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.
Brandi Johnson is Zaandam’s human resources manager.