2016 "Definitive Europe" Cruise Log


We talked with Gudren Werner, Cruise Consultant on December 22, 2014  (while on our Hawaii to Tahiti Cruise) about future cruises and found out that the Voyager was going from London to Copenhagen in 2016, but that it had not been announced or available for booking yet. We booked a different cruise knowing we could change it at a later date and still receive the Onboard Booking Savings Credit. Once back home, we contacted Brenda at Travel Leaders in South Dakota, and when the cruise became available, we changed the booking and got cabin 956...our first choice.
We added the 3 day "Legendary London" pre-cruise package, a 2 night port-cruise stay in Copenhagen and deviated our flights to be non-stop both ways.

June 13, 2016 - London Day 1

It was a long day! Eric, our driver, arrived at 3:45 and we were off to San Francisco International Airport. It took 2 hours to get there, and we were able to get our boarding passes and luggage checked in immediately. Then it was up to the Virgin Atlantic "Upper Class" lounge, which was very nice. We had a light snack and waited until 7:45 to go through TSA. The line was not terribly long, but still took 20 minutes. They were checking the items going into the X-Ray machine very closely. Boarding of the Dreamliner began at 8:25 and we were one of the first aboard and into our seats. The plane was supposed to leave at 9:10, but there was a mechanical issue which delayed us until 10:25. Once up in the air, it was dinner time. Beef fillet with mashed potatoes and green beans and chocolate chip cheesecake for desert. I watched the new Peanuts movie before converting the seat into the bed. I got a few hours sleep. Matt did not have as much luck. At dinner time, the person sitting directly behind him had trouble with his pull-out dinner table. It was stuck in the open position. Several attempts were made to get it back into it's slot with a lot of banging and bumping...all against Matt's cubicle wall. They finally got it fixed and they gave Matt 2 bottles of wine and some candy for his discomfort. Matt could only sleep for a few hours he , so he watched 3 movies. By then, it was time for a nice breakfast before landing in London at 4:55 PM London time. We breezed through border check as we had "Priority Passes" from Virgin Atlantic. Our driver was waiting for us and got us to the May Fair Hotel at 6:30. We rested for a few minutes before heading out for a walk of the neighborhood and a light dinner at the Cafe Concerto. Back to the hotel at 9:15 and time to call it a night.

June 14, 2016 - London Day 2

Even though Matt slept through the night, I was awakened at 2:00 with the sound of what I thought was knocking on the door every 20-30 seconds. It was the linen delivery truck loading and unloading right below our room (we are on the 2nd floor of the hotel. It lasted about 45 minutes when I could finally get back to sleep.
We awoke at 6:45, had breakfast in the hotel restaurant before beginning our tour at 8:45. They have a buffet breakfast with juice, fruit, cheeses, breads and cereals or you can order some hot food (a choice of 4 things) from their menu.
We met our guide, Margaret, in the lobby. There are 13 Regent Passengers staying here doing the 3 day pre-cruise and only 8 of us went on the tour. We had a small mini bus and everyone had their own seat.
It was a day with on and off showers, so much of what we saw was from the bus. We did get out at Royal Albert Hall to see the Albert Memorial, then around town and over to watch the Changing of the Guard Parade (which was quick), then to the Marquess of Anglesey Pub for a fish and chips lunch. Yes, I ate fish. Good thing there was tarter sauce.
Then it was off to the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels. It rained pretty hard when we arrived, so we found cover in the facility's restaurant until it died down a bit. We saw the jewels and had some free time to visit a few of the Tower Buildings. Back on the bus and over to Buckingham Palace for a photo stop, then back to the Hotel with arrival at 5:30.
We dropped things off in the room and immediately began the 25 minute walk to the theater area where we had a quick dinner before seeing "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" at the Theater Royal Drury Lane.
After the show, it was back to the Hotel after a quick stop at a souvenir shop. Had to have something from London to display at home.

June 15, 2016 - London Day 3

Although the alarm was set for 6:15, I was up at 5:30. thanks again to the linen delivery service at the hotel. Got Matt up at 6:30 and it was breakfast before our 8:15 tour group meet-up. There are 10 of us on the tour today.
This is "countryside" day. It was about an hour and a half ride to Blenheim Palace. The building of the palace was originally intended to be a reward to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, from a grateful nation for the duke's military triumphs against the French and Bavarians during the War of the Spanish Succession, culminating in the 1704 Battle of Blenheim. The palace is also notable as the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill. We did a quick interior tour and then spent a bit of time in the chapel and the formal gardens.
Then it was off to the city of Burford for lunch at the Lamb's Inn, followed by some free time in the city. Many of the current buildings go back to the 1580's. It is a very cute town, but other than the shops, there would not be much to do if you lived here. The main part of town consists of the one main street.
We continued our ride in the countryside to the city of Buorton-on-the-Water. The village is known for its picturesque High Street, flanked by long wide greens and the River Windrush that runs through them. The river is crossed by several low, arched stone bridges. These arched bridges have led to Bourton-on-the-Water being called the "Venice of the Cotswolds". Matt was ready to throw out the "Selfie Stick" we bought for the iPhone. It seems to connect to the phone's bluetooth, but does not always want to trigger the phone's camera. It has become a challenge. Anyway, we spent about 45 minutes walking the streets before our 2 hour bus ride back to the Hotel.
We walked back to Piccadilly Circus (Roundabout) and had dinner at Angus Steak House. After being seated and putting in our order, the manager came over and asked if we would be kind enough to move tables so they could fit in a party of 9. We, of course, did and the manager offered each of us a free dessert.
Back to the room to pack up our bags for tomorrow.

June 16, 2016 - Embarkation Day

So it is not so much about the noise that woke me up at 5:00, but the brightness of the day outside. Yes, the sun was already up, and the sun coming through the curtains was a bit much. Tried to go back to sleep, but that is kind of useless. Woke Matt up at 8:20 for breakfast and final packing.
We met our guide at 12:00 for our 2 hour ride to South Hampton to board the Voyager. On our way into the terminal, we ran into Captain Green (who we had on our Alaskan Cruise). He was finished with his contract. We will have Captain Patruno, who we have also had before, and like. Our Cruise Director is Andy Heath, who is new to us.
We went through the check-in process with no wait, and once on board, the cabins had just opened up, so we were able to go there (We are in cabin 956). The luggage arrived a few minutes later and we were unpacked in time for the boat drill at 4:15.
We also gave our Butler 5 large bags of clothes to be either washed and pressed or just pressed.
Sail away took place at 5:00. but because of the showers that have popped up, they held their party in the Horizon Lounge. I went down and ran into a few of the crew that we have had on other cruises.
Dinner was at 6:30 and lasted about 2 hours, a bit slow, but fine for the first night.
A bit of gambling ended the evening, as we turn our clocks ahead one hour (making us 9 hours ahead of home).

June 17, 2016 - Saint-Malo, France

The morning started with a 2:00AM LOUD fight in the neighboring cabin. It went on for over a half hour. It woke both of us up. Once that settled, we were able to bet back to sleep and awoke at 6:00. My iPhone alarm was supposed to go off at 7:00, but somehow, got itself an extra hour ahead of the current time...so it gave us 2 1/2 hours to get ready for our excursion. The ship anchored at 6:30 and breakfast was served in our cabin at 7:30. We caught our tender at 9:00.
Here is a description of today's  5 hour excursion:

Begin with a scenic ride through the countryside of Brittany. The unforgettable view of the abbey of St. Michel will rise in the distance in sharp contrast to the coastal tidal plain which surrounds it. The abbey is a magnificent edifice comprised of a pre-Romanesque church begun in the 8th century and a series of Romanesque and Gothic monastery buildings. Rising over 500 feet above sea level, Mont St. Michel rests on sand banks where the daily tides can change as much as 4 to 6 feet. At high tide, this wondrous abbey and church often seem to be floating in the sea. A walk up the steep, narrow cobblestone streets and steps brings you to the abbey where your guide will take you to explore maze-like passages and stairways. After visiting this marvel of medieval construction, enjoy some free time before transferring back to the ship.

It was an hour bus ride to get to the abbey, then a short trolley ride to the bottom of the mountain. A lot of uphill "streets" and steps brought us to the abbey itself. Our tour guide did a very nice job giving us the historical and architectural history.
We did have a half hour or so of free time, so we found a nice little shop to get a soda and a toasted ham and cheese sandwich.
Back to the bus and the ride back to the pier and the tender to the ship.
As soon as we got back, Matt took some photos from the top deck and I got an ice cream to hold me over until dinner.
All of our laundry was back in the closet, all on hangers or wrapped in paper in a basket on the bed.
I went down to the Destinations Desk to book some extra excursions on our next legs and there were only 4 others in line. Here is where I feel sorry for the Destinations workers. There are only 2 ladies at the desk. Of those of us waiting in line, two were a couple who were also trying to book excursions and they had not read any information on them. Each excursion had to be described to them. The destinations person would tell the lady about a tour, who then turned to her husband, who had hearing aids, and yelled the same description to him. Now you have to realize that there are anywhere from 4 to 6 tours in each of the upcoming 7 ports. They were still there 30 minutes when I left.
We attended the Captain's Reception at 6:00, then had dinner with Cruise Consultant Bea Kessler and Mr. and Mrs. Wakins.
We came out even in the casino, skipped the "On Broadway show" (we'll catch it on another leg), then back to the room.

As side notes: We will be traveling a total of 1,722 miles on this first leg of this cruise (to Dublin).
Our Butler is Amey and our Stewardess is Pamreila. We believe she is new to the company.

June 18, 2016 - Concarneau, France

For what is supposed to be "new and faster" internet, this ship does not have it. We are having problems connecting and getting ANY speed. A bit frustrating, but I have to keep telling myself that everyone now gets unlimited internet and that there are 17 kids aboard right now, so all the bandwidth is probably getting sucked up when the internet is working.
Today, we got to sleep in until 8:15 before going to La Veranda for breakfast and our 10:15 excursion. We are anchored just off Concarneau and this is our 3 1/2 hour excursion overview:

Discover Concarneau, one of the largest fishing ports in France and a popular resort area, as well as Pont-Aven during this delightful tour.
Your tour begins with a guided walking tour of Concarneau, where you will have the opportunity to view its most notable feature, the well-preserved 14th century "ville close" (walled city), which is built on a small island in the center of the harbor. Though small, this fortification was the cradle of Concarneau's early history and was recognized in the writings of French author Gustave Flaubert who wrote, "...a wall whose base is battered by waves at high tide....Machicolation is still intact, exactly as it was in Queen Anne' s day...". During your visit you will see for yourself why this medieval walled town is one of the most photographed in Brittany.
Continuing on, you will next make your way via picturesque countryside roads to the charming village of Pont-Aven, which is situated on the estuary of the River Aven. There is a saying that ""Pont-Aven has fourteen mills and fifteen houses"", recalling that at one time, the mill industry ensured the town's prosperity. During your guided walking tour, you will stroll along the river to the heart of the city, learning about the colony of painters, led by Paul Gauguin, who made the town famous by the end of the 19th century and formed the school of painting called, "L'Ecole de Pont-Aven."

