CELESTYAL’S CRYSTAL GETS NEW BALCONIES IN TIME FOR CUBA SEASON

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Celestyal Crystal at Lavrion, Greece, last summer

Just prior to beginning her new season of round Cuba cruises in December, the 24,000 ton Celestyal Crystal had an extra forty three balconies added to cabins on Six and Seven decks.

The work, carried out in twenty days in a Piraeus shipyard, added some twenty six balconies to junior suites on Deck Six, and a further seventeen to junior suites on Deck Seven. Most of these are located on the forward part of the ship’s superstructure, with a few more located right aft.

The new balconies all extend approximately 1.4 metres from the sides of the ship, and vary in length from 2.8 up to a quite substantial 5.8 metres. They represent a significant enhancement for these rooms which, on average, come in at around 170 square feet of interior space each.

In addition, the eight, V-shaped midships balconies on the Deck Eight Penthouse Suites were extended and refurbished, as were those on the two forward facing Imperial Suites overlooking the bow. Those latter two suites also feature a Jacuzzi, located on the balcony.

The total of fifty three balconies now available adds some very welcome, private deck space to what can sometimes feel like a very busy ship. Celestyal Crystal was originally constructed as a Baltic ferry, before undergoing a substantial conversion for full time cruising.

Technical upgrades were also taken in hand during the refurbishment, as well as a general refreshment of the main public areas throughout the ship.

During the winter, the refurbished ship will operate a full programme of seven night, round trip cruises from her home port of Havana, Cuba. Returning to the Aegean in spring, the vessel will then offer a series of three, four and seven night Greece and Turkey cruises from a new home port of Lavrion, just outside of Athens.

An interesting twist on one of the most distinctive and individual small cruise ships in service today. As ever, stay tuned for updates.

Advertisements

CRYSTAL RIVER CRUISES ANNOUNCES 2016-17 ITINERARIES

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

National Gallery, Budapest. A forthcoming highlight for the opulent new Crystal River Cruises. from 2017.

Nascent Crystal River Cruises will be hitting a quintet of high notes between 2016 and 2017, with the introduction of a new, musically styled fleet that intended to raise the bar on luxury European river cruises.

First out of the band box is the recently purchased MS Mozart, long regarded as one of the finest deluxe river boats anywhere. She will be restyled as the Crystal Mozart.

Described as a ‘river yacht’, the 160 guest vessel will benefit from a very comprehensive refurbishment before she enters service in July, 2016. The vessel will sail on a pair of alternating, ten and eleven night itineraries along the Danube, showcasing landmark river highlights such as Durnstein, Melk, and the World Heritage listed Wachau Valley, together with Belgrade, Budapest, and the Iron Gates.

Crystal Mozart will also make a special Christmas Markets cruise that will carry guests through the amazing winter hinterland of Austria, Germany and Slovakia.

Second note will be struck by the first of four new, purpose built near sister vessels. The 84 guest Crystal Debussy will showcase a series of five, seven and ten night sailings on the River Seine from Paris. Her first sailing is slated for June 4th, 2017. There will be an emphasis on Parisian art and culture during these voyages, and visits to such legendary, show stopping Normandy favourites as Honfleur and Rouen, with it’s historic links to Joan of Arc.

Just two weeks later another vessel, the Crystal Bach, will inaugurate a series of sailings along the Rhine, from Amsterdam to Basel. Central to these voyages will be a number of overnight stays in banner ports along the route. These voyages can be taken as a fourteen night adventure. The 110 guest yacht will also offer what promises to be a magically indulgent Christmas Markets cruise along the Rhine in December.

Fourth out of the orchestra pit, the Crystal Ravel will carry just eighty four guests on a series of adventures along the Rhone and Garonne rivers, beginning with an inaugural sailing on August 9th, 2017. These voyages will showcase the lush, stunning vineyards, wineries and chateaux of the Gironde and Loire Valleys, and also offer several overnight stays in the fabled city of Bordeaux.

The last note for now will be struck by the Crystal Mahler, with a capacity for 110 guests. Beginning with a maiden cruise on August 29th, 2017, the vessel will sail a series of deep, stunning and extensive sixteen night progressions. These ‘Grand Europe’ itineraries will sail the length of the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, with a series of overnight calls en route including Amsterdam, Budapest, Passau and Vienna.

