Captain Kjell Holm Retires After Illustrious Career at Sea

Captain Kjell Holm is retiring after a 10-year run as captain and “Father of the Fleet” at TUI Cruises, capping a 55-year career at sea. 

With TUI, the captain was involved with eight vessel start ups and 1,887 days onboard the German brand’s fleet, with his retirement celebration taking place on August 12 aboard the new Mein Schiff 2.

“I’ve always been obsessed with the sea; I was sailing before I could run,” said Captain Holm.

Captain Kjell Holm

At 15, he sailed his grandfather’s boat along the southern coast of Finland, from Porvoo to Mariehamn and back, without nautical charts and without adults.

While his family wanted him to be a doctor, he went to Naval School instead, becoming an officer in his early 20s and then moving to cargo ships, followed by ferries and then passenger ships.

In 1995 he joined Star Cruises, and also served with Norwegian Cruise Line before joining TUI Cruises in 2009 for its start up.

He was the captain of the first TUI Ship, joining the Mein Schiff in Bremerhaven for her conversion from the Celebrity Galaxy.

“To be the captain of a cruise ship is a complex task,” said Holm. “A cruise ship is a small city of several thousand passengers and around 1,000 crew; most of them are for the first time at sea. The captain is responsible for everything that happens onboard. Anyone who thinks I’m just walking around in the white uniform and chatting with guests is wrong.”

Holm continued: “I have a very fulfilling life, I have traveled around the world 32 times. I have lived in Finland, Sweden, Germany, England, Austria, USA, Japan, China, Malaysia, Thailand. I’ve spent most of my life on or on the water, I could not imagine living far from the coast.”

If he is not onboard or in Finland, Captain Holm lives in Australia, 200 meters from the ocean. In his spare time, he has his own boat, the Sommarvind, Swedish for summer wind.

“I would like to do a 33rd tour around the world with my sailboat, according to my own route and schedule,” Holm said.

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