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An Interview with Captain van Zaane: Part 1

Our correspondent Rose Abello sat down with Captain Edward van Zaane, master of Nieuw Amsterdam, to ask him his thoughts about the new ship, the upcoming royal dedication and more.

Do you have a question for Captain van Zaane? Send it to and we’ll forward them along to our on-site reporter to see if she can get an answer.

Captain van Zaane

Rose Abello: What do you think of the ship overall?

Captain van Zaane: The Nieuw Amsterdam is such an incredibly stylish ship. I really like the overall color schemes and atmosphere. The architects and the interior designers have done a fantastic job in creating a sophisticated, cohesive look. Now I know I am biased, but I think she will be the most beautiful ship afloat. And as Captain, I also am very interested in the technical operations of the ship and the technical design is also excellent. We have such a talented team of people who work on our new builds and who have so much experience that each ship is a refinement of the previous ships and just gets better and better.

RA: How is the ship progressing in these last few days before we sail?

EvZ: So far we are on schedule and the ship is looking great. It is an amazing transformation when we unwrap the protective coverings, uncover the carpeting, put flowers in place and more to make the ship ready to receive guests. Right now we are in the midst of cleaning, loading, testing, training and more. All of our experience with this really makes my life relatively easy. But taking delivery of a ship is much more complicated than, say, buying a new car, putting the key in and driving off, so we have teams of people working round the clock making sure every system is tested and re-tested and also making sure every feature of guest comfort is perfect and in place.

RA: In your nearly 30-year career with Holland America, you have sailed on most Holland America ships and with literally hundreds of thousands of guests. What do you think guests will find special about the Nieuw Amsterdam?

EvZ: I think guests will love all of the dining options! The Tamarind, which debuted on the Eurodam, is a very special place to spend an evening. And Canaletto in the Lido and even informal spots like Slice by the aft pool — I think the guests will appreciate all of the choices. The Pinnacle Grill on this ship has a fresh new layout and look too.

I really like the new Showroom at Sea. This room is such an elegant interpretation of classic art deco style. And I must say I have really enjoyed what I have seen of the new shows.

But overall, this ship has a very clean, clear layout, and guests will find it easy to get around. It’s big enough to offer many choices, while at the same time feel cozy. There are tons of little areas to enjoy.

Check back tomorrow for the second part of the interview.

1 Comment
  • Minnie & Marjorie Gordon

    Hello Captain van Zaane, You may not remember us, but we certainly recall most fondly the 3 times we sailed with you; on the Volendam in June 2000, on a Circle Hawaii cruise on the Amsterdam in May 2005, & a Canada/New England cruise on the Amsterdam in the Fall of 2006. We received our Copper Medallions on the Hawaii cruise, so it is one we recall as one of our best cruises. We are also good friends of your friend Roderick Jongbloed — we and he keep each other up-to-date on news of Holland America!
    We just want to extend to you our warmest Congratulations on your appointment as Master of the Nieuw Amsterdam. It is indeed fitting that Holland America’s newest and finest ship should sail under the command of the fleet’s finest Captain! From the photos on the blog, it certainly does look like a beautiful ship, and we hope to someday have the pleasure and the honour of joining you on a cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam.
    Our Best Wishes to the Nieuw Amsterdam, her Captain, officers, and crew — and all who sail in her! Fair winds and smooth sailing to you all!

    Sincerely yours,
    Minnie and Marjorie Gordon,
    North Vancouver, Canada

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