Captain Pieter Bant

Ship: Eurodam

Born in the Netherlands, Pieter Bant knew early he was addicted to travel when his family moved to Aruba at age eight and spent nearly four years there, visiting South and Central America and also the United States. He wanted to work on the ocean so he enrolled at the Maritime College in Flushing, where he studied through 1987. He began his career on refrigerated cargo ships and served as Chief Officer from 1987 – 1994, taking a brief break to work for Holland America Line as Second Officer through 1995 but went back to working on refrigerated cargo ships in the commercial office through 2008. From 2008-2010, he worked as a marine auditor for Lloyds Register, carrying out safety management, security, environmental and quality management audits.

Returning to Holland America Line in 2010 as second officer, he rose to become captain by early 2018 and has since commanded S-Class, R-class, Vista Class and Signature Class ships. He was the final captain of the previous Rotterdam, and delivered it to new wwners Fred Olsen Cruise Lines. Now, he is currently on Eurodam.

Captain Bant and his wife, Diana, reside in the southwestern part of the Netherlands, close to the coast, and enjoy cycling, hiking, and taking out their sailboat. In addition to maneuvering the vessel past stunning scenery, Captain Bant enjoys working with various nationalities, crew and guests on board.

Captain Robert Jan Kan

Ship: Koningsdam

Born into a seafaring family in Wormerveer, the Netherlands, Captain Robert Jan Kan had a natural affinity for the sea. He studied at the Nautical Academy in Amsterdam, only a short distance from his hometown.

He later served as a deck and engineering officer on cargo ships owned by the Nedlloyd Group in 1991 (now a division of Maersk Container Lines).

In 1993, he was given the opportunity to join Holland America Line and has been moving up the ranks since.

After receiving his initial assignment as master on Rotterdam in 2009, Captain Kan then obtained a second appointment as master on Amsterdam.

Captain Jeroen Baijens

Ship: Nieuw Amsterdam

Captain Baijens joined Holland America Line in 1991, as a nautical officer.

Before long, then officer Baijens became part of the new-build team of Ryndam in 1994 and then joined the new-build team of Volendam in 1999.

After just over a decade, he was promoted to staff captain, and involved with the handover of Westerdam to Costa Cruises. He became a captain in 2007 and then a fleet captain in 2018, sailing the second of our Signature-class ships, Nieuw Amsterdam.

Captain Noel O’Driscoll

Ship: Nieuw Statendam

Captain Noel O'Driscoll joined Holland America Line in 1999. He made his debut as captain on Veendam III, which was also the first Holland America Line ship he was on.

He worked in Italy, where he was assigned to Holland America Line’s new-build program. While in Italy, he participated in the new build crews for Westerdam and Zuiderdam.

Captain Mark Rowden

Ship: Noordam

Graduating from Fleetwood Nautical College in 1986, Mark Rowden began as a junior seaman and deck cadet for Blue Star Line Ship Management and joined Chevron Corporation in 1992, working his way up to third officer and finally was brought on board Holland America Line in 1998. For the next several years, he climbed the ranks to shipyard chief officer, where he was part of the team behind the construction of the 81,000-ton Westerdam.

Captain Rowden received other maritime certifications, including Master Mariner and courses in Nautical Science and, from 2007 to 2008, he worked with Sultan of Oman Royal Yachts for the Al Said, one of the largest state-owned yachts in the world. In his role as commander, he worked on ship factory acceptance testing and inspection at the Al Said at Lurssen Shipyard in Germany

In 2008, Captain Rowden rejoined Holland America Line. Vessels under Captain Rowden’s command consistently rate as top-performing ships in the Holland America Line fleet, receiving top marks from inspectors and outstanding Carnival RAS audit scores.

Captain Kevin Beirnaert

Ship: Oosterdam

Born in Gent in Northwest Belgium, Kevin Beirnaert moved to Antwerp to attend the Maritime Academy, and spent his cadetship on Container Reefers, ships with a large cooling or freezing capacity. After graduating in 2004, he was employed for the world’s largest dredging company, “Jan de Nul,” and worked on the dredger Alexander von Humboldt in Dubai to build a new city, now world famously named Palm Island.

