Rembrand, Tulips and a Warm Welcome Aboard

The canals of Amsterdam, as seen from our Tauck canal tour this morning. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The canals of Amsterdam, as seen from our Tauck canal tour this morning. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

It was an early wake-up call for many aboard Tauck’s new ms Inspire this morning, with an impromptu excursion to the Tulip Auction here in the port of Amsterdam.

A last-minute addition to the itinerary, guests were notified last night that they could take part in this unique experience to see tulips (and flowers of all kinds) bought and sold at auction here in the city. Departing at 6:15am, it was too early for yours truly to partake in owing to the late time (2:30a.m.) of yesterday’s post.

Tauck-branded motorcoaches whisked us off to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam this morning, and to the Keukenhof Gardens just outside the city this afternoon. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Tauck-branded motorcoaches whisked us off to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam this morning, and to the Keukenhof Gardens just outside the city this afternoon. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The reason I mention it, though, is because it was not on any brochure or itinerary published by Tauck. This was an event that the Tauck Directors recognized was happening when our schedule allowed for it, and they in turn offered it up – complimentary – to guests.

From what I hear, it was time well spent. Nearly 70 percent of the ship got up at 5:00a.m., ate breakfast, and indulged in this unique experience. From what I understand, the thing was the equivalent of the New York Stock Exchange trading floor in terms of frenzy and fury – but for flowers, with bushels coming and going by the truck-full.

To start our morning in Amsterdam off, we took a canal cruise through the city.

To start our morning in Amsterdam off, we took a canal cruise through the city.

Before I talk about the day, I should mention a few things about the staterooms here aboard ms Inspire. I discovered two things last night about my own Loft Stateroom: one, the bed is fantastic, and precisely what you’d expect from a fine luxury hotel on land – yielding, but not without support. Two: the bathroom floor is heated. Both of those features make for a very nice wakeup call.

My touring began at 8:00a.m. sharp, as we set off for a cruise along Amsterdam’s legendary canals, followed by a remarkable visit to the legendary Rijksmuseum (rikes-museum).

Amsterdam's charming beauty is in evidence everywhere you look. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Amsterdam’s charming beauty is in evidence everywhere you look. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

This was the second canal cruise I’ve been on in Amsterdam, and I have to admit: it’s honestly not my favorite way to get around. Amsterdam’s such a lovely city to walk through that I feel a bit guilty for not getting out and strolling its historic streets. But several sudden downpours throughout the morning would have made that an unpleasant option – not to mention the fact that fresh apple pie and hot coffee were served onboard.

Closed for over a decade for substantial renovations, the Rijksmuseum has only been open for a year now. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Closed for over a decade for substantial renovations, the Rijksmuseum has only been open for a year now. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The real winner this morning, though, was the Rijksmuseum, or National Museum. Designed by Pierre Cuypers, the Rijksmuseum first opened its doors on July 13, 1885, though apparently King Willem III never got the memo: he was notably absent from the opening ceremonies, and was famously negative about what he referred to as an ‘archbishop’s palace.’

The Dutch apparently didn’t share their King’s opinion of the new museum, which was an instant hit with locals and foreigners alike. But by the turn of this century, it had become apparent that the museum was long overdue for a facelift.

The stunning entrance courtyard in the Rijksmuseum is a modern work of art in and of itself. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The stunning entrance courtyard in the Rijksmuseum is a modern work of art in and of itself. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

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Our Live Voyage Report from the maiden voyage of Tauck’s new ms Inspire continues tomorrow as we visit windmills, sample cheese, and explore the picturesque town of Hoorn, Netherlands! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

The post ms Inspire Live Voyage Report – Day 2 appeared first on From The Deck Chair.

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