The stated aim of the company is to bring the same, legendary standards of cuisine, service and inclusiveness to river cruising as it showcases on its brace of hugely lauded ocean cruise ships. To that end, they will be truly all inclusive products that include free Wi-Fi, flights and overseas transfers, use of on board bikes, most alcoholic and soft drinks; a range of complimentary excursions in each port of call, together with all port taxes and on board gratuities.

These cruises are available to book now, with a lead in fare for a ten night, round trip Vienna cruise on Crystal Mozart coming in from £2,670 for a river suite, fully inclusive as outlined above.

As always, stay tuned for updates.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE LOOKS TO THE FUTURE

CNV00098

Norwegian Cruise Line is Australia bound, and in a big way, too.

The recent delivery of Norwegian Escape from Germany’s Meyer Werft shipyard marked something of a watershed for Norwegian Cruise Line; she was nothing less than the fourth, 150,000 ton plus mega ship delivered to the company since 2010- an event that few would have foreseen even ten years earlier.

First off came the one of a kind Norwegian Epic, delivered from STX France in 2010, and only recently just refurbished in Southampton. Then came a trio of vessels from Germany; the Breakaway class sisters, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. And, finally, as noted above, the line took delivery of the ‘improved’ Breakaway class vessel, Norwegian Escape, as recently as October.

A second ship in that series has now been allocated to the burgeoning Chinese market. Another projected ship will be given the name of Norwegian Bliss, but she will not see the light of day for a few years.

CNV00018

Singapore beckons for the Norwegian Star

Thus, 2016 will mark a hiatus in the delivery of new ships to Norwegian Cruise Line. But that should not imply any loss of momentum for the line- now under the guiding hand of industry veteran, Frank Del Rio. Quite the contrary, in fact.

2016 will see the line expand its global offerings on a scale never seen before. Following on from her usual season in Northern Europe, the Norwegian Star will make her away down to Australia, offering some first ever Mediterranean cruises en route. Sailing via Singapore, the 2001 built ship will operate a full season of voyages in and around the Antipodes.

Next winter, Norwegian Sun will showcase a series of cruises down and along the east coast of South America. Always a trailblazer within the Norwegian fleet, the popular ship- another 2001 veteran- will offer a series of voyages between Rio De Janeiro and Buenos Aires, ranging from seven to ten days’ duration. There will also be some longer trips in the same region.

Like Kevin Sheehan before him, Frank Del Rio has thus far made no commitment to supply the home based UK market with a year round, dedicated ship. But he has reversed one of his predecessor’s prime deployments in the year round Mediterranean market.

CNV00062

Norwegian is going global for 2016

Last year, many people were surprised by the news that the company’s two dedicated, year round Europe ships- Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Spirit- would be replaced by the giant Norwegian Epic, which was to be based year round in Barcelona. The two smaller ships would be sent back to the more benign, year round waters of the Caribbean.

Now we learn that, after just this one current season sailing year round, the Norwegian Epic will return to the Caribbean- to be replaced by Norwegian Spirit once again. And, in another twist, Norwegian Jade will also return to Europe for seasonal summer sailings, mainly around Italy and the Greek Islands.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Atrium lobby on the Norwegian Spirit

Personally, I’m delighted to welcome the beautiful, hugely under promoted Norwegian Spirit back to our shores. Her raffish oriental decor and beautiful stepped terrace decks make her one of the most distinctive and appealing ships sailing these waters year round.

As for Bermuda and Alaska, Norwegian retains a strong, seasonal, multi ship deployment. There are also year round sailings to the Caribbean. And, for 2016, the Norwegian Sky is going to all inclusive pricing on her short, three and four day round trip sailings from Miami to the Bahamas.

I just wish that Norwegian would create some more upbeat, short haul routes for the Norwegian Sky. While her short cruises make for great little breakaways, they have become pretty much pedestrian, and far too predictable for a lot of people.

CNV00022

Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Frankly, many people are sick and tired of Nassau, a place that has a very brittle charm at best. Ditto Freeport. Sure, Great Stirrup Cay has been massively enhanced recently, but is that one call alluring enough to book for alone?

A few years back, Norwegian were offering some great, five night cruises from Miami that took in both Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Now might be a good time to consider reviving this route, using the Norwegian Sky. 

At the very least, why not vary the current, four night itinerary to include Key West every second week, and maybe even Cozumel as well? My feeling is that Norwegian really are missing the boat on this one- pun wholly intentional.

Perhaps such ideas are already under consideration, who knows?

But one thing that is for sure; it really is nice to see Norwegian making real, palpable headway again after playing second fiddle to the likes of Carnival and Royal Caribbean for such a long time. The future of the innovators of Caribbean fly cruising is one that I will follow with interest.

As ever, stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

QUEEN MARY 2 SAILS ON 250TH ATLANTIC CROSSING TODAY

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The great QM2 will embark on her 250th Atlantic crossing in November this year

The Queen Mary 2 will embark passengers today for an historic Atlantic crossing- her 250th such voyage since she first entered service in January of 2004.

The great liner will sail from the Red Hook terminal in Brooklyn, New York, on an eight day eastbound transatlantic crossing this afternoon.

Following her arrival in Southampton on December 3rd, the Queen Mary 2 will conclude her 2015 season with three additional sailings; a twelve night round trip cruise to the Canary Islands will be followed by a return, seven night crossing to New York departing on December 15th.

Following her scheduled arrival back in New York on the 22nd December, the Queen Mary 2 will sail her customary, round trip Christmas and New Year’s cruise to the Caribbean, before embarking once more for Europe on January 3rd, 2016.

Next summer, the Queen Mary 2 will embark upon the most complete and comprehensive refit since her aforementioned debut. Carried through by the SMC Design company, the work will see the installation of some forty five new cabins; thirty new Britannia Club balcony cabins, and a long overdue, dedicated fifteen single cabins.

Also of note is the transformation of the current Winter Garden into a new venture called the Carinthia Lounge. Located on Deck 7, the redesigned venue will hosts breakfasts and light lunches, as well as champagne afternoon teas, and evening entertainment.

Elsewhere, the interior of the liner will be refreshed to give her more of a classic Art Deco feel, a process should help to emphasise her North Atlantic heritage.

The refit is slated to be carried through in Hamburg over the period from May 27th to June 21st 2016, inclusive. Queen Mary 2 will then resume service with a ten night, scheduled transatlantic crossing from Hamburg and Southampton to New York.

The extent of the refit makes this the most eagerly anticipated refurbishment of the 2016 cruising season so far announced. No doubt it will also prove to be the most extensively scrutinised one as well.

As ever, stay tuned for updates.

 

THE LARDBURGERS’ CRUISE FOOD REVIEW

Dear blog reader;

By popular demand, our esteemed guest reviewer, Mrs. Myrtle Ethel Lardburger III is back to regale us with another of her- ahem- uniquely incisive reviews.

Here, she reviews the cuisine sampled aboard a recent mega ship cruise somewhere ‘out there’. So, without any further ado- it’s over to Myrtle… 

CNV00028

Our guest reviewer was not moo-ved by the on board food…..

Hi there folks!

I am so diluted to be back here to share my considerisms on cruise ship food with you all!

We’d best start with breakfast in the buffet restaurant, I guess. Really, these plates need to be bigger, I’m afraid.

By the time I had put on my bacon, sausages, ham, toast, hash browns, eggs, waffles, jelly donuts and ice cream, the damned plate looked like a sculpture of Mount Everest. Then the ice cream melted and ran all over the bacon. Some damned fool tried to plant a flag on top of it and then claimed it in the name of some banana republic. Didn’t even have the courtesy to offer me a goddamn banana, even.

Well, I can overlook lots of things, but those kind of bad manners are most definitely not to my taste, let me tell you!

We tried the so called special new ‘Chinese breakfast’ one morning, and this took forever. We ordered the Chinese style Corn Flakes. It’s damned hard work picking up milk with chopsticks, let me tell you.

One day, we had lunch in the main dining room. I asked for the Vichysoisse to start with.

This was disappointing, sorry to say. Had to ask three times for them to take it back into the kitchen and heat it up. Waiter didn’t understand simple English. And I’m often assured that my spoken English is very simple, indeed. Go figure!

They had Angel Hair pasta on the menu. Herb always says that my hair makes me look like an angel so, of course, I ordered it.

