Catch Up with the Crew: Meet Henk, a Hotel General Manager Sailing on His 30th Grand Voyage

View of Holland America Line General Hotel Manager in front of cruise ship.

Extraordinary. Spectacular. Unforgettable. These are some of the words you may use to describe a Grand Voyage with Holland America Line. Henk, one of our Hotel General Managers, knows this well. Next year, he will set sail on his 30th Grand Voyage before embarking on a new adventure – retirement. We recently caught up with Henk to learn what he has loved most about Grand Voyages and how they have enriched his life.

“For 30 years, I’ve had the privilege of seeing the world from my doorstep aboard Holland America Line,” he said. “Experiencing different cultures, meeting incredible people, and exploring our beautiful planet have enriched both Christel’s and my life beyond measure.”

Henk began his journey with Holland America Line in 1994. Since then, he has worked with incredible and caring crews to ensure guests had unforgettable experiences around the world. He also met the love of his life, Christel, who was a Guest Services Manager before retiring in 2022.

Portrait of Holland America Line General Hotel Manager in front of black background.

They have both experienced the awe-inspiring wonder of Grand Voyages, and they ensured guests had an amazing time along the way. This is still Henk’s number one priority: ensuring the guest experience on a Grand Voyage is an unforgettable one.

“My greatest honor has been caring for you—our wonderfully loyal guests,” he said. “As I prepare to embark on my final Grand World Voyage as your Hotel General Manager, I would like to welcome you back home on board Zuiderdam to join our trusted teams and I on what will be my grand finale tenure around the globe.”

The 2025 Grand Voyage will be Henk’s 30th Grand Voyage overall and 21st Grand World Voyage. He’s looking forward to visiting some of his favorite ports again, from South Africa to Australia to the Mediterranean and beyond.

Holland America Line General Hotel Manager with wife at Grand Voyage destination.

“Amongst many places and joyous experiences to come, I especially look forward to our overnight adventure-call to Easter Island, the exploratory visit of the Pitkerners and hearing their life’s stories, the vibrant city of Sydney and its grandiose harbor, and seeing our Indonesian team members rekindle with their families in Benoa. In addition, I look forward to taking in the spectacular flora and fauna of Madagascar, experiencing South Africa’s safaris and savoring the world-class wines it offers, greeting back The Bernhard Nordkamp Center in Walvis Bay, and being able to go back into the Mediterranean with all its rich history and tradition-steeped culture, which will culminate in our dual-ship call to Barcelona with its wondrous Gaudi architecture, art and gastronomy.”

The joint overnight call in Barcelona on April 24, 2025, is sure to be memorable. Zuiderdam and Volendam will meet there, bringing the two Grand Voyages together for a special celebration marking the occasion of the perfectly planned dual visit.

Henk’s final sailing as Hotel General Manager is sure to be memorable, but it’s also bittersweet. That’s because his crew and guests are family to him and Christel.

“What started out as an exciting occupation many years ago, soon transformed into a lifestyle choice that I cherish and for which I am eternally grateful. But, what I’m most excited about on this final trip around the world with Holland America is spending time with you and creating even more unforgettable memories together.”

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Henk, and congratulations on 30 years with Holland America Line! We’re grateful for the leadership and dedication you’ve brought to every cruise, and we can’t wait to learn about your epic and unforgettable journey around the world next year.

View of Holland America Line General Hotel Manager near pool on cruise ship.

Are you ready to set sail on a journey that will take you around the world? Check out our Sail the World on a 2025 Grand Voyage blog story to learn more about what makes a Grand Voyage grand. If you’re unable to embark on the 124-day Grand World Voyage with Henk on Zuiderdam, you can explore other cruise itineraries from all of the 2025 Grand Voyages, including a 20-day cruise.


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