Sunday, August 11, 2013

Nieuw Amsterdam 2012 - Debarkation and Back to Reality

At 6:30 a.m. it was already sunny in Venice. We had hoped to see the sailing into the Venice lagoon from our balcony, but we arrived well before the scheduled time. Actually the azipods, used to berth the ship, woke us up. It was a busy day in Venice’s Stazione Marittima. Ruby Princess, Celebrity Silhouette, Costa Fascinosa and Grand Celebration were also docked.

It was time to leave our temporary home. Our suitcases were already off-loaded. We only had to pack our carry-on luggage. One last breakfast in the Lido and then waiting until it was time for our group to debark. We were scheduled to leave between 9:00 and 9:15 and so we did.

Way to the gangway.

The sign we didn't want to see.
The sign we didn't want to see.

Leaving Nieuw Amsterdam.
Leaving Nieuw Amsterdam.

We met our luggage in the cruise terminal. One of our suitcases had joined another “green” group, so we had to search a little bit longer for it.

The driver from One-Click Airport Transfer was already waiting for us. It was already very hot outside, but the van was air conditioned. After about fifteen minutes, we were at the Marco Polo Airport. We had already checked in online while we were in Split, so we only had to drop our luggage. That turned out to be easier said than done. The line for the KLM drop-off was huge. We stood in line for at least one hour. Fortunately, we had more than enough time but, already, we could feel that we were away from the great service of Holland America and had arrived in the real world again.

After one last Italian pizza we boarded the plane. We recognized a lot of passengers on the plane from Nieuw Amsterdam. Some were going back home to the Netherlands like us, but most of them were transferring to their final destination at Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol). At least that’s what they thought…

We were due to depart at 12:35 p.m. but we had a minor delay because not all the luggage had been loaded, but after 10 minutes we had our push-back to the runway. We had just arrived on the runway when the captain announced we had to return to the gate due to some technical difficulty. It was probably something with the air conditioning because it was terribly hot in the plane. After 20 minutes, the problem was resolved and we waited for the push-back car to get us to the runway again. We waited and waited, but no push-back car came. We could actually see one of those things standing close by, but it was probably siesta time. We just waited.

We waited for a long time, and all that time the plane was using fuel to keep the air conditioning going. The plane didn’t have enough fuel to reach Amsterdam anymore so we had to load fuel before we could fly. Another half an hour delay. We finally departed and arrived two hours late in Amsterdam (while the normal flight time is way under two hours). For the four of us it was just inconvenient, but almost all the transferring passengers had missed their connections. A disappointing ending of a wonderful vacation.

Yes, wonderful it was. We liked the cities we visited. We were impressed with the great food on Nieuw Amsterdam. We enjoyed the entertainment on board. Above all we really loved the service provided by the Holland America staff. We hope to return home to one of the HAL ships very soon!

This is our last post from this cruise. We hope you enjoyed reading about our trip. We look forward to reading your comments, and would like to read your own experiences cruising Holland America.

Family picture.
Family picture.

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