When I lived on the continent way back when, I remember the many crossings home to Britain. Plain little cabins, plain food and time to pass. Oh my how things have changed! Recently I had the need to come and go from The Netherlands and can say crossing by sea is now a preferred option.
The DFDS Seaways crossing from Amsterdam to Newcastle very much becomes part of the enjoyment of the journey, not just the means. For many on board it became apparent that this was what they had come for, the cruise with a short stay in the North of England or touring Scotland. A huge advantage of this crossing is the geographical areas you can get to. Straight off the ship and into Northumberland within minutes, with Yorkshire just a little further. Incredible places without long land journeys to get there. This combined with the company of people travelling to Amsterdam or returning makes for a great ambiance.
On board I soon saw how comfort and cruise rather than simple crossing was the aim and yes they got it right. The cabins were large and not just plain, in fact they contained more comforts and room than some Bed and Breakfasts I have stayed in. En suite showers, comfortable beds and more. Not that I spent much time in the cabin. There was much to do and see; out on deck I was treated to a most wonderful sunset followed by a glorious sunrise. Big open decks to wander on help you take it all in.
Food? Well, you are left spoilt for choice! Evening meal, Buffet with eat as much as you want, gorgeously laid out and cooked with care, attention and all tastes in mind. The spread is huge. Or A la carte if you feel like taking in a delicious set meal with fine wines. There is even a steakhouse aboard for those wanting even more specialised cuisine. On top of that there are cafes that also serve light meals.
In the evening the choices do not stop. For entertainment you can take to the bars and go for live band music or go and take in a solo musical entertainer. A Casino for those who want to try a little luck at winning some cash or the cinema is available to watch a film.
So much to see and do and I haven’t even mentioned the shops yet. Cheap cigarettes/alcohol/perfume, clothing, books, travel items, chocolates, and more more more.
It opened my eyes to the new way to travel to and from the continent to Britain. A massive bonus is you are free at either end with your own car too if you wish to take it. Go enjoy. Bon voyage.
If you would like to see more of Paul Steele’s ramblings both in Britain and around the world you can follow him on Twitter @paul_steele, his Blog BaldHiker, Huffington Post and more VisitBritain posts