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My World War Shearings Experience!

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    My World War Shearings Experience!

    Day one!

    Today I am joining my first ever river cruise with Shearings. Having cruised on the ocean more times than I care to remember this is a new and exciting experience for me!
    I am going via coach to Antwerp, then on to Gorinchem, Nijmegen. So I will be experiencing the Dutch Waterways on the Ms Rotterdam a small river cruise ship which holds a little over 100 passengers.

    Early start this morning 7am pick up from a very convenient location in Redditch. I didn't realise just how local Shearings can pick you up - they have lots of local pick up points, good start! The mini bus took me to Chorley where we joined the next coach to stop 24 where we met the tour coach. Shearings are really well organised everything was on time & ran smoothly.

    We then joined the ferry from Dover to Calais, it was a good crossing which went very quickly then the coach took us to meet the ship in Antwerp. Lots of travelling today from 7am until 8pm when we joined the Ms Rotterdam.
    First impressions are that the ship is very nicely decorated with red and gold furnishings. Very homely feel about the ship and everyone seems really friendly.

    My cabin is a good size with large twin beds, it is on the lower deck so when you look out the window the water level is quite high. I have noticed that the cabins on the lower deck are much more spacious, although not as easily accessible as your have to get down via some steep steps. It is worth noting that there is a lift that takes you to and from the two higher decks onboard but it doesn't go down to the lower deck.

    Dinner was served as soon as we embarked which was veal, chicken soup, lamb chops followed by cheese and then Apple crumble. The food was delicious although it was a set menu so not much variety.

    Drinks are quite reasonably prices at 2 euros for a Leffe beer I think that is a good price. Wine is about 3 euros a glass, cocktails range up to 7 euros. There are no drinks included with the cruise but I think they are good prices so people don't seem to mind.

    Early night tonight as an early start at 8am tomorrow to see Ypres.

    Day Two

    Today we are taking a full day excursion to Flanders Museum, Battlefields and Ypres.

    Breakfast at 7am much more choice, self service buffet. There was scrambled and boiled eggs, hams, cheese, bacon, sausages, beans, toast, cheese, fruit and tea. Coffee and juices were available. It was all of a very high standard.
    Coach left at 8am to visit Tyne Cot Cemetery where you will find thousands of graves from the First World War in Ypres and also the names of all of those who were never found. The we went to the German Cemetery where there is a mass grave where 25000 are buried. Interesting contrast between the individual British White stone graves and the dark stone mass graves that the Germans used.

    Next we went on to Flaunders Museum where we viewed some artifacts from World War I and even some photos of bodies from the war (bit eerie)! We then had dinner at a restaurant in the centre of Antwerp which was pate followed by steak and chips which was enjoyable.

    After dinner we went on to Menin Gate where we saw the ceremony of the last post. There was about 2000 people there, the ceremony is held every night to commemorate the fallen from World War I. It was very interesting and quite emotional.

    After a full day of excursions we headed back on the coach back to the Ms Rotterdam feeling quite worn out! Enjoyable and interesting day all round.

    Day Three

    Today has been a later start up for breakfast at 9am then we took a stroll into Antwerp old town. The area near the river is fairly modern but if you walk into the old town (half hour stroll) there is many historic buildings and a cathedral as well as many quaint little cafés.

    We stopped at a lovely cafe with out door heating and enjoyed some tasty hot chocolate and Belgium waffles.

    At midday we had our welcome meeting and started to sail at last to Gorinchem! As we departed there was air of excitement whilst the pianist played 'we are sailing'.

    Lunch was buffet style and there was Turkey, cold meats and salads available. There was a vast variety of different types of salad and cheeses.

    The afternoon was spent out on deck watching the landscape. It was interesting watching as we sailed through the locks and seeing how it all works. The Captain even allowed us to have a look around the wheel house!

