ready smile. The dining room staff always made our mealtime a happy one. In the Pinnacle Grill we had Kristina, Ary and Jane, as usual they were most attentive to us and very friendly. On the Lido deck we made friends with Dessy, Patricia and Mahrub, who truly made breakfast and lunch a delight. Jodene in the Gift Shop was most helpful. Our thanks to Holland America for having such a wonderful staff. They truly made our cruise a most enjoyable one. We are looking forward to our next one. — Guests Al & Pat De Paolo

Loyalty and dedication are a large part of the Holland America Line culture. Every month we honor the crew members who reach a milestone year of employment with the company. Statendam recently awarded 10-, 15- and 20-year service pins to several crew members who made up 155 years of total service! Stateroom Inspector Sumartono Sastro was honored for his 30 years with a specially made ring that has the Holland America Line logo in gold and three diamonds each signifying 10 years of service.

From left: Hotel Director Bert van Mackelenberg; Tailor Gerarado Malaca – 15 years; Stateroom Inspector Sumartono Sastro – 30 years; Executive Housekeeper Albert Lammers; Personal Cook Filipino Herminio Pagtalunan – 10 years; Security Guard Jose Cope, Jr. – 10 years; Staff Captain Michel Boer; Assistant Cook Joel Pugoen – 15 years; Security Officer John Prins; Poissonnier CDP Paulito Sante – 20 years; Restaurant Steward Willy Brand – 20 years; Dining Room Manager Donny Dharmawan; Culinary Operations Manager Bart Groenveld – 15 years; Senior Locksmith Oscar Padilla – 20 years; 1st Officer Albert Kienloff and Captain Eric van der Wal.

From left: Hotel Director Bert van Mackelenberg; Tailor Gerarado Malaca – 15 years; Stateroom Inspector Sumartono Sastro – 30 years; Executive Housekeeper Albert Lammers; Personal Cook Filipino Herminio Pagtalunan – 10 years; Security Guard Jose Cope, Jr. – 10 years; Staff Captain Michel Boer; Assistant Cook Joel Pugoen – 15 years; Security Officer John Prins; Poissonnier CDP Paulito Sante – 20 years; Restaurant Steward Willy Brand – 20 years; Dining Room Manager Donny Dharmawan; Culinary Operations Manager Bart Groenveld – 15 years; Senior Locksmith Oscar Padilla – 20 years; 1st Officer Albert Kienloff and Captain Eric van der Wal.

I sailed aboard ms Zuiderdam in November 2012, from Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas, Aruba, Curacao, Costa Rica and Panama. I had such a wonderful experience and the crew was fantastic, especially the pool attendants. These guys really know how to treat people with such great hospitality. Special recognition to Nestor Duran Jr., Sarkadi, Irman Nadhiantari, Dennis Magpoc, Pete Gatpandan and Girley Mendoza. Keep up the great work! – Alexander J. Uribe

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Recently, Veendam also honored five long-serving employees who, when you combine their years of service, have exactly 100 years with the line. Pictured are the honorees as well as their managers who came to celebrate the achievements of their team members.

 Pictured from left: Culinary Operations Manager Cliff Strerath, Executive Chef Owen de Souza, Restaurant Steward Nono Setiono – celebrating 35 years, Dining Room Manager Ketut Johny Athena Frederix, Assistant Cook Elpidio Berja, Jr. – celebrating 20 years, Lead Stateroom Attendant Adhy Priyono – celebrating 10 years, Executive Housekeeper Parmonangan Nainggolan, Foreman SA Edilberto Ampuan – celebrating 20 Years and Staff Captain Colm Ryan – celebrating 15 years.


From left: Culinary Operations Manager Cliff Strerath; Executive Chef Owen de Souza; Restaurant Steward Nono Setiono – celebrating 35 years; Dining Room Manager Ketut Johny Athena Frederix; Assistant Cook Elpidio Berja, Jr. – celebrating 20 years; Lead Stateroom Attendant Adhy Priyono – celebrating 10 years; Executive Housekeeper Parmonangan Nainggolan; Foreman SA Edilberto Ampuan – celebrating 20 Years, and Staff Captain Colm Ryan – celebrating 15 years.

