HAL Zuiderdam 12-Day Fjords and Highlands Cruise Day 1
Wednesday May 17, 2017 - Embarkation, Copenhagen
Copenhagen to Oslo 219 Nautical Miles
Angels and Miracles
None of us was able to sleep through the night with all the unknown in our minds. A lot of 'what ifs' popped up and I had to come up with plans B, C and D with different scenarios depending on what is going to happen. Throughout the night I could hear someone going to the bathroom, walking around, whispering. We all woke up with dark circles around our eyes.
After some toasts and coffee, we left the apartment at 6:50 and walked over to the train station one more time. It was just past 7 when we arrived at the door of the police station. We were told that they were having IT problems and won't be opened until 8. Uh oh, another delay. Patiently, we sat and waited. Fortunately they let us in at 8 and a very nice gentleman took our case and started processing the report, the first angel we met that morning. His smiles and gentle manner calmed us down quite a bit and we received the official report in less than 30 minutes. Thank you, Copenhagen Police!
With the police report in hand, we wanted to go to the Taiwanese government office right away by taking a taxi but the taxi line outside the train station was quite long so we walked back to the apartment instead.
Walking to the train station.
Police station on the left of this photo.
There is no diplomatic relationships between the governments of Denmark and Taiwan, therefore, they only have a Representative Office in Denmark instead of an embassy or consulate office. It is located right near the Amalienborg Palace. We had no idea how long we would be gone so I instructed those staying behind to take everything downstairs and wait so we would be ready for check out any time. Elly had told us to just leave the keys on the kitchen counter if we don't see her in the morning.
We would have taken a taxi if there was one available but there was none as we walked towards the Taiwan Representative Office. We arrived at the very quiet office a little after nine and was met by a Mandarin speaking Danish woman. As we were filling out the forms that she gave us, Mr. Shen, an official in the office came out and talked to us. After learning of the stolen passports, he said "Oh, we can get that done in 30 minutes if you have everything we need." What a relief! It was the best news yet so far and we were overjoyed. Fortunately, we had the police report, the passport photos and copies of the old passports ready so they were able to process without any further delay. Mr. Shen said these kind of incidents happen a lot, especially in the summer time. Two fresh replacement passports were issued within an hour as we waited in that office. Now they can come along with us on the cruise without being left behind in Copenhagen. What a miracle and an answer to our prayers! On top of this, Mr. Shen and a member of his staff took us back to the apartment in their business cars, picked up our luggage and the rest of the group and then dropped us off at the cruise port. God really provides more than what we ask for and He sent these angels to help us when we couldn't do anything ourselves in situation like that. Thank you, Mr. Shen and all the staff at the Taiwan Representative Office in Denmark!
We left the apartment in a hurry without saying goodbye to Elly because Mr. Shen and the other young man was waiting for us outside. I emailed her and explained what had happened. She was really good in communicating with us throughout this trip.
It took us quite a long time to check-in at the cruise terminal because of the two new passports but we were finally done and boarded the Zuiderdam a little after 12. We were definitely happy that we did not leave anyone behind and all of us can be together again. Yes, they have lost over $3,000 but there is nothing we can do now so we might as well forget about that and enjoy the next 12 days on this cruise which we have already paid for.
On Board the Zuiderdam
We found our cabin, an obstructed oceanview room 4119. The floor to ceiling window was blocked halfway by a tender but still gave us a good view of the ocean. It was almost like having a balcony that you cannot go out to. We were happy with the room.
We had a nice embarkation lunch at the Vista Dining room on deck 2. This had to be the most people we have seen in the main dining room on embarkation day.
Plaice and buttered shrimps
Cherry Jubilee Sundae
After lunch we went back to our cabin and waited for the muster drill which was at 3:15. As always, HAL held the drill on promenade deck with everyone standing in lines. We did not need to bring our life jackets though. They also scanned our key cards instead of roll calling. After the drill, we walked around the ship to get a feel of how this ship was like. This ship is so different from the Getaway. It is much calmer, quieter, and classier. I felt so much more comfortable moving around this beautiful ship. Plenty of places to relax at the different lounges.
This theater is much prettier than the one on the Getaway, IMHO.
The Spinning Seahorse.
Main Dining Room, Deck 3
Back to our cabin, the bathroom...
with a full-size tub
Tiles on the wall.
At the aft of the ship at sailaway. This reminded me so much of the Volendam which we were on twice.
Sailing away at 3:53pm!
They must have some good catches here.
Vista Dining Room, Deck 3
I still prefer the traditional dining on cruise ships with the same time, same table, same servers deal. For me that means I don't have to plan and wait everyday. We just need to show up at the right time and everything is ready for us. Less hassle, less stress. On this cruise, our dining time was at 8pm at a big table for the nine of us. Oh, our friends Dr. and Mrs. Wu flew in from California to join us on this cruise today.
Our table 89 with Nick as our server.
Crab and Scallop Ceviche
Chicken and Pork Parcel
Hake. I must say that Zuiderdam did not cook fish as good as Volendam but they were still very good.
This must be ChC's Flat Iron Steak.
We enjoyed our first dinner on the Zuiderdam with good food, good service, and good spirit. We will have a grand time on this trip.
Soon we figured that there is one problem in our room. This third bed was a full size couch facing the dresser which made it very difficult to pass through when it was opened especially with the chair there. I had them remove the chair the next day which made it a little better but still not practical. After talking to the Housekeeping director on the third day, who happened to be outside our cabin, they finally turned the bed around to give us more space. We did not have that problem when we were on the Volendam. Probably because of the room configuration or the size of the couch.
Tomorrow we will be in Oslo, Norway.