Jun 2019 - NCL Pearl - Northern European Tour - Part 1 Departing Amsterdam

Every now and again you browse the NCL website and wonder why on earth you didn't spot this itinerary before; how could we have missed it and at such a bargain "sail away price". It could have something to do with the terrible design of the website or it could be that some of the reposition/one off cruises don't get released to the UK/EU markets at the same time as the US.

Ever since we sailed on the Favolosa from Copenhagen (click here to see) we have always looked for any excuse to return to Norway and see more. Geiranger has always been a must see so when this cruise on the Pearl suddenly caught our attention it was an absolute must.

One slight headache was the fact we booked this as a 'sail away' price whilst  NCL were offering the old "all inclusive "offer; they then changed this completely the following week. To summarise, same base price but now drinks are included and five premium dining choices for £99pp + grats, but way cheaper!

Day 1 Fly to Amsterdam

We flew Flybe airline early on the morning of the cruise from Manchester. Its a short hop across (1hr) and on a normal day should give you the easy option of jumping on the train to Amsterdam Central and walking to the Cruise Terminal. A full on storm meant we had to sit on the tarmac at Manchester for about an hour waiting for a slot as Schipol had become backed up  with traffic due to the weather.

On landing in Amsterdam the same storm had decided to deluge the entire city in a months worth of rain so we took a taxi (A gullwing model X Tesla no less). Embarkation is smooth and the storm we are reliably informed has passed (though not the gusty winds)

We take lunch onboard - unpack - meet the cabin steward (the excellent Haj) - complete the muster - explore the ship (its basically the same as the NCL Jade (Jewel Class) which we have traveled on twice before. Before you know it, its time to head on to the promenade deck and watch the sailway..... Or maybe not... We can tell watching the tug boat that there area few issues with the wind and its not long before Captain Paul is on the PA telling us its a bit too windy for the ship to tackle the tight canal and locks back out to the North Sea and we will try again at 7pm.

By 7pm we are in the MDR enjoying a lovely dinner washed down with a few glasses of Malbec when we have a further announcement to tell us we will be leaving at 2am. Having been up since about 5am I think we'll give this sailaway a miss. In fact we are fast asleep by 10pm.

Day 2 Sea Day Amsterdam - Newhaven, Edinburgh UK

Captain Paul has told us this morning that despite the late departure nothing will be affected as we have a sea day for the first day and there is ample time to catch up. Who knew a storm passed through yesterday as the North Sea this morning is like a mill pond with bright blue sky to match.

It's a usual relaxing sea day. Lunch, wine, cocktails and a nap in the afternoon and a good book (Peter Swanson). Tonight we eat at Cagneys on deck 13.

Oysters Rockefeller for myself and Lobster Bisque for Jack followed by rack of Lamb and the Veal cutlet.

Everything is superb ( I would like to say as usual but I do find Cagneys can vary in quality from ship to ship)

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