On Wednesday, August 12th, 1964, fifteen girls from our School left Ely for a cruise on the "Dunera" to Copenhagen, Hamburg and Amsterdam, accompanied by Miss Langton and Miss Reynolds. The ship was berthed at Tilbury and we travelled there by coach with some girls from Sleaford High School, who were also making the most of this wonderful opportunity.
After the usual formalities we boarded the ship and were greeted by the ship's officers, who recognised some of us who had previously travelled on the "Dunera" in March. We were to sleep in "Nelson" dormitory, which we found very comfortable, and not long after we had settled in we became aware that we were leaving England behind.
We soon became accustomed to life on board and thoroughly enjoyed the amenities provided. Fortunately, as it was during the school holidays, we did not have to do work, but we collected information on the places we were visiting, on the ship, and kept log-books. The weather was mainly good, although one morning the sea was quite rough and we woke up rolling from one side of our bunks to the other; doors were slamming and we could hear waves splashing against the side of the ship.
Our first sight of land was on the second morning, when we woke up to find ourselves sailing through the Kiel Canal, which connects the North Sea with the Baltic. When we had passed through the last set of lock gates we were in Kiel Bay, where we dropped anchor and all took part in the Regatta using the ship's life-boats. This was very exciting and we enjoyed it immensely, although it was hard work paddling the boats.
The first port of call was Copenhagen. In the morning we went sightseeing, visiting many places .of interest including Rosenberg Castle where the Danish Crown Jewels are kept, the Royal Palace, the National Art Museum and the Little Mermaid near the harbour. Although most of the shops were closed, with the exception of those in the station, an enjoyable afternoon was spent window shopping and exploring the city. After high tea we went to the Tivoli Gardens, which is a lively amusement park, and we all had a very pleasant evening, before returning to the ship.
Next, we visited Hamburg; in the morning we went ashore and travelled by train to the shopping centre where there was plenty of opportunity for buying souvenirs. The major part of the afternoon was spent at the famous Hagenbeck Zoo, and for the latter part we had a coach tour of this fine city.
The third and last call was Amsterdam, the major part of which we observed from a water bus which took us on a tour of the canals. We then ate a packed lunch and spent the rest of the day exploring the town and shopping in teeming rain before returning to the ship.
We all found these visits most interesting but much benefit was also gained from lectures and films on the ports the day before we arrived, informing us of historical background, places of interest and general aspects. In our free time we were never bored because something was going on all the time. We could play deck games, swim in the heated swimming pool, play records in the recreation room, visit various parts of the ship under the guidance of a young ship's officer, or just sit on deck. There were also several competitions held, such as the tidiest dormitory, the best scrapbook, the best essay and log-book, the best sketches, table tennis, deck tennis and deck hockey.
Entertainment was provided every evening in the form of dances on deck, films, such as "A Hard Day's Night", "The Fast Lady" and "The Building of the 'Orina'," a fun fair on deck and a fancy dress parade in which two of our girls won first prize. As well as this, every evening at sea we had a pop request programme which could be heard nearly all over the ship on the intercom.
Everything contributed to a most exciting and wonderful holiday and we should like to express our thanks to Miss Langton and Miss Reynolds who gave us the opportunity of visiting other countries, and seeing how other people live.
MYRA PALMER and PATRICIA MACER, L.VI.
British India Steam Navigation Co. Ltd MS DUNERA 12620 tons
source: Jackie Sotheran (Bidwell)
Dunera Cruise March 1964
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page created 7 Dec 10