A Travellerspoint blog

Dam, Dam, Amsterdam April 20-22

Arriving, Boarding and Touring

sunny 65 °F
View 2015 Costa Rica (plus 1996 and 2008) & 2016 Tulip Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

April 20, 2016-continued
7615497-Arrival_Amsterdam.jpgOur hotel-the Movenpick-the high rise part

Our hotel-the Movenpick-the high rise part


The Movenpick hotel is a big tower plus some rooms in a larger section below the tower. We waited in line a long time to check in (about a half hour) - finally got checked in by 5:00. This is very large and very busy hotel. The hotel itself is beautiful and it is in a pretty location, right down at the docks. The internet was good. We have a huge room (plenty of room for the scooter) with an anteroom
me reflected in the anteroom mirror

me reflected in the anteroom mirror


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a bathroom with a handicapped shower

a bathroom with a handicapped shower


and a small fridge

and a small fridge


But it is in the larger bottom section and it is hard to get an elevator that has room for me on the scooter. Unfortunately, the Maritime Museum where I had planned to go to this afternoon is closed for meetings. So we may not to much beside go to dinner. I was going to go to Jamie Oliver's restaurant which is quite near the hotel, but I changed my mind because about half the reviews were that the service was bad and I wasn't up for waiting. So I decided that we should try to see how far it was to where the ship was docked.
Going to look at the  docks

Going to look at the docks


Oops - I have picked the wrong hotel. Although I got the information on the dock from the on-line Amawaterways information and it is the closest to the docks, this hotel is the Viking hotel and I should be at the Softel which is where Ama hangs out. In order to get from the hotel to the boat, we have to go across a big bridge - so we have to go back far enough to get onto the bridge and then cross the bridge and then go down and back beside the bridge to the dock - twice as far as if we could just go directly. Bob does not think that we can do it with the luggage. Also he packed for the weather in Maryland and it is significantly colder here. So walking over I think he was cold - I was cold and I was wearing a lined coat. At the last minute he put in a sweater other than that, all he has is his sweatshirt and a jacket. Anyway, we walked and scootered over to the docks, crossing the bridge that separates the hotel form the docks
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and went down onto the dock area
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where I saw another Ama ship and there was a guy there in uniform.
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He said AmaViola was rafted on the other ship.
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Bob walking back to the hotel ahead of me

Bob walking back to the hotel ahead of me


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Movenpick Hotel and restaurant from the road

Movenpick Hotel and restaurant from the road


Dinner cruise canal boat

Dinner cruise canal boat


Went back to the hotel and went to the restaurant but they said they were fully booked and it would be 45 minutes before we could get a table, so we went and ate in the bar.
Lobby of the hotel going to the bar

Lobby of the hotel going to the bar


Logo of the restaurant

Logo of the restaurant

Art on the wall of the bar

Art on the wall of the bar


I got a Amsterdam burger (which was a cheeseburger) I got mustard and pickles with mine. I gave the mustard to Bob.
My Amsterdam burger and mustard

My Amsterdam burger and mustard


Bob got a US burger (which had bacon on it).
Bob's fries, burger and cole slaw

Bob's fries, burger and cole slaw


He gave his bacon to me as he thought it was raw (as in not burnt the way he likes it) His fries were very salty - mine were not so bad.
My  fries

My fries


Tea glass and sugar packets

Tea glass and sugar packets


We got a pot of tea (half a glass each) and some water. We both were having trouble actually eating - we both ate the hamburger and left the bun. I had a scoop of ice cream. Then we came back to the room and Bob got undressed and was asleep almost immediately. I lasted a short time longer, and then I also went to sleep. I waked about 1:30 Amsterdam time, and then went back to sleep.

