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Cruise Diary: Q & A With Veendam’s Hotel Director Bert

Carsten Korch, Chief Editor and Founder of Peru this Week, is currently sailing aboard Veendam’s 21-Day South America and Antarctica Holiday Voyage with his family. While aboard the ship he will chronicle his cruising experience for us on the blog. Enjoy!

Meet Veendam’s Hotel Director Bert van Mackelenbergh, who has been working with Holland America Line for more than 13 years. Bert was born in Holland in 1969, where he studied Hotel Management. In 1988 he moved to Germany to work and three years later he moved to Aruba, where his parents live, to open a restaurant within a holiday resort.

Why did you decide to join a cruise line company?

Bert: I lived in Aruba for about ten years and saw all those cruise ships visiting the island. One day I decided to sell my restaurant and go to see the world while working and getting paid to explore new countries and cultures. 🙂

Are you married?

Bert: Yes, I’m married to my wife Jennifer, but we don’t have any kids. She also works here on board.

Veendam’s Hotel Director Bert van Mackelenbergh.

Veendam’s Hotel Director Bert van Mackelenbergh.

How does that work?

Bert: It’s perfect. She works in our Excursions department to ensure our guests the best opportunity to see as many things as possible while they are sailing with us. You work for about four months and then you are off two months.

Where is home and what do you do in your spare time?

Bert: For the last 10 years my wife and I had an olive farm in Stellenbosh in South Africa, but we just sold it and moved to the U.S., where we bought ourselves a nice place in Las Vegas.

Why Las Vegas?

Bert: My wife’s family is from the U.S., so this was an opportunity to get a little closer to them. I love to travel and to camp, I also like photography and extreme running, so I’m never much “at home”. Las Vegas is more of a base for us. During my next vacation in January/February 2013, I’d like to go up to Alaska and drive around in the extreme cold and wintery mountains in that very special part of the world. If not Alaska, I’ll try to find myself a new marathon in which I have not participated yet. I’ve run in more than 200 marathons in the last 25 years, some of which were more than 100 km long. I really love running.

You and some colleagues participated in a cook off show and you made it to the next round among others competing with you. Who cooks at home and do you also compete at home with your wife?

Bert: We both love to cook and don’t really compete at home, but I make the best spareribs and she’ll confirm that (and she did).

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