We chose the cruise in large part because we wanted to experience the still-new Niew Amsterday just a few months after it had been christened. Embarkation and disembarkation were flawless and user-friendly. Once aboard, where we had a standard verandah stateroom, we enjoyed almost every moment of the cruise from Fr. Lauderdale to Amsterdam in late-April, early-May 2019. The stateroom was fresh, nicely decorated, clean and comfortable. Our stateroom was at the very front of the ship and yet we never felt any untoward motion despite some rough seas along the route.
Much to rave about:
1. Public spaces are beautiful and punctuated by public art so plentiful we seemed to discover something new every day.
Cherbourg, France, was the port through which everyone arranged to tour Normandy, with this June being the 75th Anniversary of D-Day making the visit to Normandy especially significant. The tours of cemeteries have been so well-documented by others there is nothing I can add to how truly awe-inspiring they are. What most people onboard the Niew Statendam were unaware of was a spectacular exhibition of portraits of World War II combat veterans in the new convention center adjoining the spectacular la Cheneviere Hotel in the Normandy region.
Being on a cruise, we could not stay at this beautiful hotel in the French countryside, but it appeared to be a place we would love to come back to. We met the owner, who was warm and charming, and proud of his new convention center and the fact the first public exhibition he had invited in was that of portraits of American combat heroes. The photographer, John Riedy (www.johnriedy.com) has captured the emotions of these gentlemen, now all well into their 90's, one or more 100+ years of age. The pride in their faces, the weathered look and creases that 90-100 years of aging can create, the stories that clearly are in within them, create an awesome and emotional experience for visitors. Because it is still a new convention center and a new exhibit, it has not yet been well marketed, but it deserves rave reviews and is a must-see for anyone visiting Normandy during the summer of 2019.