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Steaming with Teeming: Live from the Royal Emerald

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We boarded Teeming's Royal Emerald this afternoon for a 9-night cruise through the Netherlands and Belgium. I'll try to post regularly as we sail and do a review when we return. Meanwhile, I'll go ahead and post a description of our pre-cruise planning and Amsterdam visit.

 

Planning and Reservations:

In the September of 2018 we started thinking about a river cruise for 2019. After seeing posts about the Neckar from notamermaid on cruisecritic.com, we began to seriously think about cruising from Saarbrücken to Stuttgart with the German line Nicko. One of their ships, the MS Casanova, is only 103 meters long compared to the larger 110-meter ships and the new 130 meter ships that most lines are moving to. The Casanova is one of the few ships that can navigate through the shorter locks on the Neckar River, so Nicko is somewhat unique. Nicko also offers select cruises where they guarantee that English speakers will be catered to on tours and shipboard.

The deciding factor for the cruise came when we saw that river cruise newcomer Teeming River Cruises was offering a 9-night Netherlands cruise that ended on the day the Nicko cruise began. A quick check showed that we could board a train in Amsterdam around 8:00 a.m. and arrive in Saarbrücken in plenty of time for the Casanova’s 4:45 p.m. departure. Teeming is something of a wild card, but their prices are very reasonable. Cabins for their 9-night cruise started at around $1,300 per person with the top cabins going for $2,699.

Teeming rents ships from Neerlandic for their cruises, and this cruise uses the Royal Emerald, formerly the Scenic Emerald. Given the prices, we decided to splurge for once. We wanted to celebrate the fact that I’m now cancer-free after interrupting last spring’s Douro cruise to come home and have a kidney removed. So we reserved one of the two Panorama Suites on the rear of the ship in mid-October. The suites are 325 sq. ft. (~30 m2) with floor-to-ceiling windows facing aft, and a balcony to the side. At $300 per night, this seemed like a great deal.

Teeming has low prices because they don’t offer some of the free amenities that other lines offer. For example, no tours are included. Teeming offers a smartphone app for use that allows users to find their way around the ports and describes points of interest in the towns (without needing internet access). They also offer tours through Viator. In addition, one has to pay for wine, beer, or soda at lunch and dinner. We chose the $129/person drink package (drinks at meals only). Being the nerd that I am I worked this out at $7.59 per meal. With soft drinks at about $4.40 per glass and wine at $5.00, this seems like a good deal.

Shortly after we reserved, I happened to notice that the two Panorama Suites didn’t show up on the deck plans on Teeming’s web site. I called the line and was told that they would be in touch. In an hour or so I got a call from Jeff Paglialonga, Teeming’s owner. He explained that the suites had suffered from a significant vibration problem and were not currently usable. He added that while in dock during the winter, the suites would be revamped to solve the vibration issues. He also offered to reserve one of the Royal Balcony Suites so that if we felt that the vibration was still an issue, we could move to the other suite located amidships. In late January we were told that the suites had been successfully refurbished, and Teeming released our hold on the Royal Balcony Suite so that someone else could reserve the cabin. The entire ship was almost sold out in mid-February.

There were a couple of changes in the itinerary about 3 weeks before embarkation. The day in Haarlem became a day in Enkhuizen, and the day in Middleburg, Netherlands became a day in Antwerp, Belgium.  

It's nice that both Teeming and Nicko list arrival and departure times for all the ports they visit. Although we know that they can change, it certainly helps planning—especially with Teeming where tours aren’t included.

Air & Train:
We made our own air arrangements, flying from Nashville to Amsterdam and returning from Frankfurt with American Airlines where I have miles and gold status. We requested upgrades to business class, and in late January we were upgraded on the Philadelphia to Amsterdam leg of our trip ($350 + 25,000 miles each).

We also pre-purchased our train tickets on the bahn.com website. We found an ICE train from Amsterdam to Mannheim leaving at 8:08 and arriving at 12:23 and a regional train leaving Mannheim at 12:39 and arriving in Saarbrücken at 14:14, 2½ hours before the MS Casanova sailed.

