Just imagine the smiles on our faces as we walked down the dock to board Viking’s Atla “longboat.” Now, multiply that by 327% and you’ve just about pictured our grins.
While Amsterdam (and Haarlem) have been great ways to start this holiday (see, I’m being influenced already by all these Europeans, it’s not just a “vacation” like we have in the US, it’s a definite “holiday”), Mom and I were eagerly looking forward to our time aboard our modern “longboat,” the Atla. After all, this was a river cruise wasn’t it, and despite being alongside the water in Amsterdam, we couldn’t wait to board the boat/ship (I really have to figure out the right word–can someone out there clue me in?) and start the on the water phase.
Checking in was quick and easy. We were greeted by Atla Cruise Director Caspar van Helden and a helpful young guy showed us to our stateroom (veranda A, for those of you who wondered; specifically room 329). It’s pretty darn spiffy.
I’d rather thought of a motor home/RV when I looked at the room size and specs online–but while space is at a premium, as it is in a motor home, the fit and finish are all high-end. Not a schmaltzy surface in sight. There are plenty of unexpected little touches that make it even more special: multiple room lighting options, including three for each bed; bottled water (glass bottles) brought in throughout the day; crisp, bright white sheets and two pillow choices; small refrigerator, already cool; l’Occitane bath products; and lots and lots of storage. If you can’t fit your clothes in the six dresser drawers (two quite deep), commodious closet and three shelves beside the closet, you simply brought too much stuff! The twin beds (ours are split apart the width of a small bedside table) are raised high enough to allow us to place our luggage underneath. This is where the bright orange life vests also live between “safety drills” and actual emergencies (which I’m guessing there aren’t many of).
Returning to the room after dinner (yes, all were in The Restaurant for this first night–no option for the AquaVit Terrace) and spending time on the upper deck waiting for push off from the dock, we found the room had been readied for bed: soft lights, prepped bedding, more water.
I’d read that the bathroom (yes, it’s small; yes it does look like the water might easily escape from the shower, but so what?) floors were heated. My initial thought was, “big whoopie.” Let me tell you it is a wonderful thing. Especially for someone like me who always has cold feet. I know I’d spend a lot longer brushing my teeth if I had a heated bathroom floor back home. Those pearly whites got at least four minutes of attention last night as I let my tootsies toast on the warm tile. Very nice.
We slept easily while the Atla began its journey to Budapest. We left the drapes (and the sheers below them) completely open all night. The moon, at half-full right now, danced along the sky above us, reflecting in the water. What a nice sight to enjoy when you turn over in the middle of the night!
I awoke by 6:10 am (and I never do that willingly back home) and popped out of bed and over to the veranda to see where we were (we’d docked sometime in the night) and how the world looked. Sunrise on the water was a glory of red and orange.
How could we not be excited about the day ahead when the morning began like that?
P.S. I’m wandering around the ship/boat (please, do help me with the correct word soon!), snapping photos for those of you who want to know what it really looks like in the real world (no slick marketing photos!). I’ll post those in the future.