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FloridaTourist

Cruising on the Koningsdam 8/5/2018 Northern Isles Cruise

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Getting ready to head to Amsterdam today. I will do daily postings of our experience from the day we leave till we return. Come along and follow. Ask questions. Looking forward to this awesome trip.

 

Little bit about us. We are both in our mid/late 50s. This will be our 4th HAL cruise. HAL became our line of choice but will be our first time on this particular ship. Really excited as we will also be booking for next year while on board for the Nieuw Statendam. We will be departing today for Amsterdam on our first ever non-stop flight to Europe from our home airport of Orlando. I’ll try to be funny and inject some humor. I’ll admit to being a terrible Typer and bad proof reader. But non the less I promise a good read for you. Our flight out is at 730pm. We arrive in AMS approx 1030am local time in Amsterdam. We will be staying at the Renaissance Hotel. We arranged pickup at the airport from the hotel. I know it’s a little pricey but there is something about having that guy standing there with a sign with your name on it. Is still work. This is vacation and I want to feel “vacation”. Plus have to admit we don’t pack light. Our 2 big bags are pushing the 50lb limit and the 2 carry-on’s are packed to the top. Told my wife she might have to leave one of her 6 pairs of shoes. Thank god it was our 35th Anniversary last night. She was in a good mood and she just laughed. There was no way that was happening. It’s all about the shoes.

 

Anyway watch for the next post Thursday evening. We will be having dinner at a special restaurant to celebrate the big 35.

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Have a nice time and cruise. It is hot in Amsterdam the coming days!

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Happy Anniversary!

I hope you enjoy your visit to Amsterdam, great city, so much to do!

And then a cruise.

Wow!

Looking forward to reading more.

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Happy Anniversary

Hope you enjoy Amsterdam -- we loved it -- been there several times via land trips and cruise ships.

Looking forward to your reports.

Have a safe flight.

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Looking forward to your reports!

Congratulations on 35 years. We celebrated our 40th on Koningsdam and it was perfect.

P.S. FloridaTourist, how do you get away with DW having only 6 pairs of shoes? Any time we are getting close to luggage having bursting zips and I suggest to DW that WE may have too many shoes, she picks which pair of MINE to leave behind! :rolleyes:

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!

 

Enjoy every moment! It should be an awesome time. The itinerary is amazing and we love the ship.

 

We look forward to spending time with you guys.

 

See you onboard!

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Arrived in Amsterdam today. Boy was it nice having a non stop flight. Got through Bag drop and security and was at the gate in less than 15 minutes. That never happens. Flight was a about 40 minutes delayed due to lightening in the area. While sitting and waiting DW asked me if we could get a first class upgraded. I said no way. Won’t happen. After all I have no status with any airline. Marriotts yes. Airline no. I said go try. The gate agent put her on a list of the overbooked first class. 15 minutes before boarding she asked “should I check?” I told her please don’t embarrass me. It won’t happen. So she went back up to the counter and played the 35th anniversary card and wanted to surprise her DH. Guess what? We sat in 1 B and C. So lesson learned. It never hurts to ask. Funny, I preach that to the people that work for me but I wasn’t practicing the same. Can’t say the food was anything special except for the warm nuts and ice cream sundae but laying flat to sleep was nice.

 

The driver picked us up as planned. Arranged through the hotel. I do like nice service. Having the driver wait right outside baggage with a sign with our name on it is a nice feeling. No waiting for a taxi and off we go to the Renaissance Hotel. My Marriott status landed us a slight upgrade. Not so much in room but a free open mini bar. Now granted we are not big drinkers and we have the explore 4 package onboard this trip so we get drinks included. I also have concierge service so get breakfast etc in there.

 

We took a quick stroll after checking in and changing clothes. It is hot here. Even being from Florida it is hot. Had lunch at a baked potato place called Jackets right near the hotel. Wanted to order a local beer but why when free beer was a block a way in the mini fridge. Anyway lunch was good. We split a potato. Didn’t want to over eat as we have a special dinner tonight to celebrate our anniversary. But as writing this I am having some wine from the fridge. Never had the beer. First impression after just a short walk is that Amsterdam feels big. Has a big city feel. Very crowded as this is Pride week and that is all everyone is talking about and “where will you watch the parade”. Saturday should be an interesting day.

