This morning our clients all gathered together at Heathrow Terminal Five in readiness for our flight to Amsterdam. Quite a few us enjoyed an overnight stay at our regular Heathrow hotel, the Premier Inn at Bath Road, last night. The Premier Inn does what is says on the tin. Clean and comfortable and good value to boot, and the staff at this hotel are always friendly and helpful. The restaurant food is good too. The waiters know Richard and Dawn always order the chicken curry – their regular menu choice for Heathrow departures!
Anyway, back to our Heathrow Airport departure …
We all meet at the British Airways check-in, and Richard is pleased, albeit slightly surprised, that BA are expecting us and have boarding cards printed and ready. A good start. The check-in is speedy as a result, but Dawn notices the seat assignments on the boarding cards are not as expected. Having spent a few hours last week, sorting and assigning seats so that couples and friends can sit together, Dawn is not overly amused! However, airlines sometimes change aircraft without much notice, so perhaps it was beyond their control. We try to rejig seating before departure but the manifest one of the BA team print out for us, doesn’t match either the seats we originally chose, or the seats now showing on the boarding cards. We decide to leave well alone, not least because the flight is generally only 45 minutes!
Sure enough, no sooner do we reach normal flying altitude, we start to prepare for landing at Amsterdam Airport! As we approach we can see that Schiphol Airport covers a vast area, and the captain warns us that we’re landing on one of the remote runways, and the taxi to the terminal will take 15-20 minutes. And it does. Surely BA could simply drive us along the adjacent motorway and drop us off at our river cruise quayside?!
We are through immigration promptly, and busy picking up our bags. In addition to normal luggage, Richard and Dawn have brought along a large flat cardboard package, which arrives on the “oversize” belt. There are various rumours going around about the contents of the package, but none are correct so far.
Two private coaches are waiting to take us from the airport to our river cruise ship, the Uniworld River Queen. On arrival at the quayside, the Uniworld team are ready to meet us, and we head into the very comfortable ship lounge and are immediately offered afternoon tea and snacks or, if we prefer, some wine. The captain, cruise manager and hotel manager greet us. What a nice welcome!
In no time at all, our main luggage is delivered to cabins, and we are relaxing prior to the obligatory safety and hotel briefing, and a quick summary about tomorrow. And then to our first dinner on board, an a la carte menu choice, complimented by excellent wines, all inclusive! It’s going to be a good cruise.