August 27-28 – Sea Days
Two sea days in a row to relax and just enjoy cruising! The seas were the roughest of the trip but not so bad as to be really uncomfortable. We slept in both mornings, spend time on the balcony, did some duty free shopping in the onboard shops,lost a little bit in the casino and just generally had a good time being on the ship. John Heald gave his last talk to cover Amsterdam and debarkation in Dover.
We had our second formal dinner night on Wednesday and got more photos taken before entering the dining room. We also had a nice photo of us and our table mates taken during dinner. Later, we went to the second production show in the Spectacular lounge.
On Thursday, we spent some time in the photo gallery picking out which pictures we wanted to buy. We always spend more than planned on photos but, they are a good way to remember the cruise and worth the cost. We used a part of this day to get started with our packing.
August 29 – Amsterdam
The last port of the cruise was the beautiful city of Amsterdam. Our excursion took us through the city by both tour bus and canal boat. The bus portion took us past the Royal Palace in Dam Square where the Queen’s resides when she visits the city, the 550 year old “New” Church, the Mint Tower, the misnamed Weeper’s Tower, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and ended near the Anne Frank House where we boarded the canal boat.
Besides being a relaxing way to tour, the boat is a great way to see the distinctive architecture of Amsterdam. Many of the old building face the canals or the Amstel river so those are the places that afford the best viewpoint. Highlights include the picturesque houseboats, the Maritime Museum, and the Town Hall.
The boat let us off near the flower market and it’s nearby shopping district. We had time to shop and just sit in the cafes before re-boarding the bus for the trip back to the ship.
That evening, over our last dinner with our table mates, we talked about the day in Amsterdam and remembered our favorite things from the whole cruise. Saint Petersburg was the overwhelming favorite but, we all agreed that, from start to finish, this voyage had been a trip to remember.
August 30 – Dover to London
I watched from our balcony as the Splendor docked in Dover early on Saturday morning. Our flight back home wouldn’t leave London until Sunday but, we took advantage of the Carnival airport transfer to get from Dover to Heathrow anyway. Once at the airport, we caught the Hotel Hoppa shuttle to the Holiday Inn Ariel. There is not much to do in the area around Heathrow but we were ready for some relaxation anyway. We had dinner in the hotel and got to sleep early.
August 31 – Back Home
We caught the Hotel Hoppa back to Heathrow late Sunday morning. Our flight wasn’t leaving until 2:30PM but, Georgia wanted to shop at the Harrod’s store in the airport before we went to the gate.
Shopping done and lunch eaten, we were at our gate just after it opened. The flight was only slightly late boarding and maybe an hour behind by the time we got airborn. The crew made up most of that time so that we got home just about when we had expected to. Fortunately, Monday was labor Day so I had a day to readjust to this time zone before I went back to work.
With so many destinations to choose from, we will probably never make this cruise again. But, I am very glad we did it this time. We visited places that we wouldn’t normally consider and found each one interesting and unique. The majority of our fellow passengers were experienced cruisers. I can understand why that is. This is not a trip I would recommend to first timers. Start your cruising in the Caribbean, the Mexican Rivera, or the Mediterranean. Then, when you are ready for a more challenging trip, consider the Baltic. You will enjoy it more if you know something of what to expect.