Tag-Archive for » Captain Henrik Loy «

Photo Essay: Captains of the Seas

We’ve only met, over the years of cruising, one ship’s captain we didn’t like — and that's likely because he never gave us the chance to like him (“I don’t do interviews”). This is a colony of mostly men who are all personable, often funny, always accommodating and forever fascinating.

These are our top ten, in no particular order — hey, what's wrong with having 10 favourites? — and we've included something about them that we hope you'll find interesting:

1-Capt. Gustavsen-Sky

Captain Roger Gustavsen (Norway), Norwegian Sky 
The first captain to invite us to watch departure from the bridge, he once had his mother there on the Norwegian Dream while negotiating the Kiel Canal: “You know how mothers always like to tell their sons what to do. She wanted to tell me how to drive the ship!”

2-Capt. Manetas-Eclipse

Captain Dimitrios Manetas (Greece), Celebrity Eclipse 
He watched ships come and go from his home in Piraeus, near Athens: “
I knew when I was a teenager, about 15, that I would be on the sea. it always inspired me. I was always curious for the unknown.”

3-Henrik Loy-Explorer

Captain Henrik Loy (Norway), Explorer of the Seas 
​One of the youngest (38) captains anywhere, he met his wife Karina, now a mother of three, when she was a dancer on Liberty of the Seas when they met and he calls it: “A true love boat story. We are really on the same page and we make it work.

4-Frank Juliussen-Epic

Captain Frank Juliussen (Norway), Norwegian Epic 
He had to overcome seasickness and bad days at sea: “
I don't have bad days and I have learned to enjoy this. You meet a lot of nice people. The world is full of nice people, and a lot of them do what they call ‘dirty work’ on cruise ships.”

5-Capt. Amitrano

Captain Fabio Amitrano (Italy), Coral Princess  A seaman for more than four decades since he left Ischia, a resort island with hot springs: “All the ladies come there to look younger. It must work, because they keep coming back!” 

6-Capt. Viacama-Ecstasy

Captain Andrea Viacava (Italy), Carnival Ecstasy 
A character with an easy laugh and a sense of humor: "
When I am stressed, I go down in the galley and cook a meal. I cook something every day. Gnocci, risotto with pumpkin…sometimes I cook for 40 persons.”

7-Capt. Dahlgren-Navigator

Captain Patrik Dahlgren (Sweden), Navigator of the Seas 
He’s still not 40, he’s now Royal Caribbean’s Vice-President of Marine Operations for Quantum of the Seas Technology, after serving for years as the youngest captain anywhere on the ocean: “I started when I was 12.”

8-Capt. Manzi-Coral

Captain Luca Manzi (Italy), Oceania Riviera 
When he visits his roots in Italy: “I still have to explain what I do for a living. My friends ask what I do — ‘Sailing?' In Italian, it's the word used to surf the Internet, so now I say I do nothing for a living."

9-Capt. Vorren-Epic

Captain Trygve Vorren (Norway), Norwegian Epic 
Not long before he died suddenly, he shared thoughts on the size of ships: “What will catch people’s attention will be the future. Look at the last 20 years…we developed technology we never imagined. What did we do, not in cruising but in life, before the Internet?”

10-Capt. Tore-Allure

Captain Tore Grimstad (Norway), Allure of the Seas 
Now sharing the captain’s chair on the Allure with close friend Johnny Faevelen, he was once on an American-Russian-Norwegian ship with the capability of launching rockets, near the equator: “I was captain, not a rocket scientist!"

Today at portsandbows.com: Reflecting on the cruise news of 2014

Carnival Glory
7 nights
January 24, 2015
Miami (return): Half Moon CaySan JuanSt. Thomas
Inside: $299
Cost per day: $42


A Captain Good, Young and Personable

Over the years we have met — and listened to — many cruise-ship captains as they interact with passengers. Some clearly enjoy it, some clearly don't. Some communicate easily (remember, English is usually not their first language), and some struggle to be understood.

Captain Henrik Loy, most recently at the helm of Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, gets full marks on both counts. He is engaging, articulate, personable and comfortable. He's also just 37, still young for a position he has held for three years.

In our wide-ranging interview, something he said revealed all you need to know about Captain Henrik's character.

Given that he has been with the company for 16 years, given that almost every employer wants to promote somebody who is both good and young, and given that his ship is being replaced on the New Jersey-to-Bermuda run by the new Quantum of the Seas in 2015, we asked how he felt about the possibility that he could stay in the same home port (Bayonne) on a different ship (Quantum).

Here was his response:

"I never really put my name forward and I haven't really had any preferences. I don't have that desire and I take what is given to me. A ship is a ship. Whatever ship I'm on, I want to be the greatest captain and build the greatest team. Whether it's the oldest or the newest, it's not that important. Maybe it's the Norwegian in me. In Norway, we like to be recognized rather than ask for things. It's still in me. It's still in my culture. I would be very honored to be asked to go on Quantum of the Seas but whether a ship is big or small, it's the people who make it."

Captain Henrik — on cruise ships many captains go by their first names — is originally from Bergen but now lives in England, in the midlands north of London. He met his wife Karina on Liberty of the Seas, where she sang in the ship's production show ("a true love boat story," says her husband), and she is British. With three little ones (4, 2 and 1) and Henrik's 14-year-old son, she gave up her profession at sea for family life.


