Heather and Gary in Europe - Spring 2014 travel blog

Our ship, the Viking Idi, with the bicycles parked along the dock...

Heather in our stateroom just after checking in.

Heather on the upper deck with the wheelhouse to the right.

Our lunch buffet -- food on the ship will not be a...

The library/reference area.

On board prior to dinner.

Tuesday May 6 -- Amsterdam: boarding the Viking Idi

We were quite late getting up leaving the hotel for a later breakfast around 10:00. We had a simple breakfast, did a quick visit to some shops and returned to the hotel to check out around 11:00. We remained in the hotel lobby to make use of their good Internet connection to post our blog and an update notice.

We then walked (with our suitcases on wheels) to Leidseplein (a nearby square) catch the trolley to take us to the Central Station. After a somewhat circuitous route we finally arrived at our the cruise ship docks and our ship, the Viking Idi.

Upon walking aboard, we were quickly informed that this sailing was to be the maiden voyage for Viking Idi -- everything was brand new. Some of the crew had been dockside to welcome us and it took very little time for us to check in and to be shown to our stateroom. We were also greeted with a glass of champagne and orange juice. Our stateroom is on the upper deck (room 307). We unpacked everything that we needed for the next 15 days, watched the safety information on the TV and then proceeded to the outdoor terrace in the bow for a light lunch; all that we really needed!

After walking around the ship to take photographs before it became too crowded, we returned to the centre of Amsterdam in search of wine, rum and soft drinks for our cabin. We have beer and wine provided at each meal, but if we want to drink outside of mealtimes it is quite expensive, so we purchased some of our own supplies.

We returned with our "goods" to the ship to relax for a while before a scheduled welcome from the program director prior and to our first dinner on board. We sat with two couples from Billings, Montana; Pat and Larry and Anne and John. We had a very pleasant chat over a really good meal.

After dinner we took a last walk around the centre of Amsterdam -- this time, to the Red Light District. This area covers a numbers of streets especially known for its bars, restaurants and sex trade workers. The women were standing in their windows, dressed in the scantiest of outfits and most looked totally bored! There were women of all shapes and sizes though the majority were on the large side. Also walking through these streets were tour groups being escorted by guides.

We walked around for a while and then returned to the ship, which was scheduled to depart Amsterdam at 11:30, but did not leave until shortly after midnight. We were on the sun-deck (at the time, a moon-deck) to see the ship pull away from the dock. This was a delicate process given the way these long ships are lined up like sardines nose in to the wharf.

We went to bed, turning off the lights and opening the curtains to watch the world go by our balcony doors of our room on the upper level.

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