Our cruise ended here, but our land adventure would begin here, so we were not saddened this time that our wonderful vacation was over, because the next phase was just beginning!
We looked forward to the first item on our list—an opportunity to revisit an old friend, the ss Rotterdam. The very first cruise we ever took— the vacation where we realized how much we would enjoy cruising—was a week's adventure in the Caribbean on this very ship. Some 25 years later, the old, but still-beautiful ss Rotterdam is berthed in the city for which it was named, serving as a reminder of its past glory and as a modern, fully-equipped hotel. After pondering the many ways that we could travel to its pier to pay a short visit, we decided that the easiest thing was to just ask the cab driver we'd get at the Ryndam cruise terminal to make a stop for us at the Rotterdam berth and wait for us. This worked out very well; the driver was co-operative, and even though it was quite early in the morning for the Rotterdam staff to welcome visitors, once we explained why we were there the hotel desk was very gracious in allowing us to wander about as we wished. We noticed that the beautiful wood is still in place through at least part of the ship, and that at least some of the artwork for which the ship was noted during its sailing days is there as well. When I stepped out onto the promenade deck—so different from Holland America's current promenade decks which are covered, for the most part, but exposed to the open sea air, and featuring beautiful teak flooring and railings—I realized that I'd forgotten how this area looked on the old ss Rotterdam. We'd both walked laps and laps around this old deck, as we do today on the newer ships, but somehow its appearance had escaped my memory.
After our visit our taxi took us to the Rotterdam train station where we'd catch the Thalys fast rail train to Amsterdam. At the time we were in the Rotterdam station a lot of construction was going on and we were very happy to have the services of the concierge desk, available to those booking the Comfort 1 level of service, escort us up the service elevator that was temporarily serving the general public. When the train arrived we were easily able to step onto the train, luggage in hand. Our efforts to vigorously pare down the weight of our luggage had worked out well. It's two steps onto the train, and then a porter is available to help stow the luggage at the end of the car and to assist those just boarding into their (reserved, in our case) seats. In our case this involved the porter removing a passenger who had no reserved seat, but hoped these weren't sold, back to one of the other cars, so that we could enjoy a very nice train ride into Amsterdam.
Our land journey had begun!
Blog Content & Website Design: Marney Wilde • Photographs by George Wilde