I was extremely excited at the prospect of travelling to Newcastle from Ijmuiden, The Netherlands with DFDS Seaways. What added to the excitement was the fact that I was to be travelling with a group of Dutch travel bloggers, who I’d never met before. The purpose? To attend Traverse (a travel bloggers conference), explore the innovative city of Newcastle upon Tyne and obtain as much inspiration as possible for my travel blog.
On Board DFDS’s King Seaways
DFDS’s vessel, King Seaways, was docked at Ijmuiden, a port near Amsterdam where many cruise ships and boats dock and depart to all other parts of Europe. Excitement filled the air as we queued to board along with many British families who had most probably visited Amsterdam during the school holidays.
Once on board, I ventured to find my cabin but ended up in the car park of the ship! I eventually found my way, opened the door to the cabin and was surprised at the most economical use of space – my cabin could sleep four people! What was more was that the cabin was extremely clean and well kept. It was quite basic – but definitely all you need for an overnight stay on board. It was well equipped with enough towels, warm bedding, a toilet/shower cubicle and sufficient power points.
Furthermore, what surprised me most about the ship were the many restaurants, shops, bars, cafes and cinemas on board. There was even a nightclub and karaoke bar! I was also quite taken aback when I saw a massive massaging chair – which I’m now sorry to say that I failed to use.
After our tour of the ship (both inside and outside), we were taken to the front of the ship to meet the captain. This was a most interesting, beautiful experience. There we were listening to the captain’s stories (having worked for DFDS Seaways for many years), observing the fascinating technical equipment required to steer and control the ship, and, most moving of all – watching an unbelievable sunset across the port.
Arrival in Newcastle, United Kingdom
Both on our journey and upon arrival in Newcastle, the bloggers partook in numerous events organized by DFDS Seaways and participated in lively discussions at mealtimes where we could share ideas about what we all love so much – travel blogging, of course.
We also had a lot of free time to wander about the city and find blogging inspiration. I found the architecture of the city so inspiring that it compelled me to write this blog post: Newcastle upon Tyne – An Intriguing Contrast of Modern and Classic Architecture.
While strolling through the city, I also discovered The Bessie Surtees House – A Hidden Gem in Newcastle upon Tyne – a must for those interested in history, culture and architecture and who are looking for something other than the usual tourist attractions.
The Traverse Travel Bloggers Conference 2014
The Friday evening (21st February) gave us the opportunity to meet travel bloggers from all across the world. Bloggers gathered at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, just across the Tyne River. This was the opening event before the actual conference.
The conference was held at the Sage Gateshead Conference Centre the next day and, albeit sick with flu, I eagerly listened to numerous speakers who departed their blogging knowledge to the audience. Even the coffee break brought about a delicious surprise, made on board a DFDS Seaways ship and freshly transported to Newcastle especially for the event. DFDS Seaways staff members representative at the event were also all dressed up (quite appropriately if I may add), ready to spoil bloggers and demonstrate their utter attention to travel excellence.
All-in-all, this was a minicruise I’ll never forget: the opportunity to mingle with such wonderful, humble travel bloggers; the chance to absorb the fascinating architecture and sights of Newcastle; and the opportunity to experience the open ocean and the beauty of travel in a new and profound manner. There is no doubt I’ll be cruising again soon.