A long tender ride from the ship to the city, but we had a very nice tour of the 2 cities. It was a bit chilly to start with, but the sun came out and the day ended quite nice.
We arrived back at the ship at 3:00. Matt went to the room while I ran up to the pool deck to get a hotdog and pasta salad to bring back to the room. We worked on photos the rest of the afternoon before the 6:00 "Block Party", where everyone goes outside their cabin and meet the neighbors and share wine and cheese. The "Bad" neighbors did not show.
6:30 was dinner time in La Veranda, which becomes Sette Mari at night, an Italian restaurant.
Off to the casino at 8:00, then checked out Alan Kavanagh, an Irish singer/guitar player who ended in 5th place in the Irish version of "American Idol". We left after a few songs and went back to the room for the night.

June 19, 2016 - La Verdon and Bordeaux, France

Up at 8:45 with a 9:00 breakfast in the room. At 10:00, about 40 ski-doos came racing from La Verdon out to our ship. It looked like an invasion, but I think it was a tour group out having fun.
Our excursion today, which began at 10:50 starts in La Verdon, where the ship docked at 8:00 AM. Our tour ends in Bordeaux, as the ship leaves La Verdon at 3:00 PM and arrives in Bordeaux at 8:15 PM. Our excursion is as follows:

Tour an historical chateau in the Medoc wine region and then savor a meal so remarkable that it has been recognized on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
After departing from the pier, you will settle in for an exceptionally picturesque drive along the Route des Chateaux, which winds through the Medoc wine region, a landscape dotted with hundreds of chateaux and vineyards that produce the quintessential Bordeaux red wine.
Turning off of the main road, you’ll travel via a cobblestone drive that makes its way between rows of carefully tended grapes until standing before you is the handsome, stone façade of Chateau du Tertre.
The history of the estate shows that it belonged to the Seigneurie of Arsac as far back as the 12th century. In the 17th century, the seigneurie passed from the house of Montaigne to the house of Arrérac and later to the Ségur family. In the mid-18th century the estate was purchased by Pierre Mitchell, an Irishman, who was in fact the first bottle manufacturer in the Bordeaux area. During the course of the 19th century, under the control of ingenious owners such as Henry de Vallande and Baron Henri de Koenigswater, the wines of the estate gained world renown, culminating in their inclusion in the 1855 Médoc classification. In 1997, Eric Albada Jelgersma (owner of the neighboring Château Giscours) purchased the estate and painstakingly restored the house and renovated the cellars and vineyards. The château has regained considerable respect in recent years and Robert Parker gave the 2003 vintage a very respectable 93 points.
Upon arrival, you will tour the 16th-century family-owned estate before retiring to the wine cellar or the Orangerie beside the elegant swimming pool, for a tasting of two aperitifs, accompanied by a snack. The experience will offer a wonderful introduction to the chateau’s wines and stimulate your palate for the memorable lunch to follow.
Indeed, what awaits you is more than dining; it is a gastronomic event so grand that it has earned a place on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
According to UNESCO, meals of this designation must “emphasize togetherness, the pleasure of taste, and the balance between human beings and the products of nature.”
To fulfill that promise, your lunch will include four extraordinary courses and three characteristic wines from the estate, served with the starter, main course and selection of cheeses. You can expect the mood to be festive, the conversation lively and the dishes absolutely exquisite, all of which will strengthen the social ties within your group.
Following what will surely be an unforgettable dining experience, you will return to the pier.
On calls when the ship repositions to Bordeaux, the tour will begin in Le Verdon and end in Bordeaux.

This tour was very nice. We were able to see (from the road), Chateau Lafite Rothschild. The Chateaude Tertre, where we had lunch, was beautiful and the wine processing facilities very modern. The family has 100 acres on 2 properties.
Our table of 8 for lunch was a fun group, and the lunch itself was ok...not UNESCO worthy (in my opinion). However, the 4 wines they paired with each of the 5 courses were very good.
We finished lunch at 4, had a half hour to walk around, then it was on to Bordeaux. We arrived at 5:15 and walked around town while waiting for the ship to arrive and dock.
We were back aboard at 8:45. We are docked right at the town square and there is a soccer game in town tomorrow night, so lots of soccer fans. There is a large "soccer fan" area (blocked off) where there are thousands watching a soccer game...France vs. Switzerland..being broadcast on a large screen. The crowd is quite loud and you can sure tell when a team scores.
Instead of changing and going downstairs for dinner, we decided to order dinner from Room Service before doing computer work.

June 20 - Bordeaux, France - Day 2

We awoke at 7:00, had breakfast in our room before our 8:35, 3 1/2 hour "Explore An Historic Chateau" tour:

A visit to an authentic French chateau built centuries ago, awaits those who select this delightful tour.
From the pier, it's a 45-minute scenic drive through the Sauternes wine region, surrounded by vineyards that stretch nearly as far as the eye can see. Your excursion into the heart of this fabled wine region includes a visit to one of the areas most notable chateaus. That being either the Château de Cazeneuve or Château de Roquetaillade.
Château de Cazeneuve was built in the 11th century on a Gallo-Roman strongpoint. This castle remained the exclusive property of the Dukes of Albret and of the Kings of Navarre for four centuries. Today, the château belongs to the d'Albret's descendants, the Sabran-Pontevès, an illustrious family from which five queens, two kings, two saints, and one pope are descended. This exquisite château is furnished with period pieces and during your guided visit you will seethe King's bedroom, Queen's bedroom, Queen Margot's drawing room, Louis XVI's bedroom and the medieval kitchen. It's truly an unforgettable trip back into the past.

The castle was very interesting to see, and the rooms visited were just as described above. We were greeted by the owner of the castle, who is 40 years old and lives on the property, although not inside the castle walls. We were not allowed to take any photos inside the Chateau, but I have included some from the internet on the photo page.
We were back in time for lunch, which we had up on the pool deck.
Then it was off for our 2nd tour of the day, a 2:00, 2 1/2 hour "Bordeaux City Tour":

Departure by coach from the ship for both a panoramic and walking tour of Bordeaux, city recently listed as UNESCO World Heritage site. This distinction recognizes the beauty and unity of style of Bordeaux's architectural heritage, which has developed harmoniously over the centuries and remained remarkably well-preserved.
Begin with a scenic drive around the city of Bordeaux prior to the walking portion of your tour. Experience the sites of the city, including the WWII German submarine base, the Chartrons river front, the 18th century Place de la Bourse, the Cailhau Gate and the Big Bell. View the Palais Rohan, now the City Hall, and then visit the 13th-century Cathedral of St Andrew. Continue with a drive through Gambetta and Tourny squares. Pass by the monument to the Girondins of the French Revolution at the Quinconces square. Enjoy a walk to the Grand Theater, one of the most beautiful in Europe. Stroll through the Old Bordeaux area, featuring the Parlement Square and St. Pierre Square ending at the pier.

We were back aboard ship just before 5:00 and got ready for the Seven Seas Cocktail Party...for those who have been with Regent ships 21 nights or more. Of the just over 600 guests aboard, 513 are repeat customers. Of the top 3 tiers of their 5 tier benefits program, 122 are Gold members, 39 are Platinum and 4 are Titanium. We are currently Platinum. That will change in January of 2018, when we move to Titanium.
After the party, we had a wonderful dinner in "Prime 7", the steakhouse. My dinner included: Onion Soup, Wedge Salad, Filet Mignon with twice baked potato and string beans, and a 14 layer chocolate cake for dessert.

We are currently traveling up the Gironde Estuary that leads from Bordeaux to the ocean (it actually starts further inland, but a ship this size is unable to make it under any bridge further down river). We did not get to see this estuary yesterday, as we were on tour. It looks very much like going through the Delta and the water is very muddy. We went up to the top deck of the ship to look at it, but had to come in as the water stinks a bit too much. The Captain has the ship moving at a fast clip tonight as we make our way to Spain for a noon docking.
It was then back to the room to work on our internet projects.
We have pretty much been in a go here - go there pace so far this cruise. We still do not have a sea day until Thursday. I am already looking forward to a relaxing day.

June 21 - Bilbao, Spain

We awoke at 7:45 with an 8:00 breakfast in the room. I went up to the pool deck to enjoy a few minutes in the morning sun, then Matt and I played a game of Rummikub before a light lunch at the pool deck.

Today's 12:30, 5 1/2 hour tour is "Torre Loizaga and Old Quarter" and is described:

Marvel at the vintage luxury automobiles in a Rolls-Royce Museum tucked away in a remote mountain fortress, and then meander through the vibrant old quarter of Bilbao.
Departing from the pier, it's a scenic drive inland through the enchanting mountains that define Spain's beautiful Basque country. In time, you'll come upon majestic Concejuelo Castle, a treasure hidden away off the main road. What's even more remarkable is the Rolls-Royce Museum that's all but hidden inside its tower, the Torre Loizaga.
This little-known, yet amazing collection of luxury automobiles contains more than 40 vintage Rolls-Royces, including a 1910 Silver Ghost and a legendary Phantom IV, of which only 18 were ever made, strictly for heads of state such as Queen Elizabeth. To complement the priceless Rolls-Royces, there are more than 25 other makes of luxury cars, including a Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testarossa and several rare Bentleys.
After you have filled your head with thoughts of owning one of these beauties, it's time to resume your tour and travel back to Bilbao for a walking tour of its old quarter, known as the Casco Viejo. It's a wonderfully vibrant district full of historical monuments, tapas bars and colorful shops.
Following your walking tour of the old quarter, you'll rejoin your coach and transfer directly back to the pier.

It was quite a collection of cars. The owner has passed away, but the collection is well maintained by 5 mechanics, the youngest being 21. It is the 3rd largest collection of Rolls-Royce's in the World. It is on beautiful grounds. We spent 2 hours viewing the 6 "garages" of cars. Then it was off to the Old City for a quick one hour walk through a few streets to view the churches and the new fish market (although it was empty in the afternoon).
Back to the ship at 6:30, where Matt made a quick dash to the room to register for next semester's courses. His scheduled time to register was 6:30, so he made it just in time...and got the classes and schedule he hoped for.
Because our tour arrived back at 6:30, as did most of the other tours, we missed the special 6:00 Flamenco dance performance put on for the Gold, Platinum and Titanium members. Bad scheduling on the ship's part.
Downstairs to the main dining room for dinner and then back to the room.
We received our questionnaire on which of 2 excursions we would like when in Dublin (the ship's change-over day). We chose the City Tour instead of the Guinness Store Tour.
On our "mid-cruise" comment cards, we had written that the Destination Services Department is NOT consistent. Some days, if you go at the time on your ticket, you get in the long line and then they just tell you to sit and wait for that ticket to be called. You have already stood in line and they are not making any announcements. The next day, you get there at your ticketed time and they give you your bus pass and tell you that "the busses are already loading". Since we filled out the card, we got a recorded call from the head of Destinations going though a whole explanation of how they do things (which we know), and a "thank you for your comments", but not an acknowledgement that things change daily, or that they will even look into getting things straightened out. I send Matt down with the tickets now. I get too frustrated...plus I don't like being elbowed by everyone rushing to the table once the tour is called.

