This morning we packed up to get to the ship. A last minute trip to a post office to mail a small parcel and then wait for a taxi. A bit of a walk to get to the post office and some great photo ops presented themselves.
It is of course raining, which it has apparently been doing off and on for months.The MS Rotterdam arrived at 0300 (thanks to Eddie for finding that out for us). She is moored across the harbour from where we were staying. One of the striking things about Rotterdam is the variety of architecture. Modern, old, very old and interesting shapes all intermingled.
Boarding was smooth, being a 4 Star Mariner definitely helps. Just flash the card, skip to the front of the line, get your photo taken and then onto the ship. The other passengers were grouped into colour coded batches. A few near the front of the line were not pleased to see us ‘butting in’, so we let them go first, no purpose in getting upset at the start of a great voyage.
The passage out to the English Channel provided lots of viewing opportunities. First up is the original Holland Amerika head office, now a hotel (Hotel New York). As we pass the SS Rotterdam (built in 1959, also now a hotel) there is a horn exchange between the 2 ships. Rotterdam was for a very long time the largest harbour in the world, recently surpassed by Hamburg. But still 400million tons of goods passed through there in 2011. There is also ship building activity visible including 2 traditional plank on rib ships.
Then off to our first dinner on board. We lucked out and have a table for 2 at 8pm. A lovely dinner, reasonable serving sizes and then off to the show. A great start to the cruise.