Review: MS Rotterdam
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
Right On, MS Rotterdam!!!
132 people found this review helpful
I have just returned from a fantastic cruise on the beautiful Holland America Line ship 'Rotterdam'.
11 nights of sheer luxury – delicious food, great entertainment, super ports-of-call, a free upgrade from an inside to an outside cabin and all for an unbelievably low price. I won't mention the amount of onboard credit I received – they almost paid me to go on this cruise!
For the first time ever, I left my husband at home (he didn't want to do this particular cruise) & travelled with a friend. I met her last year on another Holland America Line cruise and she was only too happy to join me for this winter jaunt.
This new partnership worked out really well. We did things both together and separately, always meeting up each day at least for the afternoon quiz and dinner.
I talked to dozens of interesting passengers (American, Canadian, German,Dutch, Russian and Australian and of course British), & made many new friends. I plan to meet up with some of them in the next few months to introduce them to my 'missing' other half ! A couple from Saskatchewan who became good friends are, unbelievably, renting a house 5 miles from where I live for 2 months this spring! And an English member of my 'Name That Tune' team lives in Bournemouth, where my husband and I have a 3 night break booked in February. I have his phone number so that we can arrange to meet up then!
Flooded roads & cancelled trains made getting to Southampton problematic, but Joanne & I got there in time to watch the ship pull in from (aptly enough) Rotterdam!
From then on the weather improved and the Bay of Biscay, despite it being January, was like a millpond.
Entertainment on the ship was excellent. The guest entertainers were all British and very good they were too. Outstanding was Lorraine Brown whose song selection and voice were both superb.
If anyone remembers the TV series with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to find a 'Joseph' for the West End, then they, like me, would have been especially happy with the two production shows. I recognised the lead singer as Lewis, who had come 3rd in the TV series, just losing out to Lee Mead. He was approachable, friendly and on the team's night off sang informally in the Piano Bar – a great evening.
My comedy highlight of the cruise, apart from Martin Beaumont (the very good comedian) was one of those unexpected, cannot-believe-it moments: I was sitting on a beautiful white leather chair and a Dutch lady asked me if the chair next to mine was free. With her accent, with an 's' sounding like 'sh' , what she actually said sounded like "Is it OK if I sh** on this chair?"….it was very hard to keep a straight face!
In Lisbon, I headed by bus, ferry & yet another bus to the spectacular Statue of Christ on the other side of the Tagus River. There is an elevator to the base of the actual statue – as I stepped out up at the top it was a real 'wow' moment – just breathtaking.
Blue sky and sunshine welcomed us in Gibraltar and stayed with us for much of the remaining cruise. Unfortunately the cable-car was closed, apparently they were having the wrong kind of wind…
Malaga and Malta soon followed.
A new-to-me Cruise Terminal in Malaga made life very easy, with a city shuttle bus right to the town centre. I loved the geometric paving stones in many of the streets. The Cathedral and its grounds, the living statues, the orange trees & birds-of -paradise flowers and the shops were a delight. My planned visit to the Picasso Museum will have to wait till my next visit there!
Valletta is a great cruise port (despite an awful taxi driver offering to take me on an island tour as there was "nothing to see in the town"…..). I headed for the new elevator to the Upper Barracca Gardens. The ticket seller for the elevator was in uniform. I mentioned what the taxi driver had said to me. His response was that , as a government official, if he had heard what the taxi-driver had said he would have had his licence taken away! Valletta had history, cathedrals, great views, good shopping, free WiFi – what more does a girl need?
Then on to Kusadasi, where my bargaining skills were sorely tested. I had to spend the afternoon sunbathing on the ship to recover! The delicious ice-cream on tap ensured I soon felt better!
The next day's disembarkation at Athens went smoothly, with a ship's transfer for me by coach to Athens Airport.
Joanne stayed on for 3 more days in Athens, so we said our goodbyes, temporarily. She is now back and has told me that she had 3 days of lovely weather, there were people she knew from the ship staying at her hotel & she was able to share a taxi to the airport with them!
After a good flight home I had the added bonus of my husband picking me up from Heathrow as I stepped out of Terminal 5! On the plane they had announced that mobile phones could now be used during take-off and landing. So I called my husband as soon as we touched down on the runway. That was a first: "'where are you?" he said. My reply was "on the plane" !
132 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Holland America Line