Saturday June 16, 2018, the day highlighted on my calendar, finally arrived.  We decided not to eat breakfast in the Hotel New York but to walk into the district just south of it, called the Katendracht, to forage for food.

The Hotel NEW YORK in Rotterdam, former HQ of Holland America Lines.

This part of Rotterdam, like much of south Rotterdam, has been known for being a rough neighbourhood in the past, but it is on the upswing now, with new construction projects, small bakeries, shops and – hallelujah – a funky market in an old warehouse.  There was a cheese booth, coffee, bakery, greengrocer, used bookshop, stroopwafels (a thin waffle sandwich spread with apple butter) and Tunisian spices and dishes, etc. on offer.

Breakfast in the Food Hall in the Katendracht District.

I chose a “cheese board” – literally, a board with a selection of cheese and chutney.  I saw too late that you could also choose to “buy” a board from a central agent, and then take it around to each of the boutiques to pick up a sample of their best fare.  What a great idea!

The approved way to eat a stroopwafel – syrup waffle – is to warm it up by using it as a lid for your coffee cup, as Cathy demonstrates.

We had our breakfast at the picnic tables outside, and then were fortified for the Boarding of the Ship.

The ms Rotterdam enters the port.

This went smoothly, but getting acquainted with the ship, getting organized and unpacking took longer than we thought.

Finally on board!

We are settling in, now that our first 24 hours have elapsed.  It’s a sea day.  Activities include learning how to cook salmon the gourmet way, a trivia competition (our team lost in a tie-breaker) and afternoon high tea, followed by a gala dinner, watching some very energetic singers and dancers in the theatre, and then Broadway show-tunes in the piano bar with a guy dressed like Elton John, who really gave that piano a solid workout.

Ready to board.

Tomorrow:  Copenhagen!