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Europe Cruise Day 2
Tuesday, September 7th
Arrival in Amsterdam, Transfer to Rotterdam, Departure on Cruise

As all of you know the time zone in Europe is different than here so as a service to those of you reading this, here is a clock from the web site that will tell you what the current time in The Neatherlands is:

I plan to put a clock like this on the page for each stop on the cruise so you can see the difference as there are several time zones involved and some complex daylight and standard time changes involved with this trip. The time zone shown here at the end of the clock (and for most of Europe) is CEST or CST which stands for Central European Summer Time (our daylight time) or Central European Time (our standard time).

Flight 692 is scheduled to arrive at 7:00AM in Amsterdam. There are those formalities that are always necessary when entering another country. Once those are completed then there is a one hour long transfer from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to the Cruise Port Rotterdam. There is some checkin involved, then sometime around 1:00PM I can board the ship.

The ship is scheduled to sail at 5:00PM on it way to the Channel Islands. Sometime before this there will be the manditory life boat drill and then on with the cruise!

That concludes the anticipated events for this day, on to tomorrow.

How it actually happened!!!
(written November/December, 2010)

More from the Blog entry for the flight.

The anticipated arrival time at Amsterdam was 40 minutes early even before the flight left Toronto. There was what was described by the captain as “light rain” at Amsterdam and if it had really been as light as I thought it would be we might have made it 40 minutes early. The plane (a 747-400) landed heavily and had to taxi all the way around to the other side of the airport. In the end it was 35 minutes early.

According to the notes I made, the plane crossed the Irish coast at about 5:00AM CEST. at approximately 41,000 feet with about 652 miles (approximately 1052 Km.) to go to Amsterdam. The route continued over southern Ireland and the Irish sea, then over central England (just north of Birmingham at 5:40AM), and out over the North Sea turning southeast towards Amsterdam. As the plane decended towards Skipol Airport at Amsterdam the weather get really interesting. The plane decended into clouds and rain. The sun was just rising above the clouds but it was pitch black and pouring rain in and below them. I mention in the blog entry above that the rain did not seem that "light". In hindsight I suspect that the speed the plane was flying made it look worse than it was. The plane made one of the heavier landings I have experienced at approximately 6:20AM and was at the gate at 6:28.

The blog entry describes what happens next satisfactorly so here it is.

The flight was just about full but when baggage collection time came I expected a big crowd but there were not that many. It appears that many were transfers to other flights. One other oddity I noted was there was nothing about passport procedure and I was wondering what was going to happen. When I got to the line, (which had 4 people in it), the women looked at my picture and stamped the passport and did not even ask me why I was there.

The checked bag arrived completely undamaged and I went through customs without any problem.

The flight has concluded and the next step is to get to the ship which is in Rotterdam. The blog entry for this part of the process goes like this:

The Holland America people were waiting and a shuttle was scheduled to leave at 7:30 for Rotterdam and the ship. When I got outside the rain was really going to it. Holland America’s process here is not well developed as in other places I have been. However I did manage to get on the first shuttle to the ship. Apparently people here cannot seem to drive in rain. With the amount they usually get one would wonder. (As the result of this, I went looking for my umbrella, which seems to have been left out of the suitcase. It was there once but is not now!) The other problem was that it was rush hour, which did not help any either. So, the normal time of the transfer, which is 45 minutes, ended up taking 135 minutes (two hours and fifteen minutes), of which the last 20 or so was within sight of the ship due to construction and traffic.

The comment about the umbrella proved interesting. After returning home 28 days after this I cleaned out the suitcase an low and behold there was the umbrella burried deep in one of the outer pockets of the suitcase. It had been there all along. Apparently I did not do a very good job of looking for it and concluded that it was not there so I never looked again. As it happened, I did not need it later in the trip so it turned out allright as you will see.
The bus trip sure was a marithon. It started out in the rain, continued that way for about half of it and then the rain stopped and the rest was traffic in Rotterdam. No pictures were taken during the bus trip but in some of the pictures below you will see the bridge that the bus had to get across to get to the ship. More blog....

At the cruise terminal the check in people were uncharacteristically disorganized but once things were underway worked well. Boarded the ship at 11:30 and have been here ever since.

Even with the long bus ride the staff at the cruise terminal were not ready to start checking people in when we got there. Looking back at it I do not really think they were disorganized, they just were not ready to start when we got there. The bus I was on was the first of the airport buses to get there but there were some other people there that had stayed in Rotterdam or Amsterdam overnight that were there as well. Once the checkin people started processing people things seemed to go very well. The buses that came later had no trouble getting to the ship as the rain (in Amsterdam) and traffic (the worst of it was in Rotterdam) had mostly cleared up by the time they arrived.

Once on the ship I took a few pictures of the area around the ship. Here are a few of those.

Erasmus Bridge
Wikipedia Erasmus Bridge
This is the first image taken on the trip. This is the Erasmus Bridge over the river Nieuwe Maas or New Meuse. This is the bridge that took almost 30 minutes to cross on the bus trip from the airport. This is the same bridge taken from the other side on a much better day. The ship was docked just on the other side of the bridge on the left. Image is from Wikipedia.
The Lift
Nieuwe Mass from ship looking west.
This is De Hef or The Lift. This is a no longer used railway lift bridge which is preserved as a monument between the North Island (on the left) and the south of Rotterdam (on the right). This is just to the right of the Erasmus Bridge picture above. The traffic at the bottom is the south end of the Erasmus Bridge. The river Nieuwe Mass from the ship looking west. This is the way the ship will be sailing when it departs. The tower in the right side of the image, just to the left of the tower crane is the Euromast which is 186 meters or 610 feet tall and is a major tourist attracton in Rotterdam.