Captain Beirnaert joined Holland America Line in 2006 and rotated on several ships, including Rotterdam as third officer, Rotterdam VI through 2011, as first officer and was promoted to chief officer / staff captain in 2012, after having sailed on Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, and Veendam. On Eurodam for three years, he met his now-wife, Amber, who was vacationing with friends but had also been a cast member with the 2010 Holland America Line Revue shows, performing on Zuiderdam and Prinsendam.

Captain Beirnaert’s experience on Eurodam propelled him to the supervisory team of the company’s first Pinnacle Class ship, Koningsdam, then the second in the class, Nieuw Statendam V, and finally as staff captain to oversee the building of the third ship, Ryndam IV.

Captain Werner Timmers

Ship: Rotterdam VI

Born and raised in the town of Roosendaal in the southern part of the Netherlands, Captain Werner Timmers decided on a career at sea in his last year at Norbertus Lyceum. After entering the Nautical Academy in Vlissingen, he spent his apprentice year in 1984 aboard Holland America Line’s Noordam. After graduating in 1986 with a degree in navigation, he obtained a second degree in engineering six months later.

Captain Timmers began working with Holland America Line in 1987, as a fourth officer. Since then, he has served on most of the “dam” ships, working his way up through the ranks to his present position. His foremost responsibility is the safety and comfort of all passengers and crew on board. Captain Timmers now resides in Mount Dora, Florida, with his wife Sherron and cat, Sassie. He enjoys boating, golf and woodworking.

Captain Ryan Whitaker

Ship: Volendam

Captain Ryan Whitaker started at sea at a very early age, choosing an apprenticeship at age 16 with Shell Tankers, and he obtained his third mate’s license and sailed as a third officer on a Liquid Natural Gas tanker by age 19. When he came to Holland America Line in 2000, he was initially assigned as a second officer for Windstar Cruises, the luxury sailing yachts that were a subsidiary of the company at that time. In February 2005, he transferred to second officer on Zaandam and was promoted to chief officer in 2007. With experience on several ships, including Prinsendam, Zuiderdam, Oosterdam, Maasdam, Rotterdam and as staff captain on the final sailing of Statendam from Vancouver to Singapore. He was involved in the dry dock and reflagging of the ship and stayed with the ship’s transition team for 14 months. Currently, he commands Volendam.

While on a cruise in French Polynesia, he met his wife, who was also employed by Holland America Line at its Seattle headquarters. In 2006, they decided to relocate to England, where they now live with their two children. Their home is located in the English Lake District National Park.

Wouter van Hoogdalem

Ship: Westerdam

Captain Wouter van Hoogdalem, the current Master of Westerdam, came up through the ranks of Holland America Line and has enjoyed many years with the company.

Captain Ane Smit

Ship: Zaandam

Born in Terschelling, the Netherlands, Captain Smit has been with Holland America Line for 23 years. In 1994, he started his career as a cadet on Noordam, and rose through the ranks, beginning as a fourth officer and making his way to chief officer. He was captain of Maasdam for six years, later moving on to Prinsendam and Zaandam. He is currently the captain of Zaandam.

He received his education at the Nautical Institute Willem Barentsz Terschelling in the Netherlands.

He is married with two teenage boys and enjoys gardening, fishing, and beach combing. His favorite destination is Curacao.

Captain Friso Kramer gezegd Freher

Ship: Zuiderdam

Academically, he spent four years completing a pre-vocational secondary education and then continued at a maritime college at the age of 16. As an apprentice officer, he was on multipurpose cargo vessels and roll-on, roll-off vessels.

He obtained a bachelor’s degree in Maritime operations from the Nautical College of Rotterdam and was hired by Holland America Line in 2001 at the age of 24. He joined Rotterdam as a fourth officer and he rose through the ranks to become staff captain on Amsterdam in 2008 and in 2018, received first command of Amsterdam.

Captain Kramer gezegd Freher has a teenage daughter and enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, surfing, and skiing.