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Battlefields of World 1 and 2 - Shearings River Cruise

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    Battlefields of World 1 and 2 - Shearings River Cruise

    Battlefields of World 1 and 2 River cruise with Shearings - Day by Day Blog

    In a world where we rely so much on having wifi, it came as a surprise that on this River Cruise we were unable to have wifi on board during our time in Belgium but was possible to have once we arrived into Holland. So many apologies this is not a live blog as hoped and that you are now reading the full trip in one go.
    Day 1: Shearings offer local pick up points on their river cruise tours, and I was able to be picked up from my home town in Chichester. I was taken by a mini bus at 07:48 with 2 other couples to Worthing where we then joined the feeder coach to take us to the Interchange point in Hythe. We only had two more pick-ups after Worthing and arrived into the interchange just after 12pm. As the connecting coaches were not departing until after 13.15 we were invited to go into the services where there was various food outlets, a WH Smith and a Bureau de Change for any forgotten Euros.
    We were then called to take our coach which was parked in Bay 14 and took our seats, ready for the short drive to Dover where we then proceeded to take the 14:45 Dover - Calais ferry. We docked at 5.15 and were soon on our way to Antwerp to join the MPS Rotterdam. We arrived at 20:15 (19:15 UK time) where we checked in and then was straight to dinner. From leaving my front door to joining the ship - took just over 12 hours. I could have flow half way across the world in that time.
    We had our 5 course dinner which was a set menu and no choices, and then proceeded to the bar for our welcome meeting at 10pm as well as a safety drill. After a glass of wine it was time to retire for the evening as the long journey had worn us out.

    Day 2: After a long traveling the day before, Shearings had decided there was no time for a rest and had planned a whole day's excursion for the ship. After having breakfast we then boarded the coach to leave at 08.30 for the journey to Ypres where we were going to spend the day visiting the Tyne Cot Cemetery, the Langemark German Cemetery, having our packed lunch supplied by the ship in Ypres and then visiting the In Flanders Field Museum. Our small group then decided we wanted to see more of Ypres so we stayed behind whilst the rest of the group visited the Essex Farm Cemetery and the Lijssenthoek Cemetery.
    We all then met up for dinner in a restaurant in Ypres before joining the daily evening Last Post Ceremony at Menin Gate. Every evening at 8pm the Bugle players can be heard/seen and poppy wreaths are laid to commemorate the fallen soldiers who fought for their countries in World War 1
    It was then time to join the coach - only no-one had told our little group the meeting point had changed, so we were waiting in the wrong place for 10 minutes before we turned round and called our group host who then came to meet us. Unfortunately one of the ladies on my coach had fallen and hit her head at the Menin Gate so had to be taken to hospital, so all though we were late back - the coach wasn't waiting for us.
    We finally arrived back to the ship about 22:45 where we proceeded to the bar for a glass of wine and then bed.

    Day 3: As we had chosen to opt out of the Beer and Cheese tasting excursion we were able to take a later breakfast at 9am before heading off into Antwerp independently on our own with the map. We walked into the historic part of the city where we saw the town hall and the fountains. The weather was not on our side so the heavens opened and we quickly rushed into a local café for a lovely Belgian hot chocolate. We then headed back to the ship for our welcome cocktail and to meet the crew. Afterwards lunch was then served in the restaurant
    After lunch I sat on top deck watching Antwerp disappear and watching how the ship went through the locks. There was then a talk in the lounge by the guest speaker they had on board with regards to the First World War. It was then time to get ready for dinner.
    After dinner whilst we were approaching Gorinchem we had Karol the keyboard player play to us, then followed the evenings Trivia Quiz to win a Shearings cool bag – unfortunately my team did not win. We had then docked in Gorinchem at 22:00 so our group decided to go for a wander round the town, this was a very quiet town with cobbled streets. We stopped for a drink before heading back to the ship and having a nightcap before retiring for the night.

