15th December, 2019
Well, after a week of our crew scurrying around the ship conducting maintenance tasks, we were pleased to set sail again on Saturday evening.
The weather Gods must have known we were setting sail, for they sent a lovely storm to meet us as we transited the English Channel eastwards towards Holland. The good news was though that we would be running in the same direction as the wind and weather, so it was actually quite comfortable running along with the gales & waves pushing us along.
The white waves continued rushing alongside beside us as we approached the mouth of the Maas River, where out of the sky a helicopter dropped our local pilot on board to assist us upstream approximately 30 miles or so to Rotterdam city centre.
Once inside the river of course, the white seas disappeared out of sight and the wind eased down, and focus was moved to the fascinating surrounds of ships & local barges plying up and down the river, ducking and diving into the many sidings and outcrops where cargo terminals lay and canals would start.
About 2 hours into the transit, we arrived at the city suburbs, and the river busied with tourist boats and water taxis dashing around. Just before 14:00 we approached our dock, the Holland America Quay, about half a mile from the city centre. Safely tied up shortly after, it was time for all to head off should they wish and explore.
About a 20 minute walk away lay the city centre, with bars, shops, restaurants and allsorts. However, pedestrians beware: remember that Holland has multiple hazards the average city rambler, including lethal trams, cars, waterways and of course bicycles aplenty.
For those wishing to avoid the perils of pedestrianism, our ship’s tours were able to whisk you off on adventures all over the place. Christmas Markets are the theme of this cruise, and we were able to offer several trips to the famous Hague Royal Christmas Fair. Other tours went off to explore Amsterdam for the day, the famous Gouda cheese farm, or Dordrecht Christmas Market.
A full 30 hours was spent in this fantastic city before leaving on Monday evening, in the quiet calm of the night. Back down the Nieuwe Maas River we went, and back out into the North Sea, which had calmed wonderfully since we left it the day before. Overnight we would trundle slowly westwards to our next Christmas Market country: Belgium…
Captain Kim Tanner
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