Amsterdam - Step free from home to ship, Cruise & Crews

Trevor Smith on 10 July 2019
There’s so much more to the Netherlands than windmills, tulips and cheese.

Renowned for being pancake-flat, the Netherlands is a hotbed of world-class art, exciting culture, and forward-thinking architecture. And now, it’s a doddle to get there from London St Pancras International, and so easy to get to without flying.

I decided that as I had not done the direct Eurostar Service from the UK to Amsterdam - the return is indirect at this stage until immigration and customs facilities are available at Amsterdam, I would try it. To get a better experience of what Eurostar has to offer, I always find out more by speaking to staff in the actual travel cabin of the overall experience. I decided that, as Standard Premier was showing cheaper than Economy that it would be a great option.

Check in at St Pancras was effortless and I completed all formalities, check in, security and passport control all within five minutes. I did arrive around an hour before departure as St Pancras does get busy and there were four trains departing for Paris, Brussels, Marseilles and Amsterdam in just over seventy minutes.

The service was excellent, with the cabin steward greeting me by name, asking whether I had travelled Eurostar before (yes I have from Marseilles, Brussels, Paris and Euro Disney), and whether I needed assistance. Once the train was loaded I was informed on a one to one basis, what service I would receive for the journey, breakfast, drinks, more drinks, more snacks and then a snack box for lunch before arrival into Amsterdam!

Over the past few years, I have taken an active interest into looking and also catering for disability friendly travel, where travel is "for all at any time". I checked about wheelchair access and was informed that they had a ramp and also wheelchair duo seats, where a seated wheelchair user can be seated opposite a carer, spouse opposite a table - a nice touch as a couple can be a couple and be free as they would be at home.

I have just returned from Amsterdam after an amazing weekend courtesy of Holland America Cruise Lines. On this visit, I was travelling with around forty colleagues all from Travel Counsellors, Holland America Management and our Product Executive from our Head office. We had a great afternoon at leisure to explore Amsterdam in our smaller groups before getting together for a drinks reception in our hotel, not mentioned it yet, but the Double Tree by Hilton, less than ten minute walk from my train arriving into Amsterdam Central Station. After our drinks reception we had a short walk to Lovers Canal Cruise for a two hour dinner cruise through the amazing Canals of Amsterdam to see the sights from our dinner table and get to meet our fellow colleagues and new made friends.

Sunday morning, the hotel had a great Dutch breakfast selection including an English Breakfast. We then had a short walk to the Ocean Cruise Terminal, but on our way passed around six other river cruise ships as it was also their turn around day.

Amsterdam Cruise Ship Terminal in Amsterdam was great and again, step free from the hotel to the check in and then onto the ship - as we were all agents, we embarked the cruise ship all together with very little effort and was then greeted by our Holland America Team on board.

We firstly greeted by a welcome drink and entertainment, before then a full ships visit - over twelve decks, from restaurants, dining options, entertainment options, food options, spa facilities, gym facilities, swimming pools, private cabanas, Microsoft training, shore excursions office, casino, library, and much much more.

Of course, the main reason is always to be able to view cabins, and as the Nieuw Statendam, Holland Americas newest Cruise Ship was also on a turnaround day then we did see all cabin category types, from Inside, Outside, Balcony and Suites, including family suites and cabins to accessible cabins for wheelchair users.

We ended with an exceptional dinner experience in their Pinnacle Dining Room for a four course meal, birthday singalong and drinks throughout.

Ending our visit to the Holland America Nieuw Statendam, we had farewell talks from our Hosts form Holland America and our HO Product Executive.

The return for me was a very quick flight form Schipol back to Doncaster, but I am sure I could have got home quicker by trains!

I am eagerly awaiting for Eurostar to announce that they have all Customs and Immigration facilities open in Amsterdam for a direct service back to London, but again feel that I could have easily have done the indirect trains back to the UK via Brussels

Journey time by Eurostar was less than four hours...… The total time from leaving the ship and getting home was more than Eight!

I love trains and so much easier than flying.