    Day 4: This is our last morning on board and we are sailing to Nijmegen. So the morning has in store breakfast, followed by a second talk by the guest speaker, watching the scenery go past on a rather foggy morning and then time for lunch before we disembark. We are due to dock at 1pm where we will then take a taxi to the train station and then take the train to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport which will take 90 minutes. My return flight is at 17:25 back to London Gatwick. The ship will be continuing on to Amsterdam

    #2
    Kerry this sounds great and having 'done' a WW1 battlefields tour [we were based in Ypres] I would recommend it but a huge

    BUT

    you have told us NOTHING about the boat.

    The cabins, the facilities, standard of the food, the ambiance, ease of access, the passengers, dining...

    you've told me nothing which would entice me away from a land based tour should we go again...which we will.

    Edit
    ...and I'd guess a land based tour will be cheaper!
    Last edited by Mrs M; 30th April 2014, 07:39 AM. Reason: tweaked and added edit

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for your reply Mrs M and for your comments

      I am sailing on the MPS Rotterdam which holds 107 passengers on board. There are cabins for twin and single occupancy. I am in a C+ cabin which is on the lower deck so my views are mainly of the sea - however the cabin is more spacious than the B or C grade cabins as the C+ cabins are two cabins joined together. In my cabin there is fixed twin beds and I have a separate shower and toilet. There is also a small sofa to sit on. One of my colleagues has a B grade cabin and again this is a twin cabin but the beds come out from the wall and during the day these can be folded up and then a seating area is available.

      There are 4 decks on board and the stairs are very steep and they do provide a chair lift to the levels apart from the lower floor cabins. Up on the outside deck there are sun loungers, tables and chairs and also two exercise bikes aswell as a cross trainer for anyone who wants to do some exercise.

      Breakfast and lunch on board are buffet style, breakfast has cold meats, cheese as well as a hot option of bacon, sausages and scrambled eggs. Yesterdays lunch consisted of salad, turkey, croquette potatoes, vegetables and a dessert buffet. Dinner last night consisted of a scampi cocktail, then followed by light curry soup, we had a choice of main for Duck in a Raspberry Sauce/ Red Mullet/ Courgette filled flower, and then a cheese buffet and finally a Vanilla Creme Brulee

      I would say the average age of the passengers on board this particular sailing is 50-70 years old. Everyone is very friendly and the crew make you feel very welcome.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Kerry, Cruise co View Post
        Thank you for your reply Mrs M and for your comments

        I am sailing on the MPS Rotterdam which holds 107 passengers on board. There are cabins for twin and single occupancy. I am in a C+ cabin which is on the lower deck so my views are mainly of the sea - however the cabin is more spacious than the B or C grade cabins as the C+ cabins are two cabins joined together. In my cabin there is fixed twin beds and I have a separate shower and toilet. There is also a small sofa to sit on. One of my colleagues has a B grade cabin and again this is a twin cabin but the beds come out from the wall and during the day these can be folded up and then a seating area is available.

        There are 4 decks on board and the stairs are very steep and they do provide a chair lift to the levels apart from the lower floor cabins. Up on the outside deck there are sun loungers, tables and chairs and also two exercise bikes aswell as a cross trainer for anyone who wants to do some exercise.

        Breakfast and lunch on board are buffet style, breakfast has cold meats, cheese as well as a hot option of bacon, sausages and scrambled eggs. Yesterdays lunch consisted of salad, turkey, croquette potatoes, vegetables and a dessert buffet. Dinner last night consisted of a scampi cocktail, then followed by light curry soup, we had a choice of main for Duck in a Raspberry Sauce/ Red Mullet/ Courgette filled flower, and then a cheese buffet and finally a Vanilla Creme Brulee

        I would say the average age of the passengers on board this particular sailing is 50-70 years old. Everyone is very friendly and the crew make you feel very welcome.
        That's the ticket. Thank you very much Kerry.

        Is dining open or set places? Size of dining tables? Is wine over dinner and lunch complimentary? Any dress code or is it all informal?

        Comment


          #5
          Kerry I read this with interest as my OH is very keen to visit these destinations, could you give us prices for the cruise and extras please. CG
          sigpic

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Mrs M View Post
            That's the ticket. Thank you very much Kerry.

