A Travellerspoint blog

Norway 2018

Fjords etc!

Yes I know. Another cruise? Another cruise to Norway? Are you mad?

Day 1

"Due to a medical emergency, Azura will be delayed arriving into Southampton tomorrow. We ask that you add 1.5 hours to the scheduled embarkation time printed on your E-Ticket. Any coach transfers booked though us will run as originally scheduled."

Not a message you want to receive after you have set off for Southampton to meet the P&O ship for your cruise. It turned out that they were covering their butts as someone had been taken ill and helicoptered off somewhere near Spain on the inward journey from the previous cruise.

To ensure we were there on time to get the boat we had booked a B&B in Southampton the night before. TomTom took us right to the door. It looks like a terraced house in a residential street. Luckily we were able to park nearby and not have a huge walk with our cases.

Actually it's one of two rooms in an extension in the back garden, and it looks pretty new. It has a bijou shower room. Getting on the pot is a little bit of a contortionist manoeuvre between sink and big roll holder but otherwise it's very clean and tidy.

We set off for dinner. Choosing a Thai restaurant nearby. Very nice. Some food and a couple of Changs and the stresses of the day evaporated.

Day 1 ended with us in bed and watching a little TV,

Day 2

After a lovely fried breakfast we had to decide how to spend the next 6 or 7 hours. I found (thanks to Google) the Solent Sky Aviation Museum which was very interesting. Two hours well spent.

One last picture before the sun went down.

One last picture before the sun went down.

Sunday we'd be at see all day making for Stavanger.

Day 3

Up late. Well after 8am anyway. A nice lie in.

Looking through the patio doors to see... Not a lot.

I saw the sea....

I saw the sea....

Just the sea. Later there would be the odd oil rig.

Breakfast was in the Peninsular Restaurant where our freedom dining allows us to eat. The freedom bit is time rather than being stuck to a set meal time.

Then a wander. Then a snooze. Then lunch again Peninsular Restaurant. I had pate and the veggie pasta option.

At both meals we had met and sat with other people from across the UK and at lunch a guy from Texas who lives in England. All very nice and we chatted along.

We searched out the promenade deck but it is not possible to do a full 360° trip of the ship.

We did find the theatre where we caught the end of the port information.

As tonight is Black Tie we need to be spruced up and out to shake the Captain's hand at about 6pm or so.

We rushed to get ready and managed to miss most of the Captain's address and meet'n'greet as we queued for our photo that we most likely won't buy.

Then hurried to dinner in the Meridian as Peninsular had a queue miles long. Dinner okay but took ages.

Claire wanted to see the Take That Tribute "Beautiful World". Sad to say I also know all the songs. I put the blame on younger cousins Kate and Caroline.

Then it was bed time

Day 4

Stavanger.

Arrived about 7am. Looked out to a murky damp day. Went back to bed.

Stavanger

Stavanger

Stavanger

Stavanger

Stavanger

Stavanger

After breakfast onboard we decided despite the rain we needed to get off and do some sightseeing. We had been here before on the 2013 cruise and had docked on the other side of the harbour. As Azure is so much larger it had to dock where larger ships could get alongside.

We headed for Starbucks to use wi-fi. Onboard normal telecoms very poor sub 3G. The cost of using a phone on the satellite wifi is slightly more expensive than buying a black market kidney!

Now off to sightsee as it has eased off.

43885020791_442993087c_s.jpg42980727955_a607831a43_s.jpg30015344088_07d297494c_s.jpg28949379867_139157c826_s.jpg43168559254_3b9ff18a58_s.jpg29099758717_f6caf756c8_s.jpg29099784267_a38fdba77e_s.jpg43401614844_34c2d70f6f_s.jpg

Norway Cruise - August 2018

Norway Cruise - August 2018

Norway Cruise - August 2018

Norway Cruise - August 2018

Norway Cruise - August 2018

Norway Cruise - August 2018

Norway Cruise - August 2018

Norway Cruise - August 2018

Everyone had to be back onboard no later than 4.30pm. By 4.45pm we had slipped our mooring and were heading off down the fjord towards the open sea.

Our next destination is Olden.

Day 5

t's early morning and we have started up the fjord to Olden.

By daylight we were deep in. There's still snow on some of the mountains.

Arriving Olden

Arriving Olden

We have been here before too in 2013. The last time we took the bus trip from alongside the ship for a scenic trip around the area with the intention of coming back one day on the motorcycle. That didn't materialise due to a variety of reasons. Me having a heart attack was one.

This time we walked up from the mooring to the village and to the wooden church. There was another ship moored nearby and their passengers were also around the town. Olden is very small!

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden

Olden.  If you enlarge you can see how expensive Norwegian petrol is!!

