AIDAluna, Aurora & Norwegian Breakaway in Amsterdam & Rotterdam
As my friend Fay and I were going through the North Sea Canal between IJmuiden and Amsterdam on Aurora, AIDAluna was heading in the opposite direction.  We were due for 8am originally but had been delayed by fog, the Captain said, so would be half an hour late.  Meanwhile, the AIDA had left her berth at 7am (which the Captain said we had also been waiting for even though there's another we can dock alongside) and hit the horn first, final blast by the balcony!
After going back to sleep after the early start, we headed to Rotterdam after lunch.  The weather was horrendous, wind, rain and cold.  The Weather Channel said 50% showers but it was more like 100% as it never stopped.  One hell of a change since the dry arrival!  I managed to get a couple of photos of Aurora as we walked to Centraal Station.
Rotterdam wasn't much better weather wise, although it didn't seem to be raining as much.  It would stop a while, lulling us into a false sense of security, before pouring again.  In the city was the brand new Norwegian Breakaway, which had arrived that morning fresh from a showcase cruise from Germany.  Like Epic in June 2010, she would then sail on a two night jolly before leaving Rotterdam for Southampton on the 28th, arriving in the UK port the 29th.  I would have seen Breakaway anyway in Southampton but with us being just up the road in Amsterdam, it was too good an opportunity to miss seeing her a bit sooner.
Since I'd dome likewise for Epic (except I was boarding there), two good friends had died.  The journalist Steve Read, who had been on the same overnight as me then stayed on for the Southampton showcase, died in February 2011.  Ben van Zeijl, who I'd known the same length of time, died in June 2012.  Ben and I always met up when I was in in the country, be it Rotterdam or catching a train from Amsterdam, to see him, and we even watched Epic return together before he helped me with my luggage to the terminal.  I had last seen him a couple of weeks before he died at the hospice and I missed him greatly during the time there this day.  It would have been nice to have stayed for Breakaway's 7pm departure but it was too cold, windy and wet so we headed back to the station and caught the 1822, which was ten minutes late.  As we travelled back to Amsterdam, we noticed it was getting a bit drier with some blue sky and sun trying to come out.  It was the complete opposite of the morning once we walked back onto the street - it was absolutely gorgeous!  Still cold but not quite as bad as it had been when we left and the flags ready for the new King on the 30th April were flying properly.  We got a few photos of Aurora then went back onboard to dry off, warm up and get some dinner.
To see photos of Norwegian Breakaway, three days later in Southampton, click here.  The review of my Aurora cruise can be found here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 26th April 2013
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