Amsterdam Precruise:
We arrived in Amsterdam late morning on Tuesday morning so that we had a couple of days to enjoy the city before boarding the Royal Emerald on Thursday afternoon. We stayed at a wonderful little hotel we’ve used before, misc eatdrinksleep, just off of Nieuwmarkt Square and a 10-minute walk from Centraal Station. The hotel is an old canal house with six rooms, three facing the canal and three facing the garden. The hotel also has a small bar, the Rosalina that’s open in the evenings. The owners, Rachel and Pepijn are very gracious hosts and they made our stay great. Breakfast is included with bread, cheeses, cereals, eggs cooked to order, and delicious croissants.

We’ve done Amsterdam before, so we took it easy and enjoyed waking the city, visiting the Amsterdam Museum, the Maritime Museum, and doing a red light district walk using Rick Steve’s Audio Europe app. We also enjoyed having a coffee at the café at the top of the library with a great view of the old city.

It’s probably worth mentioning that there’s a grocery store (Albert Heijn) very close to the riverboat docks. Just past the Doubletree.

More later...

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Enjoy! Looking forward to hearing all about this unique journey.

 

At $7.59 per meal, they would definitely lose money on Chris and me...

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Fuel Science-  Ditto JP, enjoy!  You always seem to have a good attitude, I'm sure you'll have a good time.  Hope to follow in your footsteps soon.  I skipped half of the tours on my last cruise so I think Teeming would work for us.

 

Also, the guy who helped develop the tour app was on our November Vantage sailing, and many people really enjoyed using it.  One of the big features was that your pics are geo-tagged, and when you're back home showing them off, the details of the nearby area can be pulled up, so you can remember what the name of that castle/cathedral/statue was.   (I'm a technophobe so I didn't use it.  Finally gave up my flip phone 2 weeks back, work requirement to get a 'smart phone', which is only as smart as user). He consulted with Teeming when they were developing routes.  Super smart/interesting guy, who is Dutch, so I think he was pointing them in the right direction, especially for your cruise.  

 

Hope you have some good sun for selfish reasons...I'm finally seeing Keukenhof gardens in 3 weeks. 

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10 hours ago, FuelScience said:

More later...

Can't wait to read all about a Teeming Cruise.

 

We are currently booked on a Scenic cruise in October (our first) - Rhine Highlights.  However, Scenic are ridiculously expensive and I seriously doubt we could afford to do very many of them.  Like you, I don't expect to do all of the included tours, because we really aren't group tour people and are very used to touring European towns and cities on our own, so in that sense the Scenic inclusions will be a little wasted.

 

The included drinks however will not be!

 

I am really interested in how a Teeming cruise works out, and I haven't seen many reviews, so looking forward to yours.

 

Enjoy.

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Onboard the Royal Emerald:
We boarded the ship on Thursday afternoon around 2 o’clock (3 o’clock was the suggested check-in time). The front desk began getting people into their rooms around 3:20. We didn’t get into our rooms until almost 5:00. Everybody but the two panorama suites got through fairly quickly. With this being the first cruise of the year, and the fact that the two panorama suites had been completely revamped to deal with vibration issues, they were apparently not ready. The hotel manager apologized profusely and bought us a drink.  

The ship appears to be in great shape, and our stateroom is great. There’s not a lot of vibration, but there is significant engine noise when underway. It’s a constant roar, and we’ll see how we do as the cruise goes on. I did a check with a dB meter program on my phone, and in port with the engines stopped and no perceivable noise, I got a reading of around 55 dB. Underway with the engines running the sound levels ran between 75 and 80 dB.

We pulled out of Amsterdam at 7:00 p.m. and dinner was served at 7:30 p.m. Things were a little slow getting started, but once serving started, the courses came out quickly. This is the first cruise for the Royal Emerald, so it’s normal to expect some confusion early on. We were finished with desert a little before 10:00 p.m. The ship pulled into Hoorn around 10:30 p.m.

The day in Hoorn began with a port talk at 9:15. The cruise director said a few things about the area and pointed out the main attractions in Hoorn, the sailing ship Halve Maen (Half Moon), a replica of the ship Henry Hudson sailed to America back in 1609, and the Westfries Museum. The Half Moon isn’t open this early in the year normally, but they had tours at 10:00 and 11:00 for Teeming passengers. We did the ship tour at 10:00, and took a walk around town before lunch and then visited the museum in the afternoon. We were fortunate to see the Halve Maen actually sailing. Today was the first sailing of this year. A crew took the ship out (under diesel power) and sailed toward downtown Hoorn before turning around and heading back south under sail.