 

Anyway time for a shower. I’ll be back later

 

 

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Had dinner last night at de belhammel. Hotel had arranged dinner there for us. Excellent food and beautiful view on the canal. 04478f70b6bd2aec30f79528848cef80.jpg

 

Prices were actually very good even to American standards. We opted for the 3 course special and it was 35e per person. 4c59beece168b9effe646960ec98e768.jpg

 

Forgot to mention when we left the hotel for dinner there was a bottle of champagne outside our door on ice and a box of Dutch chocolate from the hotel customer service for us. Nice touch. They didn’t knock because we had the do not disturb out cause of our nap.

 

The Renaissance Hotel is a really nice place. Seems to be a good location. Rooms are an ok size. Not huge but not as small as some. The concierge and desk personnel especially Michael and Huw are all very helpful. It is also very clean and good beds.

 

When we returned to the hotel after dinner we talked to the bartender and let us open our champagne at a quiet table and indulge. The bottle was on the menu at 39e. So that was a nice gift from the hotel.

 

Today is a busy day. We have a 3 hr 1030 walking tour with FreeDam tours. At 3 we do a 90 min Classic Boat Tour on the canals. 530 we do the Van Gough Museum.

 

Well it is almost 8 am. Time to start waking the DW. She will definitely need more time than me to get her clock straight.

 

 

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Enjoy your day. We are leaving from MCO today and look forward to meeting you onboard the Koningsdam. I am thinking we might be on the same flight home to MCO.

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Hey Kiskowgirl we are on the non stop home the day we dock.

 

Today was a long day. Had breakfast in the concierge room of the hotel. Nice breakfast. Fresh pastries, scrambled eggs, bacon, cheeses and fresh fruits and yogurts. The room though is just to darn warm. They have fans all over. I hope it is just temporary.

 

After breakfast walked to meet our 1030 walking tour with FreeDam tours. This is a free walking tour. Free walking tours are a great way to learn a city and some history. Our guide was Sergio the CEO of the company. Kind of reminded me of a bald Jonathan Van Ness. If you don’t know how he is look it up. But Sergio did a great job. It was a very hot day and he tried to keep us in the shade. It was nice to get our bearings in the city. It is starting to get crowded for Pride day tomorrow.

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After the tour we ate lunch *********s Singel Tea House. It was recommended by several people. It was really good. It was a short walk from the hotel and on the way to the Classic Canal cruise which is at 315 Singel. Anyway i had a BLT and DW had avocado toast . Both were really good and fare priced.

 

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So after lunch we did the 90 minute canal tour. Amsterdam is one of those cities where you have to see it on land and water. Glad we did it Juart was our guide and captain. Young law student. He did a nice job. He was born and raised in Amsterdam and had a lot of pride in his city. c5fcde9eee2ea0e780712a335d951eea.jpg

 

At this point we are hot and tired but the day was not done. Next stop was the Van Gough museum which we walked to. We pre bought our tickets online but really the place was not as crowded as we thought it would be. We are not museum people really. Don’t usually make a habit of visiting them. So dont get me wrong. We have been to the Hermitage, Philadelphia museum of art and some other great museums. We just dont make them priority. Anyway glad we got the head set. Chose the short 45 min tour which really was more than an hour. Glad we did it. Now I don’t have to go back on my next trip.

 

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After the Van Gough I made my DW take a cab back. It would have been over an hour to walk back. She was glad we did. Well worth 15e. We don’t do public transportation in Europe. Just something we made a decision about when we decided to travel Europe 3 years ago. Just a safety thing.

 

After quick showers and a cold Heineken from the free mini bar in our room we went to dinner at Savini Italian right near our hotel. Shared a salad and a pasta special. So no pics. Was just enough to share for a lite dinner. Then back to our hotel to chill. Saturday will be another big day.

