Holland America Lines Cruise - Norse Legends & Northern Isles - 2018
August 4 - 5 - At Sea and Amsterdam
August 4 - At Sea
We never struggle to find thing to do when we have a sea day. There are many activities on board. In the morning, I went to the World Stage for a talk about the history of Holland America Line. It was presented by retired Captain Albert Schoonderbeek who has been with HAL since 1979. Before lunch I went to another talk about discovering Amsterdam. In the afternoon, Captain Werner Timmers talked about what it's like to captain the Koningsdam using a virtual tour of the bridge and engine room. I was amazed how technology has eased the burden of running the ship.
After drinks in the Ocean Bar, the six of us had an excellent and filling dinner in the Tamarind & Sushi Bar. This is one of the extra-charge dining facilities on the ship. Nevertheless, it is very inexpensive, the service is outstanding and the Asian ambience is exotic. In addition, it is quiet as opposed to the main dining room and the Lido buffet.
August 5 - Amsterdam
We docked in Amsterdam at 6:00. This ended the first stage of our cruise. We were continuing on the Koningsdam while other passengers were leaving and new passengers were arriving. This is a hectic day for the crew who must manage a huge turnaround of passengers. Ann and I decided to get off the ship and bypass the frantic activity.
We had no objective in our meandering through the streets of Amsterdam. This was probably a mistake because we promptly got lost in the central train station. We had to go through the station to get into the city and made a few wrong turns. Once we escaped the station we eventually found Dam Square. We recognized a few places that we saw a week ago and in 2014. At this point, I thought that we should walk along some canals to soak up the ambiance of the city. I also thought that we should walk along the Nine Little Streets to find a cafe where we could stop and have lunch. I struggled with Google Maps on my iPhone to navigate for us and finally gave up. We found the Nine Little Streets when Ann asked for directions and found that we were already on them. And as a surprise, we found that we were back at Cafe De Sluyswacht where we stopped again for beer and bitterballen. Our waitress spoke idiomatic English so well that I asked why and she told me she was from Boston.
After our lunch, I turned around in circles until I was confident that we were going in the right direction as we walked back to the ship. I'll have a better plan next time or else take an organized tour.
Our ship sailed at 4:00 on a westerly course along a very log canal, through locks and into the North Sea. We had dinner in the main dining room as we watch the land slide by.