June 22 - Gijon, Spain

Today was a LONG one!
We awoke at 6:40, had breakfast in the room and prepared for the 8:20, 8 hour tour, "Best of Aviles and Oviedo":

Discover two of the most intriguing inland cities in the Asturias region: Aviles, which is undergoing a renaissance, and immensely historic Oviedo.
After departing from the pier, you will drive west to Aviles, an industrial city in the midst of a cultural transformation. The first stop is for photos at the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Center, a gleaming modernistic jewel that has become Aviles’ symbol of the future.
Still, the past hasn’t been forgotten, as you will see during a walking tour through colorful Old Town. Landmarks include the 13th-century Church of Sabugo and treasures such as the Municipal Palace on España Square, where many older avenues originate.
Then following a leisurely lunch at a traditional “llagar” where Asturias’ signature fermented cider is produced, you will drive to the Old Quarter of Oviedo, which was founded in the 8th century. Many of the streets are pedestrian only and lined with ancient buildings so the quarter feels immensely historical, even medieval.
Upon arrival, you’ll enjoy a short panoramic drive and then proceed by bus to the town center, visiting the old part of the city at the Plaza de la Escandalera before continuing to the Cathedral of San Salvador. The hallowed Camara Santa, King Alfonso II’s court chapel from the 9th century, lies inside the cathedral and houses priceless religious artifacts.
Further exploration of the Old Quarter reveals popular sites such as Constitution Square and the Church of San Isidoro El Real. Constructed in 1681, the church is rather austere on the outside in contrast to its luxuriously decorated interior. If time permits, you will enjoy free time for shopping before returning to the pier.

We did the tour backwards. Our lunch was at Tierra Astur in Aviles. It was a "tapas" lunch and we had family style shared servings of: meats, cheeses, salad, calamari, beef on fried hollowed corn bread, ham with eggs on fries, pork with fries and dessert.
Not my favorite of cities to visit, but the lunch was very good.
We arrived back to the ship at 4:30. Matt rested and I sat out on our balcony and read the LA Times newspaper.
We had dinner in Compass Rose (where we saw dolphins swimming towards the ship), followed by a bit of time in the casino, then to the Production Show, "Dancing To The Hits". Not my favorite production show that I have ever seen, but nicely done. A lot of modern songs (Lady Gaga, etc.) that you can tell, this older crowd did not know with some odd vocal things added that detracted from the dancing.
The ship has started rocking a bit...not the side to side rock, but the front-to-back rock that I don't thrill on. At least it does not bother me while I am sleeping.

June 23 - Sea Day

A sea day at last!
I got up at 8:30. The ship is still rocking. I had breakfast in La Veranda while Matt slept in. It was a bit cold outside and it was sprinkling on and off.
Matt was up by 10:00 and we played Rummikub until lunchtime, which was an "Irish Buffet Brunch"at the pool deck. Although there was a nameplate for Corned Beef and Cabbage, it never showed up...so inside I went inside to La Veranda and got the Virginia Ham.
The sun came out, so I went out on the pool deck. With it being 61 degrees, it was a bit chilly and once the clouds rolled back in at 1:15, I went back to the room. Matt had just come back to the room after finding a washer in the laundry room open. He wanted to do a few things himself, rather than sending them out.
We had a 3:00 meeting with Bea, the Cruise Consultant to iron out some issues we were having with our 2018 cruise. Hopefully, it will all get worked out.
Matt watched another movie in the late afternoon and, as the sun broke out, I laid out for a bit again, but this time on our balcony where it is less windy.
Dinner was in Compass Rose followed by the Casino.
We turn back the clock an hour again tonight, giving us an extra hour of sleep.

June 24 - Cork, Ireland

It was a 6:30 wake up to get up and going for our 8:10AM, 4 hour excursion, "Panoramic Cork and Blarney Castle":

Irish history and tradition are yours to discover during this intimate orientation tour of Cork City, and a visit to Blarney Castle.
Depart from the Cathedral town of Cobh for the drive along North Ring Road to Blarney, the little village that lies in the protective shadow of historic Blarney Castle. Built in two sections, the Castle features a massive oblong keep, and typical Irish battlements. Below them, the famous Blarney Stone is set in the wall, and to kiss it, one has to lean over backwards from the parapet walk of the battlements.
During your visit to the castle, you will have an opportunity to kiss the famous Blarney Stone, which, according to legend, imparts the gift of eloquence to all whose lips touch it. Next, you will visit the home of Blarney Woollen Mills, a building that dates back to 1793, and is today considered to be one of the finest craft and gift centres in Ireland. Upon arrival, you will enjoy an Irish coffee, and browse through a wide range of Irish clothing, crystal, linen and handicrafts.
Next, you will embark on a panoramic orientation tour of Cork, Ireland's second city. Once a swampy island located on the estuary of the Lee River upstream from Cork Harbour, the city is now an important shopping and commercial capital of the south. Today, the Lee River flows through the city in two main channels, so that you find yourself constantly crossing bridges. In fact, it is this feature that gives Cork its distinctive continental flair. Today, Cork is a University City brimming with jazz, film, opera, theatres, restaurants, and all of the amenities of a large city, yet it still manages to retain the pleasant charm and friendliness of a country town. During your drive through Cork, you will see some of the city's famous sites, including St. Finbarr's Cathedral, the Old Courthouse, City Hall, and the renowned Bells of Shandon.
Following your tour, you will return to Cobh and your awaiting ship.

The tour was very nice and our guide was GREAT getting us up to the top of Blarney Castle first...and that means first tourists of the day. No wait...up the 100 stairs of the turret...kiss the stone...back down. The timing was great, as it began to sprinkle just as we were leaving the castle. The line waiting to get up the tower was getting long. Our guide said that it sometimes can be up to 3 hours to get to the stone. Glad we did not have to wait in line in the rain.
It let up and group then went for Irish Coffee at the "Muskerry Arms", then time for a bit of shopping. Just as we were getting on the bus, there was downpour for a few minutes, then cleared again.
We were back on the ship at 12:30 and we went up to the pool deck for lunch.
I went back to the room and Matt went out to explore the town of Cobh (pronounced Cove), where we are docked.
The local Cobh Band came out to play our ship off (we left port at 6:00).
We then worked on our internet projects before our dinner in Signatures, the French restaurant at 7:00.
We had a bit of gambling time, then watched the movie "My Name Is Doris". That finished at 11:00 and it was just dusk outside.

June 25 - Holyhead, Wales

We were up at 7:30 for our 9:00, 6 1/2 hour excursion, "Portmerion":

This full day of touring showcases the beauty of the Snowdonia National Park and the very popular village of Port Meirion.
Setting off from the pier, you will first traverse the Menai Strait and drive through the picturesque Snowdonia National Park, enjoying the awesome passing scenery along the way. Your coach will then head south towards Porthmadog and the very unique Italianate fantasy village of Portmeirion - designed by the eccentric Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. The village, which commands magnificent sea views towards Snowdonia, was built from 1925 to 1976 with the intention of proving how it is possible to develop a beautiful setting without spoiling it. Portmeirion is now recognized as one of the most successful British architectural projects of the twentieth century. After a 1-hour guided walking tour, you are free to wander through the streets of the village at your leisure, exploring the shops that sell famous Portmeirion china. Portmeirion has become famous for its distinctive pottery - now very much a collector's item.
Before re-joining your coach for the return journey to Holyhead, you will be treated to a relaxing lunch at the atmospheric Castell Deudraeth - a wonderful bistro restaurant located in the castle that looks out over the village of Portmeirion.

This was a nice tour, although Pormeirion is an odd place. It is like Disney's Fantasyland without any attractions. We decided to get a bit ahead of the village guided tour, as the tour guide was taking a bit too much of our time. If you were a fan of the old TV show "The Prisoner", it was filmed here. We walked around and visited the stores and by that time, it was time to go to lunch, which was just a few minutes away. The Castell (Castle) is a fairly new one, built in the late 1880's. A building was there and the previous owner "castleized" it.
Lunch was chicken with potatoes and cheesecake. Not sure that meal was worth the price we paid for the tour. As we were heading back to the ship, it began to rain. We have really lucked out in that area.
We were back to the ship at 3:30 and worked on our photos.
We looked at the restaurant menus on the TV and decided to go to Sette Mari instead of the regular dining room.
After dinner, I printed out the calendar for our next leg and checked our excursion tickets. We were missing some, so we had to go get that worked out.
A lot of luggage in the hallways as tomorrow is the end of our first leg. We have been told that there will be no internet tomorrow (due to Dublin restrictions), so tomorrow's post may be late.

June 26 - Dublin, Ireland

For those of us continuing on the cruise, they have provided us with an excursion, a 4 hour overview of the city:

Drive to the City Center, view the Book of Kells, Panoramic tour with photo stops and visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Return to Pier.

The Book of Kells at Trinity College was interesting, but with the crowds, hard to take in. They first show you what the Monks used for pigments for the very colorful drawings. These books are written on velum. Once you get to where the books are (2 of the 4...each with one Gospel...are on display), you have to push your way in to get to the display. Then it was on to the old library upstairs.  It contains 200,000 books on two levels. It is very impressive to walk down the aisle. It sprinkled on and off most of the morning of our city tour, so we could not get any photos from the bus. Dublin really has quite a mix of old and new buildings, many types in the same block.
We arrived back at the ship at 1:00 and had lunch in the very crowded La Veranda. All the new passengers waiting for the cabins to be available.
We then went back to our room to work on the photos and just relax.
We got a note telling us that tomorrow afternoon's excursion has been cancelled, so we flipped our excursions around so that we can do the morning tour in the afternoon and visa-versa.
We had the life boat drill at 5:30. This time we had to go out and line up on the deck.
Dinner at 6:30 in the Compass Rose with a repeat of our first night's menu.
Met up with Michael and Omar (I had been on a cruise with Michael in 2007) and visited for awhile.
The ship left the port late (10:40 instead of 9:00). It took quite some time to load all the pallets of provisions.
We are still scheduled to be in port in Belfast at the designated time tomorrow morning.

June 27 - Belfast, Northern Ireland

A long day!!!
It was up at 7:20 to get ready for our 8:50, 4 hour,
"Mount Stewart House And Gardens" excursion. The ship docked at
8:00 and the temperature was 56 degrees and cloudy  .
Here is a description of our first tour:

This lovely tour takes you to the wonderful National Trust Properties of Mount Stewart House and Gardens, the finest in Northern Ireland.
Boarding your coach at the pier, it's a lovely 1-hour scenic coach ride to Mount Stewart. This elegant estate has been the home of the Londonderry family since the early 18th century and as Lord Castlereagh's house, has played host to many prominent political figures. Designed by George Dance, surveyor to the City of London, and architect of Newgate Prison, the home is full of memorabilia of the best known of the Stewarts - Robert Viscount Castlereagh, War Minister and Foreign Secretary throughout much of the Napoleonic Wars. The 22 chairs he brought back from the Congress at Vienna in 1814 are now in the dining room, while the Castlereagh Room contains portraits of the viscount and many of his papers, including correspondence with Nelson and Wellington. There is also some fine furniture, porcelain and paintings, including one by Stubbs of the racehorse Hambletonian. As you enjoy your guided tour of this wonderful house, your local guide helps to bring the past back to life with a fascinating account of the home's history. The profusion of astrological designs, stained glass and marble is simply breathtaking, and all combine to envelop the visitor in the mystique and character of this grand house.
Moving outside, your tour continues in the gardens. These magnificent gardens that were first planted in the 1920's have made Mount Stewart famous and earned it a World Heritage Site nomination. It was Edith, Lady Londonderry, who first created the gardens starting in 1921. A magnificent collection of exceptional trees and rare shrubs from all over the world flourish here in the gardens of Mount Stewart. The gardens also contain an unrivalled collection of unique and unusual plants, colorful parterres and marvelous formal and informal vistas. To the south of the house lies the secluded "wee garden", to the north, a Victorian kitchen garden, which was recently recreated, and replanted. This garden includes a large octagonal glass pavilion, which is currently undergoing an ambitious planting project to recreate a "microcosm" consisting of montane and rainforest material from Borneo and Papua New Guinea. Adjacent to the kitchen garden lies the mature Victorian Pinetum of North American conifers, and beyond that, a newly planted Arboretum has been divided into sub-units representing each of the main regions of the world. As you stroll through these superb gardens you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the aroma and vibrant colors of this wonderful, tranquil place.
At the conclusion of you visit, you will re-join your coach for the return to Belfast Port and your awaiting ship.

Once we arrived, we were given a "home tour" time of 11:00, so that gave us an hour to walk around the lake and then to the formal gardens, which were beautiful! The home, built in 1744 is still lived in by Edith's (see above) granddaughter. The self-guided tour was nice, and there was a docent in each room to answer any questions that we had.
We were back on the ship at 12:50, which gave us 20 minutes to grab an ice cream before heading out on our 2nd tour of the day, the 1:20, 4 1/4 hour excursion: "Titanic Trail":

Titanic: Discover where it all started during this fascinating tour that gives you access to many historic buildings and locations that were an integral part of Titanic's history.
Leaving from the pier, you will drive to the "Titanic Trail" and begin your amazing journey back to the early 1900's. Step back in time and gain an understanding of the dock, the people who worked here and discover how such amazing ships were built in a city with no steel. View the Titanic Quarter, the former headquarters of Harland and Wolff, Titanic's drawing offices where she was designed and the pump-house which operated the dock. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of the steam-powered pumps and hear the apprentice's story of his first week at work as you view an interactive audio-visual display. Then trace along the full length of the dock to truly capture the size and scale of the Titanic, and where the caisson gate - over 100 years old - still stands. Recently reinforced, you will have the unique opportunity of walking along the bottom of Titanic's Dock to explore the last place Titanic rested on dry ground.
Enjoy a refreshment in the Pump House Cafe before continuing on to the new Signature Building, housing Titanic Belfast a "must see" visit in any tour of Belfast and Northern Ireland. Housed in an iconic, 6-floor building, this state-of-the-art visitor experience tells the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and tragic end. The story is brought up to the present with the discovery of the wreck and into the future with live links to contemporary undersea exploration.
The adventure begins the moment you walk through the door and into the building's giant atrium, surrounded by the four high impact 'hull' shaped sections which house the experience.
As you wander up through Titanic Belfast, you'll learn about Belfast at the turn of the century as a thriving boom town and experience a thrilling ride through the reconstruction of the shipyards and the Titanic under construction. Be brought deep into the stories of the passengers, the crew and the heroes of the day; relive the drama of the tragic end to Titanic's maiden, and only, voyage, and visit the wreck at her resting place on the floor of the North Atlantic. Take in breathtaking views to the slip-ways where the Titanic was launched and if you'd like a souvenir to remind you of your trip to the home of the Titanic, there's plenty to choose from in the Titanic Store.

This was a very interesting tour. We did this backwards, starting at the Exhibition. It is also self-guided and very well laid out. It does not have as many artifacts as what we saw in Las Vegas. Of course, it is more focused on the building of the ship, which took place there.
Then it was off to the Pump House/Dry Dock. As soon as we saw the dry dock pit, we both knew immediately that it was used in one episode of "The Amazing Race." Our guide there was a bit hyper, but gave us a very nice tour.
Back to the ship at 5:45. We decided to do our photos right away, then catch a late dinner before the "On Broadway" production show. That ended at 10:15 and it was back up to the room.

A couple of notes:
We have been very lucky in that there have been no other ships in any of the ports we have been in.

In this 15 day portion of our cruise, we will be traveling 3,637 miles.

June 28 - Glasgow/Greenock, Scotland

Up at 7 for our 8:30, 4 1/2 hour "Stiring Castle" tour:

Take a stroll through Scotland's Medieval past during this scenic and memorable visit to the historic Stirling Castle.
Scotland is a land of castles, mighty fortresses on rocky heights, isolated keeps, elegant homes for great families and grim strongholds set on towering sea cliffs. In the great halls, great men discussed affairs of state against backdrops of regal splendour. Noble men and tyrants, kings and queens, lords and commoners all made their entrances and exits, and now only the stones remain to speak of centuries of drama.
Stirling, situated on one of the many loops of the River Forth beckons to you from whichever way you approach. It rises abruptly from the flat plains; a fortress-crowned rock with a grey town clinging to its steep sides - a colourful but blood-stained history book. Because of its strategic position, guarding the route north, this was a fortress town since earliest times; bitterly fought over, bravely defended. The castle has appropriately been called the `key to Scotland`. As a result its possession has been the focus of contention for many centuries, with battles like Bannockburn being fought in its shadow.
You’ll drive through the old town to arrive at the castle where every inch seems drenched in history and interest. There are views of hills all around and the promise of Highland scenery beyond. The present castle dates mainly from the 15th and 16th centuries when it was a principal royal residence. James III was born here in 1451, James V spent his childhood here, and the infant Mary Queen of Scots was crowned here on 9 September 1543. Work in the 16th century largely shaped the structure as it survives today. Your self-guided tour will show you the main features of the central turreted gatehouse with its flanking towers and curtain wall, the Great Hall, the Palace, one of the earliest Renaissance buildings in Scotland, and the Chapel Royal. Then enjoy the splendid panoramic views from the battlements.

Certainly not my favorite tour. It took about an hour and half to get there, then, the castle itself seemed like everything in it was a 1970's replica. We spent just over an hour and a half there, which was more than enough, as there is really not much to see, then spent an hour to get back. Others who had been to other castle's were also not impressed.
We had lunch in La Veranda before going back to the room to rest before our 6:00 traditional Scottish Bagpipe performance that was presented to the Gold, Platinum and Titanium Society Members.
Off to dinner, then back to the room by 9:00.

One good thing...when we do get internet, I can stream audio. Everything we read tells us we should not be able to, but we are. I am a happy camper.

June 29 - Sea Day

The ship is rocking a bit again this morning.
I woke Matt up at 8:00 so we could have breakfast in Compass Rose. Although the atmosphere is nicer, the service is slower, and they offer basically the same breakfast that you can get in your room or up in La Veranda.
We played Rummikub while the room was being made up, then it was off to 11:00 Bingo, where Matt won the very first game! This cruise has "snowball bingo", where $500 is guaranteed to be given away...I am being polite and will wait to win that one.
Up to La Veranda for a quick lunch, a visit to the casino and then we caught a nap before the "Block Party" for this leg of the cruise.
Dinner in Compass Rose, casino (where we actually won!) and then calling a night. There was a comic/juggler, but you know how we are about those.

June 30 - Torshavn, Faroe Islands

I woke up at 5:30 to the sound of the ship's horn. I knew immediately that we were in fog and that the horn would blow every few minutes. It did so until we came into port at 7:00. I woke Matt up at 7:15.

Breakfast in the room before our 8:50, 3 hour excursion, "Torshavn - The Capital':

It began as a Viking Thing, followed by a market, then became a thriving town, and today it is one of the smallest and most pleasant capital cities in the world. Tórshavn today blends the historical and picturesque with all the features of a modern city: quality restaurants and hotels, conference facilities, interesting museums, discotheques, cinema, live theater, exhibitions, sports facilities, parks, and, of course, excellent shopping.
Your tour will visit Tinganes, the historic part of Tórshavn. You will make a short stop at Skansin to explore the old fort before driving up to the beautiful Nordic House cultural center. From there, drive through the modern sections of the city and, before heading back to the harbor, stop briefly at a viewpoint overlooking the capital.

Not the most exciting tour, but we did get a quick overview of the town. The stop at the Cultural Center was not needed. It is basically a meeting hall. We did not visit a fort, but a museum. This, I guess, had been changed from the time we booked to the time we got aboard ship.
We were back at the ship at noon in time for lunch, a quick stop in the room before our
12:50, 5 hour excursion, "Northern Part of Eysturoy":

Explore the pristine natural beauty of the Faroes during this scenic tour of the mountains, villages and waterways north of Tórshavn.
Depart the pier for the drive north of Tórshavn. Along the way, you will pass by idyllic villages and the old whaling station at Áir. You will then reach a bridge that spans the narrow channel of Sundini, and connects Eysturoy with the larger island of Streymoy. Because the channel is so narrow, spectacular eddies form at the base of the bridge when the current is running strong with the tide. You will have an opportunity to walk the short distance over the bridge.
Next, your drive will continue on past Eiði, and across the mountains into Gjógv. En route, you will be treated to a view of The Giant and The Hag, two very distinctive sea-stacks. You will also pass the 2,893-foot Slættaratindur, the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands, and the 617-foot Gjógv Gorge, a natural harbor for fishing boats.
Following your visit, you will be transferred back to the pier.

This was a nice tour of the mountains and towns. Goats all over the place...and no trees! It did sprinkle and rain, but we only got caught in a bit of the sprinkle part. We did not get the walk the bridge, as it was raining pretty hard when we got there. The tour was shortened a bit and we got back to the at 5:15.   We will be returning here on the 15th and will only have a morning tour, so it will give us a chance to visit the shops of the area.
Matt rested a bit before dinner in La Veranda followed by a visit to the Casino. While there, an elderly man started to sit at the stool next to me at the video blackjack machine and he fell backwards and onto the floor. Both Matt and I helped him up and the casino manager also came over to help. The man was ok and thanked both of us for helping him. Not a thank you or anything from the casino manager.
For whatever reason, they can't seem to get the internet to the rooms, so they told us we would  have to go down to the 5th deck as it was working there. I got down there and nothing. They said that they are starting up the whole system again and that it would be up within 30 minutes. That came and went and finally came up at 11:00PM
Sunset tonight at 11:18 PM, sunrise at 3:44 AM, so if you include the light after sunset and before sunrise, there is very little "dark" right now.
We turn our clocks back an hour again tonight, so we are now 7 hours ahead of home.

July 1 - Sea Day

I awoke at 7 and had breakfast in La Veranda (sticky bun day!), then down to the computer room to try to print out a map. The printer was not working and the Internet Manager does not come on duty until 9.
At 8, the ship horn started sounding, so yes, we were once again in a fog. We continued to be in and out of the fog all morning.
We played Rummikub while the room was being made up, then Matt worked on his photos from yesterday's excursions while I read the newspaper (the papers are a day behind, but better than watching the 3 news channels available in the room).
The 11:45 "Arctic Circle Crossing Ceremony" was very simple. Stand in line, wait your turn, then get blue frosting smudged on your nose while wearing a Viking Helmet. Matt did not want to participate. I did it myself.
Off to lunch in the Compass Rose. Our fog horn kept going through the afternoon. We are unable to see Iceland off in the distance. The high today was 49 degrees with the fog drizzle. Not a great day to be out on any deck.
The captain tells us we should be able to see the Aurora Borealis tomorrow though Monday, and that we have reached the point where there is no sunrise or sunset, just light 24 hours a day.
We had lunch the slow way (Compass Rose) and then played a few slot games. Bingo today was also a bust.
Dinner in Compass Rose was followed by another round of casino games, where we won back today's losses.
Early bedtime because of our early excursion tomorrow.

July 2 - Akureyri, Iceland

Up at 6:40 for our 8:20, 8 1/2 hour "Whale Watching From Husavik":

Discover the fascinating world of whales by watching them off Iceland's northern coast and then visiting a unique whale museum. A stop at a legendary waterfall rounds out this tour.
Starting off from the pier, you'll first drive through northern Iceland's lush valleys to Husavik, the first Icelandic town to offer whale-watching cruises. It was a natural fit as the nutrient-rich waters of Skjálfandi Bay attract a diversity of species that include the Humpback, Minke and Orca.
Upon arriving in Husavik, you'll board a boat and cruise into the bay to look for whales feeding on krill, plankton and small fish. During the three hours aboard, you may see Humpbacks raising their uniquely patterned flukes above the surface before diving, slender Sei Whales spouting through their blowholes, or massive Blue Whales gorging, as they typically consume an astounding four tons of tiny krill daily. It's also likely that you will spot some other marine life, such as playful harbor porpoises and white-beaked dolphins.
Following this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then visit the award winning Husavik Whale Museum. Here, you will have an excellent opportunity to learn even more about cetacean behavior.
Continuing on, you'll make your way to thundering Godafoss, an Icelandic word meaning "Waterfall of the Gods." The name refers to an event that supposedly occurred 1,000 years ago when an Icelandic chieftain threw statues of the Norse gods into the water to symbolically demonstrate Iceland's conversion to Christianity. Whether the legend is true or not, it's quite a sight to behold the Skjalfandafljot River cascade over the horseshoe-shaped cliff and plummet into the roiling tempest below. Afterwards, you'll transfer back to the pier where your tour concludes.

We were NOT happy campers with this tour. One half hour into the bus ride, we get informed that the whale watching has been cancelled due to ocean swells. SO....we stopped at the waterfalls (they were beautiful to see), then to Grenjadarstadur, a "turf house museum" (not much to see),  then to the whale museum (it was ok), then to lunch...which was a catered serve yourself event with soup, salad, arctic char and potatoes. Nothing here for the price we paid for this excursion. It was then back to the ship. Because we had paid for this tour, the ship tells us they will refund us a "percent" of the tour. We will see how that goes.
The day was cold. Low overcast with mist and a slight wind. I had on my new heavy jacket from the Titanic Museum, but my ears got cold quickly.
Back to the room to work on photos, dinner in Compass Rose (where we saw the backs of a few whales), a visit to the casino and back to the room.
Because of our position, the internet is almost nil. We'll see how that goes too.

July 3 - Isafordur, Iceland

Heard the "fog horn" a few times last night, but woke up at 6:30 with sunshine.
Our 8:15, 3 hour tour today is "Birds of Vigur":

Experience an abundance of amazing bird life and friendly locals on this charming excursion that visits the unique Bird Island of Vigur.
Your tour commences with a short walk to join your touring boat, where upon embarkation, you will set sail along the large Djupfjord towards the island of Vigur. The island offers visitors a chance to see some magnificent bird life, including puffins, eider ducks and arctic terns.
Upon arrival, you will be invited to observe local life on the island, where the farmers make their living by harvesting the down of the eider ducks. You will surely feel as though you have stepped back in time as you visit this island and meet with the 10 friendly inhabitants who will welcome you with their relaxed, easy manner. A leisurely guided walk around the island gives you an opportunity to see an abundance of birds in their natural habitat. Beginning in mid-August, the bird population swells with the arrival of a variety of migrating species.
As your visit draws to a close, refreshments will be served by the farmer's family before it's time to travel back to the pier in Isafjordur.

This was a fun tour! Getting off the boat at the island, we first saw the only windmill in Iceland, used to mill grain. Then it was on for a walk around the island. We had to carry a stick with a small flag on the top as the Artic Terns are guarding their nests and attack the highest thing (the flag). It was like being in the movie "The Birds" with terns all around attacking and screeching at everyone! We then had tea and baked goods (which were) and then saw how they cleaned the eider down. We were told that there are 10 inhabitants of the island. The island is owned by 2 brothers...one who lives there full time with their extended family and the other who lives at Isafordur and goes out whenever he can.
It was a sunny day...still only 55 degrees, but with the sun out, it is quite nice.
We got back to the dock at 11:15 and decided to walk into town, which is very quaint. Back aboard the ship at 12:00 with lunch at the pool deck in the sun.
The ship does not get internet here as there are mountains on 3 sides of the port.
Sail away was at 4:00.
Met with Bea, the Future Cruise Consultant. She has been doing a great job of getting things corrected (Regent mistakes) on our South America cruise in 2018.
Then it was our usual evening routine...dinner in Compass Rose and a bit of casino time.
Paid for the port internet, which is very fast.

July 4 - Sea Day #1

First things first. Kudos to Regent for coming through. They have refunded us the entire amount of the botched whale watching excursion.
We have turned our clocks back another hour (it's not going to be nice going back later on), so we are now only 6 hours ahead of home time.
I woke up at 7, had breakfast and then it was time for my 9:00 haircut appointment in the spa. Matt and I had both originally had appointments at the same time, but shortly after we got aboard, we got a call from the spa saying that one of the spa employees got sick and had to get off the ship, so Matt's appointment was moved to 10:30.
We played Rummikub until his appointment, then it was time for Snowball Bingo at 11:30. We both were one number away from the last Bingo, and nobody got Bingo in the allotted numbers, so the top prize rolls over to tomorrow.
The ship had "Independence Day Lunch" up at the pool grill. Choices included BBQ chicken, ribs and the usual hotdogs and hamburgers.
Back to the room after lunch where I sat out on our balcony for an hour and then went gambling for a bit, while Matt watched 2 movies.
Dinner this evening was in Signatures, the French restaurant.
We went to the casino for a bit. I skipped the "Opera Girls" show in the theater, but Matt attended.
We turned the clocks back one final time tonight, which puts us 5 hours ahead of home.

For those who would like to see what the terns attacking looks like (see yesterday's log), go to the 1:30 mark on this video:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9ixvdN4j7E

July 5 - Sea Day #2

We entered the Prince Kristian Fjord at 4:30. I got up at 5 and saw one of the larger icebergs and one of the glaciers. Took some photos and then woke Matt up at 5:30 so he could also get some photos. As we came around some of the small islands (all very tall/mountainous), the wind REALLY picks up and everyone moves from the open front of the ship to behind some protective glass. The Captain told us last night that we have an "ice pilot" aboard who is navigating us through the small icebergs. Although this is called a fjord, it does cut through more like a strait, so we go in one end and come out another.
We came out of the cold at 6:45 and had breakfast in La Veranda before going back out on deck.
It is very beautiful and each turn brings new icebergs and waterfalls (and gusts of wind). As we came around one corner, the Captain came on the PA system and told us of the town of Aappilattoq, population 75 that is out here in the middle of nowhere. They are part of Denmark and they get their supplies once every 3 weeks. This is the first time that our ship has made the journey through this fjord.
We emerged into the ocean at 10:00.
Today was "Mexican Buffet" day at the Pool Grill.
I went to the casino at 2 and looked out the window and it was getting foggy. Sure enough, the "fog horn" started up and kept up. I did come out lucky in the casino (for once). Hopefully we can keep that up. Matt spent the afternoon getting caught up on his sleeping.
Again no internet during the day. We are up so high that the ship has a hard time aiming the satellite dish that low.
Dinner was in La Veranda followed by a break even night in the casino.

July 6 – Nuuk, Greenland

I awoke at 7, Matt at 7:45. I had breakfast in the Coffee area while Matt got himself ready for the day.
We played Rummikub at 9 and I had a snack at 11 before taking the tender to shore.
We were going to make this a “On Your Own” day, but Matt was able to take an opening on the late afternoon whale tour.
Just as the ship came close to the town, the fog rolled in and got thick.
We both took the first tender ashore at 11:45. It took 15 minutes to tender over because they could not see where they were going in the fog. Once we got there we walked around the city trying to find internet, since we have none on the ship. We went to the library and I was able to sign in and get my e-mail. Matt was unable to sign on. For the Capitol of a country, Nuuk is not that big. It did not take much time to walk most of the main streets. There are quite a few coffee shops and several larger stores and one mall. At 2:00, we came back to the ship and had lunch on the pool deck. The tender ride back only took 5 minutes.
We went back to the room to relax before Matt went on his 4:50 "Fjord Boat Tour and Whale Watching"…and no, he did not see any whales on the excursion:

Cruise into a nearby fjord to look for humpback whales, which usually frequent these waters to feed and often breach the surface in acrobatic displays.
After boarding a boat at the pier, you will cruise north through the Davis Strait and into the beautiful Nuup Kangerlua fjord, which stretches nearly 100 miles, making it the longest fjord in this part of Greenland. As you approach uninhabited Sermitsiaq Island, you are sure to notice the saddle-shaped mountain rising from the island’s heart. In fact, the mountain is so large that you may even glimpse parts of it from Nuuk.
When the weather warms and the snow and glaciers melt, a waterfall usually thunders off the mountain and into the crystal-clear waters of the fjord below. It’s quite the sight, as is the wildlife that typically frequents this area. There is no telling what will appear, but you can expect to see frolicking seals, soaring eagles and perhaps humpback whales.
If they are present, the whales will no doubt steal the show, especially if they leap from the water and land with a tremendous splash. Scientists think whales breach the water to clean pests from their skin. However, they may do it just for fun.
Another highlight is seeing the whale’s massive tailfin, called a fluke, rise out of the water, so keep your camera ready. A humpback whale weighs as much as 40 tons and grows up to 60 feet in length, so if one’s in the area, it will be easy to spot. After approximately 90-minutes cruising the waters, you will head back to the pier.

He was back at 7:30 and we ordered dinner from room service.
It was then off to the night’s show: “Cirque L’Amour”, a show which we have never seen. It was quite good. Probably the best of the Regent shows we have seen.
A bit of gambling followed.
We received a note in our daily "Passages" that the internet service onboard will probably not work until we get to Reykjavik. Supposedly the antenna has been trying to find the satellite and since it can't seem to find it, now has a mechanical problem that a technician has to fix. What we can't figure is that we are still getting our daily newspaper (which has to come from a satellite system). Just saying.

July 7- Paaamiut, Greenland

I awoke at 6:30 and stayed in bed until 7:30. Got Matt up at 8 and we had breakfast.
The ship anchored off Paamiut at 9:30, and we saw how small the town is, so we decided to go ashore and visit before lunch. We tendered to their pier (a 15 minute ride) and arrived at 10. We walked around the town. Really not much to see. They do have a cute church and a museum and we found the "gift shop".
We left Paamiut at 11 and had lunch in La Veranda on the ship.
Back in our cabin, at 1:15, the internet started to work, so we jumped on and got our e-mail and uploaded our photo/log files. Grab it while you can.
The sun came out in the late afternoon and I could not believe that there were 3 people swimming in the pool. It still is only in the 50 degree range here and the pool is not heated.
Dinner this evening was in Compass Rose, then onto the casino, where we broke even.
Matt went to the "Opera Girls" second show while I worked on the computer.

