A beautiful sunrise on a chilly morning, found us approaching this gateway port to Rome. Ahead of us, the “Koningsdam”, silhouetted by the lights from shore, her lights bright as she made her entry into the port. She made her turn around the breakwater and made for her berth, not having to turn, she was going starboard side to, this unfortunately meant that we could not berth bow-to-bow. I elected to swing outside, once near the breakwater and then back down the harbour to our berth, 100 metres away from our newest vessel.
She was conducting a turn-around, guests disembarking and more embarking before she started her 12-day itinerary. Yours truly was eager to see the latest addition to our fleet and along with K1, K2 and Hazel, we set off at 11 o’clock for her gangway. Almost 500 of the Amsterdam’s World cruise guests had preceded us, having boarded at 9:30 a.m. and treated with a guided tour and a ‘mini-show’ in the show lounge. Having handed in our ID cards and receiving ‘Visitors’ passes, we boarded and made our way upwards, the purpose? To find an old friend and captain of the Koningsdam, Emiel de Vries; he and I went way back, he having sailed with me as my Chief Officer 6 years ago. He had on board his wife Susan and his daughter, Tess, who was a mere bump when we last saw them and now a beautiful 6-year old. My sense of direction didn’t fail me and I found their cabin, just as Emiel came out of it; much hugging ensued and once this was completed off to, where else? The Bridge! State of the art technology, it had little resemblance to my lovely ship, chairs for watch-keepers, (even with cup holders! Gotta get me one of those) 🙂 She has a ‘cockpit’ Bridge, centralised controls, each position with own radar and instrumentation…warp factor please Scotty!……..
Once the Bridge visit was complete it was time to start a guided tour, (not often one gets a tour guide who is a Captain). A walk through the guest areas first:-
Just as I was about to save this post, the Koningsdam was about to sail, a dash to the Bridge. Civitavecchia has a ‘noise’ ban, no ships whistles and I couldn’t let our lovely ship pass without blowing them. An email, via the agent, to the Harbour Master, “please make an exception in this case”, the answer came back just in time, “yes”. A quick email to Emiel, ‘go for it’ and, having turned, she came past, her whistle booming across the harbour; we answered her salute, I could hear our guests shouting to the K and them shouting back, everyone waving and a lovely send off for a lovely ship. Now I have to download the departure photos for you………