I chose this cruise because my boyfriend and I love taking cruises. I had been to Europe a few times, but he had never been. I thought this was a great way to see Paris a few days before, cruise to a few different locations and spend an extra night in Germany before coming home. He has never been a sightseer or history buff, but he absolutely LOVED it.
This was the most efficient organized cruise I have ever been on, and I believe it was #10 or #11 for me. we landed in Southampton very early on the 15th. Our boarding time was not until after 4PM. We grabbed some breakfast at the airport, but had no idea what to do until 4PM. It was cold and rainy, so we thought we'd just drop by the ship around noon to at least unload our luggage and find something to do. EVERYONE was so kind and welcoming. They took our bags with no problem, and we asked if there was any way we could board prior to 4PM. They welcomed us onto the ship and told us to go get some lunch and warm up. We were told our bags probably wouldn't be to our room until 2:30PM (almost apologetically) but by the time we loaded our cruise card with money for fun, ate some lunch and went to just see where our room was located - our bags were already there. From noon to 1PM, we arrived, checked in, ate, and were in nap mode. That was an answered prayer for two jetlagged people ready to cruise later.
The stops were all amazing. We didn't purchase excursions because we like to wing it and see how the locals do it. I don't regret it at all. I was so happy that we got so many hours to explore each port. I will advise passengers who want to see the Anne Frank house to purchase tickets months in advance. They do sell out and you won't get in most likely. We were happy to just see it.
The cabin as absolutely beautiful. I wish we could have enjoyed the balcony more, but we were too busy having fun outside of the room!
Amsterdam is AMAZING. I realized the only Dutch word I know is beer so study up in you plan to take the metro. We walked from the ship to Central Station (1/2 mile maybe) and toured the Heineken Experience. Well worth it for 24 Euros. the subway directions on Google looked really complicated, but some nice gentlemen cleaning the station helped me out and told me to take a train north 2 stops and I'd walk out right in front of it. They were exactly right. It was perfect. I took a 5 Euro uber to see the Anne Frank House (outside, I didn't know to buy tickets 2 months in advance) and walked along the canal. Then, we met up with some friends who happened ot be in town and had fun in the Redlight District (NOT for children!) We ate dinner at the Grasshopper, wandered to The Old Sailor where they let me shatter a beer stein to cheers of chanting bar patrons, and then finished the night at The Pint bar and cafe. The owner there is awesome and he is also THE Keith Richards bodyguard (the man responsible for keeping him alive all of these years). He was there and told us great stories. The length of time in Amsterdam is amazing. We really enjoyed it.
We got off the ship and walked around Blankenburg. We ate Belgian waffles, sampled different kinds of beer, and of course ate chocolate. We also walked along the shore on the beach and explored the local shops. The town seemed like a great getaway location on its own! I loved seeing all of the dogs everywhere too.