July 8 – Qaqortoq, Greenland

It was up early this morning with a 7:45, 1 ½ hour “Walking Tour of Qaqortoq”:

Get an up-close view of charming Qaqortoq by walking around the town center, a historic area graced by colonial homes, government buildings and dozens of curious rock sculptures.
Begin your guided walking tour right from the tender pier and enjoy the scenery as Qaqortoq unfolds before you. Although it's South Greenland's largest city, Qaqortoq is still wonderfully charming as its population is only about 3,200. The name means "The White," a reference to the icy glaciers and fjords around the city. Nevertheless, during the time of your visit, the surrounding land will be a blanket of green, and the town's flower and vegetable gardens should be flourishing.
Walking through town, you'll notice numerous stone sculptures, some of them large and freestanding, others carved right into the bedrock. They're part of a project called Stone and Man, primarily created by local artists as an expression of the South Greenland culture and history, which dates back to 2,500 BCE, when the Paleo-Eskimo Saqqaq people lived here. It wasn't until 1775 though that Qaqortoq was founded, around an area where the oldest fountain in Greenland now stands in a small square.
Other landmarks of historical interest are Qaqortoq's oldest church and an Inuit sod house that was a typical Greenlandic dwelling in the first half of the 20th century. You'll also have the opportunity to see the local fish market, where freshly caught fish are displayed side by side with seal and whale meat.
Following your guided tour, you can walk back to the pier, or stay behind and further enjoy the town at your leisure.

Even though this town is twice the size of Paamiut, there is still not much to see. The walk consisted of 2 streets (the main part of the city). There is no internet available to the general public anywhere in town, so after our tour, we visited the souvenir shop and then headed back to the tender for the ride back to the ship. We were back aboard at 9:45.
Internet service came up for a bit, so we uploaded what we could and get our e-mail. By then it was time for lunch in La Veranda.
Afterwards, Matt watched a movie and napped while I listened to a podcast on the pool deck that I had uploaded last week.
We raised anchor and were off for Iceland at 2:30.
At 3:30, I went down to the casino and played slots (table games do not open until 8) and did quite well on the 3 machines I played. Will at least cover tonight.
Dinner at Compass Rose and playing in the casino rounded out the evening.
Clocks go one hour ahead tonight.

July 9 – Sea Day

I was up at 7, and I got Matt up at 8:30. I was expecting to see his name on the TV when they do the "Happy Birthday" screen, but it was not there, even though I filled out a form letting them know it was his birthday WAY before we left home.
Anyway, when the Butler came in to pick up our laundry (while Matt was still sleeping), I let him know it was Matt's Birthday. While we were at breakfast, he decorated the room. Nice surprise for Matt when we got back to the room.
We played Bingo and did not win. I was 1 number away on the last game. Tomorrow, the final game will be worth over $1,000 and someone has to win it.
We had a nice lunch in La Veranda before just relaxing in the afternoon.
The seas began getting a bit rough late afternoon.
Dinner tonight was at Prime 7 to celebrate Matt's birthday. I made sure they had a "cake" for him. It was a cheesecake. I did not know they were going to sing. I know he hates that. Oh well.
By the end of dinner, the ship was really rocking and bumping, but calmed down a bit by 11:00. The production show for the evening had to be cancelled.
We went gambling and Matt went up to the room. He came back down with a letter from Destinations that had our disembarkation letter and luggage tags in it. The problem is...we are staying on for another leg of the cruise. The same thing happened to 2 other passengers in Dublin, who were staying on this segment, so it seems to be a regular problem. You can bet that Matt will be at the Destinations desk when they open at 9 tomorrow morning.
Clocks pushed ahead another hour tonight, bringing us back to 7 hours ahead of home.
Found out that only 50 passengers will be going through to Denmark.

July 10 – Rekjavik, Iceland - Day 1

The waves remained rough all night. Did not calm down until mid-morning.

I got up at 8 and at 9 went down to Destination Services and they said that they did, indeed, make a mistake and that we can stay aboard.
Got Matt up at 10 and then went down to the casino and then met up with Matt for Bingo at 11.
In the middle of the games, the Captain came on the speaker system to say that we were going to be 2 hours late getting into Rekjavik and that all of the excursions would be adjusted. Ours was scheduled for 4:15 and has been moved to 6:15 and will be modified so that we can be back on the ship at a reasonable time (it was originally at 7 hour tour).
Bingo resumed and Matt was one number away from the jackpot for several numbers. It did not come up and we did not win.
Lunch was at La Veranda, then back to our room where Matt watched a movie and I napped.
We docked in Rejavik at 6, and then it was off  for our
"The Golden Circle" tour. It was originally described:

This classic Reykjavik excursion encompasses the "Big Three" geysers of Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir. They are collectively known as the Golden Circle and provide a look at some of the scenic wonders for which Iceland is justly renowned.
Upon leaving Reykjavik, you will head across vast lava fields to the hot spring community of Hveragerdi where geothermal water has been used to build up an extensive greenhouse industry. Continuing on, you will pass through the fertile farmland off Iceland's south, to the Gullfoss waterfall, reportedly Iceland's most beautiful. Following a stop at the falls, you will re-board your coach and make the short journey to Haukadalur, where a stop is made at the Geysir geothermal area with its multitude of hot springs. The most active one, Strokkur, spouts every few minutes.
Before heading back to Reykjavik, you will be treated to a buffet dinner at a local restaurant and then it's on to your final stop at the Thingvellir National Park. This wonderful Park is a UNESCO site as well as a place of tremendous interest as a primary location of both Iceland's geological and historical heritage.

This was a very nice tour with a drive through the park (no stops), dinner (they did do a chicken dish for me), a visit to the Geysir in Haukadalur and then to Gullfoss waterfall.
The tour ended at 1:15AM and we stayed up to get the photos ready and to post them, then to bed at 2:00 AM.

July 11 – Rekjavik, Iceland - Day 2

I was up at 8, got Matt up at 9 and I went to breakfast in La Veranda. I always like changeover days between 9AM and noon. The only people on the ship are the crew and the 50 passengers that are continuing through. Only 4 other tables in La Veranda were being used.
We got our tickets for excursions for the next leg and there was only one mistake...2 excursions booked on the same day...instead of being morning/afternoon were both scheduled at the same time. Went to Destination Services when they opened and got that fixed.
Matt took the 10:00 shuttle into town to do some shopping/investigating while I stayed on the ship and enjoyed the quiet.
I had lunch in La Veranda when it opened at 12 to beat the new people coming aboard. I then went up to the pool deck and laid out for a bit. Noticed a LOT of kids coming on board for this segment. Hope this goes well.
The internet started coming up at 1:30, so uploading took place. The speed is good right now, but the Internet Director has concerns about several of the areas we are going to, especially Norway. Wish us luck on this.
Matt returned at 2:30. He had lunch in town.
We hung out in our room for until the 5:15 lifeboat drill. Glad we don't have to go through that whole process again.
Dinner in Compass Rose (back to Menu #1) and a visit to the casino (where Matt did well) rounded out the evening.
It still has yet to get dark overnight.

We next will be returning to 3 of the ports that we visited coming up this way. That all begins tomorrow.

July 12 – Isafjordur

Up at 6:45 to get ready for our 8:15, 3 hour “Life and Culture of Isafjordur” tour:

This tour focuses on the natural beauty of the West fjords while giving insight into the sometimes challenging past of those who have chosen to make this sometimes harsh landscape their home.
Starting off from the pier, you will first drive through the center of Isafjordur along the Oshlid Road, before heading towards Bolungarvik. Just outside of Bolungarvik, a stop will be made at the outdoor exhibit of Osvor, an old fisherman's hut that was restored in 1988. The hut is a perfect example of how life was for the local fishermen in the beginning of the 20th century. Following your visit, you will continue on to Bolungarvik for a tour through the village.
Leaving Bolungarvik behind, your coach will head back to Isafjordur, taking a breathtaking scenic route that provides picturesque views of the magnificent mountains of the Djup, the largest fjord in West Fjords and the Buna River. A stop will be made at the waterfall in Tunguskogur, where you will have the opportunity to taste the fresh, clear mountain water that flows down the stream.
Arriving back in Isafjordur, a panoramic drive through the old streets brings you to the Maritime and Folk Museum. Situated in one of the oldest and most well-preserved houses in Isafjordur, the Museum has an excellent collection of items related mainly to the area's maritime history as well as a large accordion collection.
At the conclusion of your museum visit, you will re-join your coach for the short transfer back to the pier.

We did this tour backwards. Matt tried the fermented whale meat at the museum. It stinks and he said it tasted like bleu cheese. We had seen it on the Food Network, so Matt was really interested in getting a taste. At Osvor, the “guide” looked the the Gortons Fisherman. He was in a traditional fishing outfit made of 11 lamb skins (see photo page).
Back to the ship at 11:15. Time to grab a quick snack at the pool deck (where it was very cold) and off quickly to our 2nd tour of the day, the 3 hour, 12:15, “Fjords and Flowers”:

Enjoy meeting with the locals and catching a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in small Icelandic fishing towns during this delightful tour that focuses on nature and traditional village life.
Your tour begins with a beautiful breathtaking drive through the mountains of the West Fjords, where you will see the region's typical harsh landscape that includes narrow passages across sharp mountain ridges, deep, sheltered fjords where farms and villages huddle on narrow strips of land. After a drive of approximately 45-minutes, you will arrive at Skrudur, the first botanical garden of Iceland that was founded in 1909. The Garden was conceived by the former minister and principal of Nupur, who is also known as the cultivation pioneer of Iceland. He amazed people by growing plants and vegetables that no one would ever imagine could be grown so far north.
From Skrudur, your tour continues on to Flateyri. Located on gravel spit land, the village was established around shark fishing in the mid 19th century. Here, you will visit a small, but intimate church, typical for the smaller villages in Iceland and be treated to an Icelandic music program. Leaving the church, it's a guided leisurely stroll down the small main street of Flateyri where you will pay a visit to the old bookstore and the merchant's home, where it seems that time stands still. Inside, you will find an exhibition reflecting the history of Flateyri
Continuing your walk towards the next building, you will have a chance to observe the women in town making pieces of art in their handcraft workshop and then enjoy a coffee break and chat with the locals.
Following your time in Flateyri, rejoin your coach for the transfer back to the pier in Isafjordur.

Another nice tour. The botanical garden was very small, but well kept. When we got to the town of Flateyri (population 250), we were given coffee with doughnuts and a small waffle. After, instead of going to the church right away with the group, Matt and I decided to visit “Dellusafnid”, the Nonsense Museum. It had a lot of little collections: sugar cubes, pens, bottle caps, toy trucks and our favorite, a collection of small monkey items. We also checked out the “bookstore” where they sell books by the weight, not by the particular book.
Upon return to the ship at 3:30, we once again had "Arctic Circle Crossing" certificates on our beds. I had the last ones stamped and signed by the Captain (as I have done with the Equator Crossing Certificates), so did not need to do that with these. The Cruise Director said that they will do the celebration later in the cruise.
The ship left port at 6:00.
Dinner tonight was in Sette Mari, followed by our traditional visit to the casino, thus skipping the Broadway Production show, as we had seen that already. 
As a side note, we will be traveling a total of 2,251 miles on this final leg of the cruise.

