As the cruise industry continues its rapid expansion, ports across North America are finding themselves having to deal - quickly -  with all of the issues that go hand-in-hand with larger ships and the accompanying onslaught of more and more passengers. Rising security costs, for one, are a matter that all ports, regardless of size, are having to contend with - and most ports have found themselves having to double and sometimes triple their security budgets on top of making the necessary infrastructure improvements to support post-9/11 regulations.

Out of some 8,000 hotel officers and crewmembers working aboard Holland America Line's (HAL) ships, more than 1,000 of them have notched 10-plus years of service with the cruise line - an impressive statistic. The figure is but one indicator of HAL's solid workplace culture, said Wayne Byers, the cruise line's vice president of human resources.

Captain Hagen DamaschkeCaptain Hagen Damaschke said that he sees himself as a people's captain, as opposed to one that sits in an ivory tower hidden away from passengers. Damaschke pointed out that socializing is one of his favorite things to do onboard the Europa because getting to know his passengers helps him to do a better job.

The Captain's Log, Around the World with Cruise Captain Hans Mateboer is the title of a new book with a collection of Mateboer's stories of funny happenings onboard. His articles have also been published regularly in the Cruise Industry News Quarterly since 1999.

"A cruise ship can be compared to a small floating city, and everything that happens there, happens on a ship as well . . . and more," according to Mateboer, who claims that he did not make up the stories.

The book is a picture of his life, he said, and undoubtedly of many others who have spent considerable time at sea. The difference is that he can see humor in what most of us may view as ordinary, everyday events.

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