Welcome to the first edition of the Rockett Getaways Travel Blog.
Here I’ll be detailing what I’ve done on some of my adventures and highlighting some favorite stops and activities.
As with most of our vacations we arrived at our port of call at least a full day before the cruise embarked. We always do this for a few reasons. 1) There is much less risk of being left by the boat if the plane is delayed, 2) to be able to recover from Jetlag, and 3) to get the most out the time and effort (and money!) spent flying over the Atlantic.
We arrived in Amsterdam and were able to taxi over to our hotel on the edge of the historic district. It was a joint deal with our airfare and turned out to be the perfect location for us; close to running paths and a park for my husband, coffee shops for me, and the historic city center for my sister and niece! One of the “must do’s” on our list was to visit the Anne Frank House, so we made sure to book our tickets a few weeks in advance, as is necessary due to the daily traffic the site receives. It was an incredibly moving experience and one I would recommend highly. The house is inside the city center along once of the many famous canals, so we booked an afternoon water canal tour to get a better feel for the city and it’s history.
The next afternoon we embarked on our ship, but before that we had morning tickets for the Van Gogh museum. It was a lovely morning walk from our hotel in cool, almost cold, weather but we, being scorched all summer in the Atlanta heat and humidity, embraced the cold! While many of his seminal works are on loan to other famous art institutions around the world, this museum shows the remainder of Van Gogh’s life’s work in chronological order ascending through 3 stories of museum space. It was a great way to literally walk through his life. On the way back we stopped for authentic waffles and coffee at a café on the street, then loaded up our luggage to make our way onto the Celebrity Silhouette.
The ship was built in 2011 and has a capacity of nearly 2900, so while it is not the largest ship on the seas it still is usually the largest, and prettiest, docked in port. We have had the pleasure of sailing with Celebrity on this particular ship several times in the past, so it feels like coming home when we step back on. One of the first orders of business is signing up for specialty dining, a commodity which Celebrity excels at. The sail-out of Amsterdam was great; it’s always interesting to see cities from the water even if the port has more modern amenities and industry accompanying it.
The first stop of our British Isles Cruise was a stop that none of us had ever heard of before, a Channel Isle named Guernsey. This quaint island is only 25 square miles, but packed with culture and charm! While it is much closer to France than England, its people are distinctly British with all the scones and clotted cream your heart could desire. It also had the typical British weather, and thankfully while we managed to avoid rain the entire trip, it was colder than anticipated so we each got a local sweater from a shop in the main square. We toured the fortification, Castle Cornet, which has changed hands several times over the past 800 years, even being controlled by the Nazis during WWII. That evening at sail-out while wearing our new sweaters we were greeted with one of the most picturesque views: traditional row houses each of different pastel shade climbing the hills of the island as the evening fog set in.