July 13 - Akureyri, Iceland

Up at 7:20 for our 8:50, 8 hour tour "Jewels of the North":

Impossibly beautiful, Iceland flaunts its extraordinary natural attractions on this enchanting tour of a legendary waterfall, ancient craters and bizarrely shaped lava castles.
Your tour commences from the pier with a scenic drive along the coastline of Eyjarfjordur, Iceland's longest and perhaps most spectacular fjord. Looking back, you'll have an excellent view of Akureyri, which nestles at the very end of the waterway. Further ahead lies Fnjoskardalur, a pristine valley that clearly shows evidence of its ancient glacial formation.
Your first stop is thundering Godafoss, an Icelandic word meaning "Waterfall of the Gods." The name refers to an event that supposedly occurred 1,000 years ago when an Icelandic chieftain threw statues of the Norse gods into the water to symbolically demonstrate Iceland's conversion to Christianity. Whether the legend is true or not, it's quite a sight to behold the Skjalfandafljot River cascade over the horseshoe-shaped cliff and plummet into the roiling tempest below.
But Godafoss only touches upon the natural wonders that await you, which include the volcanically formed craters at Skutustadir, location of your next stop. From here, you'll travel to a nearby lunch venue. Following a hearty lunch, you'll re-board your coach and drive to an even larger collection of imaginative lava formations found at Dimmuborgir. Created more than 2,000 years ago, the area is full of hardened lava lakes, natural arches and craggy grottoes.
Your final stop before returning to the pier will be at Namaskard, a barren field of gurgling sulfur cauldrons and boiling mud pits that afford you a look at Iceland's geothermal activity.

You may recall that we visited Godafoss waterfall during our last visit here on the 2nd. We then went to the gnat infested Lake Meva. We all looked like we were having seizures as we were swatting away the gnats. They were thick. Next was lunch. Matt worked with the Destinations Department WAY before this excursion to make sure that I did not have to miss out on part of the lunch by having them order me a "meat" dish instead of a "fish" dish. I got chicken fingers. That was just fine with me. The lava formations were fun to look at and the sulfur cauldrons were great to see, but overly stinky.
We got back to the ship at 5:00, then it was time for the Block Party for this segment, followed by dinner in Compass Rose followed by our casino visit.
We turned our clocks ahead one hour again, bringing us to 8 hours ahead of home. We will have one more time change on the cruise.

July 14 - Sea Day

I awoke at 7:30 to the sound of the ships horn. Yep, it was foggy again. Went to the Coffee area to get a bowl of cereal and orange juice, then went up to the observation lounge to check e-mail. The fog broke at 9:30 and it was sunny...but still quite cold.
Went down and woke up Matt and we went to play Rummikub while the room was being made up.
We decided since we were not going to buy anything on the ship or play Bingo on this leg, that we would now get the cash back for our onboard credit. That only took a few minutes, so it was back to the room where Matt did some laundry himself. I checked out the "Blue Nose" ceremony. Quite a line to participate. Glad I did it the first time.
We then had lunch in La Veranda, then I went down to the Casino for a bit of playing, while Matt spent the afternoon watching movies in the room.
I went to the Seven Seas Society cocktail party and then joined Matt for dinner in the Compass Rose.
Of the 700 passengers aboard, 551 have sailed with Regent before.
36 are Bronze members, 372 Silver, 106 Gold, 31 Platinum (including us) and 6 Titanium.
We followed that with some casino time to finish the evening. While we were there, one of the passengers we have met got a 5 card straight flush playing the 6 card bonus on 3 card poker. Her extra $5 bet paid off $1,000.
We received our disembarkation questionnaire (asking how much luggage we will have, etc).

July 15 - Torshavn, Faroe Islands, Denmark

This is the last of the repeat stops on the cruise.
Up at 6:30 for our 8:20, 4 hour excursion: "Vestmanna Sea Cliffs":

Experience the seaside splendor of the Faroes during this unique boat ride to the bird cliffs of Vestmanna.
Depart the pier for the drive to the village of Vestmanna, where you will embark your tour boat and sail out to the bird cliffs. Upon arrival, you will hear the sounds of many sea birds and will also see the changing colors of the sea, weather-beaten cliff formations and the sky touching the peak of the mountain. You will then sail along the cliff wall into a narrow gorge, where sheer rock walls on both sides rise vertically toward the sky and sheep can be seen grazing on the very top of the cliffs.
As the boat slowly enters one of the many grottos, daylight will momentarily disappear. Darkness and the sound of dripping water will surround you, and suddenly, you will emerge on the other side. The boat will make a brief stop for you to take in spectacular vistas and photo opportunities.
Following your boat trip, you will re-board your coach for the return drive to the pier in Tórshavn Harbor. En route, a brief stop will be made at a viewpoint overlooking the capital.

This was a great tour. We boarded the boat and he stayed VERY close to the cliffs. We had to wear hardhats when we were on the deck, as the cliffs could drop a rock. Although it was just a tiny bit drizzly, we saw the goats and puffins.
It started to mist on our way back to the ship and we were back aboard by 12:30.
We had lunch in La Veranda and although we had planned to go back and walk the city again, the rain picked up and we decided to stay aboard.
Matt watched 2 movies in the afternoon and I napped a bit.
As we left Torshavn at 5, the seas started getting rough. The production show was postponed until another evening.
Dinner in Compass Rose and gambling completed the evening.

July 16 - Lerwick, UK / Sea Day

We got up at 6:45, had breakfast and the ship anchored. A bit later, we noticed that the ship was moving. The Captain made the announcement that the stop in Lerwick has been cancelled (because of the high winds, he is unable to keep things steady while anchored) and we are now heading to Norway. That meant that our two tours,  "Walking Tour of Lerwick" and "Shetland Ponies and Scalloway Castle" will not happen. Matt is very sad that we do not get to play with the Shetland Ponies. So, today was another Sea Day.
The Captain gave an update stating that he was avoiding gale force winds by leaving the Lerwick area. Those winds were predicted at noon and that we would not have been able to tender ashore. He later came on and told us that we will arrive in Alesund, Norway tomorrow 4 hours early. Our tour, which begins at 2:05 will not be changed. If it is a nice day, we will probably go out into the city in the morning.
Matt napped the rest of the morning.
We had lunch in La Veranda, then played Rummikub, and then to the casino, where we both did well.
By mid-afternoon, the Captain had slowed the ship WAY down. Even though we arrive at 8 tomorrow morning, by skipping Lerwick, he has 5 extra hours to get to Norway.
Back to the room for a bit before dinner in Sette Mari and back to the casino.
We turn our clocks ahead one hour again tonight (for the last time) to be 9 hours ahead of home.

July 17- Alesund, Norway

The ship arrived in port at 8 just as we were getting up. We had breakfast up in La Veranda before going out to see the city on our own.
We came back to the ship and used the port's internet to update things, then lunch in La Veranda.
Our 2:05, 3 hour tour is “Atlantic Ocean Park”:

Discover the marine life of Norway during this tour of the exceptional Atlantic Ocean Park in Ålesund.
From the pier you will travel by coach to the Atlantic Ocean Park, a unique aquarium in a picturesque setting looking out towards Breisundet, the wide sound surrounded by islands. Tanks have been built to resemble the coastal environments of the area, with the largest tank containing more than one million gallons of seawater. Guests can view the marine life through an acrylic panel that is almost 60 feet long, 13 feet high and 10 inches think. The Park also features an outdoor pool teeming with penguins and local seals make this their destination for regular feedings.
During the drive back to Ålesund, you will have the opportunity to study some of the fine details of Art Nouveau architecture before heading up to Mount Aksla. Here a brief photo stop will be made to take in the spectacular view towards the ocean and the many islands that are spread out like gems upon the sea. After a short drive through the streets of Ålesund, the largest town on the Northwest coast, you will arrive back at the pier where your tour concludes.

The aquarium was very nice and it was fun to see the penguins. Our guide, who usually does tours with Spanish speaking people, did ok, but was not the greatest. When we finished going up the hill and viewing the city (it was drizzling), he offered to let people off at the ship before continuing the city tour. Most got off the bus, as we did, as we had already walked the city.
We were back aboard at 4:15 and worked on our photos until dinner time in the Compass Rose.
The ship set sail just before 8:00 and we went down to the casino at 9.

July 18 - Bergen, Norway

It was up at 7:30, breakfast in the room before our 9:20, 4 hour "Troldhaugen, Mount Floyen and Funicular" tour:

Enjoy the beauty of historic Bergen during this tour of the city, and a funicular ride up scenic Mount Floyen. Founded in 1066, Bergen was Norway's largest center for commerce and shipping until the 1830s, and home to the overseas trading offices of Hanseatic merchants for several centuries.
Your tour begins with a drive along Bryggen and the Hanseatic Pier, and the old wooden warehouses from the Hanseatic period. Continuing on through the city, you will make your way to the suburbs and Troldhaugen, the former home of Composer Edvard Grieg which lies near Nordasvannet. Grieg composed many of his most famous works at Troldhaugen and is buried there with his wife Nina. During your visit, you will have the chance to look at the villa, which stands exactly as it did in Edvard Grieg's days, and time-permitting, perhaps a stroll in the garden where you will find his studio.
From here, you will transfer to the funicular station where you will be treated to a scenic, 8-minute ride up Mount Floyen. The funicular will take you safely to the top of the mountain, which rises over 1,000 feet above sea level. From the top, you'll enjoy magnificent views of Bergen and the surrounding area. After a brief visit, you will travel back down in the funicular and re-board your coach for the short drive back to the pier.

The summer home of Edvard Grieg was very interesting. Just wish I knew more about him. Our guide did play a bit of his music on the bus. I only remember the one song that I used to play on the player piano.
The line for the funicular was long, even though our guide did his best to get us in front of some people. The view from the top was amazing. More than half of the bus decided that once we got to the bottom that they were going to walk back to the town and do shopping. We stayed on the bus and took the ride back to the ship.
The only problem with the tours today is that there were 5 cruise ships in town and everything was a bit crowded. I was getting that closed in feeling by the end of the funicular ride.
We were back on the ship at 1:30 and had just enough time to have lunch in La Veranda before it closed. Then it was up to the room to edit the photos.
We went to the special Gold/Silver/Platinum member event, a Norwegian Folklore Show with 6 young performers. They did a very nice job, but it seems that Norwegian songs and dance are very repetitive
We followed that with a nice steak dinner in Prime 7.
The ship left port right before 9 and Matt stayed in the room to watch a movie while I went gambling.

