Day 12, Copenhagen, Denmark
Normally we will stay in our arrival city after a cruise for one night which eliminates rushing around to leave the ship immediately. But in this case we would have to be off the ship with the first wave to catch an 11:45 flight to Amsterdam. We were in the RED 1 group which would be the first people off the ship right behind the self help folks.
Another first for us would be taking the HAL transfer to the airport. This transfer cost $39 pp or $78 for both of us. A taxi would probably cost around $50 total, but by taking the transfer we would avoid the hassle of getting a cab – which could be very easy or very hard depending which blog post you read on which day. Another advantage of taking a transfer to the airport is transfer busses leave when full – with everyone coming off the ship at the same time, the busses leave immediately since they fill immediately. This is the same reason I will continue to avoid airport to ship transfers since the bus will often wait for some time until the bus fills up as people’s flights don’t all arrive at the same time.
We ordered room service breakfast for 6AM and it arrived promptly with our usual modifications. This is a huge benefit of Holland America as most mass market cruise lines don’t offer hot room service breakfast on your last day. Unlike most other cruise lines you are allowed to stay in your cabin until your disembarkation time. I like this a lot and yes, the cabins are still ready for the new arrivals by 11:30. What HAL has figured out, is that enough people leave early so the stewards will stay busy cleaning empty cabins and taking care of the last few who leave after 9:30 doesn’t take long at all.
Four buses were waiting for us as the RED 1 group filed off the ship and we were on our way to the airport. Here was our timeline for future reference.
7:21 am leave room
7:26 am off the ship
7:30 am on bus to airport
7:37 am bus leaves the dock
8:13 am bus arrives at airport parking #5
8:23 am off the bus
8:27 am pick up bags & leave
8:41 am in line to check-in with KLM
9:10 am up to counter
9:18 am finished check-in and leave
9:25 am in line for Security
9:44 am through Security
Our flight to Amsterdam was pleasant and landed around 1PM. Due to the scheduling required to use frequent flyer miles on Delta, our flight to San Diego would be the next day. We decided to stay at the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport which was very convenient and highly recommended. The hotel is accessible from the airport via an enclosed walkway and you can take the free luggage carts right to the lobby. Once in the hotel you can easily return to the airport to take advantage of the wide variety of restaurants or even take a train into Amsterdam. On a previous AMS layover, we stayed at the Citizen M hotel, also within easy walking distance, but the Citizen M rooms are SMALL. The bathroom and shower are in the same room as the bed. Here is a overhead room of the typical Citizen M room – buyer beware.
Citizen M Room. Can you say small? But you will save money over other hotels
If you don’t have Global Entry, I highly recommend getting it for your next international flight. If you don’t have Global Entry, there is something relatively new called Mobile Passport App which can be found here https://mobilepassport.us/. This app allows you to transmit your passport information and answer the customs questions in advance and you will then receive a bar code which will allow you to access a special, shorter line, thru immigration. This app can be used at many airports and one seaport – Fort Lauderdale.
Our flight back to the USA was on time and uneventful. We cleared USA Immigration/Customs in Seattle . It was very fast, and having Global Entry helped to speed things up. After a long layover in Seattle, we were on are way back to San Diego and Home Sweet Home.
Mt Rainier was visible from the Seattle Airport about 50 miles away.We will now be turning our full attention to our next cruise, the Grand World Voyage on the ms Amsterdam leaving January 4th,,2018.