Due to arriving slightly late, there was a long wait in the theatre for our tours. The cruise terminal reminded me of an airport with its gates but was very clean and the buses were well organised. After about an hour’s drive, we arrived in Bremen where Andreas, the local guide, took over. He was really funny.
Instead of being back at the bus for 12.30pm, it was now 1pm but we still had an hour free. Several of us just headed to the bus. I was the only Brit on the tour. A few Spanish or Italian who kept themselves to themselves generally but mainly Americans. We got stuck in a tailback for 15 minutes due to an accident but we back onboard about 2.30pm.
I couldn’t be bothered fighting in the Windjammer so ordered room service then went up for our 4pm sailaway. Astor had docked sometime while I was in the theatre waiting for my tour so their passengers would have an excellent view. It was a good send off for our maiden call.
Had a kip until about 8pm then went to the Schooner Bar. Bumped into some Americans from my tour and chatted to them until I had to go to dinner. As i was leaving the Aquarius, I spotted what looked like a ship in the distance with a yellow glow from the stern. It was very windy outside with a lot of spray while the ship was quite far away so could have been a ruddy ferry. It turned out to be Celebrity Reflection on sea trials!
Such a shame there was no announcement made on my ship. Then back to my cabin for an early night.
Amsterdam was next on the 18th. This would be the 3rd time I had been there on this ship. 2009 we had an overnight from Harwich to Oslo and 2011 was also overnight from Southampton to Copenhagen. We also had company those days whereas this time we were solo. There would be Empress, the former Empress of the Seas, at Ijmuiden but no times were given so I would probably miss her. We were in the lock at stupid o’clock so I stayed in bed, getting back to sleep after we were out of it and it went quiet. Up at 9.30am for breaksfast and it was raining. Ugh! There were also far too many people still on the ship. After breakfast I tried to do the internet but, despite saying it’s a hot spot, there was no connection in the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge so I ended up doing it in the Centrum. Normally, i take my netbook but had some work to catch up on which was on my laptop and that battery lasts just over an hour. I’d rather be near a socket! Why, on these ships, is the internet centre never wifi? Well once I’d done that, I headed ashore for photos. It drizzled a little but not too much thankfully. Bloody windy though!
Back in time for lunch! Sailaway was meant to be 6pm but we were late due to bus loads arriving. Then there was the most amazing rainbow. It was a double but the other was quite faint compared to the main one. We quietly moved away as everyone was watching it fade.
We missed our slot for the lock and so it would be now 10pm. Empress, it turned out, left at 9pm – bitch! Too cold and windy so I stayed inside for the transit then went to bed.
Zeebrugge – the port I’ve been to most in my cruising life and have another 2 calls this year! Didn’t bother getting up until 8.30am since AIDAmar was well ahead of us. After breakfast on a practically deserted ship, photos! Blondie was about again. He’s a 24 carat pain in the arse! Seasoned cruisers have been taking photos of their ship longer than he’s been a jobsworth yet he has to throw his weight around and tell you not to. None of the others try and stop or even follow you. Watching silently is far worse because you’re waiting for the yelling to move away. Then back onboard and a sleep.