The manditory lifeboat drill was held at 4:15PM. For a change they did not want people to wear their lifejackets. Apparently many people where getting injured when traveling from their cabins to their lifebaot stations with them on. They had a demo on how to put them on. After all this it was time to sail.

The departure from Rotterdam takes several hours. The satellite image below from Wikipedia shows the route. I have labeled the image so you can see where the ship was docked and where the ship had to go to get out to the North Sea. The Nieuwe Mass is part of the delta of the Rhine river

Satellite Photo Labeled

The image below shows the ships tv map display showing the route out. The circle with the arrow in it that is right in the middle of Rotterdam is the ship.

Ships TV map

For some reason I documented the departure only with video and no still pictures. It sure has made it difficult to make up this page. As a result I am going to try to include some short video clips as part of the trip out to the North Sea. Here we go!!!

The ship sailed at 5:00PM. Here are a few still pictures taken just as the ship was getting ready to sail.

Old halland America Building
Sailaway BBQ
This building was once the head office of Holland America. It is now ritzy hotel. Here you can see the Lido restaurant staff setting up for the sailaway BBQ. The restaurant is to the right. The picture was taken through the sliding roof that is over the Lido deck swimming pool which can be seen at the bottom of the image.

To get out of the harbour the ship had to backup a short distance turn 180 degrees and then head down the river.

I do not have much experience in using video so to play it safe I am including the video clips in two versions, Quicktime and Flash Video. If one will not play properly try the other one. If they both will not play let me know and I will see what I can do to resolve the problem. Here we go!!!


Click here to play with/in Quicktime.

Click here to play with/in Quicktime.

The first video shows the people on the shore all waving as the ship was backing up before turning around. Apparently there were close to 1600 dutch passengers on the cruise so it may explain why there were so many people here and, as you will see, along the river as the ship sailed out that were waving. Once the ship got turned around and started down the river there were these to see. One would not think that one was in The Neatherlands without seeing these.

Here are a couple of still pictures taken a bit further down stream from the ones above. These are still frames taken from the video.

Cranes in harbour
Refinery and Ship
Many cranes of every size and shape can be seen here.
A bit further down the river on the same side are these oil refinerys.

There was much to see as the ship sailed down the river. There was also the BBQ going on.

Chick here to view in/with Quicktime.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

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Qlick here to view in/with Quicktime.

A bit further along the river the A4 highway (I think this is what it is) passes in a tunnel under the river. This is also considered to be the western ring raod of Rotterdam. Around this time I decided it was time to eat so I went to the BBQ on the deck below where most of these pictures and videos were taken from.

Once past the A4 the ship was now in the suburbs of Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Departure Secen 2
Departue Scene 1
There was a bit of a gap as shown in this still picture.
Another still picture taken in the other direction from almost the same spot.

Here there were many more people waving to the ship here are a few more examples.

Click here to view in/with Quicktime

There is only a short distance to go to the North Sea now.

Click here to view in/with Quicktime

Click here to view in/with Quicktime.

Not long after the ship sailed I showed you one of the things that The Neatherlands is known for (windmills). Here is one of the others. These are greenhouses where the tulips (and other flowers) are grown. I do not know how big an area this covers but I do not think that a still picture could have shown it all. Wind power is a big thing in Europe. Here are a row of wind turbines alomg the shipping channel. I guess you can call these modern windmills. You will see many more of these as this trip/cruise progresses. I think there is about 2 kilometers to go to the North Sea from here.

As you most likely know much of The Neatherlands is below sea level. This area is one of the lowest. Parts of Rotterdam are several meters below sea level. The people of The Neatherlands are the acknowledged experts in the creation of unique flood control systems. One of the must unique is on this channel. Here a a group of still pictures showing this structure. These are all taken from this video and the structure is located just beyond the wind turbines shown in the video above.

Flood Barrier 1
Flood Barrier 2
This barrier rotates on one of the worlds biggest ball bearings out into the channel. The large bearing is at the far left centre of the picture. They first flood the area where the white wall is. Once this is flooded the wall floats out into the channel. Once in position with the one on the other side of the channel the wall is flooded and it sinks to the bottom.
Flood Barrier 3
Flood Barrier 4
This is the one on the other side of the channel.
In this view you can see both sides of the barrier at the narrow part of the channel where the ship is. You can see the change in the colour of the picture caused bu the haze.

Well, we have finally made it to the North Sea. Here are the final groups of pictures and videos.

Click here to view in/with Quicktime.

North Sea Shore
Just before arriving at the shoreline of the North Sea the ship passed these navigation lights. I do not know exactly how they are used but it has something to do with getting the incoming ships aligned in the fairly narrow channel. There was something similar on the other side as well. Here is the shore of the North Sea on the north side of the channel as the ship sailed out.


Click here to view in/with Quicktime.

Harbour Entrance
At this point I discovered that there had been a harbour fire boat putting on a bit of a display on the other side of the ship. It was there to pick up the harbour pilot from our ship. He very graciously came around the other side of the ship and did it again. Here was the final view that I saw of the entrance to EuroPort Roterdam. If you look really closely in the centre of the image you can see two yellowish-white specks . These are the other two navegation lights I mentioned above.

Approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes (at about 7:25 PM) after leaving the dock in downtown Rotterdam the ship reached the North Sea and started on its trip to Gurnsey.

As you can see from the pictures it was a very hazy evening in Rotterdam. You could not see too much in any direction. On the other side of the ship was Europes largest container port. Unfortunately it could not been seen because of the haze.

The rest of the evening was spent unpacking and getting set up for the next 24 days of cruising.

On to St Peter Port on Gurnsey in the Channel Islands arriving mid-morning tomorrow.

Created: August 2, 2010
After Trip Update Started: November 22, 2010
Last updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 6:57 PM

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