This is the first sailing of the season for the Royal Emerald, and there are a few small issues associated with starting the new year. Some of the televisions are new, and we had an issue with our remote control that was quickly remedied. We also had problems with cooling with the temperature in our room getting up to 78°F this afternoon. We talked to the desk, and they sent an engineer down to check it out. He found the problem and fixed it, so now everything seems fine.

It’s probably worth mentioning the makeup of the passengers. I think that there’s a wider span of ages than one typically sees on a river cruise. There’s a family with a child who looks to be around 7-8 years old, and another with teenage daughters. There are also more middle-aged couples than we normally see on river cruises. We have a group of 32 cruisers from Denmark. Most of the rest are Americans, along with Canadian’s, Brits, and Aussies.

So far Teeming’s approach has worked for us. We didn’t have to eave on an early morning tour, which gave us time to sleep in a little. When we visited the Half Moon, they were able to give us a ticket which got us into the Westfries Museum as well, saving us some money, so the total cost of our “excursions” was € 27. We did quite a bit of walking around Hoorn, so we managed to get in about 14,000 steps today.

The POP app that Teeming uses on both iPhones and Android worked well today. When you fire up the app, you select the town you’re visiting, and it brings up a map with points of interest marked. You touch the symbol for the attraction you’re interested in, and you see a brief description of the site of interest. Then you just touch a symbol to go to that site, and the app plots out a route to get there. This all works on pre-downloaded maps, so you don’t have to use data roaming. The map also shows the docking location, so you can quickly map out the best route to the ships.

Food service has been comparable to what we’ve experienced with Viking, Avalon, and Vantage. We had a nice breakfast buffet, a typical buffet lunch with a pasta station, and a sit down dinner tonight. The service was a little slow, but I think that’s due to this being the first cruise of the year for the crew and staff. Tonight’s 7-course dinner was delicious. We set sail for Enkhuizen during dinner. 

Teeming’s owners, Jeff and Jena Pagliolonga are both on the cruise and eager to help and are regularly asking for feedback on any problems or issues that might arise, and suggestions on how they could provide a better experience.

Today we hit Einkhuizen with the open air museum and other attractions. More on that tomorrow.

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3 hours ago, FuelScience said:

Onboard the Royal Emerald:
We boarded the ship on Thursday afternoon around 2 o’clock (3 o’clock was the suggested check-in time). The front desk began getting people into their rooms around 3:20. We didn’t get into our rooms until almost 5:00. Everybody but the two panorama suites got through fairly quickly. With this being the first cruise of the year, and the fact that the two panorama suites had been completely revamped to deal with vibration issues, they were apparently not ready. The hotel manager apologized profusely and bought us a drink.  

 

The ship appears to be in great shape, and our stateroom is great. There’s not a lot of vibration, but there is significant engine noise when underway. It’s a constant roar, and we’ll see how we do as the cruise goes on. I did a check with a dB meter program on my phone, and in port with the engines stopped and no perceivable noise, I got a reading of around 55 dB. Underway with the engines running the sound levels ran between 75 and 80 dB.

 

We pulled out of Amsterdam at 7:00 p.m. and dinner was served at 7:30 p.m. Things were a little slow getting started, but once serving started, the courses came out quickly. This is the first cruise for the Royal Emerald, so it’s normal to expect some confusion early on. We were finished with desert a little before 10:00 p.m. The ship pulled into Hoorn around 10:30 p.m.

 

The day in Hoorn began with a port talk at 9:15. The cruise director said a few things about the area and pointed out the main attractions in Hoorn, the sailing ship Halve Maen (Half Moon), a replica of the ship Henry Hudson sailed to America back in 1609, and the Westfries Museum. The Half Moon isn’t open this early in the year normally, but they had tours at 10:00 and 11:00 for Teeming passengers. We did the ship tour at 10:00, and took a walk around town before lunch and then visited the museum in the afternoon. We were fortunate to see the Halve Maen actually sailing. Today was the first sailing of this year. A crew took the ship out (under diesel power) and sailed toward downtown Hoorn before turning around and heading back south under sail.

