A Tearful Farewell: ms Rotterdam Departs Her Namesake City Following 100th Call, Plus Way Up North On Silver Explorer

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A Tearful Farewell: ms Rotterdam Departs Her Namesake City Following 100th Call

What becomes quickly apparent after spending only a few minutes at Cruise Terminal Rotterdam is just how much of an institution Holland America Line has become here in this beautiful city on the banks of Nieuwe Mass channel.

Across from the cruise terminal is Hotel New York, where Holland America Line set up shop when it began operations in 1873. The company's legendary ships sailed from here along the 15-mile channel that connects the North Sea with the city, transporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the Netherlands to North America.

Today, Holland America Line's ships leave Rotterdam carrying vacationers, primarily Europeans, to call on some of the most beautiful ports in Europe. As it has been for more than a century, each ship's coming and going is a spectacle. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people line the banks to watch the blue-hulled Holland America Line ships make their way to and from the terminal. Today, as ms Rotterdam departed the terminal, the farewell was tearful for some.

I stood watching Holland America Line's flagship sail away as Cruise Director Michael Langley waved good-bye to "his" ship. "It's a bit arrogant to call it my ship," he said to me. "But I feel that it is." Indeed, the 27-year-old Langley has spent much of his adult life on ms Rotterdam. "She took me around the world," he said.

As he waved good-bye he teared up, watching his ship, his colleagues and friends sail away. 

Read more.

With Rotterdam Cruise Director Michael Langley and Holland America Line's Jerrol Golden. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

World's cutest flower girl? © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet escorted aboard the ms Rotterdam. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

Holland America Line's original offices in Rotterdam, now Hotel New York. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

Good-bye ms Rotterdam. Until visit 101. © 2015 Ralph Grizzle

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Silver Explorer Arctic Adventure, Day 2: Sailing the Norwegian Sea

Sailing to Bear Island aboard Silver Explorer. Today is an entire day at sea here onboard Silversea Expeditions’ Silver Explorer as we make our way to Bear Island, our first “port” of call on this 10-night voyage to the Far Arctic and the Svalbard Archipelago. I love sea days, particularly on expedition cruises. They’re a great …

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Silver Explorer Arctic Adventure, Day 1: Tromso, Norway

To Tromso And Beyond With Silversea. Jetlag woke me up at 3:30a.m. this morning. At least, I think it did. It could be excitement, too: today is the day that I fly to Tromso, Norway to board Silversea Expeditions’ intimate Silver Explorer for a 10-night adventure into the heart of Arctic Svalbard. Whenever I sail with …

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Silver Explorer Arctic Adventure, Day 0: Oslo, Norway

Hallo, Oslo! There’s nothing like the realization that you’ve just paid $12.87 for a pint of beer to remind you that you’re in Norway. In fact, local legend has it that if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of a troll giggling madly as he makes off with every …

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Join Me On A Silversea Voyage To Greenland On Silver Explorer

Wanna meet up? Why not Greenland? I'm headed there August 27, 2015, for a seven-day expedition on Silver Explorer. This is the perfect trip to couple with a longer Baltic itinerary roundtrip Copenhagen. That's because flying from the Danish capital is the easiest way to get to and from Greenland.

Of course, you'll need to check with your favorite cruise seller to see if there is still space remaining on Silversea Expeditions Voyage 7519. Then do a little research for Baltic cruises to marry with the expedition. No need to worry about packing winter gear for Greenland: Silversea gives you a complimentary Silversea-branded parka that will keep you warm out among the icebergs, and there will be plenty of those.

If you can't make it, then at least follow along here on Avid Cruiser as I file daily reports from our voyage.

The Silversea expedition will mark my third trip to Greenland, and I hope it's not my last. Anything but green (80 percent of Greenland is covered in ice), the world's largest island is part of the North American continent, but it is connected to Europe. An autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland is a fascinating place, and there's no better way to experience than on a Silversea expedition.

Here's what Silversea is promising on this voyage:

Read more and check out some gorgeous photos of Greenland.

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Six Tips To Extract More Joy From Your Cruise

In this free special report, I’ve put together a half dozen actionable items that can make the difference between cruise vacations that are memorable and others that fail to measure up to all you had hoped they would be. I’ve cruised on hundreds of ships, as a solo traveler and with family and friends.  — Ralph Grizzle, The Avid Cruiser

Click to download the report.

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Complete this thought: My best packing tip for cruises is ... click here to answer.

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