Olden. If you enlarge you can see how expensive Norwegian petrol is!!

Olden

Olden

Olden.  Azura on right.

Olden. Azura on right.

Olden.  What 28 krone of chocolate looks like...

Olden. What 28 krone of chocolate looks like...

Soon after the ship was secured for sea the pub alongside the jetty began to play Rod Stewart's "Sailing".

This tune grew in popularity in UK after it was used by TV as the theme tune to a documentary series about the aircraft carrier "Ark Royal".

At the moment there is not enough bandwidth or even a phone signal to upload my video to FB or YouTube.

An hour later we are making our way westwards along the Innvikfjorden heading to the Nordfjord and the sea.

We are sitting on our balcony as we slide between the high sides of the fjord. Both sides heavily wooded with open patches with small groups of houses.

Tonight we have decided to have a later dinner.

The entertainment on Monday was very good and we just made it. The group were called "Beautiful World" and were a tribute to Take That.

Last night we just made it to the Malabar to watch the reggae group "Accent" perform covers from Bob Marley and others.

If anyone with a working internet can Google and tell me who did "Mysterious Girl" I'd be obliged.

The restaurants seem to be easier to get into with less waiting if you go later. Each evening dinner gets better. Tonight was very good. All courses. And we were finished in good time for the 10.30pm show.

Tonight's entertainment in the main theatre was all round entertainer Mark Walker and as billed, he was very good.

Tomorrow, is Ålesund. We are due to arrive around 8am. We have until 4.30pm to look around.

There are a couple of places we want to see here.

Day 6

Arrived whilst it was a little dark and murky.

A little brighter now but forecast not too encouraging. Need to take macs with us.

The cloud is a little strange.

Arrived Alesund

Arrived Alesund

After breakfast left the ship and have come across to look at the Ålesund Museum. It's a short walk if you see the signs but longer if you trust the map.

Nice little museum.

Alesund Museum

Alesund Museum

Ålesunds Musrum

Ålesunds Musrum

Ålesunds Museum - whale bones

Ålesunds Museum - whale bones

Ålesunds Museum - harpoon

Ålesunds Museum - harpoon

Ålesund

Ålesund

Ålesund

Ålesund

The monument outside the town hall to the heroes that worked tirelessly during WW2 to hamper the German occupation of neutral Norway. For more info see the links on the right --->

Alesund Heroes

Alesund Heroes

Quietly slipping our moorings Azura headed west to open sea and then to turn south for the final stop on this cruise at Bergen.

Oddly we have the best telecom internet connection of the week ...

It started to rain as we slipped and so everything is covered by a fine drizzle.

Leaving Alesund

Leaving Alesund

Dinner that evening was once again in the self-service. It is easier and depending on when you go there is less of a fight to get your meal and find somewhere to sit. The problem I have with this vessel is the lack of seating in the restaurant.

Day 7

Arrived about 7am.

Arriving Bergen

Arriving Bergen

We had a short lie in to let the rushers get up to the breakfast buffet and bugger off and leave it easier to munch. As with dinner, breakfast is taken in the self-service and at peak times there are few places to sit. Leaving it a little while can mean a relaxed meal!

When we were here way back in 2013 the ship moored a coach ride out from the city centre. Luckily this time we are right on the end of the Bryggen block. Where we had hoped to land last time has Fred Olsen's Braemar on the berth this time.

We set off a out 9.45am just before the lifts went off for testing and maintenance.

Our first stop was the Fløibanen. The queue was pretty long and one of the attendants put out a sign to split ticket holders (us) and those that didn't. Having two shorter queues seemed a good idea. We waited about 15 minutes and got loaded on.

I took a video of it coming into the lower station. I might update with that when we get a connection greater than 2G!!

Once at the top we checked out the view. It was quite muggy at sea level but cold at the top. We had a mooch about and retired for a coffee and ???? when it began to pee down.

The wind was strong from the north east and blew it away and the run came out.

By the time we joined the queue to back down the drizzle returned. Not for long.

Once down we had a turn around the fish market and Bryggen shops.

Claire used up 149 of the 152kr in my pocket on some slipper socks and so bankrupt we headed back k to the ship for lunch and siesta before we set sail for Southampton.

And here are the photos from the top of the mountain to sea level!

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Harbour

Bergen Harbour

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Bergen Views

Tomorrow is a full day at sea. Given the poor and also extortionate rates the phone will be off as soon as the land mobile signal is lost.

As we sailed out along the fjord and through islands we go under this magnificent bridge.

Askøy Bridge near Bergen

Askøy Bridge near Bergen

The sun started to set as we turned out into the North Sea.

Out of Bergen

Out of Bergen

Sunset at Sea

Sunset at Sea

Oil rig?

