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What Are You Thankful For? Facebook Fans Reflect

Cruises offer guests the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the world while being treated to caring service and making memories with loved ones. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, and across the country guests are counting their blessings. In honor of the holiday Holland America Line asked Facebook fans if there was a special crew member, fabulous destination or other Holland America Line experience for which they are grateful.

The question was met with a resounding ‘yes!’ Guests were most thankful for the people that made their experiences so meaningful. Warm memories of exceptional Holland America Line crew members and family gatherings along with anecdotes and images, poured forth. Also noted were the beauty of Venice, heavenly Half Moon Cay, St. Kitts, Hawaii and astounding Alaska.

Photos shared by Mallemolen Poots, Lucy Goei and Greg Krysia Moyle.

Photos shared by Mallemolen Poots, Lucy Goei and Greg Krysia Moyle.

Several guests mentioned Hunky Dorey, the server with a great talent for remembering names, and Jean-Pierre, the unforgettable dining room host on Volendam. Margadana and Yanuar Dwi — among the best dining room managers at sea — Lawrence the charming singing wine steward and Eric Bob the fabulous dining room supervisor were all praised. Some recalled inside jokes and bonding moments with their buddies onboard. Like Mallemolen Poots who wrote,

“Cheers Bouzie Bouzie from ms Rotterdam! He brought me cold beer and always made me laugh! For bouzie: woensdag gehaktdag.”

Lucy Goei mentioned Paulus from housekeeping who is hilarious. Others were thankful for cabin stewards Wisnu, Jay and Putu that dazzled on Nieuw Amsterdam, along with pairs like Mus and Ali who were ‘the greatest’ on the Alaskan Cruise on Statendam, Ari and Kolich from Oosterdam or DJ and Lu from Ryndam who helped to make Darla Isbell’s 50th anniversary cruise more memorable.

Holland America Line and its guests are grateful for the fabulous crew. Ozgur Turnuklu shared this photo of members of the Rotterdam team.

Holland America Line and its guests are grateful for the fabulous crew. Ozgur Turnuklu shared this photo of members of the Rotterdam team.

Sea days are made all the more pleasant thanks to Holland America Line’s professional entertainers. Jazzy Jeff Davis, the DJ that makes cruising fun; Lucky Lee the awesome entertainer from Noordam’s piano bar and David Anthony, the piano bar singer on Prinsendam who Margaret Chute credited with countless hours of good times.

Many echoed the sentiment that the crew on Holland America Line goes above and beyond to make sure their guests are enjoying their vacations.

Emmy Banning said she is grateful for Henry, the waiter on Oosterdam last September who was thoughtful and insightful. Henry went out of his way to accommodate dietary needs and gave special attention to Emmy’s guest that was recovering from a stroke.

“Full marks for Henry!” she said.

Scott and Marty Lara pose with Stan Kuppens, hotel manager, ms Eurodam.

Scott and Marty Lara pose with Stan Kuppens, hotel manager, ms Eurodam.

The hope is that all goes well in travel, but in case of conflict Holland America Line professionals have been known to rise to the occasion. Scott Lara, an avid mariner, mentioned that he was grateful for Stan Kuppens, the hotel director on ms Eurodam. A friend they were traveling with had to cut her trip short due to a medical issue and Mr. Kuppens went the extra mile to help return her to the states. She recovered quickly and Lara maintains a friendship with Mr. Kuppens to this day.

“Last year on the Eurodam on a Canada to Ft Lauderdale repositioning cruise we had to disembark in Bar Harbor due to a family emergency. Our Cabin Steward Putu helped us get off the ship by assisting with our luggage, some pieces were bigger than he was.” – Michael Lewis

Guests were also grateful for the memories made while cruising and the time spent with loved ones on Holland America Line. Touching stories emerged of togetherness, like Rex Parker who said, “As the holiday season comes upon us I keep thinking of my last trip to Alaska in September 2012 on HAL with my parents. We lost my step-dad earlier this year and as I wrap myself in memories the week we spent cruising Alaska on the Westerdam keeps coming to mind as it was such a fun and special trip for all of us enhanced by the wonderful Westerdam staff and crew.”

Precious memories with Holland America Line shared by David Mellichamp and Linda Hansell.

Precious memories with Holland America Line shared by David Mellichamp and Linda Hansell.

Linda Hansell shared a story of special times onboard with her mother:

“Years ago we had a waiter in training while cruising with my Mom. He was trying so very hard to please. During one of the meals we hid the silver after he had so carefully arranged each piece. You should have seen his face when everything was missing.

“We later cruised on the same ship hoping to find Mom’s friend, and took a picture my Mom treasured of them together, just on the chance he would be there. Luckily, he was.

