There are easier and faster ways available to reach Amsterdam from London, but taking Stenaline cruise from Harwich to Hook of Holland, I realized it’s never wrong to slow down sometime while on a holiday, that’s what holiday is all about after all, right? To relax, chill out, then start afresh and get tired at the end of the day once again!
There are 2 cruise ships depart every day to Hook of Hollad from Harwich Port (around 2 hours journey from London by train. Also the Harwich train station is adjacent to the port, hence no extra walk from station to port!!), one in the morning (9 am) which takes about 8 hours to reach Holland and the other one leaves at night (11 pm). This ship reaches the destination in the morning at around 8 am. While many say, the morning cruise should be the chosen option, as obviously one can enjoy the scenic beauty and can experience the journey on the waterway on a broad daylight; I though, had to take the second option available. As it was the very first overnight cruise experience for me, it was an incredible a journey which drove me to share the experience with all of you.
Before this, a bit about the ship, the Stenaline cruise ships are quite massive. If travelling with private car, don’t worry, it has enough space to accommodate the cars, cycles, motor-homes or minivans. There are coffee bars, restaurants, wine bar, even duty free shops available (which closes by 10 pm) inside the ship, also there is a theater available, hence enough of entertainment available on board.
The open deck (which is deck no. 9) is a good option to enjoy a windy (or cold if during autumn or winter) and starry evening (if the sky is cloud free!). The open deck is actually at its best during sunrise and while the cruise is about to reach Holland. Catching glimpse of the wind mills, colourful houses of Netherlands with the fresh bright sun-rays, is very beautiful.
The food inside the cruise in quite good, and the cabin sizes (which is only available at the night cruise) vary depending upon the capacity of guests and standard as well, but no matter what, it’s small in comparison with any hotel room (by which I do not mean capsule hotels!). But I will recommend the outside cabins, which always has a window which is anyway a good choice, from the window, getting the first ray of the sun with a view of the town at a distance reminded me of the journey ahead, which would be very beautiful…
Things to keep in mind for the overnight cruise:
- The top 2 decks are kept for accommodation (Deck 10 & 11), and there are 4 gates to find one’s room, as there are rows of rooms. Hence keep the ticket handy and mind the gate no. and floor.
- Take a small bag and take all necessaries you may need for the night (no restriction like airlines), and give your big luggage bag/ suitcase while checking in and collect at the time of check out. The reason is, the cabins are small (unless its a suite) and you have to drag your luggage all the time, which is a bit exhausting (as no porter service available and waiting for the lift will make you impatient!)
- The check in process before boarding the cruise is somewhat similar to airport system.
- Wake up early in the morning, once the breakfast is announced it’s only served for an hour and no more (if the service is pre-booked) as after this the ship is about to anchor on the port.
- Only the night cruise has cabin facilities. Try to choose cabin with window, the early morning view from the bed is amazing.
- The Harwich train station is connected with the port, hence once won’t need to walk any extra meter to reach the port and same with Hook of Holland port as well.
This was my experience stuffed in my duffel bag, for more information please write to me… And don’t forget to share yours…