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Adventures With Robin

Your Go-To Travel Source

Welcome! This space serves as a platform for travel agent Robin Norell to share her trips, experiences and expertise with you. Exceeding your customer service expectations is Robin’s primary goal. Having worked for Disney for 2.5 years, she knows how to make your vacation magic. 

Robin has visited 25 countries (Caribbean, Europe, Asia) and 31 states, and has been on 26 river and ocean cruises (so far), visited Disney World, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris multiple times, and she is happy to share her travel experiences and knowledge with you to make your vacation the best it can be.

Robin has been awarded the distinguished certifications of CLIA’s (Cruise Lines International Association) ACC (Accredited Cruise Counselor) Certification, as well as earning her CTA (Certified Travel Associate) certification, has completed the College of Disney Knowledge, and continues to learn more about the travel industry every day.

Excelling in administration and customer service, she takes care of all the details, leaving you free to relax and enjoy!

Independent Vacation Planner

  • rnorell

March 18-19. The Hague

Updated: Mar 23

Monday March 18, Amsterdam

 

I woke at 7am, said nope, and went back to sleep until 9:30am. They stopped serving breakfast at 9am, but I thought they’d have food in the lounge, but they didn’t (they stopped serving at 10am and literally only had some small crackers). So I went for a walk. 



It was a really unique experience for me – to walk in Europe alone, without anyone else, so I could decide where I wanted to go without a discussion. It was also sunny, for the first time since I got here, and although it was a little chilly and windy along the pier when I started, but by the time I was headed back, I was warm (I only wore my Columbia wind/rain jacket). 


I got my breakfast (am apple Danish) at a grocery store, and stopped at a few other shops.


Back on the ship, I went to my cabin to work. Around 1:30 I went to the lounge to pick up lunch (limited options), and back to work. At 2:30pm, the captain made an announcement that we all had to go to the Sun Deck for a mandatory safety drill. They marked off our attendance, and we put on the life jackets. I was actually surprised by this – when I left the ship this morning, the sign at the front desk only said that we had to be back onboard by 9:15pm tonight. I guess if people weren’t on the ship at 2:30pm, they will have to make it up later.  Then we were free to go – there was an education session at 3, but (thankfully) it was apparently optional.

 

A nice quiet afternoon, catching up on work and this journal. Went to the lounge at 6pm, the port talk was at 6:30pm, and dinner at 7pm. Unlike other river cruise lines, Emerald requires everyone to be seated at 7pm because they serve all the food for each course at the same time. We were warned that if were late, it could delay the food for everyone in the dining room. 


Dinner is not my favorite time of day on this ship – the food is mediocre, and it is LOUD in the dining room. The furnishings and design are not meant for noise reduction, plus we’re all in the same industry so lots of conversation and the noise level is quite high. 

 

After dinner, I grabbed chamomile tea from the lounge and went to my room. Without a roommate, I thought the earplugs would be enough, but I actually had to put my eye mask on with the Bluetooth speakers in the ears to play white noise to cover the noises from the sun deck above, the hall, and the nearby cabins. 


Tuesday March 19, Rotterdam


The alarm was set to go off at 6:50am because we have to be on the buses by 8am. But whenever I set an alarm, I don’t sleep well, so I finally decided at 6:40am to get up. Breakfast in the restaurant was okay, and then we went onto the buses. 


I thought we were going to some of the “official” buildings in The Hague, but our excursion this morning was to the art museum, and that is where we were rushing to get to before it opened.  




The guide narrated our drive, and shared some facts: 

  • So many cities in the Netherlands end in Dam - much of the Netherlands is reclaimed from swamps, and to control the water they built lots of dams. Merchants would bring their goods by water, and meet at the dams to trade. Settlements were built at the sites of these dams, thus the city names. 

  • In the Netherlands, there are no dormitories at colleges, so 60% of college students live at home. Delft University has 15,000 students and the majority are studying water management that is needed around the world. 



  • Many cities had gates – not to keep out invaders, but to force the merchants coming into the city to pay a tax/fee. 

  • In the early 1600s, Netherlanders built ships out of the lightest wood, so their ships were the fastest in the world.  

  • 2 million paintings were made in the 17th century in the Netherlands. 

  • The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands. It is where the king lives, embassies are here,as is the world criminal court.  

  • The Royal family has 5 palaces, but they try to live normally. The current king has only 3.5% Dutch blood. This is the 8th generation of kings/queens. Most feel the royal system will end one day. 

  • Holland was the wealthiest of the regions that united to create the Netherlands, so many call themselves Hollanders. 

  • The Hague started as a hunting castle for Dutch royalty, and then the town grew up around it. It was the capital of the Netherlands from 1600 to 1800. Napoleon came and didn’t like the city as much as Amsterdam, so he made Amsterdam the capital.  

  • Czar Nicholas visited in the late 1800s and said they all should build a peace palace. He also went to the US to raise funds, which were donated by Andrew Carnegie. The Peace Palace was built, and it now houses the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitation, the Hague Academy of International Law, and the Peace Palace Library. 



We were the first of the four buses from our ship to arrive at the Mauritshuis museum. This famous museum is the home to Rembrandt and Vermeer paintings, among many others. Our museum guide took us right up, and we were absolutely the only people in the museum when we started. We went right to the most popular painting, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, by Vermeer. She dispelled the myths that were portrayed in the movie by the same name – the girl was not Vermeer’s servant, they aren’t sure it’s a pearl, etc. 




We then went to the largest of the Rembrandt paintings, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp, and she told the story behind the painting and the significance of various parts in it. She took us through a bunch of other paintings, and at the end of one hour, said she had to go to meet another tour group. By then, other tour groups were in the museum as well. We had about 45 minutes of free time, and then met to go back to the bus to go back to the ship to have lunch. 









I spent the afternoon working (or trying to, with intermittent internet on the wifi and my phone). There were a couple of activities offered – 2:30pm to 6pm there was a tour to the Delft pottery factory (additional cost), and a bike tour of Rotterdam from 2pm to pm.  

Each day at 6:45pm, there is a “port talk” in the lounge, when the cruise director describes the plans for the following day, including details of the excursion. She also shared the information about that evening’s entertainment – it has ranged from a classical music trio, to Name that tune game, to movies. The pool onboard transforms to a movie theater area (they place a “floor” over pool and place chairs all around). They played “A Man Called Otto” one night, and tomorrow night is “Oppenheimer.” 

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Robin is an Independent Travel Planner who has been awarded CLIA's (Cruise Line Industry Association's) Accredited Cruise Counselor Certification and The Travel Institute's Certified Travel Associate designation. Her excellent service is yours at no cost - she's paid by the suppliers (hotel, cruise line, etc.), nor does she charge a fee for services. She may even save you money over booking it yourself, as she follows all the specials and will get you a better price after you book with her. When you are planning a family vacation or celebrating a special occasion through travel, you want the best experience possible, and Robin is ready to help you! She provides excellent customer service, and your happiness and satisfaction is her top priority. With the knowledge gained by her extensive travel experience (25 countries, 31 states, and 26 cruises so far) and customer service experience (2.5 years employed at Walt Disney World Resort), she's excited and ready to help you plan new adventures!

Location: Alexandria - VA
Email: Robin.Norell.Travel@gmail.com
Phone: (567) 307-3476
Toll-Free: (866) 779-4830

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