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Mama Lou — Truly an Ambassador

Future Cruise Consultant Sheryll, right, with Mama Lou.

Future Cruise Consultant Sheryll, right, with Mama Lou.

When I first met Louise Meis, or as we all fondly call her, Mama Lou, I wondered why everybody knows her and why she has a great sense of familiarity of everything around her. She has a HAL name tag that identifies her as Ambassador. My curiosity led me to get to know this wonderful woman. As they always say, great things come in small packages.

She goes around with her walker with wheels, toting numerous bags with goodies for the crew. And her infamous “horn,” honking every time she passes by. She gamely poses for pictures with guests and crew members.

Mama Lou dedicated herself always to be on board for the Filipino and Indonesian Independence Days. She always lovingly mentions her appreciation for the Filipino and Indonesian crew. And of course, she is also on board to celebrate her birthday, her deceased husband’s birthday and their anniversary.

She has “lived on board” for the past years on the ms Zaandam and ms Veendam. And soon will be cruising mostly on the ms Ryndam. She has more than 5,000 days and cruises an average of 11 months in a year. She was featured in newspapers, on television and radio. In fact, I talked to a first-time cruiser and he mentioned that he wanted to be like Mama Lou! And during casual conversations with guests, they have kind words for her.

Mama Lou’s greatest and memorable cruise memories reflect clearly her enthusiastic day-to-day stories about Holland America Line. She collects a lot of mementos on board, she has almost all of the crew members’ uniform and over 800 name tags! She doesn’t bring much regular clothes, as one day she’s a dining room waiter, barista from the Exploration’s Café or cabin steward, and once she starts talking, she never stops! I thought I was talkative until I met Mama Lou! Her candor makes her loved by everybody, both crew and guests.

Mama Lou is an 85-year-old woman who takes pleasure in living life to the fullest, doing what truly gives her full significance of living … cruising. And Mama Lou finds joy with people surrounding her on board … her family.

Sheryll S. Tiangco is Veendam’s future cruise consultant.

  • Beth Dombek

    We met Mama Lou on the Ryndam in June 2010. She is a wonderful lady. We would love to know how to get in touch with her. Is there an address where we could send a letter so that she would get it on board? Thanks for your help with this.

    Beth Dombek

  • cheryl and mike toffel

    we met mama lou on the statewdam cruise with a probable on the prinsedam ? she was truly a inspriation to us and the entire crew. she was a dancing fool lol. we wish her many years of good health and hppiness. i would love to have her life and a permanent crusier i can’t think of a better place to be is on holland america with the best crew ever. they treated me like aprincess abd my husband like aprince. hope to see you soon. i would like to see mama lou again in our travels. we wish her A HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOR EVER AND EVER. LOVE AND KISSES TO MAMA LOU AND THE ENTIRED HOLLAND AMERICA STAFF VLOVE CHERYL AND HARVEY TOFFEL P.S HOW DO WE KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THAT LOVELY LADY !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Portia Sallee

    We met Mama Lou last year on the Ryndam, very lovely Lady and a treat to talk to. I wish her a very Happy Mothers Day and many happy years of sailing with Holland America.

  • Sandy

    I love Mama Lou, I will only cruise when she does, let me know the date of her cruises, I have people waiting to cruise only when she does.

  • Robby

    I am sitting with her now any information needed on her please call me, she is purchasing a new vehicle and is living life to the fullest.

  • Mama Lou

    Taking a break – future cruises not determined. Enjoyed seeing everyone this year. Thanks for the well wishes. God bless all.

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