Posted April 28th, 2013, 10:18 AM
First off, it's pronounced "kinder-dike". If you knew, good on ya; personally, I massacred it before being corrected!
We cruised overnight and arrived at Kinderdijk at about 8 AM. From the 300 cabin deck there was not a hint of movement. Someone we met at lunch said there was a bit of vibration in the aft 100's, but so far I've found the sailing to be like glass and difficult to even know you're on what's actually a pretty large vessel!
Breakfast was excellent as was lunch. The freshness and variety of the full breakfast buffet was great. I think the smaller number of passengers make for smaller quantities being presented at one time and that results in added freshness. But the quality of food itself was superb. The baked goods are especially good and my wife's omelet was wonderful. Great service once again.
Some fair balance info that someone reading from Viking really should absorb and address regarding our being on the Embla rather than the Idun. No one on board that we have talked to at least, was informed about the change of ship beforehand. We were told upon boarding that this was a somewhat newer ship and virtually identical to the Idun. And as stated, the reason for the change itself was a bit hazy. While we're perfectly happy with the ship, the change did inconvenience a couple we lunched with today because they spent an inordinate amount of wasted time searching the docks for a ship that wasn't there. This is a problem that could have easily been avoided by any type of forewarning. Additionally, this couple even tried calling the Idun and got no answer which may lead one to believe that the Idun has been taken out of service - perhaps to correct some of the early-reported water problems. Personally, I don't know, but it sure begs the question!
The stop at Kinderdijk itself was great. (I'll tack on a thumbnail or two at the end.) the guide we had, Jack P., a retired schoolteacher, was knowledgeable and personable. The site itself is lovely with 8 or 9 windmills all in view from the same vantage point. And the opportunity to actually explore inside one of the better-restored ones was both educational as well as a little bit magic. We've all seen photos of windmills from before we can remember, but the phenomenal engineering of these beautiful machines is really pretty astounding.
The tour itself was a little bit rushed though. We were off the ship to begin the tour at about 9:45 (the site is directly across the road) but had to get back by 11 for an 11:30 sailing. That made exploring the working windmill a bit more rushed for the third tour group exploring it. I would have liked another 10 minutes or so, but we had to run for the ship. I don't think it would hurt for Viking to build in another 15 minutes or so to let everyone explore on a bit more of a leisurely pace. And when Viking says 11:30 you better believe it - we pushed off at 11:26! But the Line's practice of collecting cabin keys upon leaving the ship (replaced with a name card) let's them know who's where at all times.
Lunch today in the main dining room was a combination buffet and menus order and it was mix and match so you could do either or both. Again the food, selection and service were all excellent. It's nice to have a beer or two with lunch as well. And while the hose wines are really not bad at all, the beer is local, cold and top notch. At the two meals we've had so far where her and wine has been served, we've found the wait staff to be very wiling to refresh your glass as often as needed.
I'm writing this on our balcony in the sun. It's a light jacket comfortable 52 degrees as we proceed up the Rhine and I'll close up for the day since the rest of it is pretty much what we're doing now. Darn!