Last night, Tauck Grace remained docked overnight in Amsterdam. Our first night on board reminded us of how much we love the comfortable beds on Tauck ships. The bed is certainly one of the most comfortable you will find on any ship, or hotel for that matter.
This morning, guests divide into groups for a tour of Amsterdam. Each guest selects a colored poker chip (green, white, red, blue, etc.) from a basket in Panorama Lounge and will be part of that color group for the day's tour. It is a pretty simple and effective way to divide everyone into smaller, more manageable groups. By 8:20am, we are exiting Grace and walking toward the three new Tauck motorcoaches.
Clean, comfortable, Tauck motorcoaches
Outside of the mototcoaches, we can see local tour guides holding colored signs. Simply pick the guide with the sign that matches the color of poker chip you selected and you are in the right group!
Guides hold colored signs
The motorcoaches take us to the Rijksmuseum underground parking garage, from where we walk up to street level, then along the roadway that passes through Rijksmuseum and to the other side of the street where we board our canal boat. The canal cruise takes about an hour and we enjoy coffee and cookies as our guide points out some of Amsterdam's most interesting landmarks. The legendary Amsterdam houseboats are docked along the canals and some appear to be quite lavish.
Amsterdam Canal Boat
After the canal cruise, we disembark and walk across the street to the Rijksmuseum. Rickee and I decide to skip the museum portion of the tour for a couple of reasons: 1. We just visited Rijksmuseum a little more than a year ago, and, 2. I am looking for a pharmacy so I can get some cough medication for a cold I have developed. Our guide told us to meet the group at the "I amsterdam" sign in front of the Rijksmuseum at noon for the coach ride back to the boat. Guests also had the option to stay in town for lunch and further exploration. Tauck was providing shuttles to and from the ship. The weather was cold with sporadic rain showers so most chose to head back to the ship for lunch.
While waiting for the rest of the group to show up at Noon, we took the opportunity to be tourists and shoot some photos in front of the "I amsterdam" sign.
The Captain's Welcome Reception featured a
selection of distinctively Dutch appetizers. The chef was carving Livar
prosciutto, which she called "Dutch ham," and there was a nice variety
of Dutch cheeses to sample. Fresh fruit, olives and nuts were available
as well. This special Dutch treat (no pun intended!) was in addition to
the appetizers the waitstaff were offering from their trays. We are very
impressed by the quality and selection of the appetizers served each
evening during cocktail hour.
Every item we have tried has been
delicious. A choice of red wine, white wine or sparkling wine was served
for the Welcome toast but if you wanted something else, no problem.
Farhan fills glasses of champagne for welcome reception
As if all this food was not enough, cocktail hour is followed by dinner in the Compass Rose dining room. If you still hadn't had enough to eat after dinner, cookies are always available in Arthur's which is located on Deck 3 aft.
It was a fantastic ending to a great day in Amsterdam. Tomorrow, we stop in Nijmegan.