Who doesn’t love a mini break? Personally I adore them. If you read all about my snow break then you will understand why.
This latest break the other half found by chance on Groupon.
What was the deal?
Groupon offered the Mini Cruise as travel from Newcastle to Amsterdam in a standard cabin there and back including transfers to and from the ferry in Holland. All for £85.
Now is that a deal or what?
To book the deal you bought the groupon and headed over to the DFD Seaways website to book your cruise. We were lucky enough to be able to get dates that suited us really well. For an extra £7 I upgraded our cabin to a Seaview with a double bed. Definitely worth it. We did have the option to book food on board but decided at this point not to bother.
Travelling to and arrival in Newcastle
We traveled from Glasgow to Newcastle by car taking the scenic route and not the M74 we went via Berwick and got some great snaps and videos.
Upon reaching North Shields we were shocked to find that right next to the ferry terminal there was a Travelodge, water pool/park and an outlet shopping centre. So we made mental notes that if we are to do the mini crusie again, that we stop here the day before.
We decided to park in the car park at the ferry terminal which worked out £12 per day. Upon entering the check in area we were surprised to discover it was exactly like a mini airport.
Whilst checking in we decided on a whim to book dinner at the buffet on board that night which was £22 per person not including drinks. But we were assured that the money could go towards another restaurant on board if we chose so.
Our cabin was well placed. We were on deck 6 with a small port hole window that looked out to the sea. The room itself was small but adequate. The best way to describe it is a low tech and budget Citizen M without the ipad, TV and free wifi. But we did have a double bed which I personally much prefer over bunks.
The facilities on the ferry were good and you did have lots of choice of restaurant and things to do. There was a casino, nightclub, bar, rooftop bar, Italian pizzeria, Buffet, Steak House and A la Carte restaurant not to mention also a kids play area and cantine. There was also a shop for all your duty free products.
Our dinner was not as great as we hoped, and unfortunately not worth £22 each as well as the glass of prosecco we had each at 5 euro, but it was worth trying for the experience. There was a childrens section, bread, cold meats, dessert and hot food, which ranged from pasta to meat and couscous. The order of the buffet was a little odd to as people the salad and starters were next to the desserts. Our meal was so salty that we woke up in the middle of the night dying of thirst.
Tips: Word of warning the the 500ml bottles of water cost 2,50 euros on board where you can buy a litre for 3 euros in Amsterdam. Better yet, if you want to do it on the cheap, bring on board your own water and alcohol and you will save money!
It was pretty quick and painless to get through passport control and on to the bus transfers after we got off the ferry.
It was about a 40 minute journey by coach from the ferry to the heart of Amsterdam. The bus dropped you off outside the Victoria Hotel next to Central Station and this was where we were to be picked back up from to return home.
You get roughly 5 hours in Amsterdam. By the time we got our bearings we were starving and found a cafe/pub that was still doing breakfast. Ironically we both decided to go for a full English breakfast however it had continental sausages and bacon.
After breakfast we walked around for an hour over the canal taking photos and went souvenir shopping. We did find Madam Tussauds but unfortunately decided we didn’t have enough time to go in as we were catching the 330pm bus as the bus returns to pick people up between 3 and 4pm, with the last bus being at 4pm.
Before we knew it time flew past and we had to start heading to the bus. Although we mained for 3.30pm we were actually early to find out that the bus presently there was full and the next bus should be along shortly.
However the next bus turned out to be the last bus which left after 4pm as whilst we were waiting the line grew and unfortunately one group was unable to fit on the bus. We have no idea what happened to them as we arrived just on time to get through customs and passport control and the ferry left sharply on 530pm.
The Journey back to Newcastle
The journey back to Newcastle was choppy. Not overly bad but when I made attempts to do my make up the following morning I felt nausea.
For dinner onboard we opted to try the Italian pizza restaurant. Service was slow however this is probably because it was busy and they only had 3 members of staff waiting tables. The food itself was amazing, I went fort the Four Cheese pizza and I have literally never had a pizza like it before. Honestly I wanted seconds. With our two pizzas and diet cokes the bill came to 39 euros which was cheaper than the previous nights dinner.
Would I do it again?
Yes, although your time in Amsterdam is limited the main part of the break is the cruise experience itself. It was cheap in comparison to other holidays I have been on and I would definitly get a pizza both nights for dinner if I was to do it again.