with Nieuw Statendam Captain Sybe de Boer

Open Jaw

Sybe and Open Jaw's Martha Chapman touring the soon-to-be-launched Nieuw Statendam at the Fincantieri Shipyard near Venice, Italy in October.

Where were you born? In Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.

How long have you been a captain? For 15 years, on both Holland America and Seabourn and as fleet captain – but I’ve been at sea for 33 years as a commercial pilot and have even worked on a banana boat! 

How many people work on the bridge with you? Depending on the time of day and whether or not we are entering a port, we are a maximum of six. But the Nieuw Statendam will have a total crew of 1,000.

What’s the best part of the job?   Working with people.  The technology we work with  is beautiful – really state of the art equipment.  And we get to work in a happy environment:  passengers are on their well-deserved vacations and our multinational crew give a positive drive to the organization.

What did you want to be as a kid?  Something at sea.  My very first job, when I was a teenager, was sailing instructor.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?  Climb Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janiero.

Any guilty pleasures? Sports cars (smiles). I have a vintage two seater Alfa Romeo and love driving it – especially in Italy. I also have a motorcycle.

What’s your favourite airline? Emirates.

Favourite hotel chain? Four Seasons.

What’s on your tablet?  Netflix.  I just watched a documentary about freestyle mountain climbing – climbing without any equipment. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! The footage!  How did they get that?

What do people not know about you? That I have a normal, “non-nautical” life at home.

Any hobbies or interests? Photography, classical music, museums, bicycling.

When were you happiest?  I’m pretty happy where I am now.

What would you tell your 20 year old self? “Follow your passion, your heart, rather than the money.”

Who do you most admire in the industry? Micky Arison, Chairman of parent company Carnival. He’s an amazing person when you consider how big the company has grown. He’s always finding ways of doing things differently and has a wonderful eye for detail and brand differentiation.

What skill or talent do you admire in someone?  The ability to play classical piano music.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? I’ve travelled a lot but must say Nepal.  Yes ( laughs) I know they have mountains there too!

How do you stay fit when you are at sea? I’ll skip meals, go to the gym – located conveniently close to my stateroom.  And I take the stairs, always.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? We are already doing a lot to reduce our carbon footprint, and are always looking at additional ways.

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be? George Clooney.  I’d love to talk to him about his career.    

Do you have a favourite charity?  The Children’s Hospital in Amsterdam.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Hopefully about to retire!   

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