 

This is the first sailing of the season for the Royal Emerald, and there are a few small issues associated with starting the new year. Some of the televisions are new, and we had an issue with our remote control that was quickly remedied. We also had problems with cooling with the temperature in our room getting up to 78°F this afternoon. We talked to the desk, and they sent an engineer down to check it out. He found the problem and fixed it, so now everything seems fine.

 

It’s probably worth mentioning the makeup of the passengers. I think that there’s a wider span of ages than one typically sees on a river cruise. There’s a family with a child who looks to be around 7-8 years old, and another with teenage daughters. There are also more middle-aged couples than we normally see on river cruises. We have a group of 32 cruisers from Denmark. Most of the rest are Americans, along with Canadian’s, Brits, and Aussies.

 

So far Teeming’s approach has worked for us. We didn’t have to eave on an early morning tour, which gave us time to sleep in a little. When we visited the Half Moon, they were able to give us a ticket which got us into the Westfries Museum as well, saving us some money, so the total cost of our “excursions” was € 27. We did quite a bit of walking around Hoorn, so we managed to get in about 14,000 steps today.

 

The POP app that Teeming uses on both iPhones and Android worked well today. When you fire up the app, you select the town you’re visiting, and it brings up a map with points of interest marked. You touch the symbol for the attraction you’re interested in, and you see a brief description of the site of interest. Then you just touch a symbol to go to that site, and the app plots out a route to get there. This all works on pre-downloaded maps, so you don’t have to use data roaming. The map also shows the docking location, so you can quickly map out the best route to the ships.

 

Food service has been comparable to what we’ve experienced with Viking, Avalon, and Vantage. We had a nice breakfast buffet, a typical buffet lunch with a pasta station, and a sit down dinner tonight. The service was a little slow, but I think that’s due to this being the first cruise of the year for the crew and staff. Tonight’s 7-course dinner was delicious. We set sail for Enkhuizen during dinner. 

 

Teeming’s owners, Jeff and Jena Pagliolonga are both on the cruise and eager to help and are regularly asking for feedback on any problems or issues that might arise, and suggestions on how they could provide a better experience.

 

Today we hit Einkhuizen with the open air museum and other attractions. More on that tomorrow.

 

Sounds pretty good and the passenger mix sounds pretty interesting.  On Vantage, a fellow passenger came over to introduce himself 'to the guy who tried to bring the average age down a bit'.  At 52, I really was wet behind the ears compared to the rest of the passengers.  Nice to hear the owners are on board.

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5 hours ago, FuelScience said:

The day in Hoorn began with a port talk at 9:15. The cruise director said a few things about the area and pointed out the main attractions in Hoorn, the sailing ship Halve Maen (Half Moon), a replica of the ship Henry Hudson sailed to America back in 1609, and the Westfries Museum. The Half Moon isn’t open this early in the year normally, but they had tours at 10:00 and 11:00 for Teeming passengers. We did the ship tour at 10:00, and took a walk around town before lunch and then visited the museum in the afternoon. We were fortunate to see the Halve Maen actually sailing. Today was the first sailing of this year. A crew took the ship out (under diesel power) and sailed toward downtown Hoorn before turning around and heading back south under sail.

 

FuelScience - great reporting so far. Cruise sounds like fun, especially for folks who are happy to go off on their own in these places. 

 

There is a local connection to the Half Moon and Hoorn. She was built in Albany, and was docked here for a number of years before we "lost" her to Hoorn. Now apparently Hoorn is no longer willing to pay for her upkeep, so after next year her future is unknown... There is supposedly a group trying to get her back to Albany. Here's a link to an article in our local Albany newspaper.

 

https://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Half-Moon-losing-Dutch-host-port-a-return-to-13627478.php

 

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I’m really enjoying this post, Teeming sounds like something we’d enjoy, not much into group tours and we tend to do things independently so anxious to see how your travels continue.  Thanks for taking the time and letting us travel with you.  

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2 hours ago, jpalbny said:

There is a local connection to the Half Moon and Hoorn. She was built in Albany, and was docked here for a number of years before we "lost" her to Hoorn.

