This was my first cruise and I hope it will not have been my last. My travelling companion and I had a marvellous time on the MS Rotterdam and, in fact, everything about the ship, the itinerary, and the ports was well-nigh perfect.
We arrived at the cruise terminal in Rotterdam at 11:40 and, as soon as we got out of the taxi, our luggage was whisked from us by a porter, to arrive in our cabin by mid-afternoon. Check-in went smoothly and in under two hours we were in our ocean view state room on the ship's main deck. Our cabin was clean, our bed was comfortable and there was ice in the ice bucket to chill our wine. What more could we want!
We then set off to explore the Rotterdam. As a first time cruiser, I was surprised and impressed by how elegant and under-stated everything was. Images of gaudy, floating hotel, mega-cruise ships quickly vanished from my mind. We had booked fixed, late dining (at 8pm), with a table for two, in the main dining room. So we went first to check-out our table. Its situation, on the upper level of the dining room, was perfect. It overlooked the lower level on one side, while the other side commanded a view of the passing seascape through a large window. Then it was time for a spot of lunch in the self-service, Lido dining room.
Our first meal on board set the tone for the rest of the week. The food on the Rotterdam was excellent and surpassed our expectations. The routine we eventually settled into was breakfast in the Lido restaurant, room service lunch and dinner in the main dining room. The waiting time for our room service food to arrive was between 30-40 minutes which we were advised when ordering. This was fine as we relaxed in our cabin with a bottle of chilled white wine. Service at dinner was good, although we were not in a hurry as we enjoyed the ambience of the room, the company of our fellow guests and the views outside through the windows. We would normally leave the dining room at 9:45pm, before heading to the Explorers Lounge to wind-down while listening to some light music played by the Adagio Strings. In the event, we never made it to any of the entertainment shows.
Our fellow passengers were universally courteous and well-behaved. As it was in the school holiday period, there was a large number of young children on board and their behaviour mirrored that of their parents. The crew members could not have been more helpful and attentive to our every request. Well done and thank you. The Norwegian weather was good, in this we were lucky, and the seas calm. The fjord scenery was spectacular, in particular the approach to Flam in the early morning mist. One goes to Norway for the scenery and not the ports of call. This made for a thoroughly relaxing cruise as we felt under no rush to disembark at any port; apart from Flam where we booked tickets at the railway station for the scenic train trip. We sauntered around the towns we visited at a gentle pace, relaxed and feeling under no compunction to see any sight. All the Rotterdam's berths were within easy walking distance of the various town centres.
And that's it, in truth. We both had a most wonderful, relaxing week on the MS Rotterdam and in Norway. The ship was in good heart, the company pleasant, the food good and the scenery fantastic. Roll on the next cruise!