Rotterdam (VI), Mein Schiff, Jewel of the Seas & AIDAcara in Copenhagen
The first stop on the Jewel of the Seas cruise was the beautiful city of Copenhagen on the 6th July 2009.  The weather forecast had predicted rain but it was gloriously hot and sunny.  The Rotterdam was already there when we arrived.  This 59,652grt ship is the sixth to bear the name and carries the twin funnels of her predecessor.  She also had her maiden voyage in 1997, the same year Rotterdam (V) ended her Holland America career.  Mein Schiff was due for 10am so I went on deck around 9.30am since there was a crew drill meaning my then partner, Patrick Patton, and I weren't going anywhere for a whileonly to find she had arrived.  This was another ship I had never seen.  Originally the 76,522grt Galaxy (later Celebrity Galaxy) for Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean signed up to a joint venture with TUI of Germany.  She ended her Celebrity career on the 13th March 2009 and headed to Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven for major conversion work from the 27th March-4th May.  Many balcony cabins were added during the work and the name was chosen by a member of the public.  Her maiden voyage was the 23rd May.
After the drill we made the fatal mistake of walking into the city.  Take a tip: unless you're not planning to go far, go by shuttle!  I could see the ships teasing me and was dying to see the hull art on Mein Schiff but would have to wait until we sailed.
The third gem I'd never seen was due for 2pm and I had hoped to be back for it.  Fat chance!  The 38,531gt AIDAcara made her debut in 1996 as AIDA for Deutsche Seetouristik/Arkona Reisen.  After P&O took over Arkona Reisen, she became current name in 2001 as the fleet expanded.  I had been due to see her in Southampton that September so it was nice catching a glimpse a little earlier.
As I was getting photos as best I could before we reboarded, it began to spit with rain.  Thankfully it did hold off until we were in the Windjammer but it turned a leisurely photo opportunity into a hurried one.
I went for our 5pm sailaway about 4.45pm only to find we were already off!  Rotterdam was leaving at the same time while Mein Schiff was 6pm and AIDAcara at 8pm.  It was raining and coming onto the Promenade deck so after a few side shots, I went to the stern.
As we approached the other two, Rotterdam was away from the dock and possibly waiting for us to pass before backing out.
The further away we were, the mistier and harder to see it became.  If Rotterdam blasted I didn't hear it which was a shame.
I went back in after that but it wasn't to be the last I'd see of either Rotterdam or Mein Schiff during this cruise since they both turned up in St Petersburg, although the reappearance of the latter was a little unexpected.  To read the review of my cruise, click here.
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© Patricia Dempsey 6th July 2009
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