Carsten Korch, Chief Editor and Founder of Peru this Week, recently sailed aboard Veendam’s 21-Day South America and Antarctica Holiday Voyage with his family. While aboard the ship he chronicled his cruising experience for us on the blog. Enjoy!
Whenever I am flying, or in this case cruising, I always wonder who is behind that official-sounding voice who keeps us updated on the most important things during our trip. On board the ms Veendam, that voice belongs to Captain Peter Bos, who makes sure everyday that we are well taken care of, that safety is considered the first priority, that the rules are followed in order to ensure everyone’s well-being, and that we can all enjoy this great adventure. Captain Bos does a fantastic job, and I’d be happy to cruise with Holland America Line under his command anytime. Amid all of his responsibilities that include giving orders, managing his team and collecting and providing information, the captain took ten minutes out of his day to sit down and tell me a little about himself. This is what I learned.
Peter Bos was born to Dutch parents in Lagos, Nigeria, where his father worked on a cargo ship. He was later sent to Holland to study; his parents hoped he would become a doctor, dentist, or engineer, but his dream was to become a commercial pilot. As this was in the beginning of the 1970s and the world was in the midst of an oil crisis, however, the aviation school closed, and he changed his dream from flying to sailing. After five years of sailing on Shell oil tankers, he was offered a job as officer with Holland America Line. He has been with the company for 31 years and he has been a captain for 16 of those years. He loves his job and that becomes clear every time you see him or have the chance to talk to him.
When I asked him what was the most important aspect of his job, he answered that besides sailing the ship and ensuring people’s safety, communication with his passengers and staff was the most important thing. By communicating with his passengers and staff regularly he can make sure that there are no unanswered questions hanging in the air and that his actions are transparent at all times.
Carsten Korch: What is the most difficult part about your job?
Captain Bos: It is when we have to disappoint one or more passengers. Sometimes we have to cancel a port due to weather conditions, return to the last port of embarkation if someone gets really ill or dies onboard and a helicopter cannot reach us. Whatever may affect my passengers in a negative way makes my job difficult.
Carsten Korch: What’s the nicest part of your job?
Captain Bos: After so many years at sea, I get to see so many friends on my different routes, of which I especially love Antarctica, Alaska and New Zealand; and the fact that I work 3 months and then can go home and be with my wife and dogs in North Carolina for 3 months, where I also have a chance to enjoy sailing and golf.
Carsten Korch: When you’re on sea, what do you miss the most?
Captain Bos: Of course, being disconnected from family and friends is always difficult, so when they send me mail and pictures about events I have been missing while I was away, but then when I get home for three months, I try to make up for it.
Carsten Korch: What’s you favorite dish?
I have tried almost everything from alligator to kangaroo. I like Thai food as well as Indonesian, Dutch food and all of them. If they are well prepared, it tastes very good. If I had to choose just one plate, it would be a well-prepared halibut. Nothing beats a delicious cooked halibut, maybe besides some nice lamb chops.
Carsten Korch: What are you planning to do after your time as a captain with Holland America Line?
Captain Bos: To retire, which still is a few years away from now, and then play golf, go sailing and walk my dogs everyday.