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Zaandam Crew Members Celebrate End of Ramadan

If you’ve ever been on a Holland America Line cruise you know just how hard our crew members work. In fact many crew members work an average of 10 to 12 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be tough for anyone. Now imagine working that hard without eating or drinking (not even water) from sunrise to sunset. Many of our Indonesian crew know exactly what that is like since that is exactly what they do during the holy month of Ramadhan. That is all over now because today is Hari Raya Idul Fitri- the celebration of the end of Ramadhan. As you might imagine we have a lot of very happy crew members on board today!

Idul Fitri is perhaps the most important holiday in Indonesia. The day begins with early morning prayer and continues into a festive atmosphere as the entire country joins together to celebrate. Traditionally Indonesian families gather together to enjoy a big meal and older family members give younger family members gifts. In usual Holland America style we held a big Family Makan to celebrate this holiday. In a gesture of gratitude the officers volunteer to serve up some Indonesian favorites.

Ramadan on Zaandam.

Enjoying the Makan, from left: Me, Housekeeping Attendants Mehdi, Faozan and Tiara and crew officer Roby.

The crew mess was bustling with everyone enjoying some special celebratory treats like opor ayam- a chicken curry dish and lontong- rice steamed in banana leaves, though we have to substitute plastic wrap since banana leaves are not readily available! I honestly cannot imagine what it must be like to fast all day. The dedication these ladies and gentlemen have serves as testament to their ability to provide world famous service to our guests. I am proud to call them my colleagues.

On another note I will soon be starting my new series of blog posts called ‘dam’ Hard Work. I will take you behind closed doors on board our ships to show you what our hardworking crew do on a daily basis. Let me know which crew member you would like to see featured.

E-mail me at

Foreground, from left: Provision Master Christian, Captain Andre, 2nd Engineer Harm-Jan and Cadet Engineer Albert Jan.

Anthony Garofalo is Zaandam’s human resources manager.

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