 

I'm impressed! You really know your Albany history. The guide mentioned the Albany connection a few times talked about Dr. Hendricks. It's hard to imagine this ship crossing the Atlantic with a crew of only 17! What do they say? Iron men and wooden ships. 

 

They only mentioned in passing that the ship "might" leave Hoorn next year. Yesterday was a big day for the Half Moon. They had her rigged up and took her out for the first time this year. When things get going in the summer they take people on day trips for 99 per head. 

 

I hope I've attached a photo of the ship getting ready to drop some sail at Hoorn (my first attempt with the new cruisecritic setup. 

 

P1160338.jpg

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3 hours ago, FuelScience said:

I'm impressed! You really know your Albany history.

 

I have no choice...it's in my blood! 😉

 

Back in the very early 1600s, there was a fellow named Wessel Wesselse TenBroeck who came from a part of Germany near the Netherlands. He came to New Amsterdam in 1626 with Peter Minuit. Within a few years, Wessel moved upriver to a fledgling settlement up the Hudson. His son, Dirck Wesselese TenBroeck, was born there in 1638, in that settlement, which would later become Albany.

 

Dirck eventually became the fourth mayor of Albany, around 1696. From Dirck, it is another ten generations until the family tree reaches me. So I think many-times-great grandfather Dirck would be mad at me for forgetting these things! 

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Time to post again. Internet has been awful slow on the ship for the past few days. It's Monday, April 1, and I'm sitting on the top deck of the Royal Emerald. It's a glorious day here. The temperature is around 60 F and the sun's shining. Although the boat's internet won't connect here, the Antwerp city free internet works just fine. Interestingly, I can also pick up a hotspot from the Tauck Inspire sitting across the harbor, but I don't have the password. So I'll paste my thoughts from the last couple of days. 

 

Day 3 Einkhuizen:

We visited the Zuidersee Museum in Einkhuizen a few years ago, so we decided to do something different—the 20 km ride from Hoorn to Medemblik on an old steam train. The trip from Hoorn to Medemblik takes about an hour and 20 minutes (there’s a pretty long stop in Wognum). About an hour and 20 minutes after arriving in Medemblik, a ship carries you back to Einkhuizen (you can also do the trip in reverse). So we skipped the 9:00 a.m. port talk and caught a 9:09 train to Hoorn—a 25 minute trip. Normally we would have done the trip from Hoorn, but today was the first trip of the season for the steam train, so we couldn’t do it yesterday.

Our ship was docked very close to the train station, so it was a quick walk there, and we used our Anonymous OV Chipkaarts. If you’re going to spend any time in the Netherlands, consider these cards. They cost € 7.50 per person, and they can be used on trains, buses, and trams all through the Netherlands. We loaded our cards with € 50 each. If we run low, we’ll reload them. As I understand it, we can get the balance of the card refunded if it’s less than € 30. We’ll se how that works at Centraal Station in a week.

Meanwhile back to the train. It was a fun experience we sat in the car immediately behind the engine (which was facing backwards). Watching the kids on the train was as much fun as the train ride itself. At several intersections, the train slowed so that a flagman could get off and stop traffic before the train entered the intersection, and he would then hop back on as the train sped up. Despite what my wife may say, I didn't fight with little kids to stand on the platform behind the engine!

We had time for a look around Medemblik and had a light lunch before boarding the ship for the trip back to Enkhuizen. We sat on the top deck and enjoyed the nice weather—around 61°F. It’s supposed to turn cold tomorrow!

 

Most people did the Zuiderzee Museum or just walked around the city today in Enkhuizen. The ship sails for Schoonhooven/Kijnderdijk tonight at 9:00 (moved up to 8:00 p.m. due to traffic).

Dinner went a little better tonight. the River Advice dining room crew are still getting things together—getting a little better every night. We got through dinner in a little over two hours. It seems that getting the starters out was the slow step. Things seemed to move better after that.

 S

unday Morning: We did have a lot of noise in our cabin last night. It’s one of two panorama suites on the back corners of the boat. The engineers apparently took steps to deal with vibration issues, but the noise was really bad. I barely slept all night. I’ll try an over-the-counter sleeping pill tonight and see if that helps. Our neighbors in the other panorama suite had the same problem. They’ve talked to Jeff about the issue, and I will later today. Incidentally, there was an interdenominational worship service this morning in the lounge. I don't think that I've seen that on a river cruise before. 

