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Amsterdam to Rotterdam

30th March – 2nd April 2019

Onboard The Amadeus Queen by Megan

I arrived in Amsterdam a day before the cruise to do a bit of exploring in the capital. While the bikes are very popular in Amsterdam and I would definitely recommend hiring them for a day or two to explore the parks, I find the easiest way to get around the city is on the buses and trams! Most things are within walking distance from centraal station but the trams are a quick way to explore if you don’t have a lot of time! There is a train customer services in the Schiphol Airport or there are mobile kiosks which are very easy to use to buy a train ticket!

Once you have got to Centraal station, outside there are lots of trams that you can jump on! Once on the tram if you buy a 24-hour ticket, which from memory is 10 EURO, you can use this to tap on and off every tram and bus in the city for 24 hours!

There are lots of things to do in Amsterdam and there are a few things focused around Dam Square; to the west you have the shopping area, to the south you have the red-light district and to the east you have De’Begijnhof which is a like a Dutch version of Harrods.

I visited Amsterdam North which is the north exit of Centraal station, you take a free ferry which runs about every 15 minutes to the other side of the river. Over in the north of Amsterdam you have a place called Plek which has a lovely rustic restaurant with a small man-made beach. You also have the A’DAM look out which has a hotel, revolving café, a rooftop bar where you can see the whole of Amsterdam city and it has the iconic swing on the top of the building where you can swing over the side of the hotel.

Another area of Amsterdam I would recommend is the Museum Quarter where you have the Rijksmuseum, there is one of the IAMSTERDAM signs which everyone loves to see, a lovely strip of pop-up shops and food stalls where I had the BEST apple pie!! This is very close to one of the biggest parks in Amsterdam, Vondel park which is a lovely walk or cycle if you want somewhere to relax in the sunshine! Just down the road from the museum quarter you also have the well-known Heineken Experience!

On Sunday I made my way back to Centraal station and found the Amadeus Queen very easily! I had never seen a river cruise ship before this point and I was amazed. Not only from the outside but the inside also, the ship was immaculate! I was greeted by the Amadeus crew where I checked in very easily and my bags were taken to my cabin. I stayed in a B-1 cabin which I was very impressed with! The cabin was spacious and clean, I was shocked when I opened a door to find a walk-in wardrobe!

I then made my way to the Panorama lounge where there was a lovely light lunch presented to us with soups, wraps, a variety of salads and desserts.

At approximately 2:30pm we made our way to our first excursion which was a tour of Amsterdam. We started off getting onto a coach and driving round the one-way streets of Amsterdam, we had a local tour guide on the coach with us who really knew everything there is to know about Amsterdam. We got off the coach for a little bit where we explored the flower markets and wandered the canals, popping into a few cheese shops to try the local cheese!

We then made our way back to the ship where we were greeted with a lovely pianist in the Panorama lounge where we had some lovely sandwiches, cake and some tea. Followed shortly after as a safety drill from the Amadeus crew.

After the safety drill we had a local Shanty Choir perform some wonderful songs, they were a local choir from the Netherlands and some of them had naval ancestors and they shared their stories.

There was then some time to get ready before meeting in the Panorama lounge for welcome cocktails where we were introduced to the key members of the Amadeus Queen team. After the welcome cocktails we were then escorted to the main restaurant where we enjoyed a fabulous 5-course meal accompanied well by some lovely Austrian wine. The food was absolutely incredible, how they catered for so many people and to such a high standard, I will never know! Each table had their own waitress, the same for every meal so they really got to know what you like and what you wanted which was an added luxury.

On Monday morning we woke up on the Belgian waterways on our way into Antwerp. Breakfast was in the main restaurant with so many options to choose from; there was a table of home cooked pastries, cooked breakfast, cereals, fruit, yoghurt and so much more to order like pancakes!

Monday was the day for exploring Antwerp city. From the port we joined some coaches where we met our local tour guide and drove about 5 minutes to Antwerp. We all had a device called a QuietVox which we attached an ear piece to and could head the tour guide. This was a great idea walking around the city with our local guide who was so knowledgeable. We wandered narrow streets and made our way towards the cathedral.

Around midday we made our way back to the cruise ship where we enjoyed a lovely lunch in the panorama lounge; soups, pasta dishes, salad and deserts. There was also an alternative a la carte lunch in the main restaurant.

There was a choice of what to do in the afternoon, we chose to go back into Antwerp and carry on exploring the city. We went towards the Groenplaats where you can see the statue of Petro Paulo Rubens where we had the most amazing Belgian Waffle because why not when in Belgium! Instead of getting the shuttle back to the port, we decided to take a 25-minute walk along the River Sheldt. I still had a little bit of time when we got back to the ship before we needed to get ready for the evening so I decided to use some of the ship’s facilities. Firstly, I went to the fitness room which I was very impressed with; they had exercise bikes, rowing machines, yoga mats, weights, fitness balls and an area with apples and water!

After I had got ready for the evening, I met a few of the others up on the sun deck which was beautiful with the sun out, we played a game of chess with the large chess board on the sun deck and also a game of shuffle board which I had never played before and I can honestly say it was great fun!

Dinner was again in the main restaurant and it did not disappoint! The food was absolutely incredible; I had the veal paté, Sautéed lobster, an orange and soy marinated pork, followed by a fabulous crème brûlée. We then had a selection of local cheeses and some lovely Austrian white wine.

After dinner we made our way back to the panorama lounge for some live music from the wonderful Kati and Robert while we enjoyed a few cocktails. We then had a music quiz hosted by our lovely cruise director Lorelei, the songs were sung by Kati & Robert and if you got up and danced, you got a bonus point for every song. This encouraged people to get up and out of their comfort zone and by the last song everyone was up and having a good time!

On Tuesday morning it was time to get out shuttle from Rotterdam back to Amsterdam to fly home. Breakfast was again lovely and there was so much to choose from! The waiters were so lovely, even after less than 48 hours they knew I’d have an earl grey tea, this shows how much attention they really do pay to their guests throughout their stay! The transfer back to Amsterdam was about 1.25 hours which really wasn’t so bad when you’re chatting away.  We got back to Schiphol with 5 hours until our flight so we decided to put our baggage in storage for only €6 and went back into central Amsterdam for the afternoon as it was only approximately 15 minutes on the train. We wandered down to Dam square as there is a lot to do around there and we decided to take a walk into the red-light district which is worth seeing if you are in Amsterdam. We found a lovely little spot where we had a drink and some Churros which were delicious!  

 

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