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  1. Like
    oldbiddy1 got a reaction from cabin boy in P and O cruise overview leaflet   
    Can any members tell me if P&O still send out a brochure giving details and times and costs of excursions together with luggage labels PRIOR to the cruise commencing
  2. Like
    oldbiddy1 reacted to dancefloordemon in Don't believe everything you read on the P&O website   
    I am also on that cruise, although disappointed, it cant be helped!1
    the main reason for my booking on this was Gieranger !! I am so excited and cannot wait
  3. Like
    oldbiddy1 reacted to oldbiddy1 in Excursions on Norwegian Fjord Cruise   
    My husband and I are sailing on Arcadia at the end of May 2016 to Stavanger, Flaam, Alesund, Andalsnes, Trondheim, Geiranger, Olden and Bergen.
    To do one of the ships' excursions at each port would be far too expensive for us pensioners so I would appreciate any advice from the experienced cruisers on this forum site as to which of the above ports/towns we can easily explore on our own please.
    Personal experiences can be more enlightening than the travel pages of brochures I think!
  4. Like
    oldbiddy1 reacted to cruise addict in Flam Railway tour   
    WE too are going to the Norw
    ay at the end of May (P & O Arcadia) The excursions are not yet available to book online but should be available 12 weeks before departure. I know they do have one on the Flam railway and if we do on the train we will book the excursion direct with P & O.
  5. Like
    oldbiddy1 got a reaction from kerry304 in Excursions on Norwegian Fjord Cruise   
    My husband and I are sailing on Arcadia at the end of May 2016 to Stavanger, Flaam, Alesund, Andalsnes, Trondheim, Geiranger, Olden and Bergen.
    To do one of the ships' excursions at each port would be far too expensive for us pensioners so I would appreciate any advice from the experienced cruisers on this forum site as to which of the above ports/towns we can easily explore on our own please.
    Personal experiences can be more enlightening than the travel pages of brochures I think!
  6. Like
    oldbiddy1 reacted to Dennis The Menace in Daily Blog Of Oriana Cruise To The Fjords   
    Well, having asked Admin to provide a "reviews and blogs" section, I guess i should start us off. Hopefully this is the first of many blogs that others will post in the months ahead.
    This is a slightly edited version of my daily blog from last month, that you may have seen posted elsewhere. I hope it's of interest.
    Day 1 - Fjord Focus
    Well, here we are for our 7 day cruise to Norway on the glorious Oriana, and we had a really decent run down to Southampton despite the almost constant rain this morning. In fact, I think we would have made it in record time had we not hit the traffic going to the Southampton Boat Show at the exact second we received a text from a friend at P&O warning us of traffic going to the Southampton Boat Show - doh! But, it wasn't too bad and my only real complaint was the foliage that Southampton Council seem to be growing along the quayside dual carriageway to stop cruisers rubber necking for an early look at the ship they will board minutes later anyway. By bouncing up and down at the wheel however, it was still possible to get a good, if intermittent, view of both the beautiful Oriana (berthed at the Mayflower terminal) and the look of surprise on the face on the white van man driving in the adjacent lane.
    Anyways, we were soon onboard and Mandy my wife was thoroughly enjoying herself unpacking our cases to Downton Abbey repeats on the in-cabin tele. Then, just as I was wondering if she would have been equally content with the Downton DVD box set on the tele at home for a week, my world came crashing down - we've only forgot to pack my undies! Mand's immediate solution is that i should wear her knickers until we can buy me some shreddies in Bergen on Sunday!?! Which obviously sounds a ridiculous option until you realise that, other than going commando, it is the only option. Suffice to say, I will be prising elasticated frilly bits from my mango cheeks for the next 48 hours. i will also be crossing the road VERY carefully in Bergen on Sunday I can assure you.