 

Again, so far the Teeming model with no included tours has worked well for us. I suspect that a tour today would have focused on the Museum.

Day 4: Schoonhoven & Kinderdijk

The morning started with a half day in small town of Schoonhoven. This tiny town (the smallest in the Netherlands by land area) sits behind a dike and is known for silversmithing. It was quiet on a Sunday with almost all the shops closed. The town does have a silver museum, but we opted not to go and just enjoy a walk around the town.

Around lunchtime the ship set out for Kinderdijk. Here Teeming broke a little with their model and offered tours. Most people signed up, and there were 2 groups of about 50 people each. We chose to do it on our own. We’d downloaded the Kinderdijk app on our phones before we left and prepurchased our tickets for both admission and a boat ride around the site. I assumed that the app was all we needed, but once we got into it, we realized that we should have downloaded the audio tour as well. Kinderdijk does have a “hotspot” where you can download the tour, but it was VERY slow. So if you plan to use the app, be sure to download the audio tours as well.

As I mentioned earlier, we’d had a problem with engine noise in our room. We talked to Jeff Pagiolonga, and he was very concerned. He offered to move us to another room and to compensate us for the difference in the cabin prices. We decided to try one more night with using medication to help us sleep. It worked well, and we’ve decided to stay in the room. The couple in the other room has moved to another room. Teeming was very accommodating, and we felt that they were willing to do anything they could to make sure that we were happy. We love the room and think that we can deal with the noise now. Even with the sleep aids, it seemed significantly quieter last night.

I've added a couple of images below, our cabin and the steam train, and yes, the engine is attach that way. I think that on the return trip from Medemblik, it was pointed the "right" direction. 

 

20190328_171709.jpg

20190330_095659.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Antwerp, Ghent, & Vlissingen
Monday morning we woke up in Antwerp in a harbor north of downtown near the ??? Museum. Of course, museums tend to be closed on Mondays, but we did find a new museum that was open—Chocolate Nation. Dedicated to Belgian chocolate, the museum initially takes you through several rooms where your audio guide describes each step of the chocolate process. The museum controls crowd flow by automatically opening and closing entrance and exit doors through the rooms. After going through these rooms the museum takes you to a demonstration where the chocolatier makes enough confections for each group before the museum opens up and lets you finish at your own pace. The final room has 10 vats of liquid chocolate of varying compositions. You’re given a plastic spoon and you’re free to pump chocolate into your spoon and taste to your heart’s content. After the museum we wandered around the city center before getting lunch croquettes and kriek before walking back to the ship along the river.

 

Ghent
In Ghent we were docked in an industrial area (along with other river ships). Many folks took cabs into the city and then took the train to Brugges. It was rainy, and we’d been to Brugges before, so we took a break on the ship. After lunch the sun came out, and we took a cab into the central city. We did a canal cruise, and decided that we needed exercise, so we started walking the 2 miles back to the ship. Shortly after we set out, the rain began, and before we made it back to the ship it turned into a hail storm! We made it back somewhat wet, but not soaked too bad. The ship set sail around 9:00 p.m. for Vlissingen.

 

Vlissingen
It’s a cold, windy, but sunny day in Vlissingen. We weren’t too impressed with what we read about the town, so we walked to the train station and set out for Middelburg (an 8 minute train ride). We went by the tourist office in the central square and got info for walking tour of the city. We saw some tour groups from an Avalon ship that was docked in the city. Middelburg is a charming city, and we enjoyed our walk before returning to Vlissingen for a 1:00 lunch on the Royal Emerald. The folks who walked around Vlissingen weren’t overly impressed. It’s a seaside resort town and nothing was open this morning.

 

Room Change
When we returned from Middelburg, the CD asked if we wanted to change rooms. Several people left the cruise in Ghent, and one of the rooms that opened up was a Royal Suite, the rooms just below the Panorama Suite that we were in. We took a look and decided to change rooms. It’s only slightly smaller, and being in the middle of the ship, it should be much quieter. Jeff and Gina had moved to the other Panorama Suite earlier to allow the other couple to move to quieter quarters. They’re very eager to make sure we’re happy.