“I no longer have my Mom, but will always carry fond memories of a very special young man.”

Other guests were thankful for having spent anniversaries, birthdays and vow renewals with Holland America Line. David Mellichamp wrote on behalf of his family. He said that his vow renewal at Half Moon Cay was a day to remember forever thanks to the staff of Westerdam, especially Buzz, Nickie, Diane, Dr. Nancy and Phil.

Family bonding is certainly on the minds of many during this season. Carla Vleugels mentioned her daughter Lynn who is working onboard Volendam as a cadet, and Will Dean Pham who offered props to his parents.

“One of my blessings is my parents who have taken me on Holland America Line three times!!!! And I’m only 14. I also thank the crew, service and food on your line. You guys are just amazing.” – Will Dean Pham

Photos shared by Jackie Buonocore Ferriso, Dianne Dundon Betzel, Joanne Spirito Stigerts and Stephen Fowler.

Photos shared by Jackie Buonocore Ferriso, Dianne Dundon Betzel, Joanne Spirito Stigerts and Stephen Fowler.

All in all folks are grateful for intangibles in their Holland America Line experience. Like Marjorie Shenkir who got something back from cruising.

“I am thankful for Scotty, my personal trainer aboard my Panama cruise Spring 2014. He got me started on the Rennaisance of my life! I’ve never been fitter, happier or healthier!” she said.

Jo Ann Cheek Baker said the fun time she had with Holland America Line left her glowing.

“Three older women, me included, took the eleven day land and sea cruise two years ago. It was the best vacation any of us ever had,” she shared. “Especially the cruise. Just can’t say enough about it only if we had a chance we would do it again. Thank you for making us feel young again. And special.”

Debbie Gulnick summed it up nicely when she said,

“Whenever I am on a Holland America Line ship I always feel at home and there is always someone I know. They are a part of my extended family, and its like going home every time I am on a HAL ship.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!”

Do you have a Holland America Line experience for which you’re grateful? Share below!

Follow Holland America Line on Facebook to join future conversations!

  • Ludwina van den Brink

    It is hard to mention somebody special, because on the ships that we have been, Rotterdam, Statendam and Volendam, everybody have always tried to make us feel good, make us feel happy, always full of attention, for whatever you asked for. I give a 10 to all of them, From the young boy that offered us every night some sweets after dinner, till the captain of the cruiseship.
    We love cruising Holland America Line.

  • Theo van koolwijk

    Had a great time on noordam

  • Mary Lou McInroy and Paul Wright

    We recently sailed on HAL October 3 for 30 days, South Pacific…MS Statendam. We are 3star Mariner and HAL is always like “coming home” when we first embark. This adventure has to be the very best time we have had. NO complaints, only praise for this fantastic ship and crew. There was so much to do on board! Cruise Director Rick Barnes was nothing short of fabulous. We Nick-named him amongst ourselves as “Ricky Ricky toc”, as he was here and there and everywhere, co-ordinating, and letting us know the ” beat” of activity, every day. Very hard working, brought prime entertainment to the stage, and he himself was hysterical, such a sense of humour. The best Cruise Director ever! We ate most meals on the Lido Deck. We sat nearest the clean up lichen as loved to watch and hear the “antics”of the servers
    We were so fortunate to get to know several servers. However, our favourite was Ketut Sumara. He was very special to us and we appreciated his humour and kindness. He has gone home now for a few months. Lia, and Komang, and Hulil, were new assistant Stewards from Indonesia/Bali. They were polite, hard hard workers, and professional. HAL is very fortunate to have hired these people, as we wanted for nothing. We had so many times, they made us laugh so hard. One gal, from the bar, Joanne, was a hoot. Very sweet, and fun, hard worker, a favorite for many. Joanne was from the Philippines. And how could we ever forget Ryan, the pastry and Ice Cream crew. He made awesome dessert, and was generous with ice cream, always smiling, pleasant. All of these people, including our room stewards, make the trip so wonderful. We would recommend them as hard conscientious crew. They are “keepers”. One more crew to mention is in the Hair dressing Spa on the Lido. There is a Japanese stylist, who cut my hair twice while on board. She was fabulous, and very skilled. Her name has escaped me, however she knows her profession, and my hairstyle has turned heads, back here in Canada…as not seen here. Many people have commented on it, she is wonderful! HAL is the only cruise ship we trust. We know we get extremely great value and will book again. The Lido Crew is applauded for making our trip the best ever! We have travelled Volendam, Nordam x2, Ryndam, Maasdam, Statendam. Goodbye to a beautifully appointed old ship the Statendam. As far as this trip, we would do it again, in a heartbeat, THANKS HAL….Mary Lou and Paul

  • Katy Doten

    Thanks to your exceptional crew, and especially to Gerald and Rommel the nicest bartenders around!

