Amsterdam & Antwerp on Cruise & Maritime Columbus

Ally Case on 02 September 2017
After a long journey by coach from Bournemouth to Tilbury Docks via Victoria Coach station I eventually boarded Columbus at 4 pm on Friday 25th August. I was given my cabin key where I met my fellow cabin buddy for the next 3 nights and set off to complete the safety drill which is mandatory on all cruise ships before exploring the ship for the 1st time. CMV Columbus is a 3.5* ship but I was really impressed with the facilities on board. The ship carries 1400 guests and is classed as a small to mid size cruise liner by today's standards. The ship was refitted in August 2015 with further upgrading completed in April 2017. Columbus is very well suited to those who prefer small ship benefits and a more traditional experience. A group of 20 Travel Counsellors was on board to experience Columbus and all that it has to offer. We first met as a group at 6 pm for a Sailaway Cocktail Reception at The Dome which was located on Deck 14 followed by pre-dinner drinks in Tavernas and then dinner in the Waterfront Restaurant located on Deck 7. Dinner was a fantastic 5-course with many choices and as much as you could eat. After a long day, the majority of us retired to our cabins as we knew we had a busy few days. Up at 9 am for breakfast in the A La Carte Waterfront Restaurant, we had the morning at the leisure of which I decided to try out the gym whilst others took to the spa or pool areas. At 12 pm we disembarked for our pre-arranged Amsterdam City Tour and Canal Cruise. Amsterdam was fantastic, I have visited on many occasions but will never bore of this beautiful city. We met that evening at 6.30pm for pre-show drinks before making our way to the Palladium Show Lounge for "Back to the 80's" show. This was followed by Dinner in Fusion, an Indian restaurant located on Deck 12 - this truly was one of the best meals I have ever had and well worth the additional £14.99 cover charge. In true Travel Counsellors fashion, we all danced the night away in the nightclub eventually retiring about 2.30am!! The following morning breakfast was at leisure at the Plantation Restaurant, a buffet style restaurant located on deck 12. We then had free time to explore Antwerp before meeting at 3 pm for our tour on the Antwerp Beer Train. I loved Antwerp and will definitely return to spend longer in this cultural city which is full of historical buildings and lots of beer! We met a 7 pm for a Farewell Cocktail Party in Raffles before having our last dinner back at the Waterfront Restaurant. Again this evening we joined all the ship staff for a farewell dance in the Atrium before hitting the dance floor again until 1 pm. We docked the following morning at 6 am and after a hearty breakfast disembarked at 9 am. I can honestly say that I can thoroughly recommend this ship and cruise, fantastic for groups, couples or anybody who would like to get away for a weekend to see two fabulous cities without spending a lot of money.