We had booked our trip on the MSC Lirica sailing from Amsterdam to St. Petersburg and on our way back we would make a little stop in Dover.
So on Wednesday July 15th we went to the Amsterdam central station and leaving the station at the back entrance we could see "our" MSC Lirica berthed to the terminal. After a little walk with two heavy suicaes we could check in. We manage to get by security and they brought us to the exit of the building on the the gangway of the ship. Everywhere photographers were taking pictures and we felt like we were celebrities!
Then our first steps on board of the ship. The maitre the hotel welcomed us onboard and gave our keycard to amember of staf who brought us to our roo om the 10th floor on the Bellinideck.
On board everything was looking shining and so very clean. Our room was fantatsic. I must say we did book a inside room. Seeing as you are only there for the night i did not spend all that mony for a little window where you could not even see the see through. Our room was not to big, but everything we could need was in there.
Then it was time to discover the ship. 13 flours and a lot of places looked the same, so we got lost a few times.
At 5 PM it was time for the life boat drill. But we where still berthed at the port of Amsterdam. So a lot of people seeing of the friends and relitives were looking at all those little people on board of the big ship with the orange life vests. This all took us 30 minutes and then we could back to the cabine and soon after that we were expected for diner. I must say diner was fantastic. Every night we had a very large choice of different dishes.
During diner we sailed away from Amsterdam and ou journey began.
After diner our luggage was waiting for us in our cabin. After unpacking it was time to go for a walk on the deck. The ship had just arrived at the lock of IJmuiden. And leaving the locks we finally came to the sea. Only the Northsea to start with, but what a difference to the water at the canal to the locks. Walking back to our cabin i felt pretty drunck with out even a little bit of alcohol.
The first night it wasa bit of a bumpy one, but after getting used to it, it was fantatsic.
From Amsterdam we sailed to the port of Bremerhaven in Germany. I must say that that port a dream is for every shipspotter. To reach the cruise terminal we had so pass the hughe containerterminal. And a lot of Maersk, MSC and smaller container ships where berthed there. It was fantastic to see them all in a row. At the port of Bremhaven we went to pay a visit to the Zoo. A lot of animals related to th water ar being kept there together.
Back on the ship we soon got sailing again. And again passing the containerterminal. Luckily some ships did sail and some new ones got berthed.
The food was fantatsic everytime we wen to eat something. Breakfast en lunch we usually had at the buffetrestaurant and diner was a la cart. And every snack in between mealtimes was very tasteful as well.
From Bremerhaven we went up to the north getting closer to Scandinavia. Our next port was going to be Götenborg in Sweden. And getting closer to the port we found out there was no cruiseterinal there. We got berthed at the containerterminal between the cranes!!! So not every where it is looking fantastic to arive with a cruise ship.
after gettng berthed about 50 tour coaches came closer and verybody who wanted to debark could enter the bus that could bring you to different part of the city. Götenburg is a very nice city with a pretty big port.
After diner the ship was ready to leave the port and the local drum band played farewell. And we left the port. Standing on the deck i was able to take a lot of pictures of ships closly to our berth.
From Götenborg we went to Tallinn in Estonia. This was going to be a far distance to travel. Fr us it was going to be our first complete sea-day. And it was in bad weather. Very dark clouds above us and high waves did gave us a bit of a strange feeling. Luckily on a ship as the MSC Lirica there is not a moment to be bored. So after braekfast we did take a walk on some different decks. We could nog go out side this day. The wind was very strong and the rain came own on us very heavily. What a pitty to have thise bad weather when you are on sea a whole day.
But there always is a next day and that was a lot better!!
We arrived at the port of Tallinn around 10 Am. And the sun was shining. A very big cruise terminal was waiting for us. And we were not the only ship visiting them today. We did a nice alk in the old city and it's amazing to see how the city has been so well preserved. These people have been through so much during all these years and now finaly they are no longer dealing with the comunism and they are so friendly and want to show th tourist how fantastic the city is. It was great being there and the guide told us it was the hotest day of the year (30 C).
