Yesterday the news came out that four ships in the Holland America Line Fleet have been sold or are in the process of being sold. The Maasdam, Veendam, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam. I have sailed on the Veendam, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam. The Amsterdam is the one where I have gone back to for the last 4+ years and the ship where I was onboard for so long this spring during the layup caused by coronavirus.
You know the scene at the end of Friends where the apartment is empty and you are welled up with nostalgia? It’s kind of like that. It was a home away from home. It was comfortable and warm in it’s familiarity.
As a crew member I sailed on seven different ships in HAL’s fleet. It was pretty normal to go from ship to ship. There would always be some people that you knew but it was largely new people and new places.
Then I ended up on the Amsterdam, met my now husband, and went back there consistently over the course of four years. I realized how great it can be go back to the same ship. It was incredibly to be on a ship where you’ve built friendships over years instead of weeks.
This is certainly not the end of the world. Ships get sold. Before this year happened we didn’t figure that our little ship would get sold anytime too soon, but this virus has changed the world economy in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We will end up heading to a different ship. And, while the Amsterdam will always be the ship that Stuart and I met on and the ship of so many memories, maybe the change will be good. Comfort can sometimes lead to complacency. Maybe a new ship will bring to it new challenges. Who knows, maybe a new ship will lead to a new job for me?! Maybe since they have to reconfigure all of the schedules for the officers that were scheduled to be on the ships that are being sold I will get a job and they can line our contracts up! Maybe we can be on the same ship as my bro-in-law! So many possibilities! (The other part I wanted to say was, “Well, they’re selling four ships, so the chances of me getting a job have just gotten even less.” BUT, I am working on getting rid of my language of failure.)
On the three of the four ships being retired that I sailed on, I went to all of these places (highlighted in blue):
I climbed the Great Wall of China, I crashed a wedding in Mumbai, I searched for the Holy Grail in Petra, I swam with sea turtles on the Great Barrier Reef and with sting rays and lemon sharks in Bora Bora (the day after getting engaged). I hiked Diamond Head to watch the sunrise in Honolulu, I saw whales and glaciers in Alaska. I went to Hobbiton in New Zealand. I went to the Hermitage and Peterhof in Russia. I saw the mermaid in Copenhagen. I ate lobster in Bar Harbor, nasi goreng in Indonesia, and gelato in Italy.
I went literally around the world, but more important than the places I went were the people I was with. I met my husband and so many amazing friends and people on these ships.
Here are some pictures from of the people and places those ships have sailed me to. The majority of them are from the ship that was once my home away from home, where we spent nearly half of our first year of marriage, the m/s Amsterdam: