Departure - Hamburg
The fantastic "Fireworks Display" on our departure
17.10.1917 (Linda) English (Peter - German below....)
We had hired a car at Bremen airport and collected it yesterday. This seemed to be the most convenient and comfortable way of getting to the Cruise Terminal Steinwerder in Hamburg.
Getting to our destination was easy however trying to find a petrol station to fill up the car before retuning it proved quite difficult. Hertz car hire charge €4,50 per Litre (normal price €1,33) if they have to do it for you so of course we decided to take care of this ourselves.
Registration at the Aida Cruise Terminal was easy and within no time at all we were in our cabin. It is most comfortable and we have everything we need. The cabin is a bit smaller than last year´s tour but because the bed is small we feel we have just as much space. Lots of shelves and cupboards, we feel at home!
Oops – forgot to say that my drone was taken off me at security in the hallway but after meeting up with the head of security, a very nice gentleman on the ship, and me promising not to fly my drone on the ship, it was given back to me. No problems!
At 8 p.m. we went on the outer deck to watch the “Sail-away” in Hamburg. I was thinking of our “Sail-away” last year when the Elbe was covered in ice. This evening the weather was good and dry. Our ship sailed up in front of the new Philharmonic building and did a beautiful turn pointing towards the theatre “König der Löwen” waiting for the start sign to signify that they were ready to start the fireworks there and to signify the beginning of our “World Tour”. The signal came at 9.30 p.m. and we set sail. Shortly thereafter a magnificent fireworks began which went on for 5 minutes. When I say magnificent I mean just that. It was absolutely fantastic.
By the time we came inside it was 10 p.m. Guests were invited to go into the theatre for a welcome reception but when we saw the amount of people heading for the theatre we decided against doing such. The theatre can take approx. 600 guests and it looked like all guests on board (approx. 1.100) were heading for the reception.
First impressions: As most of you know we were on the World Tour 2016 on board the Queen Elizabeth/Cunard Line. This year we are on the Cara/Aida. The two ships and lines can in no way be compared. They are two different worlds and also worlds apart.
Queen Elizabeth – International guests. There were only approx. 168 guests who were taking part in the World Tour. The other guests changed along route. We had a capacity of approx. 2.000 guests. The standard is extremely good and high. We were spoilt and pampered. Service non-stop. We had tons of receptions, cocktail parties and balls. I had 5 evening gowns with me for all of these occasions! On the Queen Elizabeth there were restaurants open 24 hours of the day so it was possible to get a cup of tea of coffee late evening or any time of the day. For big tea drinkers like us this was ideal. We don't need alcohol but we need our “cup of tea”.
Cara/Aida – 99% German guests – language on board German. Approx. 900 guests are on the World Tour. That is extremely high. This is a very casual ship and casual atmosphere. No need to get dressed up for dinner. Self-service everywhere except for one restaurant where you can dine at an extra charge. I have one casual evening dress with me. The restaurants close at the end of meal times, which means there is nowhere to get a drink (cup of tea, coffee, juice) except at the bar where you have to pay for such. This is something we will have to get used to. We had to go into the bar this evening to get a cup of tea which is at an extra charge.
As I said, this is a German ship. Germans do not like queuing! Something I have to get used to on this tour especially in the restaurant and that could be difficult for me. I hope I am able to bite my tongue in certain situations! Peter asked someone at the buffet this evening if she had ever heard of a queue or if she was in a rush to catch a train! He does not like people jumping the queue and finds if very bad mannered to push in anywhere and especially at a buffet.
However, we like the route on this tour and we wanted a relaxed atmosphere.
First Impressions from us both:
At the moment we think that the price difference between the two tours is mirrored back in the service and what is included in the on board service. We had to pay a little higher price for the 2016 tour with Cunard but this price difference was definitely a minimum for what was included and well worth it. Here the alcohol, wine and beer, is included at meal times but we are not big drinkers so this is not so important to us. Our priorities lie elsewhere.
We have sailed with quite a lot of cruise lines such as Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity. They all tend to go in the direction of Cunard with their service.
Where our preference lies? – Aida or Cunard? I will tell you at the end of the trip!
01. Tag Anreise Twistringen - Hamburg per Mietwagen (Peter) Die eigentliche Abfahrt war für 10.00 Uhr gedacht, nachdem wir unsere Nachbarn (Wachhunde) in alles eingeweiht, die Bettwäsche gewaschen und getrocknet war und ich noch meine Haare in Form bringen lassen habe begann unser Abenteuer um 11.00 Uhr. Nach einer entspannten Anreise über die A1 fanden wir sehr schnell das Cruise Center, hatten dann allerdings große Probleme eine Tankstelle zu finden. Nach einer 3/4 Stunde hatten wir dann endlich Erfolg. Gegen 13.45 Uhr haben wir unser Gepäck abgegeben und sind durch die Aufnahme- Kontrollen gegangen wie geschnittenes Brot, kurz darauf waren wir in unserer Kabine. Klein aber fein, der Vorteil es ist alles in sehr kurzer Distanz zu greifen, wenn man dann weiß wo alles eingeordnet wurde. Alle unsere Taschen und Koffer sind ausgepackt und verstaut. Wir werden gleich ins Restaurant gehen mal sehen was uns geboten wird. Der Kapitän hatte das Ablegen für 20.00Uhr angekündigt, es ging von Steinwerder ein kurzes Stück Elbaufwärts vorbei an der Elbphilharmonie. Die Cara tanzte um ihre eigene Achse, verweilte eine Weile und begann ihren Weg Elbabwärts um gegen 21.30Uhr in Höhe des Musicaltheaters "König der Löwen" mit einem spektakulären 5 minütigen Feuerwerk verabschiedet zu werden. Das Feuerwerk hätte es verdient in Hannover dabei zu sein. Fantastisch. Auf den obligatorischen Sektempfang danach haben wir dann doch verzichtet, wir hatten den Eindruck, das fast alle 1100 Passagiere ins ca. 600 fassende Theater strömten. Bis demnächst. Euer Peter