Rotterdam (V) in Rotterdam
We were surprised to find the bridge open, although there was a woman below bobbing in and out of a door below.  We think she was planning to lock up but saw we were heading that way.

Former crew rooms were open but sadly a couple of bathrooms smelled like a men's urinal due to the public toilet being closed and some people being unwilling to wait a little while.  First was the Captain's quarters followed by Pilots, Chief Wireless Officer, Third Officer and Ship's Police.

Like the deck, the only was to get to and from the bridge was from outside, which is absolutely ridiculous.  There are clearly passageways but they're blocked off.  We had a last few minutes on deck then went in.

Ben left quite some time after he was meant to leaving me to have a look around the maritime musum aboard.  But it was as uninteresting as the shop, I decided to return to my room.

Later that night I ventured to the Ocean Bar in the hope it was practically empty so I could take some photos, since they lock this as well.  It was so I had a Pepsi then decided to have an early night since it was an early start in the morning.  This seemed to be a night out for the locals, with them coming just for a drink.

I was up early and it was very dark around the ship.  It's also frustrating looking at the deckplan they give you only to be thwarted by locked everything.

I decided to try and find Deck C which I did - eventually!  I got in the lift but there was nothing lower than B so I tried the stairs.  As I was taking photos, a man came through some doors and asked if I was lost.  With a camera and camcorder????  There wasn't a lot of record for posterity anyway.  It was a dead end.  There was meant to be a way to the engine room via here but unless it was down the dark stairs I used the flash to photograph, I couldn't find it.  Because it was pitch black, my curiosity lost so I returned up instead of risking breaking my neck or worse - the camera!  But by now I was getting seriously pissed off with this.  You pay good money to stay on the SHIP and you can't without paying for a tour (and seeing the same anyway) or extra for the bridge and/or engine room.  That's just not right.  It just encourages people to not to return since there's nothing to see.

As we made out way to the Lido, we noticed several tiles missing which definitely had been there the day before.  The waiters in the Lido were busy preparing for the 7am start for breakfast so it was nice to be able to get a shot of it empty.  

After breakfast, Ben (who had joined me to welcome Norwegian Epic back from a two night jolly), we went to look around more before I would check out about three hours later.  It was 11am so I wanted to leave it as late as possible.  The Club Room was open for cleaning so we went in for a few more photos and I noticed there were live lobsters in a tank beneath the Rotterdam model.

We found the Queens Lounge open - yay!  Reason?  Bloody conference so the delegates were crowding the stairs.  All weekend it was locked, making every visitor and hotel guest trying to find a tpare table in the Lido or get crushed to death in the Ocean Bar when this could have been making them money.  Ben suggested I ask if I can take photos, so I did, after explaining I'd been staying, was leaving that day and would like to take some photos since everything's been locked.  Not a problem as long as I was quick.

It's very disheartening when you have an interest in seeing the restoration work which cost millions of euros only to be faced with seeing little.  One thing they couldn't stop were outside shots.  Because of the bad weather I hadn't gone to get some but wish I had, especially at night of her lit up.  So this is what we did next.

La Fontaine Room was also open for cleaning so we dived in.  I managed to get some pictures of the meeting rooms Zuiderdam, Volendam, Maasdam and Ryndam before Ben said we had to go before we were thrown out.

The Smoking Room/Tropic Bar was also open for a conference.  This actually leads to the Grand Ballroom but guess what?  Again some nice people let me take photos when I explained I was leaving.

We went for a final look around outside.  It appears the only way to the bow is down some very narrow steps.  Because I was nervous going down in my shoes in case I fell down due to poor grip, Ben took photos for me while I nervously looked on fearing for my camera.  It's not that I didn't trust him but my last one got broken when it had been safely on a table after being knocked by my ex-boyfriend and flew across the room towards me, plus I was joining a cruise to go home a couple of hours later.  The lip at the top of the steps was quite big so I would be fine going back up but you can easily catch your foot going down.

I checked out around 10.45am only to be told I had been overcharged not five but TWENTY euros!  I'll be glad if someone who ran the stupid booking system would sit down and explain it all to me.  Not very good and how many have been overcharged without realising?  The girl said the room Sunday had only been €75 whereas Saturday was €90.  There had been absolutely no way to spend the original five discrepancy because no one checks you're a guest or not due to the opening times to the public.  Stupid way to run a hotel!  We went to the ticket office to buy a Spido water taxi ticket then waited.  Spido are the only ones who don't take you to the pier so are ideal if you want to cross the Erasmus Bridge as I did.  Ben was a star and carried my case to the upper deck of the boat so we could both take better photos.  I had a constant pain in my side for months so was really glad he was there to help.  It had been difficult enough getting on and off the train and then managing the steps at Rotterdam Centraal.

Ben pointed out you could still make out Remrandt beneath her name.  Not easy to spot but that's the problem with welded on names, as seen on Norwegian Jade with her original Pride of Hawai'i name etched in the stern.  As the boat moved away from the dock and headed across the water, it was where we'd begun these pages more than a year ago when she was still being worked on and due to open the 27th July 2009.

And so my final photos of the gorgeous lady as I headed back to Southampton aboard the brand new Norwegian Epic.  It certainly gave good angles being so high!  The decks of Rotterdam were full of people waving us off on her second and final voyage from the port.  Rotterdam's whistle saluted us but we were silent.

It was really nice staying on her but turned out to be a major disappointment being unable to see so much.  The three companies who own her need their heads banging together if they want word of mouth to say, "Yeah, go, she's fab" instead of, "Save your money."  EVERYTHING needs to be open when not in use for conferences.  Hotel guests should be able to go anywhere on the ship without locked doors, bridge and engine room included.  They're already paying a premium so should be rewarded it  The air conditioning needs fixing to stop it being oppressive when you put heat on.  If you want to marry there, I was told, they confine you to one room and charge a fortune.  The Queen Mary is how NOT to preserve an ocean liner yet they are making bigger mistakes.  At least on the old Queen guests have the run of the ship once it's closed to the public.  I would like to return one day and hope you can go into any room.  Until that happens, tourists (especially those with an interest in the maritime world) will find alternate accommodation.


© Patricia Dempsey 4th May 2009 & 19th-21st June 2010
Not to be reproduced without permission
30th June 2010