Pre CruiseI absolutely love cruising and have been interested in it for many years. Went onboard my premiere cruise in September 2008 onboard the world's largest cruise ship Liberty of the Seas with Royal Caribbean which was a spectacular 7 night Western Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Miami, Florida. I had planned a trip to England to visit close friends and explore a country I've always loved and been interested in and am interested in long term. Wanted a shorter cruise that allowed me to explore Europe and see other countries, decided on this fabulous 5 Night Scandinavian Mini Cruise roundtrip from Rotterdam. Have long been interested in seeing some of the Scandinavian countries. With 2 sea days & visiting Oslo, Norway and Copenhagen, Denmark onboard Norwegian Jade. Done Inside stateroom in the past but with the single premium and not much difference in the fare between Inside, Outside & Balcony got a Balcony guarantee. Flew from Canada to London Gatwick , spent an enjoyable day in London area with my friend. The following morning went on the short 40 minute flight to Amsterdam. Embarkation
Following my short flight to Amsterdam giant Schipol airport I am familiar with from a previous trip I exited into the arrivals hall and quickly found a representative holding a big "Norwegian Jade" sign. Curiously missed the rep standing right by the entrance and she went over to tell her friend with a laugh, she was a ways over. I had pre booked the NCL transfers (shuttles) for $50 each way for the 1 1/2 hours drive from the airport to the pier in Rotterdam north of Amsterdam. They told me which coach to go to and off I went just outside and found it, the driver and his assistant taking my luggage. The drive was very pleasant through the scenic Dutch countryside with its historic houses and its famed windmills and small towns dotting the landscape, would love to spend more time in The Netherlands in the future. We reached Rotterdam, a magnificent city with a meld of old and new and very friendly people. A smaller city but still large enough to feel quite busy.
We made our way across the well known Erasmurg Bridge, a modern cable bridge opened in 1996 by Queen Beatrix, spectacular in its own right! Turned into the port and gave my luggage to the friendly porters. A table with hosts did an initial check of my cruise documents and I headed in line for the airport style security. Then proceeded to the check in, quite smooth, had to check a few things with the cruise line reps as Rotterdam doesn't receive too many cruise ships so they have a volunteer force but they were friendly, helpful and would find out for you. Then took the welcome aboard photo, had my hands sanitized, I notice more with the H1N1 Swine Flu scare this cruise. The magnificent Norwegian Jade with her swirling blue colours towered above. I was extremely excited! Checked in with security , there was an issue with my ID picture, very minor just had it retaken at the reception desk, met the nice German agent , see later on. I was all set!