    As the itinerary is Battlefields and World Wars it is focused on that theme so the scenery isn't what you would see if you were for instance on the Rhine. Where we were docked in Antwerp it was very city like and the port is petro chemical but they use the port as you can access Ypres from there. This cruise is fantastic for anyone who would like to see the history of World War I & II but if you are looking for scenery the Rhine is a better option.

    Nevertheless it is a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere onboard and it does make you feel very at home. Of an evening it is smart casual and there is not really a dress code it is like a 'country club' type of feel on here.
    We are disembarking later today and flying home from Amsterdam so I will blog summarising everything that has happened this week!

    I have uploaded quite a few photos of the ship, menus, Antwerp and Ypres on my facebook page, please have a look at https://www.facebook.com/amy.ginder.7
    To make sure you don't miss out call me today on 0800 408 6072 or email me at amyg@cruise.co.uk

    To find out how my clients have rated my service please visit my blog at http://www.amyahoy.blogspot.com

    #2
    Some nice pictures Amy ,the ship look better than I thought it would?
    A lot to be said for a door to ship transfer takes a lot of worry out of the holiday.
    Nice blog enjoyed reading it ...Taffy
    ​Taffy

    Comment


      #3
      Great review Amy, enjoyed reading it. Haven't done a river cruise yet but its on the cards for some time in
      the not to distant future....
      sigpic
      Cruisings Cool

      Comment


        #4
        Amy

        As somebody who has travelled with Shearing's on their coach holidays, I find your review very interesting.

        They have a good network of pick up points, we are always picked up by feeder coach from our local train station, and then taken to the tour coach departure point. From your photo's it would appear in keeping with Shearing's holidays, the accommodation is very basic, especially when using their own hotels etc, although not always.
        What does surprise me is how limited the menu appears to be on the ship, compared to the menu's on the coach holidays we have been on.
        Delboy


        Photo Albums

        https://www.flickriver.com/photos/delboyalbums/sets/

        or

        https://www.flickr.com/photos/delboyalbums/albums

        Comment


          #5
          Useful info. Thanks Amy.

          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


            #6
            Originally posted by Taffy, Wales View Post
            Some nice pictures Amy ,the ship look better than I thought it would?
            A lot to be said for a door to ship transfer takes a lot of worry out of the holiday.
            Nice blog enjoyed reading it ...Taffy
            Thanks Taffy, I was really surprised how nice the interior of the ship is too! The transfers and organisation of Shearings was brilliant.
            To make sure you don't miss out call me today on 0800 408 6072 or email me at amyg@cruise.co.uk

            To find out how my clients have rated my service please visit my blog at http://www.amyahoy.blogspot.com

            Comment


              #7
              Thank you Barrowman, it was a great experience, busy excursions but very relaxed atmosphere onboard. I would like to go again but do the Rhine next time.
              To make sure you don't miss out call me today on 0800 408 6072 or email me at amyg@cruise.co.uk

              To find out how my clients have rated my service please visit my blog at http://www.amyahoy.blogspot.com

              Comment


                #8
                Hi Delboy, thanks for your comments. You are completely right about the limited choice on the menu, it would have been nice to have a few options. Saying that though the food was all of a very good standard.

                My cabin was a good size really I was surprised how big it was for a ship of 100 passengers, there were some smaller cabins and singles on there.

                It it is a good ship for a comfortable base while river cruising and prices are reasonable compared to others such as Avalon and Viking.
                To make sure you don't miss out call me today on 0800 408 6072 or email me at amyg@cruise.co.uk

                To find out how my clients have rated my service please visit my blog at http://www.amyahoy.blogspot.com

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hello Mrs M, thank you for your reply. Menin Gate was a memorable experience I am glad you had the chance to pay your respects. Yes when we were at Menin Gate there was a lot of youngsters, you could have heard a pin drop. It is nice to see that young people are respectful and interested in learning about the war.
                  To make sure you don't miss out call me today on 0800 408 6072 or email me at amyg@cruise.co.uk

                  To find out how my clients have rated my service please visit my blog at http://www.amyahoy.blogspot.com

                  Comment


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