For this interview, we spoke with longtime cruisers Henk and Lucia Barnhoorn. This dynamic duo has served as reliable and welcoming Voyage Hosts for almost two decades. As hosts, they strive to create a warm atmosphere for travelers who are new to Cruise Specialists. In addition, they can answer any questions and act as problem solvers throughout the trip.
In the past, they’ve been Voyage Hosts for Holland America Line’s World Cruises, Voyage of the Vikings and cruises to destinations as far-reaching as the Amazon River. Lucia says, “The best part of hosting is the thank you’s and the smiles we receive from our guests. Little do they know, that it pleases us to serve them as much as they are pleased with our help and attention.” She also explains her motto is, “We start as friends and we end as family!” This mindset is what helps nurture a true sense of togetherness every step of the journey between hosts and their guests.
Recently, Henk and Lucia returned from the 38-day 2018 Voyage of the Vikings cruise with Holland America Line. Aboard the Rotterdam, they sailed from Boston, Massachusetts to ports across the Atlantic Ocean, including to the stunning fjords of Iceland and Norway, to the Netherlands’s idyllic shoreland, to scenic ports on Canada’s eastern shore. On days they weren’t out exploring tranquil Canadian landscapes and the European countryside, Lucia and Henk were able to enjoy time at sea appreciating the ship’s many amenities and conveniences. The Rotterdam is accented with beautiful teak decks and boasts an enviable collection of fine art. Passengers can enjoy games at the casino, treat themselves to a refreshing spa service at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon or see a captivating show performed at the ship’s theater, the Mainstage.
Generally, Henk and Lucia favor Mediterranean cruises. Lucia is quick to add, “We like long cruises the best — especially the Grand Cruises!” Long cruises allow passengers enough time to get accustomed to the ship and the activity schedules, providing for a more enjoyable day-to-day experience. During our interview, the couple said that despite their love of traveling the world together, they have different destinations that they favored on their recent Voyage of the Vikings cruise. Henk explains his favorite location was Stirling Castle in Greenock, Scotland because everywhere was lush and green with beautiful landscapes. Lucia said her favorite destination was Holland. “I loved showing off the country of my birth. Especially during our tour in Delft and The Hague.”
Being from The Netherlands is an asset for the couple, who know insider tips to the some of the country’s best locales. Passengers who are fortunate to have the Barnhoorns as Voyage Hosts benefit from their wisdom throughout their travels. In fact, they are revisiting Scandinavian ports in 2019, with the 34-Day Baltic, Spitsbergen & Icelandic Fjords Explorer. This cruise, which sets sail in the beginning of July, will also stop in Germany, Estonia and Russia. It’s aboard the Rotterdam, which is sure to feel like their second home after all the time they have spent on its decks seeing the world.
When asked about their plans for future cruises, they have different responses. Henk states that he would love to visit Machu Picchu, the ancient temple of Peru. Guests will be able to see this astounding Incan monument during the couple’s first hosted voyage of next year, the 2019 Grand South America & Antarctica Voyage. Taking place on the Prinsendam, this two-month-long Holland America cruise will visit more than 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites across South America and will journey the coast of Antarctica for four days. As for Lucia, says she would love to go back to South Africa on a photo safari.
At the end of our interview, we ask what they would tell people who were considering booking their first cruise. Lucia answers for the both of them. “The best part of cruising is that you unpack once, and take the beautiful floating hotel with you, all over the world. Plus, you are treated as if you’re family of the crew. Especially when you go on a Grand Cruise. Spending over 100 days together is an unforgettable bonding experience.” This is the top benefit of taking a group cruise — building new lifelong friendships throughout the journey, including during excursions on shore. You’ll find yourself planning your next cruise before you’ve even returned home! After all, as Lucia explains, “We have been hosting since 1999, and still love every minute of it.”
If you can’t wait to book a ticket to experience this wonderful camaraderie and this beautiful world, contact us today. One of our dedicated Cruise Specialists consultants who specialize in group travel, like Diane Ritchey, will be happy to help you plan your dream vacation.