  • Janet

    I am thankful for the best Culinary Arts Center Host, Meredith Gavin! She’s the best!

  • Tracy love

    we were on the statendam going through Alaska last June. I love absolutely everybody on the staff! they are all fantastic people! the only problem is, is that you made our vacation so AMAZING that I can never ever ever take another vacation unless it’s aboard a HAL cruise line! I never want any other type of vacation again for the rest of my life! love you all and I can’t possibly thank you enough for such an amazing experience and memory!

  • Sharon

    We are on the Rotterdam having an adventure of a lifetime as we sail around Africa. What has made this voyages so extra special is the wonderful, fabulous, awesome Rotterdam Crew! We absolutely love our room stewards, Sumpero and Dendi who have done fantastic job keeping our room tidy. But most of all we enjoy them for their friendliness and warm smiles. And the Dining Room Staff is absolutely fantastic. Ozgur Turnuklu (pictured above with Intan-on the left and Rezwan-2nd from the left) is HAL Dining Room Manager that I would enjoy sailing with again. He is so friendly and does such a great job making sure that his staff give us the best service. Our AYWD Managers Yudi and Rezwan (second from the left) for this cruise have done a wonderful job making sure everything is to our liking, but pitching in when needed. And Intan (our hostess at the Dining Room entrance) never forgets a name. She is definitely a wonderful hostess that we are so lucky to have on this cruise. And we must not forget our wonderful dining room stewards Riza and assistant dining room steward Rezky. We love coming to the table each evening because we know they are there waiting for us with their wonderful smiles and fantastic service. And we aren’t the only guests who want these two to wait on them. So I would say we are extremely forunate to have such wonderful servers on the Rotterdam. I must also mention Beth and Angelo, our wine stewards in the Dining Room and the Pinnacle Grill who are so friendly and knowledgable about wines. We have sailed with Angelo before on two previous cruises and when he saw us, he not only remembered our names but the ship we had sailed on with him. So we are very thankful to have such wonderful crew (I could only mention a few) to come home to each time we encounter a new port on this cruise of a lifetime!!!

  • Marty Franssen

    We have been celebrating Thanksgiving this entire 83 day African cruise aboard the Rotterdam. Everyday we are thankful for the fantastic dining room experience we encounter. It all starts with our friendly greeting by Inten and our dining room manager Ozgur. Next, we Razal who always shares a kind word with us before we receive exceptional service by Reza and Rezky. Reza and Rezky greet us with smiling faces, make us laugh and go over and beyond in service. Thank you to all of the dining room staff and those in the kitchen

  • kunal


  • Annette Rouse

    My family consisting of 9 people recently sailed on the Noordam for a 7 day Caribbean cruise. We all had a fabulous time… No complaints from our our group at all. Enjoyed the dining room, had table 65 every night and had Kembar our waiter and Angelo our wine steward every evening. Wish I had spoken to Angelo more and found out what cruise ship or voyage he will be on again. Miss him!!

  • James Dales

    Returned Jan 10 from cruise on Westerdam where we enjoyed the hospitality of the ship. Rizki works the port side of the lido restaurant and typifies the type of service we come to enjoy on every cruise we take with HAL. He remembered our names and preferences for food and always smiling greeted us each day. He made it his mission to make our holiday special and make us feel at home in the best tradition of Holland America Line.

  • Stan Thurber

    Cruising on the Oosterdam and Westerdam were wonderful experiences. I would recommend these ships to anyone. I’ve cruised to Mexico, Alaska, & Caribbean and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Absolutely, one of the most popular spots on these ships is the Observation Deck, where everybody was crowded at the rails to watch the scenery. No matter, whether watching for whales, enjoying the view at Glacier Bay, watching as the ship departed or arrived at port, the Observation Deck is the place to be. That’s where you get the best views, and can mingle with other passengers. Some of the HAL ships have staterooms at the Observation Deck area, but thankfully the Oosterdam and Westerdam have this wonderful open space for their guests to enjoy.

  • Roxanne Pallot

    If you enjoy piano and entertainment, Phil Thompson on The Volendam is the one to see. Every night he fills the room and sings beautifully. All the audience sings along. Entertainment all.

  • David & Nancy McCormick

    Just completed our first cruise … a wonderful visit to Alaska. What a fantastic experience. Huge kudos to the entire staff … we were treated royally. A special shout-out to Rick Barnes, the Tour Director, who made every experience so much fun. Would also like to single out the two young men who took such great care of us … Joko and Johannes! They always had a wonderful smile and friendly greeting. An absolutely wonderful experience … I look forward to our second cruise!

  • Julie

    Thank you for sharing your kudos! We’re delighted you had such a wonderful time!

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