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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
June 19, 2016 - La Verdon and
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Dinner was in Compass Rose followed by the Casino.
We turn back the clock an hour again tonight, giving us an extra hour of
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
Irish history and tradition are yours to discover
during this intimate orientation tour of Cork City, and a visit to Blarney
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
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
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"
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
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
Drive to the City Center, view the Book of Kells,
Panoramic tour with photo stops and visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Return
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
We turn our clocks back an hour again tonight, so we are now 7 hours ahead
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 ship does not get internet here as there are mountains on 3 sides of
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
Matt went to the "Opera Girls" second show while I worked on the computer.
July 8 – Qaqortoq,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
As a side note, we will be traveling a total of 2,251 miles on this final
leg of the cruise.
- 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
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.
- 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
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
We received our disembarkation questionnaire (asking how much luggage we
will have, etc).
- 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
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
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.
- 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
We turn our clocks ahead one hour again tonight (for the last time) to be
9 hours ahead of home.
July 17- Alesund,
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
- 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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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