April 21, 2016
This morning we got up about 6:30 and got dressed. I had a shower utilizing the handicapped shower where I could sit and shower.
Hotel restaurant from the bridge

Hotel restaurant from the bridge


We went to the main restaurant (the Silk) for the very expensive ($25.00 each) buffet breakfast and it was a zoo. As usual doing a buffet is very hard for me and we did not get any juice as that was in another section.
Breakfast buffet

Breakfast buffet

Bob getting me something from the buffet

Bob getting me something from the buffet

Scrambled eggs, fried potatoes and tiny pancakes

Scrambled eggs, fried potatoes and tiny pancakes

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We will check out about noon and take a taxi (the desk says about 8€) to the ship. We came back to the hotel room after breakfast and after a bit I decided to call AmaViola and see if we could come early. They said it was fine to come right away. This is their first cruise, so they don't have rooms to clean. When I looked out the bathroom window, I saw a regular size big cruise ship right outside. This turned out to be AIDA Mar which is a German ship. They were loading right from the Movenpick Hotel dock
AIDA Mar

AIDA Mar


We packed ourselves up and came down to the lobby - had to wait to check out the hotel was very busy. Got a taxi and found that they had moved AmaViola during the night and it was now right next to the dock. Bob gave the driver a ten € note, but the meter only had 7.46€ on it. So he got a much bigger tip than what I would have given him. I was able to get the scooter up the ramp (it had cleats on it - this is an example of a
Ramp with cleats (and also steps at the top)

Ramp with cleats (and also steps at the top)


and they took our luggage to our room while we registered. They took our passports for overnight.
Buses bringing passengers - from our window

Buses bringing passengers - from our window


We got into the room but the suitcases were all on the floor so there was no room for the scooter. We went to the lounge
View from the lounge of the bow

View from the lounge of the bow


where they had lunch - pea soup and finger sandwiches.
egg salad and cucumber sandwiches

egg salad and cucumber sandwiches


There were fresh tulips at all the tables
IMG_4615.jpgReflection of tulips in the glass table in the lounge

Reflection of tulips in the glass table in the lounge


and big vases of them in the public areas. Bob had two cups of pea soup (it is one of his fav's)
split pea soup

split pea soup


and we had some sandwiches and then went back and unpacked. The cabin was excellent. There was free internet on the TV and also many TV channels. The bow camera was the best I have ever seen and at night they used Infrared technology, so we could see even in the dark. There was a set-up to open wine bottles. There were electric outlets for both Europe and US. The sliding windows were kept spotlessly clean so I could photograph the scenery through the window, or I could open the window and look out (although I didn't do that very often because it was cold outside). The bed was comfortable.
Sitting on the bed taking a photo of the cabin

Sitting on the bed taking a photo of the cabin


As we unpacked we found that while there is plenty of hanging space with plenty of hangers,
Closet for hanging clothes

Closet for hanging clothes


but there are almost no drawers, and very few shelves. Underneath my side of the bed is not accessible as there is a drawer there, but Bob put my suitcase in his suitcase and put them under his side of the bed. There is a refrigerator, and a safe that take up two of the cabinets. I have my socks and underwear in a small drawer next to the bed, and I have one shelf for tops and my bathing suit and sweaters. It is a big shelf. There is an alarm clock on my nightstand and a bottle of water. I put my pills on the shelf over the two drawers as I can take them with water on the night stand and don't have to go into the bathroom for that
Bathrobe

Bathrobe


There is plenty of storage in the bathroom (a cabinet over the sink and one under the sink).
Shelves in the bathroom

Shelves in the bathroom


There's also a stool for me to sit on in the shower.
Shower

Shower

Shower stool (and toilet on the right)

Shower stool (and toilet on the right)

sink

sink

shower gel, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner

shower gel, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner


I have gotten one of the chairs in the room taken away. I am pretty good now at coming in and turning around where that chair was and parking in front of the refrigerator for it to be charged.
Scooter in the cabin

