MINERVA 14th May 2016 Part 10 Rotterdam
Monday 23rd May 2016
I woke up and looked at the View from the Bridge on the TV, to discover that we were speeding towards the Rotterdam berth and I needed to be on deck. Basic clothing on, I ran up on deck and found enough shelter from the drenching rain to take a quick photo of the good ship ROTTERDAM as we sailed past. She is my destination later this morning, whatever the weather!
After breakfast I prepared for my own private excursion, whilst others went on the ship ones. The full waterproofs had to be worn yet again, and I set off for the half-hour walk to where the ROTTERDAM is berthed, near to the entrance to the Maashaven. I went past the Hotel New York, which used to be the Holland-Amerika Line offices, and had to smile yet again at the two faux funnels in the riverside garden. Once up in the lift and across the overhead gangway I could board the ship, which is now an hotel. It was warm and comfortable and I was soon happy to remove my wet gear, walk along the Promenade Deck and get coffee in the cafe/restaurant. There's a model of the ship high up at one end of the cafe area, and I enjoyed walking around the other public areas. The hotel rooms/cabins are only accessed by passengers with keys but I have stayed here before and didn't expect to have access today.
I went back through the continuing rain to MINERVA to enjoy lunch on board, and met engineer Tim and his wife by chance; they gave me back my book, which they had been given by the Captain. They had enjoyed all the memories of Union-Castle Line; I could now arrange with the lovely Karina in Reception for the appropriate Library labels to be put on before it was available in the Library.
For my own afternoon excursion I went with one of my new friends to show her the Hotel New York. There is so much to see and enjoy about the atmosphere in this establishment, even without staying there - I think it has great style. The Reception ladies told us about the newest Holland-America cruise ship christening, held here on Thursday last week, which they said was a very exciting event; Her Majesty Queen Maxima had performed the ceremony, and I knew that the famous Captain Albert would be attending too (Captain Albert's Weblog).
As we returned to MINERVA we could see signs in another part of the Terminal building that they were preparing to welcome the huge new HARMONY OF THE SEAS to Rotterdam tomorrow. Well, that will be a contrast for everyone who saw us today! Any new cruise ship is always good news, both for providing jobs for people and, hopefully, enjoyment for passengers.
Back on board there was ample time to prepare for this evening's Captain's Farewell Cocktail Party for all passengers in the Darwin Lounge. It was 'posh frock' night again, with a Gala dinner to follow. The Captain introduced some of his officers and made a cheerful speech, and we all made our way to the Swan Restaurant for another enjoyable meal.
The clocks go back tonight, ready for our journey to London and British Summer Time, and suddenly I think we are all aware that our time on board is coming to a gradual end. Tomorrow though we have many more pleasures to enjoy on this Glorious Gardens and the Chelsea Flower Show cruise on MINERVA.
Ships seen: Minerva, Rotterdam, dozens and dozens of river vessels in and around Rotterdam