Round-Britain cruises an education

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weymouth.jpgCruise ship Westerdam has been making waves in the past few weeks, garnering a succession of local paper headlines as it made its way round the British Isles.
Largest cruise ship yet for Portree” announced the Press and Journal when the vessel arrived at the Isle of Skye. “Terminal set for record week” proclaimed the Greenock Telegraph when Westerdam was one of seven ships to visit the port in as many days.
When the 1,850-passenger ship arrived in Portland Harbour, Dorset – again setting a new record for the biggest passenger vessel to call at the port – tourism students (above) from Weymouth College were at the quayside to guide visitors before taking a tour of the vessel themselves.
While Westerdam has been grabbing the headlines, Prinsendam – a smaller sister in the Holland-America Lines fleet – has also been making her way round our coast, with Captain Albert Schoonderbeek commenting on proceedings in his entertaining daily blog.
At Tilbury, on the Thames, he went shopping for supplies, explaining: “Normally we have to order everything through ship chandlers but they have a lot of overheads of course as they have to charge for their working hours, profit margins and for the transport.
“A captain gets paid anyway and thus comes a lot cheaper. So B&Q was a prime target today, for kitchen grouting, carpet glue, cordless drills and super glue and as I drive a hybrid car, even the petrol costs came only to half price.”
In Falmouth, Cornwall, he had a bit of a contretemps with the gangway provided by the port authority and then welcomed local MP Sarah Newton on board to discuss what improvements were needed to make the harbour more welcoming for cruise ships.
He was not looking forward to arriving in Holyhead, Anglesey, because the ship was to be docked at at a pier built for loading aluminium ore rather than people, but in the end found it not only adequate, but also very welcoming, with a male voice choir and a Dixieland jazz band serenading passengers.
After his initial reservations, the final verdict was more encouraging: “If the weather is good (no rain and no wind) this port is a winner.”
His thoughts on the Welsh way of life may be more controversial: “The area has been very deprived…there is a lot of unemployment…and community life rotates around the choir, the steam train and other community-inspired work, and of course the Saturday afternoon Rugby match followed by a visit to the pub.”
Fascinating insights, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he has to say about Peel on the Isle of Man, Belfast, Oban, Portree and Scrabster in the far north of Scotland, as the voyage continues.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:22+00:00 5 September 2010|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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