At the end of the evening we left the port of Tallinn on our way to our next stop: St. Peterburg. The weather was very good on board this nigh and wwe had a fantastic time. Great diner and after that we stayed on deck for a ong time. At the port of St. Peterburg there is a cruiseterminal. But there were so many cruise ships that day that the terminal was completly full. So we got banned to ........... the containerternimal!!!
No problemm for us. Just a lot of pictures to take for me!!!
St. Peterburg is fantastic. We stayed here 2 days. The first day we took a trip to the St. Catherines palace. A guide showed us the great looking building and the rooms like the Amber room. Amazing seeing all this. So much gold being used inside and out side the buidlings and the gardens all looked after so nicely.
On the second day we went to see the state Hermitage Museum. This is something we wanted to see for a ong time. And i must say that 1 day is not enough!! I think 1 month is not enough!! Fanttasic collection that we got to see and it was only such a small part from al they keep inside. If ever you get a chance to see i, don't hesitate. It is worth it. We also made a little trip down the city. And then you get to see the difference between the well kept old buildings and palaces and the buildings made of concrete blocks. Looking dirty and old and being ooked after at all. The river Neva is running hrough the city and is keeping the good looking from the bad looking. But i was pleased we did get a chance to see it all!!
After the second day it was time to leave St. Petersburg. During our stay there we got bunkered with new petrol and got provided with new foodsupplies.
The strange thing is that our ship did not use a tug to move in our out most of the the ports we visitit.
So leaving the port of St. Peterburg was not much fun. We would have loved to stay there for a few more days.
Today we had an other seaday. And with much better weather then the last time. So on the the swimmingpool and spending all day long outside. It was great being able to do that on a cruis the the north of Europe. We left St. Petersburg at 6 PM and it would take us nearly 2 days to reach the port of Copenhagen.
A port that looked a lot different than the other ones we had seen. To get there we had to pass a hughe row of windmills. And we saw the aerport. That was so very close to the sea that we would get scared a plane could fall in to it.
The port of Copenhagen is very close to the city center. Getting of the ship and walking to the city was very easy to do. We did not leave the ship that day. And staying on there was a new eperience for us. So many people had left the ships that we were sitting in the restaurant all by our self. The staf were looking out to see if we needed anything and it was nearly embarresing to sit and eat there. Then you get to see how many people there are on a cruise like this and excursions are being much appriciated.
We had a nice lazy day at the port of Ccopehagen and enjoyed our selfs very much.
From Copenhagen we had a far end of sailing to do. So a new seaday was lying infront of us. 680 nautile miles. And we made it all over to the Northsea in good weather, but so close to home the sea brought us weather hat was not to good. Heavy rain and wind made the trip to the United Kindom a little bit unpleasant. I must say that on a big ship like the MSC Lirica the roling is not to bad, but you do get the feeling you are not on stable floors.
During the night the weather got better and we slept like babies!
Early morning the arrival in Dover went so quietly that we did not even notice we got there during the very early morning. In dover all the coaches were wating again and ours brought us the Canterbury. We visited the Catherdral and spend sometime at the city it self. The sun was shining and it was just great.
Back in Dover we were told that Dover was celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the first trip from France to the UK by Louis Bleriot. We went to sit at the top of the back of the ship. A panorama room completely made out of glass gave us a great view of the festivities. There also was an airshow with old planes doing the trip Bleriot made.
We also got a bit of history during the last part of our trip.
Our last meal on board was being great. The staf gave us a bit of a party and the kitchen staff showed up in the restaurant and got thanked by the passengers by a nice applause.
The ship was sailing out of the port of Dover and started the last few miles for us. Early morning we reached the locks of IJmuiden again and during breakfast at 9 Am we got berthed back at Amsterdam.
Back were it al began.
I hope it was not to long and bored for you. But knwo you have got a little impression of what we got up to. We had a briliant time on board and i hope we manage to get to do a trip like this again one day.
Wishing you a very nice weekend and take care.