We’re sailing for Rotterdam early today (4:00 p.m.), so we should get a little daylight sailing in.

Edited by FuelScience

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Thanks FuelScience, I’m so happy that Emerald is still cruising, as Scenic Emerald she was our introduction to river cruising, before the introduction of all inclusive and butlers on all decks. She has certainly moved around Europe even in France on the Soane & Rhône where we are off to in a few weeks time. Continue enjoying your cruise. CA

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This is pretty surreal, my sister and brother-in-law are on the same cruise. I inquired on the River Cruise forum about Teeming because we are considering a Holland/Belgium cruise next year, and got a email reply about the link for your posts. We will be looking forward to reading all your posts.

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Posted (edited)

Rotterdam
At 3:00, there was a presentation on wines which we chose to skip. In my experience, most amateur wine presenters tend to be a little pretentious. As we were leaving Vlissingen, Jeff gave a presentation telling people how to make effective use of their iPhone cameras. He also mentioned that as prior guests, we can receive 10% off on any future cruise, and 25% off on their July and August, 2019 sailings!

 

The port talk for Rotterdam suggested visiting Delft in the morning and doing Rotterdam in the afternoon, but we went a different route. Gouda is just a 20 minute train ride, and Thursday was the first cheese market of the year there. So we left the ship early (around 8:00 a.m.) and walked to the train station (25-30 minutes rather than the 15 minutes the CD suggested. After topping up our OV chipkaarts, we boarded the train and arrived in Gouda shortly after 9:00 a.m. One thing to remember—if you catch a train out of Rotterdam at rush hour, expect it to be crowded. We stood the entire time.

 

Downtown Gouda was a short walk (5-10 minutes). The cheese market opened at 10, so we sat down and had a coffee in the square where the market was held. The market was officially opened by the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. The market is an experience for tourists, but it was a lot of fun. There were kindergarten-aged kids in costume, and farmers in old dress as well and the cheese buyers as well. The market was overseen by two men in yellow suites and red shoes. Not sure what they were all about, but it was an enjoyable experience.

 

We had lunch there in Gouda before taking a train back to Rotterdam. I should say trains since I mistakenly put us on a train to The Hague, so we went there before jumping onto another train back to Gouda. The trip still took less than an hour, and we were just charged the Gouda-Rotterdam fare. When we got off the train we jumped the metro to the waterfront where we took the Spido harbor cruise. It lasted about an hour, and I really enjoyed it. We got a good view of the city and went through the parts of the harbor where container ships were being unloaded as well as bulk carriers where grain was being transferred from ocean ships to river ships for further distribution.

 

Back on the ship we had the farewell reception and dinner. Both were nicely done and comparable to those we’ve had on other lines. It seems that baked Alaska is the go-to desert for final river cruise dinners.

 

I’ll add a few words about the ship. Note that these comments apply to the Royal Emerald, which Teeming is leasing for two trips this year. So they’re ship specific, not comments about Teeming. First our new cabin, 317 midship, it so much better than our old panorama suite. DW measured the sound level while underway in both cabins In the suite at the back of the ship it was 67dB. In 317 it was 40 dB, a huge difference. Again, the Pagialongas were eager to make sure that we were happy. The internet access is awful. I connected to the ship’s internet when I started this, and I’ve been kicked off already. It’s bad enough to be unusable. So we’re using the hot spot features on our phones to connect. Thank you T-Mobile. We’re on their old people’s plan, 2 phones for $60 a month, and we get free international data and texting and can call home for $0.25 a minute. We upgraded to a faster connection for this trip ($15 per line), and we’ll cancel that when we get home.

 

The staff, provided by River Advice, had been comparable to what we’ve experienced with other lines. With the exception of the noisy cabin (which had supposedly been fixed over the winter) and the internet, we’ve had no complaints.

 

We’ve just docked in Nijmegen, our last stop before returning to Amsterdam. I’ll try to finish this up tomorrow and post an additional thread with my overall impressions of Teeming.