    I am a little suspicious that Mandy may have just hidden my underwear though, as her "I have a list for every eventuality" approach to life means things are rarely forgotten. She has just also had her nose put out of joint as Domnic, our cabin steward for the second successive cruise (we were in the same cabin in April) gave me a huge bear hug of a greeting, whilst Mandy only got a respectful hand shake. It was quite a touching moment actually, Domnic spotted us walking down the corridor towards him and opened his arms wide in readiness for a hug a good 30 yards before we got to him, and clearly remembered us bless him. i'm sure he was just being respectful as I say, what with Mand being a lady and all, but she didn't even get a peck on the cheek. So I think my absent Calvin Klein's, and the resulting knicker wearing, may just be her playing out some kind of sick revenge on her part. Either way dinner this evening, whilst excellent, felt a little different. A feeling of claustrophobia to strangely specific parts on my undercarriage kind of different. Not surprisingly, I couldn't face the meatballs.
    And on that note, and having barely mentioned cruising at all (will try harder tomorrow I promise), I will bid you all goodnight.
    Day 2 - Fjord One Night Only.
    Twas an early night last night, with us retiring to the cabin straight after a very good first Headliners Show. So, despite the clocks going forward last night, and us therefore losing an hour, we both felt pretty good this morning as we put away a decent late breakfast courtesy of room service. in fact, it was mid-morning before we vacated the cabin to find the atrium full of the lengthy duty free queue taking advantage of this mornings "extra 15% off" offer. That's ok, we've no pressing need for owt so happily went without.
    Weather wise it was dry but very windy today and, although nothing too major movement wise, it's been very much a day to be indoors. The wind is actually a head wind so our arrival in Bergen tomorrow will be delayed until lunch time, which could complicate our plans to meet up with our friends that live there, but I suspect that's partly due to Captain David Pembridge slowing the ship slightly to keep things comfortable for everyone. I've been on ships where he has opted to do that before and, personally, I'm all for it, especially as we have a large number of first timers onboard this cruise.
    For us, I'm glad to say, today was a day just to relax and unwind and, in Mandy's case, that meant mellowing out in the Spa having a full wax and polish (or whatever you girls get done in there). Or at least she did until some numpty left his key card in the cabin and was forced to break two key rules, namely - first rule of Spa day (don't interrupt spa day) and second rule of spa day (don't even think about breaking the first rule of Spa day). Fortunately for me, it was but a brief interlude to her back, sack and crack (?!?), and I made it up to her later on by accompanying her to the movie. It was called Quartet, was very good and full of really decent, mostly elderly, actors few of whom i had seen in quite a while. Indeed, so elderly was the sizeable cast list, it's the only film i've ever seen on a cruise ship where the average age of the actors surpassed that of the audience (just). Good film though and, at 98 minutes, not so long that the wife's knickers you're wearing start to feel like cheese wire.
    Then tonight we had our first formal night, and Captain's Welcome Aboard Party, which was good. There were a few fellas there who's idea of formal wear appears to be just wearing ankle length trousers, but they made an effort I think, and it's good to see demand for patent leather trainers finally taking off. But the main thing is Mandy, who always looks forward to the formal nights, and had had the spa place various fruits and vegetables on her face for a large part of the day in preparation, looked absolutely stunning. I, on the other hand, was about to sink a couple more free drinks that was wise.
    Yes, I'm afraid I may have disgraced myself slightly last night. In my defence, one of the waitresses in the Welcome Aboard Party did ply me with free drinks for 40 solid minutes. It was the same waitress who seemed to think she knew Mandy earlier in the day when she offered to provide her with her "usual" Black Russian at the ungodly hour of 10.00am. Having never had a Black Russian in her life, either socially or alcoholically, Mand thinks it was a case of mistaken identity, but the lady concerned still provided me with both red wine and champers a plenty, so I'm not complaining. That said, Mand whispered in my ear, as early as 7.10pm, that I was slurring my words and I fear I may well have talked complete and utter rubbish from that point onwards. Shame, I used to be able to really drink when I was younger!
    Then, we followed another excellent dinner with a few drinks in Tiffany's. As luck would have it, Claire, the resident pianist we enjoyed so much in April, rejoined Oriana yesterday too, and provided the perfect accompaniment to my alcohol induced progression from tipsy to fairly bladdered. Maybe it's just as well our arrival in Bergen is delayed after all.