Sad to say, that pasta was a disasta. Damn thing looked like something that had crawled off the top of Donald Trump’s head. I stabbed it with a fork and it scuttled off the plate, ran clean across the room, and crawled up the inside leg of some guy on another table. Guy sat there for the rest of lunch with a stupid grin on his face. Wasn’t grinning when I bitch slapped him across the face with a slice of Dover Sole, mind you. Myrtle one, pasta thief nil.

One night, we got to have dinner in the very posh, extra pay restaurant. I think it was called Il Tarantulato, or something like that.

Well anyway, it started very badly. The Maitre D’ was a real snob; the sort of guy whose nose is so far in the air that he sneezes on low orbiting satellites. Had the nerve to demand that Herb cover up his wife beater and take off his best Steelers cap. This, of course, did not bode well for the evening.

Jesus, the menu was bigger than Pavarotti’s ass. I kid you not, people. And everything was written in this kind of fancy foreign scrawl. Who knew that there were so many different ways to write ‘Burger’ in Portugonese, for crissakes?

Anyway, I decided on the Gateaubriand for a main course. Piece of cake, you might think. But no. Not with this troupe of clueless clowns.

Out comes this whole slab of roasted cow, wheeled out on a trolley. I knew just how it felt, poor thing. After five margaritas, I usually have to be wheeled out on a trolley, too. But I digress.

When I pointed out that this was not what I required, I was informed that ‘my pudding will follow’. Well, that is a disgraceful way to describe my husband! Herb may be a little slow on the uptake sometimes, and he may be a touch flabby around the jowls, but referring to him as a ‘pudding’? I at once went and made an official complaint to Captain Speaking, of course.

His reaction was to start repeatedly stabbing himself with his fork, while banging his head off the table at the same time. I get it; if I had such an incompetent Maitre D’ to apologise for, I’d bang my head off the table as well.

So no, this kind of dining left us definitely wanting more, I’m afraid. We were not impressed with either the food or the service. Damned waiters were all like extras from The Walking Dead. I’ve seen more animation at an undertakers’ convention.

We are sorry, but we have to give this one the thumbs down. Safe travels, y’all- we’ll be back with more real soon.

Love, H+M

 

 

CARNIVAL TO OFFER TEN BERMUDA CRUISES IN 2016

CNV00141

The stylish Carnival Splendor is Bermuda bound in 2016

Over the past couple of decades, the summer Bermuda cruise season has become more or less dominated by a ‘big three’ composed of Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean International.

So complete is this dominance that many potential Bermuda bound passengers overlook other possible options for travelling to the island from a number of different American ports.

For 2016, Carnival is offering no less than ten ex-USA sailings to Bermuda on five different ships, each of which offers at least one overnight stay, and some offer two. Like most ships these days (exception; the four 2016 sailings by Holland America Line), all ten of these calls will use the main mega ship berth at King’s Wharf, on the western side of the island.

So, for those of you that might want to add a little ‘Fun Ship’ style and frivolity to the peace and beauty of Bermuda, here are the options available to you throughout 2016.

Carnival Pride is offering  a brace of five day cruises from Baltimore, Maryland. Sail dates are April 10th and October 26th.

She will also offer a pair of seven night cruises from the same port, departing on September 4th and 18th.

Carnival Sunshine will sail a five night itinerary from Norfolk, Virginia, on October 23rd. Prior to this, the same ship will sail on a seven night itinerary from New York on October 1st.

From Charleston, SC, Carnival Ecstasy showcases a pair of seven night sailings to Bermuda, departing on May 12th and November 6th, respectively.

Carnival Victory offers a southern twist on the classic Bermuda cruise experience, with a one off, eight night sailing that departs from Port Canaveral on May 19th.

Last, but not least, the Carnival Splendor features a nine day Bermuda cruise, sailing from Miami on May 26th. This cruise features a single overnight stay in Bermuda, and additional Caribbean calls at Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, and also Grand Turk, in the Bahamas. This one is a particularly lovely combination.

For the UK market, many of these cruises can be packaged with stays in landmark cities such as Miami and New York. And, for something more than a little different, you could combine a Bermuda cruise with a stay in the genteel, old world pace and grace of beautiful Charleston.

