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Rotterdam Transatlantic Review Part One

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JULY 10, 2004


Well, we sailed almost two hours late on Saturday from New York but we sailed beautifully at dusk, the pale light of the sky, the sky like a pinkish sea, perfect for the onset of a long 17 day summer voyage to Denmark on such a wonderful ship as the Rotterdam.


We sailed quietly by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island then under the Verrazano Bridge out to the open water, turning north, the sea welcoming and glowing. I was reminded at that very moment of last summer when at dawn in the fog I sailed under the Verrazano at dawn in the fog on QE2 at the end of another marvelous crossing from England.


The next day, our first full day at sea, the air was cool, the sky blue and passengers bundled up under steamer blankets, many asleep, some writing or reading as others gazed out to the greenish beautiful sea, calm. Of course, there were many passengers strolling around the wonderful lower promanade deck lined with teak deck chairs.


My cabin was located on the Lower Promanade deck aft #3429 (A category D) I had booked a HH guarantee so was very pleased to have been upgraded to such a nice cabin. Of course, I had no idea why I was in a cabin designed for the handicapped but I didn't complain due to its larger size and walk in shower. (At age 56 its a lot easier walking right into a shower then climbing over the tub), I also very much loved this cabin because I could look out the window and see the wake of this beautiful ship...As always, the cabin was very quiet except for a very slight vibration due no doubt to its location aft. But actually it was a calming sound that one could liken to tree branches sounding as they sway to the wind. I also loved this location because I could easily walk right out to the deck as if it was my own verandah. My cabin steward did a wonderful job tending to the cabin, and helping me with favors. As I always do the first day on board, I tipped him well so he knew I would not forget his service. During the course of the voyage I tipped him periodically and finally at the end. This was in addition to the $10 per day one pays on the shipboard account. I believe these hard working crew members deserve no less although I am not a big fan of this new HAL policy.


Unlike my 10 day winter cruise on the Rotterdam, the passengers on this clearly sold out sailing were more diverse: numerous Europeons (I assume heading home) many families, kids and teenagers sprinkled among the mostly retired passengers one usually finds on HAL ships. This passenger composition made for a lively happy ship and voyage.


Embarkation went smoothly as I arrived at the pier about noon and was soon on the ship to take advantage of a great lido lunch as I waited for my cabin to be readied. Other passngers who arrived later were not as fortunate. As most people who have sailed from New York especially on a weekend know, the piers can get very congested as thousands of passengers who are coming and going from the various ships can clog up the works making it rather difficult to reach one's ship easily. Traffic is horrible, and the lines long, people frustrated. Of course, once finally on board the Rotterdam, passengers seemed to calm considerably given its warm environment. I noted that many tired passngers had flown in the day of the sailing from all over the country. I can't say this strongly enough: if you are flying any distance to your port of embarkation, it is wise to arrive the day before to avoid the rushing, strain and uncertainty. Isn't that worth the extra few dollars cost for a hotel?? For myself, I took the train from Baltimore the day before and well enjoyed a drop dead gorgeous New York night without a worry in the world...


More to come...

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Welcome to the boards, deck chair. I notice this is your first post. The first of many, I hope!

I'm especially interested in reading the rest of your report as I disembarked the Rotterdam the morning you boarded. I, too had done a trans-Atlantic; mine was round-trip from NYC.

It should be interesting to compare my memories to yours. (I believe the itinerary was somewhat similar to this, and previous year's crossings.)

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Welcome to the Boards, Deckchair I was also on the cruise that returned on July 10th. I too, have sailed the QE2 on several Transatlantic crossings. It is a beautiful ship but my favorite ship is the Rotterdam. I notice that you said you took the train from Baltimore. Do you live there? I live about an hour away in York, Pa. I took a limo to New York. It only took about three hours. Very interesting review. Anxious to hear more.

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