            Is dining open or set places? Size of dining tables? Is wine over dinner and lunch complimentary? Any dress code or is it all informal?
            Dining is at a set time - lunch tends to be at 1pm unless there is a planned excursion like this afternoon so lunch has been moved to 12pm. Dinner is at 7pm every day. Tables are for 4 in the restaurant and when you have checked-in you will then be advised your table number. On Shearings no drinks are complimentary at meal times. A glass of wine is three Euros and a Leffe beer is 2.50 Euros.

            Dress code in the evening is smart casual.

            Comment


              #7
              The 8 day trip travelling by coach started at £749 per person for this trip. They do also do a 10 day trip in May and June which is £1149 per person. There is also a 9 day trip in November by coach which is £969 per person. There some tours which are included within the cost and any optional tours cost between £15 - £30 per person. You could also opt to join the your by rail or air and there is a supplement to do this

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks Kerry this sounds a bit more reasonable than some of the fares that are advertised...CG
                sigpic

                Comment


                  #9
                  There is very good Bradt guide just come onto the market titled "World War 1 Battlefields". Contains an amazing amount of information.
                  Fossil1

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by cornish girl, falmouth View Post
                    Thanks Kerry this sounds a bit more reasonable than some of the fares that are advertised...CG
                    As somebody who has been on a few Shearing's coach holidays, they do some very good late deals.

                    When we travel with them, we are picked up by feeder coach at our local train station, cases loaded on to coach, which then takes us to the tour coach departure point, where cases are transferred by Shearing's staff, and are next seen outside our room at hotel, I have not done a river cruise with them, so finding your review very informative, look forward to seeing any photo's.

                    I would also add, on the coach holidays we have been on, Shearing's Hotels and accommodation is very basic, and it would appear to be the same from photos I have seen of the Rotterdam, also the menu seems very limited especially for the mid day and evenings meals, again compared to the coach holidays we have been on with them.

                    With Shearings we have always found they are very good value for "what you pay".
                    Last edited by Delboy, Essex; 30th April 2014, 10:34 AM.
                    Delboy


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                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Kerry, Cruise co View Post
                      Dining is at a set time - lunch tends to be at 1pm unless there is a planned excursion like this afternoon so lunch has been moved to 12pm. Dinner is at 7pm every day. Tables are for 4 in the restaurant and when you have checked-in you will then be advised your table number. On Shearings no drinks are complimentary at meal times. A glass of wine is three Euros and a Leffe beer is 2.50 Euros.


                      Dress code in the evening is smart casual.
                      Leffe Blonde. Yum Yum and not too badly priced at all.

                      Originally posted by Kerry, Cruise co View Post
                      The 8 day trip travelling by coach started at £749 per person for this trip. They do also do a 10 day trip in May and June which is £1149 per person. There is also a 9 day trip in November by coach which is £969 per person. There some tours which are included within the cost and any optional tours cost between £15 - £30 per person. You could also opt to join the your by rail or air and there is a supplement to do this
                      This now sounds a very interesting 'product'. Thanks for the additional info.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Delboy, Essex View Post
                        As somebody who has been on a few Shearing's coach holidays, they do some very good late deals.

                        .
                        Thanks for the useful info.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          [From the other WW1/WW2 blog]

                          I would advise anyone considering the WW1 battlefields and the WW2 areas, be prepared to shed tears and don't be ashamed to do so.

                          We attended the 8pm Menin Gate memorial on four consecutive nights. It was a privilege to see how the Fallen are remembered and the UTTER respect shown by EVERYONE there, from the youngsters to the very elderly.

                          We were the first from our family to pay our resects to one of my husband's uncles. He was nineteen years of age when killed and his name is on Lutyens' Thiepval Memorial.

                          One our most treasured 'holidays'.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            When I get back to the office tomorrow, I shall upload a link to my photos. We found with the menu, certainly with dinner if you didn't like a particular course then there was no alternative to have and so you just went without

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Kerry, Cruise co View Post
                              When I get back to the office tomorrow, I shall upload a link to my photos. We found with the menu, certainly with dinner if you didn't like a particular course then there was no alternative to have and so you just went without
                              The link to the photos of the ship is: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1427354&type=1

                              Comment


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