"She loves to be a stay-at-home mom," he says. "She worked ten years at sea so she knows my job. It's not a big mystery. We spoke a lot about this before we got married. I was very honest from the start. I'm completely committed to this and I don't want to stop. We are really on the same page and we're going to make it work. That's our story."

As a captain, he is away 10 weeks at a time and whenever possible his family is able to join him on board. They spend his 10-week holidays doing everything from hiking in the mountains in the summer to skiing the Alps in winter, and making sure their children are kept in touch with their Norwegian roots. He gets a lot of questions about his occupation…and his youth.

"I joke and tell them it's just an online course that takes a week!"

Being a captain is, of course, much more than that. Being a captain like Henrik Loy is a gift.

His command of English began early; in Norwegian schools everybody studies it. His ability to connect with passengers is something he has come to enjoy.

"In the beginning it was yet another breakthrough…public speaking, being social at cocktail parties, chatting with people," he explains. "Now I really enjoy things like that because I feel I can really make a difference to our passengers, and that's gratifying. I evolved personally by having no fear standing in front of people and giving speeches, not being nervous or dreading it. It doesn't drain my energy to prepare for it. I enjoy it more and more."

As captain of the Explorer, he usually has a unique demographic of passengers. Many are from the New York area and that alone makes them unique.

"I have come to love the demographic," Captain Henrik says. "I feel like I know them…resonate…have great rapport with them. They let you know when they're happy, and they really let you know when they're not happy, but they always look you in the eye and say good morning."

And if they're as pleasant as he is, it's no wonder he likes them.

Celebrity Reflection
15 nights
November 1, 2013
Rome, Tenerife, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Miami
Inside: $749
Cost per day: $49

This Captain a 'Man' of the Seas

Upon reflection, Henrik Loy knows he was born to be at sea. In the 34 years between that day and the one when he became one of the youngest cruise ship captains in history — with Royal Caribbean — every step of his journey re-affirmed that belief.

Captain Loy was conscious of his place in the world at an early age, in his hometown of Bergen, Norway.

"Bergen is a busy cruise port, and you could see and smell the ocean from our house," he explains. "I was always going into town in the summer and watching ships come and go. It was always a part of me."

When he was five, one of the ships that came to Bergen was the SS Norway. On cruise ships, there's rarely a Norwegian who doesn't have a remembrance, and a feeling, for this grand old ship.

"This was before the security restrictions so we were able to go on board," Loy says. "It took an eternity to walk from one end to the other and, for me, it was a spark that came alive quite early. We had relatives who lived up the fjords and we had to travel there by boat. It was so beautiful and I could stand out on deck all day, all the time."

By the time he was 17, Henrik Loy had made a career decision. At 18, during his final year of high school, he concurrently studied at Bergen Maritime School while others his age had evenings, weekends and holidays for fun adventures. At 19, he graduated from maritime school when most aspiring seafarers would be halfway there. At 20, he served his mandatory year of military, with the Coast Guard.

"I couldn't wait," he says. "After being with the Coast Guard, then I really knew it was in my blood. I spent another two years at maritime college and there was a lot of studying, a lot of sacrifice, but I was just so passionate I wanted to learn it all. I was intrigued. I just enjoyed it. I never felt like it was hard, hideous work, so I didn't struggle. I scored very high."

Armed with his Master Mariner degree, he was ready, but Royal Caribbean didn't exactly come calling. What followed was something of a fluke.

In de-briefing from the intense final exam with a classmate, Loy was preparing to take the summer off and apply somewhere — he knew not where — in the fall. On the day of the last exam, his classmate asked if Henrik had applied at Royal Caribbean. He said no. Well, said his friend, everyone has applied there so do it…right now.

So Henrik Loy called the same number his friend had called. A hiring agent in Oslo, Ola Morken, answered. After the applicant explained who he was, what his credentials were and that he was ready to work, what Morken said went something like this:

"Thank goodness! We need a man right now and I just opened my drawer and was staring at a huge pile of applications, which I was dreading to go through. Why don't you catch a train and come here tomorrow?"

Loy did. He was hired on the spot and began a five-month contract on the then-new Enchantment of the Seas.

"I was flying," he said. "At 10:30 that morning, I met my sister for a beer. I would never drink a beer at 10:30. But I believe in coincidences like that. I instantly get a feeling I am on the right path. To me, those are signals. I didn't even have an application but it was meant to be. It landed in my lap."

The coincidences weren't over yet.

When his five months ended on Enchantment, Loy went home to wait for his next assignment. Nobody called. Finally, coincidentally, he called Royal Caribbean's agent.

"I'm still here," he said. "Do you have anything for me?"

The response was: "Didn't you know? We have a flight for you this afternoon and you will join Monarch of the Seas in Barbados tomorrow."

These days, having been on eight ships "of the Seas" Captain Henrik can laugh about that mini panic attack.

"Somehow," he says, "that message never reached me."

Because it did, he has now spent 16 years with Royal Caribbean. In 2010, he was first commissioned as a captain at the age of 34, and among Royal Caribbean captains only Patrick Dahlgren became a captain at an earlier age. This year, Captain Loy completed a contract on Explorer of the Seas.

One day…QuantumAllureOasis?

More on that, and a personal look at this most personable Norwegian, tomorrow.

Holland America Veendam
7 nights
September 7, 2013
BostonBar HarborHalifaxSydneyCharlottetownQuebec City
Inside: $529
Cost per day: $75

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