Yesterday was the start of another exciting adventure but this time with a twist. There is a cruise involved but I actually started my journey aboard DFDS Seaways, Princess Seaways. She sailed me overnight to Amsterdam where I am staying until tomorrow morning.
I checked-in at 3.30pm and was soon on board enjoying the atmosphere and the experience of being on a ferry. I honestly can’t remember the last time I took a ferry journey. I know it was to France but that’s it. I also must say I experienced the fastest check-in of my life. Between the drop off point and boarding the ferry it took exactly 7 minutes! At first I thought someone was setting me up for a joke as there were no other passengers in sight. Perfect!
My cabin was a sea view cabin and occasionally a voice emits in numerous languages telling me what is happening on board and that the ferry is auto set on central European time. It is compact but more than enough for one personal though it does sleep two. I had a single bed with a nice sized vanity area, small sofa and bathroom with shower. It would have been nice to have had some kind of shower mat on the floor as it was all tiled so once wet it did get very slippery.
My friends and relatives sail with DFDS quite regularly to and from Amsterdam as the mini-cruise option is not only cost effective but it’s a nice break from the monotony of daily life. I have said for years I wanted to try it and although I am not exactly getting the full mini-cruise experience I am definitely doing a good portion of it. It’s convenient too! Port of Tyne is quite literally just 5 minutes away from my house so it’s very easy to get too!
There are a good selection of bars on board including the Compass Bar, Sports Bar, Columbus lounge and a wine, beer and whiskey tasting bar! There were a lot of German and Dutch passengers on board so a conversation got interesting with the language barrier but hey, that’s what travel is all about, right?!
I didn’t get the chance to fully explore all the entertainment venues but am aware there was a cinema on board and a casino! Regular readers will know I like a flutter now and then when at sea but I was on my best behaviour and told myself no gambling shall be taking place for moi! I also had the pleasure of discovering that on King Seaways, wildlife watching is also offered on the Newcastle to Amsterdam routes. I really like this idea and only wish it was an option on this vessel. They are available on crossings between April and September and are held by an ORCA wildlife officer.
For the kids there was a kids club on board called Pirates Club. I also noticed that throughout the vessel there is signage at children’s eye level, I like this touch because it’s not something you see too often and I guess it stops them nagging mum and dad all the time about where on the ship they are going.
The dining choice on board really was far better than I imagined it would be. My mother in the past has said how nice the food is on board DFDS but you never know until you try it for yourself! The most popular dining venue on board is the 7 Sea’s Restaurant which is a buffet style venue but, you can also opt for the Explorer’s Steakhouse or the Blue Riband both of which are waiter service. Within just a few minutes of being on board I heard several different people chatting about the ‘world famous steaks’ they serve on board so I guess that says it all really! I opted for the slightly lighter option of fish and chips in the Lighthouse café.
As I typed this I was enjoying the atmosphere in the Lighthouse café. It’s fresh, inviting and you feel like you have your own space. I hate nothing more than feeling like other people are sitting right on top of me but I don’t get that feeling in here.
As we sailed away from Newcastle and made our way towards Amsterdam I was excited to be back on a ship. The feeling for me is like no other and although the ferry experience was very different from a cruise ship I do like it. It was also the first time I had sailed out of MY home port, Port of Tyne, so that too was nice.
Today I am ready to begin exploring Amsterdam……..I shall check in with you all again very soon!