Ah…. Antwerp! After arriving safe and sound from what was pleasant-no-event flight on US Air to Brussels I was transferred to the ship in Antwerp (about a 30 minute drive).
Kudos to Uniworld, they have really done a great job with the refurbishment on board the River Duchess. The ship is beautiful! I am traveling with people that have sailed on her before and they say that it looks like a totally new ship. It even has that “new ship smell”!
My cabin is very comfortable, although I am not used to cruising on the first passenger deck.. It will take a little getting used to… a little more noise with the sound of the water hitting the ship… and when I look at the window I feel like I am bobbing in the water myself… but the room is a good size, the bed is super comfortable and there is plenty of storage space.
This morning we awoke to an overcast day. For ONCE the weathermen were right… and I believe that we will be having this same weather for the rest of the trip as there appears to be no break in sight… so I will whine only once to you and say OMG it is COLD! Today we had a bit of a breeze (wind) so it made it more uncomfortable. Our walking tour was good but I spent most of it finding alcoves to duck into or burrowing behind my fellow cruisers to have them block the wind for me.
Antwerp is a beautiful city steeped in history… and beer! There are over 450 types of beer made in Belgium along with just as many famous stories about beer… The Cathedral is the center point of the old city… surrounded by little postcard shops and stores selling chocolate… Belgium chocolate, let me tell you it is very good! I went to Leonides as I had read in the Rick Steves book on Belgium that they were a favorite of the locals, very good and reasonably priced. I just ate a chocolate covered cherry as I sit here writing this and let me tell you I don’t know what liquor they add to their cherries but a couple more of these and I will be taking a nap!
So far, as on all my other river cruises too I have met a lot of wonderful people. River cruisers are a different bunch I truly believe, they love to travel… love to see new things.. Have tons of stories to tell and are all around friendly people.. I am sure by the end of this cruise I will have many new friends!
This afternoon there was an option of taking a bus back to Brussels and touring for the afternoon or a tour that covered another of Belgium’s specialties Diamonds… but I opted to go back out to the city after lunch (wonderful warm soup) and do some shopping… I hope everyone loves Chocolate because I bought a lot!
We set sail tonight for Ghent… more photos to follow then!