Scooter in the cabin


And most important, I could get in and out of the room on the scooter by myself because the door would stay open. We put the little table out of the way under the desk. I was ready now to take a taxi into town, but Bob said he was ready for a nap, so I didn't go. I was hoping to look for a ring for my granddaughter, but I guess I'll have to wait until I get home. I was experimenting with the TV and accidentally got the internet on it and couldn't get out of it, so I turned the internet off and then couldn't turn the TV on. So for the second time I had to call the hotel manager and he showed us where the switch in the back was to turn it on. On the previous visit he showed me how to open the window. About 3:45, Bob waked up and asked if we were going to tea, so we got up and went to the lounge for tea. To get to the lounge or dining room, we went down the corridor and I scootered into the elevator and Bob walked down the steps. This was SOP for us.
Corridor of deck 3 AmaViola

Corridor of deck 3 AmaViola

One of the crew

One of the crew

Looking up at the roof from inside the elevator

Looking up at the roof from inside the elevator


They had sandwiches as before and a raspberry cheesecake and coffee cake. But we didn't find where to get the hot tea.
sandwiches

sandwiches


Back at the cabin, I took some photos of the cabin itself. Then just before 6 we went back to the lounge for the Captains champagne reception and safety briefing.
Lounge before the Welcome Reception

Lounge before the Welcome Reception


We had orange juice instead of champagne. We sat with some people named Dick and Liz from El Paso.
Rose from the captain

Rose from the captain


The Captain was giving a rose to each woman - he told us that there was a vase in the cabin, and there is. The Cruise Director introduced the Captain and he gave the safety briefing and introduced the staff, and then each of the heads of department gave a little speech and then the Cruise Director talked about what we are doing tomorrow. The whole thing lasted until 7:00 and then it was time for dinner. We asked to sit with other people and we got Dave from NH, and Jan and Maurine (Mo) from Indiana PA. They are sisters. Jan is a widow. They were both sailors. Dave got invited to the Captain's table so it was just the four of us trading sailing stories. We had a "amuse bouche" (spinach, tomato salsa, grilled feta)
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and then we the crab cake appetizer - a crab cake about the size of 50 cent piece but thicker, and a whole crayfish with pineapple salsa.
whole crayfish with pineapple salsa

whole crayfish with pineapple salsa


The next course was mushroom cappuccino soup which came with a big froth on top and was really hot so you had to be careful not to burn your tongue.
Mushroom cappuccino soup

Mushroom cappuccino soup


The Bob got the always available Salmon Fillet with potato wedges which came in a metal basket,
Bob's salmon and fries

Bob's salmon and fries


and I had the
Whole Roast US Beef Sirloin with red wine sauce

Whole Roast US Beef Sirloin with red wine sauce


It came with cauliflower and broccoli and potatoes. I eventually scraped the wine sauce off. Then Bob had the
Mascarpose Mouse with Caramel Chocolate Sauce

Mascarpose Mouse with Caramel Chocolate Sauce


(which he didn't care for) and I had Cherry Jubilee. I thought I was just getting ice cream.
Cherries Jubilee

Cherries Jubilee


They also gave us petit fours, but I was full and only ate one.
Petit Fours

Petit Fours


While we were eating, the boat moved around to a different location. Where before our room overlooked the street, now we are looking out over the water.
View from our window after the ship moved

View from our window after the ship moved


When we got back to our room, the bed had been turned down and there was chocolate on the pillows and the plan of the day for the next day. The cabin steward had spread my nightgown out on the bed and Bob thought it was a dress. So we are all tucked up in bed with the rose in a vase on the dresser.

April 22nd (Friday) was an arduous day. The original plan was:
Day 2 AMSTERDAM - VOLENDAM - EDAM
After breakfast, enjoy a scenic morning cruise through the historic harbor and canals of Amsterdam....Return to the ship for lunch while you cruise the Ijsselmeer towards Volendam. Enjoy a late afternoon tour of Volendam Harbor and see the fishing fleet and fish auction building. Continue by motor coach to Edam, a picturesque town with a rich historic past. You will have a walking tour of the Old Quarter’s beautiful houses, canals, bridges and churches, including one of the largest in Holland, the Grote Kerk (Great Church). (B,L,D)

WE DID NOT DOCK IN VOLENDAM, we did not see the fishing fleet or the fish auction building and while we saw the Grote Kerk in Edam, we did not get time to go into it.

