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Holland America Line’s Incredible Crew

On every cruise, Holland America Line crew members work endlessly to ensure that each guest has a memorable vacation. Whether it’s knowing that you take your morning coffee with cream and sugar or helping recommend the perfect shore excursion, everyone is dedicated to providing guests with gracious and personalized service.

Our crew members are the heart of the operation, and many guests cruise year after year, encountering familiar faces each time they return.

Crew Awards and Recognition
Did you know that each ship in the fleet awards an “Employee of the Month” and you can see the crew members’ photo at the Front Desk? They are nominated by their supervisors for their outstanding work, so if you see them around the ship be sure to say congratulations!

Veendam recently awarded two crew members with the honor of being named “Employee of the Month” for their hard work and dedication. Both members of the Adagio musical group, Pianist Olaf Bortkun has been working with Holland America Line since 1995, while this is Bandleader Julia Maliszkiewicz’s first contract.

From left: Hotel Director Craig Oakes, Julia Maliszkiewicz, Olaf Bortkun and Event Manager Elizabeth Horowitz.

From left: Hotel Director Craig Oakes, Julia Maliszkiewicz, Olaf Bortkun and Event Manager Elizabeth Horowitz.

The ships also host “new hire and service luncheons,” celebrating milestone years of employment as well as welcoming new crew to their home-away-from-home. Recently on Eurodam and Noordam, a combined 27 crew members reached a milestone year, including Sous Chef Marcelo “Bong” Constantino and Sous Chef Reynaldo Matic Diaz who both celebrated 30 years with Holland America Line. Just ask around onboard and you’ll find many crew with 10 or more years as part of the Holland America Line family.

Eurodam's (left) and Noordam's new hires and service award recipients.

Eurodam’s (left) and Noordam’s new hires and service award recipients.

Crew members also are rewarded onboard with “on the spot coins.” This is when a crew member is spotted going above and beyond their call of duty. On a recent Veendam cruise, Safety Environmental & Health Officer Ronald de Bloeme awarded a coin to masseuse Ivana Pusic.

During last passenger boat drill I was walking through the staircases to see whether traffic directors were performing their duties as expected. Shortly after the Captain made the announcement that traffic directors were dismissed I ran into Ivana Pusic. I asked her if she missed the announcement from the Captain because she was still at her station in one of the staircases.

Her reply was: “Since so many passengers are still coming down the stairs and we have this design of the ship where people cannot go forward on deck 7, they have to go up or down, so I decided to stay and point them into the right direction.”

This is what we mean when we mention: “See something, Say something, Do something.” — Ronald de Bloeme

Volendam also recently awarded coins to three cadets.

They have been doing such a good job in promoting HESS (Health, Environment, Safety and Security). On top of that they have been a great help in promoting safety, being environmentally conscious and helping us implement the new ERM procedures. — Volendam’s chief engineer and SEH Officer

From left: Vendam's Captain Bos, Ivana Sandic and Ronald de Bloeme, and Volendam Cadets Nereus Nino Surigao Ayo, Joris Hartman and Hubert Anas Orito.

From left: Vendam’s Captain Bos, Ivana Sandic and Ronald de Bloeme, and Volendam Cadets Nereus Nino Surigao Ayo, Joris Hartman and Hubert Anas Orito.

Crew Go Above and Beyond

Machinist  Mindamor Orozco.

Machinist Mindamor Orozco.

You’ll find that crew members strive to go above and beyond because it’s in their nature. This incredible story is just one of many examples of our crew members doing all that they can to help a guest. On a recent Veendam cruise, a guest encountered a problem with his electric wheelchair — the left rear tire kept popping off. It was determined that the tire had dried out, gotten hard, provided no more grip on the rim and the inner tube had sprung a leak.

The ship tried to source a new wheel in Hawaii on arrival, but no such wheel was available in Hawaii. They then tried to get a new wheel for San Diego, but they found out that due to wheelchair being more than 12 years old there were no more wheels available.

The engine room was asked if they saw a possibility to fix it, and machinist Mindamor Orozco made a new rim insert to keep the outer tire in place. The first test model failed and so did the second, but the third model was a winner and the tire stayed on.

In the meantime, the supplier ordered a new inner and outer tire/tube to be delivered to the ship upon arrival and the handyman placed this on the new rim as an extra assurance. The guest and his family were touched by all the attention given to them, and the length of effort the ship, office and supplier went to to get his wheel fixed.

Crew Excel Shoreside as Well
Our crew do as many incredible things off the ship as they do onboard. Hotel Director Bert van Mackelenbergh just accomplished a tremendous feat, completing a 155-mile run across the Sahara. He had to be fully self sufficient, which means that he carried all of his supplies: water, food, medical supplies, emergency and navigational gear, sleeping bag and clothes.

Bert started the race together with 181 competitors from all over the world, including some Olympic athletes. The total amount of altitude that had to be covered, that is, climbing and descending, was 25,000 feet or 8,200 meters.

After 32 hours of running, Bert received his well-deserved medal from Shore Excursion Manager Jennifer van Mackelenbergh who was part of the race crew. Congratulations to Bert!


The mission of our employees is “Through excellence we create once-in-a-lifetime experiences, every time.” To read more about our mission and values, visit the Holland America Line site here.

Do you have a favorite crew member or great service story? Tell us about him or her in the comments below!

1 Comment
  • PatriciaB

    HAL’s crew is what we keep coming back for, cruise after cruise, for over 600 days. I have so many stories it is impossible to pick even one. Dining Room Managers and Assistants whose graciousness make meals the best time of the day; Cabin Stewards who are magically in and out of cabins before you can get back from breakfast; Front Desk Attendants who can answer every question; Chefs who turn out the most outstanding food, day after day. HAL’s crew does all this and more with a natural, sincere smile. An endless array of the best people doing their utmost to make HAL the very best.

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