I cruised Holland America for the first time on a 10 day cruise to Panama, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, Curacao, Aruba and Costa Rica and I was simple amazed at the level of service provided. The room attendants did an outstanding job of keeping the room clean and in order. The dining experience was excellent from the main dining to the buffet so enjoyable and the food was delicious. There were several people who served our group that kept us happy; Din Din, Denny, Mayan and manager Steptoe made sure we were happy. I fell in love with the crew on the Zuiderdam and hope we can travel with them again in the future maybe to another location because they certainly do know how to treat the passengers with the utmost love and respect. — Guest Pearlie Sanders

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Many of the Holland America Line crew members are far from home. They hail from all over the world, and it’s an international melting pot of cultures. A large portion of the crew are from the Philippines. When Amsterdam recently called at Manila, the ship welcomed more than 1,500 visitors over the two-day call.

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So a heartfelt thanks to all of the Holland America Line crew!

Kees van der Kooy spotted himself on Eurodam in a 1961 photo.
Kees van der Kooy spotted himself on Eurodam in a 1961 photo.

Miraculous things can happen at any time. Some call it fate, others destiny. Sometimes it’s just being in the right place at the right time. With Holland America Line’s history spanning more than 140 years, it’s inevitable that many of our guests experience these encounters onboard.

These wonderful stories below tell the tales of four different guests. One was taken back to his youth, another was reunited with a long-lost family member and two came home again to their Holland America Line family.

Enjoy these heartwarming stories, and tell us … Did you have a chance encounter on your Holland America Line cruise? Did fate step in and play an important part of your vacation? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Eurodam’s Hotel Director Stan Kuppens sent in this remarkable story about a guest who needed to do a double-take in a corridor onboard.

Kees van der Kooy recently sailed on ms Eurodam and to his surprise, while walking in the corridor on Deck 4 he all of a sudden looked himself in the eyes … 52 years later.

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On ms Eurodam we have black and white photos hanging in the guest corridors for decor. Guests love these black and white photos and often walk around the ship looking at them. We have pictures of ships, crew, ship building and also of guests.

Kees van der Kooy was on the ss Rotterdam 52 years ago on the “Tulip Sailing” from New York to Rotterdam. His parents (also in the photos) were heading permanently back home to Holland after staying and working in Curacao for 10 years. On this sailing several pictures were taken and obviously later used by VFD (our Interior Designer) to be placed onboard the ms Eurodam as corridor art.

You can imagine the surprise when Kees saw himself in the 1961 photos of him and his family. The event taking place in the pictures was “Create Your Own Hat” in which the guests had to dress themselves up. Kees was wearing a fur hat and he made a Tulip Hat (very appropriate for the Tulip Sailing they were on) for his father. The captain thought this hat was so creative that he awarded Kees and his father with a price … a Delft Blue House that Kees still has on display above the fireplace at his home. — Eurodam Hotel Director Stan Kuppens

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Here’s an incredible tale about a chance encounter with a family member while sailing on Prinsendam.

Edna and J. Richard Airey, with Joanne and Gary Graf in the Pinnacle Grill for our final evening together.

Edna and J. Richard Airey with Joanne and Gary Graf in the Pinnacle Grill.

Sailing last year around the Iberian Peninsula on the Prinsendam, I received a call from the front office, saying a lady wanted to speak to me. She had found my room key, which I had lost the previous day, and recognized my name. When I answered her call, she asked if I was Auntie Edna, as she had found my card with my full name on it and figured there could not be two people with that name. Of course I realized she was my Canadian niece whom I had not seen for years, and made a date to meet in the bar that evening.

