Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs
4th October, 2018
Another day in Dover over (apologies for the awful rhyme) saw little Saga Pearl 2 heading east for our 10-day ‘Scenic Scandinavia’ cruise. First on the list of interesting ports to visit is Amsterdam.
Now, here at Saga we love to give our passengers extra whenever possible, so I decided that instead of bumbling slowly across the southern North Sea for the first day at sea, why not arrive into Amsterdam earlier than scheduled and give everyone a full day and a half in port? Well, that was the plan anyway, before a crucial technical component on the sea lock in Ijmuiden decided to break, which resulted in us having to wait for 5 hours in the approaches…best laid plans!
Just after I had become tired of waiting adrift off the lock entrance, and instead organised & tied the ship up to a layby berth in Ijmuiden to wait – you guessed it – the lock was repaired! So, in we went, up we went into the canal and the 15 or so pleasant miles towards Amsterdam, berthing in the city cruise terminal just after 17:00. The sun was shining, and it was a lovely afternoon despite a slightly brisk chilly westerly breeze.
The party animals poured off (all 5 of them) to enjoy an evening in town, but most of our passengers stayed on board to enjoy the culinary delights of Executive Chef John, followed by evening entertainment provided by the incredibly talented BBC acclaimed Rustem Hayroudinoff on his piano.
The following day dawned overcast but soon enough the sun poked through as forecast. Passengers, with the exception of last night’s party animals of course, were up bright and early to enjoy the daytime delights of Amsterdam & surrounding Holland. Canal cruises, city tours, country road-trips and even a trip to the famous Van Gogh Museum proved to be popular.
Everyone headed back to the ship in the late afternoon before we set sail back down the canal again to the infamous Ijmuiden lock, which this time pleasingly was operating without fault, and we duly entered before being lowered again to whatever level of tide the North Sea was at. The lock chamber is enormous here, measuring 400x50m, big enough for all but a few of the very largest of ships in the world. However, these ambitious Dutch have undertaken a real challenge and are currently constructing the biggest chamber in the world adjacent to the current one, due to be opened in 2022. Measuring 500x70m, even the largest of ships will then be able to head up the canal to Amsterdam.
We cleared the lock shortly after 18:30, giving me just enough time to jump into my formal outfit and race down to present my welcome speech at our first cocktail party.
Captain Kim Tanner
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