We had a canal tour of Amsterdam (one of the goals of the trip) at 9 so we got up to get down to breakfast a little before 8. They have breakfast and lunch set up for partly buffet and I just cannot do the buffet - not only do I not have a place to put the food I take, but there isn't room for the scooter. So I ordered
poached eggs on toast

poached eggs on toast


Bob did the buffet.
scrambled eggs, bacon and grapefruit

scrambled eggs, bacon and grapefruit


Now we had to get back to the docks next to the Movenpick hotel to take the canal boat. The slow walkers were to have a van to take them over. I didn't think the scooter would work that well on the canal boat, so I just took my cane.

Problem - we had moved so we were not right at the dock where we boarded last night. So I had to walk across another boat, and then down the length of the boat before I got to the main dock to walk to get the van. I almost couldn't do it. The van driver put me in the front seat (which I do like) because he said it would be easier for me (which I doubt). He tried to belt me in with the belt from the middle seat, but it wouldn't work. While he was doing something else, I found the proper belt and attached it. They let us off on the other side of the canal from where the boats were and we had to climb down some very narrow pointed steps, and then walk the full length of that dock to get to the boat.
Top of the steps and line walking to canal boat

Top of the steps and line walking to canal boat


looking under the bridge we had to cross

looking under the bridge we had to cross

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The tour was an hour. Bob got better photos than I did because he could move around better and I was away from the window.
Museo Nemo

Museo Nemo

Church of St. Nicholas

Church of St. Nicholas

IMG_3304.jpgIMG_3319.jpgno parking sign for boats

no parking sign for boats

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line at Anne Frank house

line at Anne Frank house

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Bobs photo of me

Bobs photo of me


Museum of Bags and Purses

Museum of Bags and Purses

Drawbridge

Drawbridge


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One of the interesting things we saw was this house front which I took a photo of, but I don't remember that they explained it to us.From the photo, I thought at first it was St. George slaying the dragon. I didn't know what the elephant signified. But I found out that the man was really St. Michael (St George is usually portrayed on horseback) and he was slaying a dragon representing the devil. The elephant head was the symbol of the bakers which owned the house. The bakers made 'Kolkse Koeken', which was a spicy pastry made in a bakery at the Nieuwezijds Kolk which went by the name 'De Witte Olifant' (in English, the White Elephant). Owners of the bakery were Pieter van Scorel and his son Cornelis and this was their house. The family had made an enormous fortune by trading on the stock exchange with the money they earned from the sale of hard tack or ship's biscuit to the large fleets of the Dutch East and West Indies Trading Companies. On the side they sold other breads and those lovely Kolkse Koeken. The Elephant was regarded as a particularly apt symbol for pastry bakers and their spicy wares. Elephants were associated with the exotic regions from which the fleets of those trading companies brought back spices.
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I was disappointed in the canal tour. I had hoped that Bob would be able to see more of Amsterdam.
The hop-on-hop-off canal tour that I did with my granddaughter in 2009 was better in two ways - it was out in the open so I could take photos with no reflections, and it was more extensive - plus the recorded tour was better. Didn't repeat itself so much. I wish I could have opted out of the canal boat cruise of Amsterdam and taken the hop-on-hop-off tour boat on our own.

They docked us closer to where the vans picked us up this time, and we drove back to the AmaViola (our ship), and I sat on my cane and waited for Bob to walk back to the boat and get my scooter for me. Otherwise I might still be there on the dock.
skyline leaving Amsterdam

skyline leaving Amsterdam


Cruising to Hoorn

Cruising to Hoorn

Posted by greatgrandmaR 02:38 Archived in Netherlands

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