Oil rig?

Another day and night at sea.

After the entertainment on Friday night we went to bed, forgoing the midnight feast in the deck 15 buffet.

It was around 11pm UK time when when we stood looking out of the cabin windows to see us slipping past Dover harbour. We weren't that far out and a ferry out of Dover slid across behind us en route to Calais or Dunkerque,

When we woke at around 5.10am and had a look out we were on the way probably past Portsmouth. Later on we were alongside in Southampton.

Southampton Cruise Terminal

Southampton Cruise Terminal

Our car is somewhere in that parking lot!

We had to be checked out of the cabin at 8am and in the muster station for disembarkation at 8.45am.

We were breakfasted well in time for the cabin clearance. Our luggage had been collected the night before.

We'd assembled and within minutes we were taken down to deck 6 and off to the terminal, All very quick. We located our luggage and were outside in good time. Collecting the car was simple too.

The TomTom estimated we'd be home my 10.28am. Some two and a bit hours. Once clear of the city and on the M3 we decided to stop and put in a tenner's worth at diesel at the eye wateringly expensive Cobham services on the M25, then around to the M26 and M20 towards home.

I reset the TomTom for the kennel and by 1040 we had Reggie collected and on the way home.

So another holiday over.

Review

After two cruises to Norway and the Fjords with two different companies I can see where one may be better than the other. The Saga cruise is aimed at an older set of people and was more tranquil. The food was better, The restaurants better.

P&O catered for all age groups and this shows with the self-service restaurant. One of the passengers we spoke to likened it to a motorway services cafe. I wouldn't go that far but there were times where it was over crowded and hunting for place to sit and eat was fraught.

Where P&O beats Saga is the entertainment. The nightly shows in the different bars and the theatre are much better.

Price? For a week there wasn't that much in it.

Posted by InvictaMoto 00:00 Archived in Norway Tagged bergen southampton olden stavanger p&o alesund azura Comments (0)

Norway 2013

Catching up with the Blog!

I had been using Blogspot for a long time and then there were problems and then I changed to Travellerspoint, and then back!

So all my blog entries for the Norway Cruise went to Blogspot - https://devalltravel.blogspot.com/search?q=NO13

Posted by InvictaMoto 04:26 Archived in Norway Tagged bergen cruises norway olden stavanger Comments (0)

Edinburgh to Dover

Via Newcastle

The trip started very early with the train from Folkestone via London to Edinburgh. This was included in the cost of the short cruise. We were met at Waverley Station and taken in a coach to the port at Leith.

Cruising seems to be a fine act of juggling eating with more eating with sleep and trips ashore mixed in. Since we boarded the ship at Leith we have had two lunches, two afternoon teas, two dinners and two breakfasts.

Royal Yacht Britannia, Leith, Scotland

Royal Yacht Britannia, Leith, Scotland

On Saturday night we cruised south after we had slipped the mooring in Leith near Edinburgh at about 10pm and slowly navigated the harbour to exit via the lock.

n Leith we shared the harbour with the retired Royal Yacht Britannia. She still looks good but what a come down after the Queen was forced by the scumbag Tony Blair to let her go.

Arrival in the Tyne was around breakfast and we didn't hurry to eat and get off the ship; in fact it was like the Marie Celeste. In the end we took the coach in to Newcastle and spent a few hours down on the quayside with the iconic Tyne Bridge as one of the attractions.

For me, it's Gateshead on the other side of the river than wins the photo competition!

The Sage (or Dead Silver Slug as the coach driver called it), the Baltic Flower Mill, now an art gallery, and the Gateshead Tilting Millennium Bridge.

Newcastle only had half the swing bridge and halves of the railway bridge and Tyne Bridge itself.

However, Newcastle does have a beach!

Geordie Beach, Quayside, Newcastle

Geordie Beach, Quayside, Newcastle

Theatre Royal Newcastle

Theatre Royal Newcastle

The Sage, Gateshead

The Sage, Gateshead

Millennium Bridge & Baltic Flour Mill Gateshead

Millennium Bridge & Baltic Flour Mill Gateshead

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Baltic Flour Mill Gateshead

Baltic Flour Mill Gateshead

Baltic Flour Mill Gateshead

Baltic Flour Mill Gateshead

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The ship set sail again at around 1pm and we stood on deck to watch the progress along the Tyne to the sea. There was an exchange of horns as we slid past the Thompson cruise ship on a nearby berth.

From then on it was a very calm run down the English coast before taking a wider line to avoid East Anglia.

We arrived in Dover around 9am. 

Posted by InvictaMoto 04:12 Archived in Scotland Tagged edinburgh cruises newcastle dover Comments (0)

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