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Edited by FuelScience
Formatting

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11 hours ago, Rmac17 said:

This is pretty surreal, my sister and brother-in-law are on the same cruise. I inquired on the River Cruise forum about Teeming because we are considering a Holland/Belgium cruise next year, and got a email reply about the link for your posts. We will be looking forward to reading all your posts.

 

Rmac,

What are their names? Tell them to look for George and Vicki. 

 

FuelScience (George)

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Nijmegen

The day started slowly with a disembarkation/port talk at 9:30 a.m. instead of last evening. We’ll be delayed leaving tonight due to folks participating in a nightly memorial walk on the bridge here. We did a walk around town in the morning and enjoyed it, but we weren’t overwhelmed. It’s a nice Dutch town that appears to have been largely rebuilt following WWII. It’s nice, but not exciting. We did the lunch buffet on the ship. This evening’s final dinner is a buffet starting at 4:30 p.m. so people can eat and walk down to the bridge and do the memorial walk[GP1] . It starts at sunset (8:15 p.m. tonight), and there is some concern about getting people back to the ship so that we can depart in time to hit Amsterdam early tomorrow morning. The ship is arranging taxis to take people back to the ship (at their own expense) if they want.

 

Just a quick note to finish this out. We made Amsterdam around 5:30. We got up, got a little breakfast (including taking a sandwich for the train), and headed to Centraal Station. There we redeemed the unspent balances on our OV Chipkaarts and waited to the train to Saarbrucken. We're on the train now. I'll close this out and add an additional thread with my overall impressions of Teeming. 


 [GP1]

 

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Thank you so much for taking us along this more unusual trip through The Netherlands. I know very little about all those towns so it was nice to read your impressions. Love the steam engine photo.

 

Feeling slightly responsible for his trip going well - as you said, I pointed out the Neckar sailings to you - I have kept my head low...

 

I hope the changeover at Mannheim will be smooth and the journey on the slightly slower train - quite a few stops - agreeable. Going through the hills of the Pfälzer Wald should give you nice countryside, dense forest and a few tunnels. Saarbrücken is very agreeable - apart from the road traffic on busy days. If you have time get a glimpse of the Palace.

 

Have a great time.

 

notamermaid

 

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6 hours ago, FuelScience said:

I'll close this out and add an additional thread with my overall impressions of Teeming.

 

Sorry, I had to delete that thread because you linked to a Travel Agent.  If you give me permission, I can edit that part out and restore the thread.

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3 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

Sorry, I had to delete that thread because you linked to a Travel Agent.  If you give me permission, I can edit that part out and restore the thread.

Sorry. Thought that site was just reviews. Please edit and repost. Sorry! Now on Nicko. 6 English speakers on cruise. Should be interesting.

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2 hours ago, FuelScience said:

Sorry. Thought that site was just reviews. Please edit and repost. Sorry! Now on Nicko. 6 English speakers on cruise. Should be interesting.

 

Taken care of.

 

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Reading your experiences on Royal Emerald gave me validation that I wasn’t expecting too much. My husband and I are on day 6 of Budapest to Amsterdam, Luxury Escapes 15 Day Enchanting River Cruise on the Royal Emerald.

We booked in October 2018 a Royal Balcony Suite, we wanted the extra space and according to deck plans, all 4 of these suites are in the middle of the top deck.

On embarkation we were shown to “our cabin”, a Panorama Suite! Not what we had booked, not even an option on the Luxury Escapes offer. We thought it was an upgrade??

As soon as those engines started, our nightmare began. We could not believe the incredible noise and shaking the engines and propellers made! We recorded readings of 66 decibels with an iPhone app.

Requests to staff and cruise director were met with sorry, nothing we can do, it’s a known problem with this cabin, no other cabins available. Not helpful.

I contacted Luxury Escapes and within 24 hours received an email that a Balcony Suite was available. Again, not what we had booked, but our desire of a luxury cabin was replaced with a desire to sleep.

We swapped and have been able to sleep and enjoy the cruise, even though the cabin is small with a small bathroom and no sitting area.

I’m now in the process of trying to get a refund as we were never given the Royal Balcony Suite we booked, and the cabin we ended up in was $2000 less per person, so a substantial amount. Wish me luck!

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Sorry to hear that you got the "upgrade." I can't believe that they did that to you. Hope you're able to get your money back without too much trouble.

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