All of these cruises present good options to enjoy this beautiful, still very much off the beaten track destination, at the best time of the year.

Enjoy!

NINE IN A ROW AS EURODAM ACES USPH INSPECTION

CNV00029

Holland America blends traditional ocean going luxe with modern standards of cleanliness and hygiene

Holland America Line’s MS Eurodam scored an unparalleled, ninth consecutive 100  per cent cleanliness score in an unscheduled United States Public Inspection (USPH) at Fort Lauderdale on October 25th.

The 86,000 ton, 2,100 guest Eurodam was in the course of a turn around for a seven day Western Caribbean cruise. As it happens, this blogger was one of the 2,100 passengers embarking that day.

Holland America Line ships have always been historically spick and span. Back in the 1920’s, the well travelled wit and raconteur, Basil Woon, wrote in his book, The Frantic Atlantic, that ‘a speck of dirt on a Dutch ship might be enough to make the Chief Steward commit suicide.’

Despite this magnificent achievement- and I can personally attest that this snap inspection resulted in none of the  embarkation delays sometimes associated with USPH inspections at Fort Lauderdale on October 25th- Eurodam is far from unique in the Holland America fleet for attaining a perfect score.

In recent years, fleet mates Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Ryndam, Statendam, and Veendam have also hit 100 per cent score rates. This year alone, some six vessels across the fleet have been given some nine perfect scores. Statendam and Ryndam have since left the Holland America fleet to begin new careers as part of the P&O Australia cruise fleet.

Well done to all concerned, This represents a truly epic achievement by all departments on board what I can personally testify is, indeed, an immaculately well kept and staffed vessel.

PRINCESS OFFERING TWO SHIPS TO MEXICO THIS WINTER

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Enjoy memorable sunsets on a Princess cruise to Mexico

Princess Cruises will offer no less than sixteen seven and eight night Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles over the coming winter season.

Beginning on November 21st, both Crown Princess and Ruby Princess will be making round trip right through until April 9th next year, and again from October 2016 onwards.

The far more numerous seven night sailings follow the traditional, three port round trip circuit, with calls at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. Two eight night seasonal sailings, departing on December 19th and 27th respectively, will also add on the port of Manzanillo.

All round trip itineraries allow for a minimum of three sea days.

The Princess commitment to the resurgent Mexico run matches recent redeployments to the area by ships from Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line. Holland America Line is also offering a series of similar sailings, departing from the port of San Diego.

Whether Royal Caribbean will return to the Mexican run remains to be seen; as of now, no sailings for the area are listed on the current UK website.

Of course, Princess are no strangers to the Mexican Riviera; back in the ‘Love Boat’ days of old, the weekly television series revolved around the fun and frolics happening aboard a Princess ship as she sailed these self same waters. The show became a television staple and, indeed, many people still credit it today for starting the great, ongoing cruise boom of the last three decades.

These current Princess ships sailing to Mexico are a lot more sassy, stylish and amenity laden than their dainty Seventies forebears, and the allure of the Mexican Riviera seems to have finally rebounded positively after a few years becalmed by rising crime rates. As a voyage, it provides a welcome, less frenetic option for winter sun seekers that might be jaded with the Caribbean.

Worth considering, especially with a few pre or post cruise hotel days at one of those sun splashed beach cities of LA.

CELESTYAL ANNOUNCES YEAR ROUND WINTER CRUISES IN 2018

See the amazing Temple of Poseidon on a short Greek cruise and stay

See the amazing Temple of Poseidon on a short Greek cruise and stay

As part of a series of ongoing investments and improvements to its brand, Celestyal Cruises will commence a first ever, year round programme of winter cruises from Greece, beginning in 2018.

These winter itineraries will take the form of a series of seven night, three continent cruises, to be operated by the Celestyal Olympia. The 38,000 ton ship, familiar to many as the former Song Of America of 1982, will sail from the port of Lavrion, just outside of Athens, Ports of call will include Antalya in Turkey, Jerusalem, Port Said for Cairo, and Rhodes. An itinerary that uniquely allows passengers to set foot in Africa, Asia and Europe on each round trip.

This route marks a welcome diversion for the company’s largest ship, which usually spends four months of the year laid up each winter in Piraeus, before resuming her spring and summer programme of three and four night mini cruises to the Greek islands and Turkey.

