Next stop: Amsterdam I was really looking forward to checking out this city and after you read about our day, I feel like I need a do over.
Our port adventure for the day was a two hour walking tour and then a visit to Anne Frank's House. Anne Frank's House was my "must do" for Amsterdam. Yes, it was possible to get tickets on your own (they go quickly so you have be online as soon as they become available). But that would mean figuring out how to get there on our own and then we probably wouldn't have seen much more of Amsterdam. So this port adventure would give us a walking tour around the highlights of Amsterdam (they bus you to the center of the city first) and then we get into Anne Frank's House so we didn't have to worry about tickets on our own.
We met our guide and on the bus she gave out listening devices so that we would be able to hear her on the street. She said this was the first time she had used them and, of course, when we all go to test them out on the bus it doesn't go well. When we get out of the bus, we try again and some people can hear, some people can't hear at all, some people can hear a little. I could catch some of what she said but often had static. Chris' didn't work most of the time. At that point, there really isn't much she can do about it so we just have to carry on.
We are all looking around as we wait to get going and see piles of trash everywhere. There are beer bottles and paper everywhere. Someone asks the guide and she said that the day before had been a soccer game that Amsterdam had ended up losing but they were winning at one point and there were premature celebrations. The day we were visiting was a national holiday so the sanitation department was closed. Ok, that was an unfortunate series of events. But at least we knew why and once we got out of that one area there wasn't any more trash.
So we started our tour and, again due to the holiday, the streets were crowded. Our guide walked fast and it wasn't easy to maneuver through the crowds and keep up. She also wasn't very aware of this and didn't seem to keep a count or be sure she had everyone with her. And of course, most of us could only hear about half of what she was saying. We did stop a few times and gather up and then we got some information about the area and got a chance to regroup for a minute.
I do have some photos from a few times when we stopped but not that many because our walking time was spent just trying not to get lost.
While it was a shame that we didn't enjoy that part of the tour, we were still glad that we were going to the Anne Frank House. Our guide brought us to a side entrance and we were let in and given audio guides. There were no photos allowed inside.
There is an annex building that has rooms you start off in that give you information about the history of the time and of Anne Frank's family and story. Then as you step into the house itself, the audio guide says there will be no more audio until you exit the house. So you walk through the house, in a single file, in silence. There is information in each room to tell you about that room and about the family's experience. All of the rooms are empty because the Germans removed everything when the families were taken and when Otto Frank returned he said it should stay that way. It was a very powerful experience and a very well done exhibit.
When you come out of the house, there are actual pages of the diary that you can see and some more information on the audio guide. I was so glad we got to experience the entire exhibit.
We met our motor coach and headed back to the ship. In all of our Disney cruises, we have never had a "bad" tour though some have been better than others. The walking tour was not good but it was really because our guide was not the best. That is always an unknown variable. It was still all worth it to get to go to the Anne Frank house and hopefully some day I will get to return to explore more of Amsterdam
The show for tonight was JUNNK which was a combination of singing and percussion on various objects (like STOMP if you are familiar with that). For dinner we were in Animators Palette and it was animation night. You get to draw a character and then later in the evening, everyone's characters come to life on the screens around you. It is a lot of fun.
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.