Meet The Koningsdam’s Officers – More Than 95 Years Combined Experience

Seattle, Wash., Nov. 5, 2015 — When Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam debuts in April 2016, the ship’s senior staff officers will set sail with a combined 95 years of company loyalty and experience. In addition to the previously announced appointment of Captain Emiel de Vries, the cruise line announced that Hotel Director Stan Kuppens, Chief Engineer Willem Zuidema, Staff Captain Kevin Beirnaert and Safety, Environmental and Health Officer Martijn van Dam will lead Koningsdam’s shipboard teams.

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The 99,500-ton ship currently is under construction at Fincantieri’s shipyard at Marghera, Italy. During its inaugural year Koningsdam will explore the Mediterranean and northern Europe in summer and the Caribbean in winter.

“Holland America Line has an incredible depth of talented and qualified personnel, and we’re thrilled to have Stan, Willem, Kevin and Martijn joining Captain de Vries to head up the onboard teams that will bring out Koningsdam,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “With their knowledge, experience and years of dedication to the company, these senior staff officers are well positioned to ensure that the ship is a successful addition to our fleet.”

Meet Captain Emiel de Vries

Newly Appointed Captain of the ms Koningsdam Emiel de Vries
Newly Appointed Captain of the ms Koningsdam Emiel de Vries

Announced previously, Captain Emiel de Vries will be in command when Holland America Line’s ms Koningsdam sets sail in April 2016. Having been with the company since 1997, de Vries rose through the ranks from fourth officer to captain and has been master of ms Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Rotterdam and ms Zuiderdam. Hailing from the Netherlands, de Vries grew up just east of Amsterdam. He graduated from the Hogere Zeevaart School in Amsterdam, one of the oldest nautical schools in the world, with degrees in navigation and engineering. De Vries was introduced to Holland America Line in 1995 when he interned as a cadet on the former ms Noordam, and since joining the company, he has sailed on every class of Holland America Line ship.

When not in Italy at the shipyard, de Vries lives in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, with his wife, Susan, and their daughter.

Stan Kuppens_Hotel Operations_Newbuilding_2048px
Hotel Director of the new ms Koningsdam, Stan Kuppens

Meet Hotel Director Stan Kuppens
Since joining Holland America Line in 1990, Hotel Director Stan Kuppens has sailed on 12 current ships and four that are no longer with the fleet. In addition to ms Koningsdam, Kuppens was the hotel director who launched ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Noordam and ms Westerdam, the four ships most recently built for the cruise line. He also has worked on ms Amsterdam, ms Maasdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam, ms Statendam, ms Zaandam and ms Zuiderdam.

A native of Nijmegen, Netherlands, Kuppens enjoyed sailing on the rivers and lakes of the Netherlands as a child and he looked for a career that combined his love of travel and his appreciation for hospitality. After graduating from the University of Hotel Management, he came to work for Holland America Line and was selected to be a part of the prestigious Management Trainee Program — a multiyear course that provides training in all aspects of a marine Hotel Department, eventually leading to the hotel director position. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and son.

Newly Appointed Staff Capt of the ms Koningsdam, Kevin Beirnaert
Newly Appointed Staff Capt of the ms Koningsdam, Kevin Beirnaert

Meet Staff Captain Kevin Beirnaert
Koningsdam’s Staff Captain Kevin Beirnaert joined Holland America Line in 2006 and worked on Rotterdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam prior to being named to the newbuild team.

Hailing from Gent, Belgium, Beirnaert studied at the Hogere Zeevaart school in Antwerp, Belgium, and worked for freight company Ecuadorian Line and on dredging ships in Dubai, U.A.E. on the Palm Jumeirah Project before joining Holland America Line. Beirnaert resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.




Meet Chief Engineer Willem Zuidema

The Chief Engineer of the new ms Koningsdam, Willem Zuidema
The Chief Engineer of the new ms Koningsdam, Willem Zuidema

Chief Engineer Willem Zuidema joined Holland America Line in 1991 aboard ss Rotterdam after sailing on cargo ships with Nedlloyd. During his career with the company he has served on several ships and was involved in the building of Ryndam and Rotterdam. Prior to being named to the Koningsdam team he was chief engineer on Oosterdam.

A graduate of Marine Engineering College in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the Dutch native from The Hague began his seagoing career as a dual-purpose officer (both deck and engine) before committing to the engineering side of ship operations. Zuidema also holds a Master of Arts degree in international development. He and his wife live in Atibaia, Brazil, and when on leave he is involved in several educational projects in that country.

Meet Safety, Environmental and Health Officer Martijn van Dam

The new ms Koningsdam Safety, Environmental & Health Officer, Martijn van Dam
The new ms Koningsdam Safety, Environmental & Health Officer, Martijn van Dam

Growing up in Aalsmeer, Netherlands, as the fifth generation in a family of shipbuilders, Safety, Environmental and Health Officer Martijn van Dam sought his career at sea when he was 18 years old.

A graduate of Hogere Zeevaart School Amsterdam with degrees in navigation and engineering, van Dam joined Holland America Line in 2000 on the previous Nieuw Amsterdam in the engineering department and has since worked in several capacities on almost all the ships in the fleet. He has also served as a safety and environmental trainer for the fleet.

When he’s not onboard, van Dam lives in a small village at Costa Blanca, Spain, where he is restoring an old farm.



About ms Koningsdam
When Koningsdam sets sail on its Premier Voyage April 8, 2016, the vessel will debut several innovative concepts and new public venues while still featuring popular amenities guests associate with Holland America Line.

ms Koningsdam
Holland America Lines Beautiful New ms Koningsdam, coming this Spring 2016. Premiere Voyage on April 8, 2016

Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy fine dining in several alternative restaurants including Sel de Mer, a new French seafood brasserie; a new immersive farm-to-table dinner experience in the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine; a redesigned casual Lido Market with themed serving stations; a stunning main dining room; and favorites such as Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto Italian restaurant and pan-Asian Tamarind. The ship also will feature Holland America Line’s first purpose-built staterooms for families and single staterooms among its 1,331 guest accommodations.

Onboard entertainment will be taken to a new level with the energetic Music Walk area featuring all genres of music showcased in venues including Lincoln Center Stage, offering chamber music nightly; Billboard Onboard, where live musicians rock the crowd with chart-topping hits; and the popular B.B. King’s Blues Club in the Queen’s Lounge, bringing the best of Memphis music to sea. World Stage brings 270-degree LED projection to the main show lounge, enabling new concepts for show-time performances and immersing the audience in panoramic visual and sound effects.

Liam Cusack

Liam P. Cusack is the Managing Editor of Cruise & Travel Report (, a publication dedicated to providing travelers the same news that industry insiders receive. A self-described “travel nerd”, Liam is an Ocean Liner and Cruise Industry historian who has traveled to more than 60 countries, every US state and sailed on more than 60 cruises. After nearly two decades as an award-winning political journalist and investigative reporter at a major NYC daily newspaper, he decided to dedicate his career to helping avid travelers, like himself, be more well-informed. With Cruise & Travel Report, Liam strives to provide news and tips to make every vacation a dream vacation.