Celestyal also plans further enhancements at the line’s new fleet home port of Lavrion, the closest actual embarkation point for passengers flying into Athens. It is one of a number of bidders currently looking to build a new pier and, given the importance of the cruising sector to the overall Greek economy, the company is likely in prime position to achieve its aims.

In other developments, Celestyal Cristal will offer another season of seven night, winter cruises around Cuba this winter. And next spring, the line will introduce the 19,000 ton Celestyal Nefeli on a route that features a lot of Turkish highlights.

Plans are also afoot to embark passengers from both Kavala and Thessaloniki, located on the northern shores of the Aegean, in a couple of years’ time, in order to tap into the potentially very lucrative eastern European market.

Interesting times at the specialist Greek islands operator here. As ever, stay tuned for updates.

AIRPORT CHAOS; SCHIPOL AND A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER…..

Flying high- or sometimes not....

Flying high- or sometimes not….

By their very nature, international airports are intended to be rapid transit centres. Passengers leave and arrive in a constant, ongoing flow. The entire set up is designed to facilitate this two directional flow as fluidly as possible.

In general, the system works. But what happens when something goes horribly wrong? What happens when that whole, free flowing machine snarls up and shudders to a halt?

I had the dubious honour of discovering that the other week, when my overnight flight from Atlanta made landfall in an Amsterdam so smothered in thick fog that it was even hard to make out the wingtip of our plane as it crept along the runway.

Along with many others, my flight back to Newcastle had been cancelled. Faces already strained by the reality of a long haul, overnight flight now dropped visibly as a conga line of cancellations rolled down the departure screens. A long, low collective groan seemed to rise out of nowhere.

Inevitably, a long, long line of refugees began to snake towards the transfers desk. And each minute, it grew longer. We were clearly in for an extended wait.

Six and a half hours later, I finally made it to the front of the checking line. By now, Schipol was suffused in brilliant sunshine, but numerous backlogs had built up. I was not able to get a flight to Newcastle that day.

Instead, I managed to bag the last seat on a flight to Durham Tees Valley. I asked specifically if my baggage- which the staff confirmed had arrived in Amsterdam- would definitely be transferred to the Teeside flight. I was assured that it would be.

Needless to say it wasn’t, but that’s getting ahead of the curve.

How did Schipol deal with those vast, snaking lines on that November day?

Within an hour, airport staff were distributing bottled water, sandwiches and other snacks right along the lines. These were pretty constant, and kept on coming. Needless to say, they were very welcome.

Obviously, there was nowhere to sit during this process and, inevitably, six hours’ constant standing shredded the nerves of many to snapping point. But really, what else could the airport staff do? Nothing as far as I could see.

I’m not sure if any of the quintet of girls behind those recheck desks got so much as a tea break over those frantic, messy hours. They were shouted at and yelled at by people for a situation that they had done nothing to create. They endured tears, tantrums, downright threats and outright pleading. I cannot even begin to imagine the stress levels that they must have been under.

The point is that they did not want to be in this awful situation any more than we did. Yet they seemed to remain constantly polite and attentive to each hassled client, as successive tales of woe unwound.

It took them maybe ten minutes in the end to sort out my problem once I got to the desk. I was offered a food and drink voucher (Ten Euros) without having to ask for it and yes, I was dealt with politely and fairly. But then, I wasn’t ranting and  screaming at anyone.

I finally got home some twelve hours late, minus my luggage. Despite the assurances at Amsterdam, I was half resigned to this being the case (or not the case, so to speak) in any event. As is customary, I left my home details at the airport for them to send the luggage on to me, fully expecting it to take at least a day or two,

Imagine my surprise, then, when my luggage was delivered to my front door within an hour of my finally getting home. A truly emotional reunion, and one totally unexpected. Kudos to KLM for turning it round so quickly.

Make no mistake, this was by no means a ‘fun’ experience. But no one can make weather and, for the most part, both Schipol and KLM did the best that they could in a situation that everyone must dread. They showed concern, compassion and care, as well as sporadic bouts of obvious confusion as news updates failed to filter quickly through from the bosses to the staff in the trenches.

That’s it, really.