What fun when she and her husband met my husband and me in the bar! Somehow we recognized each other even though I had seen her only once since she was a child. What a coincidence that she would be on the same cruise and then find my key! We had a great time getting reacquainted over the next two weeks, and we are now in constant touch. This chance meeting was the icing on the cake on a really great cruise. — Edna Airey

Sometimes it’s nice to go home again to a place that was a big part of your life, like these two former crew members.

Volendam had two special guests on a recent cruise that used to be dining room stewards on Holland America Line in 1969. Adolf Eitzenberger and Bernard Oost both worked on ms Statendam and shared “then” and “now” photos.

Dining room stewards Bernard Oost, right, and Adolf Eitzenberger on Statendam in 1969.

Dining room stewards Bernard Oost, right, and Adolf Eitzenberger on Statendam in 1969.

From left: Assistant Dining Room Manager Raymond van Hoorn, Bernard Oost, Adolf Eitzenberger (back), Assistant Dining Room Manager Aris Nurdianto and Dining Room Greeter Putu Andara on their recent cruise.

From left: Assistant Dining Room Manager Raymond van Hoorn, Bernard Oost, Adolf Eitzenberger (back), Assistant Dining Room Manager Aris Nurdianto and Dining Room Greeter Putu Andara on their recent cruise.

Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC.

Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC.

Holland America Line’s very own Stephanie Anne Johnson, a solo guitarist from Tacoma, Wash., who has performed on several Holland America Line ships, auditioned on the hit program “The Voice” Oct. 1 during the blind auditions round and was chosen to be on Team Christina!

Many Holland America Line employees helped with the creation of a preview segment about her that was filmed on ms Westerdam this summer. Johnson has sailed as a solo guitarist on ms Amsterdam, ms Westerdam, ms Zaandam and ms Zuiderdam, as well as Seabourn Quest.

Check out her audition here: http://www.nbc.com/the-voice/artists/stephanie-anne-johnson/

You can also check out “The Voice” episodes after they air at http://www.nbc.com/the-voice/.

About “The Voice:” The show’s innovative format features four stages of competition: the blind auditions, the battle rounds, the knockouts and, finally, the live performance shows.

During the blind auditions, the decisions from the musician coaches are based solely on voice and not on looks. The coaches hear the artists perform, but they don’t get to see them – thanks to rotating chairs. If a coach is impressed by the artist’s voice, he/she pushes a button to select the artist for his/her team. If more than one coach pushes his/her button, the power then shifts to the artists to choose which coach they want to work with. If no coach pushes his/her button, the artist is eliminated from the competition.

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Wendy R. London, HAL Mariner and corporate affairs manager/founder of CruiseBubble.com, sailed aboard Prinsendam and shared her vacation experience. This is her farewell post.

There’s something very special about the Prinsendam, something very special indeed. She’s extremely elegant, spacious for a small ship, beautifully appointed, extremely passenger-friendly, and may I dare say, cute? But most importantly, she carries with her a crew that is second to none. I mean that. Second to none. In fact, I will go so far as saying that when we arrived, they were crew. By time we left, they were family. (And of course, there were several crew members with whom we’ve sailed before, so they are well and truly family.) Old friends included Christina, who became the Cruise Director on the second part of our voyage, Kris in the Pinnacle and Charlie – from the dining room staff, all of whom warmly greeted us when we boarded.

Prinsendam - moored in Flam.

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Guest John Arnold was so kind to recognize the production cast aboard Statendam. Thanks, John!

Do you have a great story about our fabulous crew and how they touched your cruise experience? If so, share it with us! Send your story and photos to info@hollandamericablog.com.

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We spent four weeks on Statendam in Alaska this summer and fell in love with the production cast! The entertainment was top notch and these talented performers are delightful to know. We are in this photo with them and want to thank each one for being hospitable and friendly.

Here are some great group photos taken during Nieuw Amsterdam’s crew tour to The Ruins of Pompeii on July 20. The crew had a great time!

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