Rotterdam

During the night we sailed along the Dutch coast, around the Hook, and up the river Maas. As we went upriver, crowds of people lined the shore,

and numerous boats followed us.

Car horns tooted, boat whistles blasted out; ours answering. I was astounded to hear church bells ringing. What a welcome! A bit later I realized it was Sunday.

We had to pause at a wide space in the road. It was the only place the 936 feet of Eurodam could turn around.

For the next two miles to the pier, we went stern first. That means backwards.

I ate breakfast and lunch in the Lido; a term and a venue which HAL is rumored to have created. Although I still don’t know what the word “Lido” means, it represents the upper deck buffet style restaurant on most cruise ships.

Eurodam has outdone them all. If you are getting a hot dish, a cover is placed on it to keep it hot;

it almost impossible not to have your plate carried to a table. Juices are in glasses in a special refrigerated section.

When I first checked in to my cabin, I thought it was a bit spare. I’ve now settled on the word “trim”. Everything is here, but in a no nonsense appearance. Trim might well apply to the entire ship. All is here, done in taste, but without bling and glitz. Instead, Eurodam presents an upscale, classy environment. This ship, for me, is the best yet for HAL. i heard the term “simple elegance” and it applies.

Oops, except for the Pinnacle Grill. There we had a charming setting; tables not jammed together, and lovely crystal and china tableware.

The others at my table of seven seemed to be content with their surf and turf, at least I heard no complaints and their plates completely emptied. I, however, ordered the seared salmon, and asked for it rare.

“It is seafood”, the server said.

“Yes, it is”, I replied, “and I would like mine underdone.”

His smile was the type you give to a child who has said, in innocence, something stupid.

The salmon came overcooked and dry. After a few bites and a large gulp of Chardonnay, I gave up. The waiter was still smiling.

We again took aboard literally hundreds of travel agents and VIP’s and set sail for a scenic cruise which would return in the very early morning. A band played, a chorus sang and waved goodbye.

Confetti and ribbons were blown by the wind.

All this and we’d be back in 10 hours. I can’t imagine what’s been concocted for our final departure on Wednesday, but I know Tuesday night, after the inaugural ceremonies and Gala and Dedication Day dinner, the sky will be ablaze with fireworks. But tonight I’ll head to the cabin to see what towelamal is waiting to say ‘night-night.

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