 

 

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Saturday was another full day. Woke up and had breakfast in the hotel restaurant as the concierge lounge doesn’t serve on weekends. It was buffet with cooked to order eggs. It was very nice. After breakfast we took a leisurely walk towards our 10am start time at the Anne Frank House. When we got there we could see all the setting up for the pride parade. Wow!!! Is all I could say. At the AFH they really control the crowd. 6 People are allowed in every minute. We already knew the story but to actually see where the families hid was different. Very moving. By the time we were done the festivities outside were heating up. The streets were becoming packed. We met my sister who has lived in Amsterdam at noon in front of the church next door. She has lived there for almost 30 years. It was great to spend time with here. She took us around areas the tour guides don’t take you. We saw some quaint little areas. Walked all the J’dam, Prince Island and the Westerbrook Park. Then back all the way to china town. Did a total of 9 miles. Had lots of fun. Saw so much. This is a pretty big city. Gay pride was everywhere. But the people here consider it more about celebrating diversity which I totally get. Diversity and all, the parade is still very gay oriented. But the people were definitely having a good time. the crowds were a little over whelming. They are very free spirited here. Also most police here are plain clothes which I find interesting. Maybe we should learn something from that. They consider it less threatening. After our walk we came back to the hotel to rest a little then got ready for dinner at a little places called Thai & Co. very small place but close to the hotel. We shared Pad Thai. But Sunday is the big day and we will finally board the Koningsdam. Can’t wait to board her as we are ready to begin our cruise.

 

 

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Interesting read! It’s inspiring me to go back.

 

Have a wonderful time on your cruise.

 

 

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Have a wonderful cruise trip for your special occasion.

So sorry you feel unsafe with European transit systems.

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Hope you are having a great trip. Did you make it to the Tattoo? I would love information on transportation back after the show

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Sorry everyone. This is the first cruise I did not get to do and complete this. Internet was awful and the time change killed us. But if anyone has any questions let me know

 

 

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In 2009 we diid a river cruise down the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basil Switzerland . Fabulous river cruise on Avalon Waterways ( better than Viking ) .In Amsterdam we did a canal cruise in canal boats , the museums & a Italian restaurant .

 

After Zurich Switzerland stay in the Hilton Hotel ,we flew to Rome for 6 nights at the airport hilton with bus service by the hotel into Rome 8 times a day & back 8 times a day , We saw a great deal of Rome . After rome we did the inaugural sailing in a stern balcony on Celebrity Equinox from Rome to Ft Lauderdale with many port stops in France & Spain .

 

A wonderful trip to Europe :D

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Sorry everyone. This is the first cruise I did not get to do and complete this. Internet was awful and the time change killed us. But if anyone has any questions let me know

 

 

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Hi any advise you can give us about getting back and forth to the tattoo?

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If the ship docks at South Queensferry, as it did for us, the train station is close to where the tender docks. We were told it was within 10 min. walking distance. At the other end, Waverly is the closest station and is around the same distance to the castle.

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Hi any advise you can give us about getting back and forth to the tattoo?

 

 

 

Swine we actually got a hotel room at the Grassmarket and stayed over night. Was the best decision we made. DW and I just discussed this the other night and decided we would do it again that way. The people that went back didn’t arrive till about 1am. Since we had a tour in a Edinburgh itself the next day it just didn’t make sense to go back to the ship.

 

 

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If the ship docks at South Queensferry, as it did for us, the train station is close to where the tender docks. We were told it was within 10 min. walking distance. At the other end, Waverly is the closest station and is around the same distance to the castle.

 

 

 

I saw the walk to the train station. Good luck! I wouldn’t do it. And the train doesn’t run late enough to get you back after the tattoo. You can take an uber for about $20US. Spend the money if you must go back that night.

 

 

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I saw the walk to the train station. Good luck! I wouldn’t do it. And the train doesn’t run late enough to get you back after the tattoo. You can take an uber for about $20US. Spend the money if you must go back that night.

 

 

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Thanks. We are debating taking the ships tour because unlike this year, the ship leaves at 1 am after the Tattoo. I’m nervous about having difficultly getting an Uber or taxi in a timely fashion.

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