When Holland America Line’s new Koningsdam sets sail in April 2016, Captain Emiel de Vries will be in command. He’s a familiar face to many, as he’s been with the company since 1997. You might also have sailed with him while he was captain on Amsterdam, Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Zuiderdam.
De Vries currently lives near Venice, Italy, to be close to the Fincantieri shipyard where Koningsdam is under construction. He is actively involved with the ship’s building, its operations and the design of the bridge, which will be valuable when he sets sail on the maiden voyage.
The Holland America Blog asked Captain de Vries some fun and interesting questions so fans could get to know Koningsdam’s first master better.
What’s a typical day like for a captain at the yard?
While at the shipyard my days are fairly regular in comparison to when onboard. Here we work together with Carnival Shipbuilding to verify and, where possible, assist the yard with implementing the systems and construction to our specifications. Parallel to that we are already quite busy with preparing the ship for the operation: safety procedures, maintenance management, etc.
What ports have the most beautiful sail-in?
Venice, New York, Stockholm, but there are many more…
If you could invite any three people (living or not, famous or not) to join you at the Captain’s Table for dinner, whom would you choose?
Sir Francis Drake so I can ask him what he thought of sailing through the passage between Cape Horn and Antarctica, which is now named after him; the man that changed physics forever: Albert Einstein; and of course my wife Susan – where are we without our life’s partners?
Where do you like to go on vacation (that’s not home)?
I like to travel through places and countries and get into the local life: visit markets, restaurants, museums, look at architecture, etc. Anywhere really.
If you could trade positions with anyone else on the ship for a day, what position would you choose and why?
That’s a hard one, I like so many aspects of our organization. I should probably work in the galley for a while and learn some of those nice recipes!
Where would we find you: B.B. King’s Blues Club, Billboard Onboard or Lincoln Center Stage?
I very much like the music of the B.B. King’s Blues Club, but needless to say I can’t wait to see the Lincoln Center Stage. I think that is going to be spectacular.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love taking the “kid’s duties” … taking our daughter to school and activities, etc. Home improvement, playing guitar, cooking and I usually try to spend the time that is left reading up on science, economics, those kind of topics. I usually have a hard time sitting still.
If you created a pizza for New York Pizza on Koningsdam, what would it have on it?
Well, nothing beats lots of pepperoni and cheese on a freshly baked pizza.
If you weren’t a cruise ship captain, what would you be doing?
Hmm … that is very hard to answer. Whatever it would be, I love to be involved with getting the most out of the team of people, but there are many walks of life where one can find that.
Bonus Fun Fact:
De Vries was introduced to Holland America Line in 1995 when he interned as a cadet on the former ms Noordam, and since joining the company he has sailed on every class of Holland America Line’s ships.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Captain de Vries grew up just east of Amsterdam. He graduated from the Hogere Zeevaart School in Amsterdam, one of the oldest nautical schools in the world, with degrees in navigation and engineering.
When not in Italy at the shipyard, Captain de Vries lives in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, with his wife, Susan, and their daughter.