July 19 - Stavanger, Norway

I awoke at 7, the ship docked at 8 and Matt got up at 8:30 and we went up to La Veranda for breakfast.
This is one of the few ports where we did not pick any of the offered excursions, so at 10, we went out to walk the town on our own. It was sprinkling lightly, the let up for most of our walk. The port side of city has all white houses on a small hill with cobblestone streets. We walked the seaside promenade and over to the church and the main shopping district. There are a ton of pubs and restaurants here. They are also setting up for a large food festival with a lot of tents being set up all along the seaside. The festival starts tomorrow (of course) and runs through the weekend.
We came back to the ship in time for lunch at La Veranda (can't miss a meal, you know) and then went back to the room to process our photos.
I went down to the Cruise Consultant's office to see if any other cabins opened up for our upcoming Singapore to Sydney cruise as we are currently booked for a cabin on the 10th deck, right under the La Veranda Restaurant. There was one that had opened up on the 9th directly under the one we had booked, so we changed our cabin for that cruise.
We just hung out in the room until dinner time (at Compass Rose) and then to the casino where we did quite well.

July 20 - Kristiansaand, Norway

We awoke at 7:00 and it was sunny! Our first tour of the day was an 8:45, 3 hour tour, "Hollen and Sogne and Open Air Museum":

Experience Kristiansand and the charming Vest-Agder Open Air Museum on this half-day tour.
Departing the pier by coach, you will begin with a scenic drive through the city center of Kristiansand. This capital of the South was founded in the 17th century by King Christian IV, King of Denmark and Norway and the old town center is a good representation of the city's character. Along your route, you will marvel at the strict right-angled streets and typical architecture, which combines charming wooden houses and thoroughly modern buildings.
Your first stop is at the fascinating Vest-Agder Open Air Museum, where you can see approximately 30 homes that were relocated to the grounds of the Museum. The Museum has been strategically divided into four sections so that visitors can gain a good insight into the various districts of the county. During your guided visit, special attention will be given to a variety of old farmhouses from the Stesdal area, as well as the 11 homes located on Bygaden, the town street.
Re-boarding your coach, you will next travel to Sogne, where you will enjoy a walk through Hollen, also known as the fishermen's street. Following your stroll, you will have the opportunity to visit the Sogne Old Church, where the interior is richly adorned with renaissance decorations that date from the 17th century, as well as baroque paintings from the 18th century.
Next, travel along the coastal road as you make your way back to the pier, taking advantage of the chance to admire the idyllic local summer-houses, where many Norwegian families spend their vacations.

This was a nice relaxing tour and it was nice not to have to wear a jacket. The open air museum was interesting to see and there were some cute looking houses from the 1700's. The church was not that special, nor was seeing Hollen. It was mainly a vacation town.
We got back to the ship at noon and had a quick lunch at the pool deck. I then went out on the pool deck and laid out in the sun for a few hours.
I had decided yesterday to cancel the 2nd tour of the day, but it is of interest to Matt, so he went. It was the 2:05, 3 hour tour, "Setesdal Mineral Park":

Marvel at nature's creations of precious minerals in this tour that visits the unique Setesdal Mineral Park.
Kristiansand is the most important town in the south of Norway, founded in the 17th century by King Christian IV, King of Denmark and Norway. Your tour begins with a drive through the city center, which will give you the opportunity to marvel at the unique layout of the Quadrature, the name given the town center because of its right-angled streets, as well as viewing the many charming, typical white wooden houses that can be seen in this area.
Leaving the city behind, you will head north towards Evje, which lies at the entrance of the Setesdal valley. During your approximately 1-hour drive, you will be treated to views of the beautiful scenery, wood clad hills, small lakes and farmland that is typical to the area. At the end of your drive, you will find yourself in Hornnes, where the Setesdal Mineral Park is located. This bedrock in Southern Norway consists of an impressive array of over 100 different minerals. The Park is situated in a lovely setting on a peninsula at the river Otra, and has a unique tunnel scheme to display the many minerals found in the area, such as amethyst, topaz, and rock crystal. The tunnels have been opened to house a large museum with various exhibitions of the minerals. In order to maintain proper humidity and temperature levels and to not damage the minerals, the museum is kept at a constant temperature of 66 degrees  throughout the year.
Enjoy time to stroll through the park and admire the exhibitions inside the museum before rejoining your coach for the drive back to the pier in Kristiansand, where your tour concludes.

Matt said that the bus ride was long, it was hard to hear the guide and that there were not a lot of minerals to see. He was back at 5:00. We had dinner in Compass Rose and then went to the casino. Not the most exciting day.

July 21 - Oslo, Norway

Overnight was one of those nights where you forget you are on the ship, as the seas were so calm.
Awoke at 6:30, and the ship came into port at 8. Our cabin faces Akershus Fortress, which can be seen way in the back of the famous painting 'The Scream". We had breakfast in the room and then were ready for our 4 hour, 8:20, "Oslo Highlights and Sculpture Park" tour:

Your tour begins with a scenic drive through the Akershus Fortress area, passing the Parliament, the National Theater, the Royal Residence and the suburban villa area of Holmenkollem Hills.
Arriving at the Vigeland Sculpture Park, you can see many of the 200 sculptures that are arranged over the Park's 80 acres, all created by Gustav Vigeland. Making the sculptures even more interesting is that the artist never explained his works, leaving the interpretation to each beholder.
Returning towards the town center you'll pass the busy "Bokstadveien" with its many shops, the Royal Park, the House of Artists and the market square where you will also find Oslo Cathedral which was built in 1697. Your tour also includes a visit to the city hall. Other sites you will see are the Central Railway station and the tallest building in the city, hotel Oslo Plaza.
Your tour will conclude with a scenic drive along the shoreline bringing you back to the pier.

We had a very good tour guide on this excursion. He described all of the major works in the Sculpture Park and descried Vigeland's view on the "Circle of Life". At City Hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize is given each year, he described all of the murals on the walls, which follow the history of Oslo.
We arrived back at the ship at 12:30 and had lunch at the Pool. I then packed a bit and then went out by the pool while Matt worked on his photos and then did a bit of packing.
Our dinner this evening was at Prime 7, followed by a bit of gambling and then watching "Come Sail Away", the last of the Production Company shows. It was a tribute to the 70's.

July 22 -Skagen, Denmark (pronounced Skain)

This is our last full day aboard the ship. We awoke at 7:30, had breakfast in our cabin before our 9 AM, 6 hour tour, "Saeby and Voergaard Castle”:

Visit a beautiful but notorious Renaissance castle in the countryside and the seaside village of Saeby, whose old quarter dates to the 1500s.
After departing from the pier, you will settle in for a leisurely drive south, following the gorgeous coastline until turning inland to Voergaard Castle. Widely considered Denmark’s most beautiful Renaissance castle, the red-bricked landmark sits behind a wide moat.
While touring the interior, you will hear numerous tales of cruelty that took place here, including the legend of owner Ingeborg Skeel, who murdered the castle’s architect and now haunts the grounds. Other attractions include the cramped dungeon where prisoners wasted away and a bloodstain that reappears no matter how many times it’s sanded off the floor.
Despite the horrors, Voergaard holds one of the country’s finest private art collections. You might see Napoleon’s dinner service, Marie Antoinette’s personal effects, Ming vases and paintings by Rubens, Raphael and El Greco. In the unusual gold room, the walls are covered with leather wallpaper made from the skins of wild boar shot nearby in the mid-1700s.
Following your castle visit, you will drive back to the coast and to the market town of Saeby. While visiting its revered St. Mary’s Church, be sure to notice the 16th-century frescoes that depict the story of the Virgin Mary’s parents. You will also have time to explore attractions in the oldest section of town such as a hospital and poorhouse from the 1500s. Then, following free time in Saeby to grab a bite to eat, you will rejoin your coach and return to the pier in Skagen.

This was a nice excursion. The Castle was one of the best we have seen with all furniture, paintings and tapestries. Our guide did a nice job of describing the many items. There was also a "Middle Age" Fair going on outside. The Fair only happens one week each year, and we were lucky enough to be there for it. Very much like the Renaissance Fair at home.
Saeby was like a Monterey of the area. A seaside community and shopping district. We had time for sandwiches for lunch here.
We were back on the ship by 3:30. We did our photos, continued packing, got our trinkets for our Rewards Points (from playing Bingo last segment...3 Long Sleeve Black T-shirts), went to dinner in Compass Rose and finished by gambling.
Bags out at 11:00.

Can't wait to be back aboard the Voyager in December. Now for 2 days in Copenhagen!

July 23 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Day 1

We were up at 6:45, out of the room at 7:45 with breakfast in La Veranda before going to the Theater and waiting for our color and number to be called to disembark the ship and get on the bus to our hotel. That happened at 9:00 and we were at the hotel at 9:15. Check-in would not take place until mid-afternoon, so we went on a walk that I had mapped out before we left for the cruise. It included visiting Christiansborg Palace, seeing Amalienborg...home to the Danish Royal Family, out to the Little Mermaid statue, back to Rosenborg Castle Gardens, on to Stroget Street...the longest and most popular pedestrian shopping street, then to the Hans Christian Anderson Statue, back to the hotel.
We got back shortly after 3 and we were able to check in. We rested for a bit before heading over to Tivoli Gardens for dinner and an evening of entertainment. The park sure has changed since I was last here in 1973, but still a beautiful park. The park opened in 1843 and is the world's second oldest amusement park. We rode on the old rollercoaster built in 1914 (Santa Cruz' coaster was built in 1924). This one still has to have an operator aboard who pulls a handbrake to start and stop it.
We were back in the hotel at about 9:30 PM and, as our room faces Tivoli and we are only about a half mile away, we were able to watch the great 11:45 fireworks display. They spare no expense on those!

July 24 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Day 2

I was up at 7:30, got Matt up at 8:30. We went downstairs for the buffet breakfast here at the hotel. We had decided to do the "Hop On/Hop Off" bus and take 2 of the routes to view parts of the city that we had not seen.
We finished around 1:00 and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe near Tivoli. We then walked back to the hotel and rested up.
Late afternoon, we took a 30 minute walk along the waterway to the shopping mall and back...just to get some exercise.
We returned to our hotel shortly after 6 and had dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Back to the room to pack everything up for the flight tomorrow.

July 25 - Going Home

We were up at 5:30 and our private van was waiting for us at 6:45. It was nice to be the only ones going to the airport at that time. We arrived and after checking in, went to the lounge and had juice and toast before our 9:50 flight from Copenhagen to Zurich on Swissair. It was a 2 hour flight, and other than serving a light breakfast, their Business Class is no different from their coach seats.
We arrived at Terminal A and our flight to San Francisco, also on Swissair, was out of Terminal E. It is quite a walk first to the end of Terminal A to the tram to Terminal E, then from the tram there to the gate we were to go out of. We also had to go through 2 passport checks. We arrived at our gate 10 minutes before our boarding (not flight) time, so that worked out nicely.
We had our 12 hour flight to San Francisco. Swissair Business Class on this leg was good. Lunch, a mid-flight ice cream snack, a small sandwich holdover, then a salad 2 hour before landing.
We were in San Francisco shortly after 4PM and got through Customs quickly and got our bags and called Eric at Vintage Limo to get us in their SUV. Traffic was VERY heavy out of San Francisco, so we did not get home until 6:45.
We got through the mail and then Lucy and Mama were delivered to us, so we had some time to love on them before calling it a night.
It was a great trip and we are looking forward to our next one in December.