Alex – passenger on board HS Beethoven

Alex joined our vessel in Hong Kong, on the same day we started the voyage on HS Beethoven. I am always anxious to meet new passengers on board and to learn interesting stories of long life desires of travelling on cargo vessels as most of our passengers have. Alex was surely one of them and he’d had this dream of becoming a sailor since he was a young man. As life took him on different paths, he had his chance of fulfilling his dream about traveling at sea only now when he was retired and enjoyed a lot of free time to do things he liked best.

I first met him on the bridge when our vessel was entering the port of Keelung, in Taiwan. He was quite amazed by everything he saw and his eyes had the sparks of a man finally accomplishing a long life dream.

For the next 7 weeks he stayed with us, we spent a lot of time together on the starboard side or portside wings during maneuverings sharing interesting stories about life in general and life at sea in particular. We had the chance of going out and visiting some of the ports on the route – Auckland, Tauranga – and the most interesting experience of all was when we went out in Shanghai on the first day of the Chinese New Year.

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Having him on board offered us the opportunity of organizing a baptism ceremony and a barbeque party where the entire crew had a wonderful time with good food, music and karaoke.

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Baptism ceremony

Easter was another reason for celebration and Alex was very happy to be a part of it, among so many friendly people who became his family for almost two months.

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He had the longest voyage from all the passengers I had met before him and he seemed to enjoy every minute of it. So, when time came for him to leave the vessel, everybody was a little sad as if they were losing a very good friend.

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I hope I will have to chance of seeing him again – somewhere around the world, or even on another vessel in the years to come and I hope he will never lose his smile which looks so beautiful on his face.

So, here’s the story of his voyage on board HS Beethoven.

Thank you, Alex, for sharing it with us.

On board HS Beethoven

Why did you choose travelling on a container vessel? (why not a plane, a cruiser? …)

“That´s been my dream for 50 years. In 1965 I really wanted go on board, working on a vessel, but I decided ultimately another way. Now I´m retired and have all the time to realize my dream. And it had to be a vessel to see the true life of the sailors. The feeling being on a vessel is very different than a cruiser – better contact with the crew, seeing the activities on bridge and everywhere else, and to be with them together on board like a big family. That´s my life and my way I prefer travelling on a vessel. My dream came true on board of HS Beethoven for the first time.”

When did your trip take place and which area did it cover?

“I finally decided in 2014, some months after I retired and the actual trip took place between February and April this year. And I chose the wide Pacific space getting from Hong Kong to New Zealand, through several islands north and south of the Equator – the corner of the world I never have seen before.”

What can you say about the preparation of the trip – papers involved, visas, medical checks … ?

“The travel agency was giving me advice. Okay, it takes a lot of time to get all the necessary documents. Never mind. I have all the time preparing things. And I do everything complying for my wishes.”

How was the weather? What about the sea? Did you experience any rough time?

“Weather was fine – Hong Kong 24 °, Shanghai 18°, Brisbane 30°, Auckland 22,5°, Port Chalmers 17° and Noumea 28°Celsius – only a few moments of rain and haze (Hong Kong and equator surrounding area). There had been rough swell on the way back from south- to north New Zealand. But I never had a rough time and not at all boring.”

How would you describe accommodation/ food/ entertainment on board?

“The cabin was simple, nevertheless adequate; Food good (except breakfast – every morning eggs); Entertainment very good – music, movies, conversation with crew members, BBQ and party, karaoke. I´ll never forget the special food we had

for Easter (the mixed salad and the cake tasted fantastic).”

How was your relation/interaction with the crew?

“At the beginning of the sea voyage, I firstly watched the situation carefully; later on I had conversation with most of the crew and asked them any question about their life etc. I had a very good relation also with the officers – specially the captain Christian and his wife, Oana.”

Did you take part in any celebration/party while on the vessel?

“Yes, of course. Crossing the line (Equator), for example. And also the party on captain-deck was great. But I had difficulties in singing with the master – I´ve been the problem!”

Did you have time to visit any ports on your route?

“Certainly, most of the harbors – Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kaohsiung, Noumea, Auckland, Port Chalmers, Napier and Tauranga. All were good, but

Noumea was my favorite.”

Would you do this kind of trip again? Would you recommend it to somebody else?

“Yes, I want to make it again one day but maybe another route, through Panama-Canal to the Caribbean Islands, South-America. I simply like this kind of travelling.”

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2 Responses to Alex – passenger on board HS Beethoven

  1. Parth jain says:

    hey alex , i was going thru the whole tour you all took on HS BEETHOVEN, it seems to be pretty amazing journey. if you dont mind i wanted know if you visited the engine room and passage area of this vessel and if you have pictures of it, i would want to see that. let me know if that is possible from end.

    • travelc1 says:

      Hi, there. During his voyage on board HS Beethoven, Alex visited the engine room and I am sure he has lots of photos, but he didn’t share them with my blog. You can find many photos from the vessels I traveled on shared on my Facebook – travelling on container vessels.

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