    Day 3 - Fjord Old Times Sake
    On our delayed arrival in a dry, but cloudy, Bergen we were immediately met by our friends Jules and Thomas (and their two boys, Marcus and Dominic) and whisked off to their home in a suburb of Bergen for lunch. That meant driving straight up a huge mountain, down the other side and passing fjord after fjord until we got to the particular one on which their house is situated in a place called Lysekloster. It is a truly stunning place to live and we spent a lovely afternoon catching up and feeding our faces in their lovely Nordic style home. So enjoyable was it in fact, and the afternoon shot by so fast, that we came dangerously close to missing Oriana's final boarding time. But we just about made it onboard in time.
    As it happens, we needn't have worried as, on boarding, we were immediately advised that Oriana was now staying in port until 10pm. This was because, rather than sail the regulation minimum 12 miles out to sea tonight, that cruise ships must go in between ports, the Captain had obtained permission from the authorities to take a much shorter, closer to shore route, thus avoiding a nasty overnight storm currently brewing further out. So, a much shorter, and calmer, route for us tonight which also effectively doubled the amount of time we got in port today. I'm not sure many took advantage of that as, by then, the rain had arrived and, for me personally, the excesses of last night were fast catching up with me, but hats off to the Captain again for going above and beyond to ensure the comfort of his passengers.
    The only slight downside of today is that we still haven't seen much of Bergen, and its world heritage site harbour. But our priority on both our visits here now has been to see our friends. We did see bits from the car as we drove by, and both the Bryggen (old harbour) and the King's "castle" looked great in very different ways, but we'll be back for sure. And Jules' suggestion that we do a Bryggen based pub crawl next time, should then tick the tourist box as well as the catching up with old friends one.
    Tomorrow we are in Flam (pronounced Flom) and we have tickets for the highly recommended Flam mountain railway. Sadly, it's predicted to rain until late morning, by which time we should be at the top, so keep your fingers crossed that the rain stops at the right time and we get the full benefit of those amazing views.
    Oh and before I go, you'll be pleased to hear my underwear miraculously appeared today after Mandy "found" my six missing pairs in a, supposedly, previously unchecked pocket of our luggage. Funny that, I could have sworn I checked there!
    Night all.
    Day 4 - Thanks Fjord the Memories
    A wet old day in Flam today but that train ride up the mountain turned out to be the perfect excursion for such a soggy day. Well, ok, we did get wet during the 5 minute walk to and from the railway station, and during the 5 minute stop off half way up at the Kjos Waterfall, but the latter especially was well worth it, totes amaze balls. The rest of the 2 hour journey was spent in the dry and warmth of the our carriage and we saw some stunning sights unimpaired by rain, mist or cloud. It was great, and I've realised I'm really starting to love Norway. It's not that I ever disliked it, just that I'm really warming to the place. In fact, with all the smoked fish and meat balls I've had this cruise, I think I may be turning into a Scandinavian. I'm not quite at the point where i would change my name to Sven, drive a Volvo and wear big, elaborately patterned jumpers made out of Bjorn Borg's beard, but give it time. One things for sure though, that ride up the mountain today was ace.
    The trip back down wasn't quite as enjoyable due to two very loud ladies who decided they would regale the whole carriage with stories of such mind numbing tedium, I was ready to throw myself under the very train we were travelling in. At one point, they announced that the people in the next cabin to them had the temerity to knock on their door last night to ask them to keep their voices down. The irony of our whole carriage, and very possibly the carriages either side of us, hearing every word of this story, such was their decibel level, was totally lost on them. I lasted about a third of the journey down before I tore my excursion ticket in two, screwed the two halves into balls and then, very visibly, shoved one in each ear. It did the trick nicely.
    After a relaxing afternoon onboard, we got ready nice and early for tonight's 70's themed evening and had some pre-dinner drinks in Tiffany's. i'm afraid that, other than my existing 70's style chest hair and medallion, we didn't really look the part dress wise but then few, if anyone else, dressed up either. And the best bit of 70's night by far was a fella called Steve Larkin, who provided us with a brilliant, and very funny, Freddy Mercury tribute act. He was fantastic. Although I hope for his sake those teeth were fake. And then finally, we ended up watching the semi-regular Abba themed show from the Headliners which is always good. A really good day.
    Day 5 - Fjord the Love of God
    A lovely sunny day today in Olden on the beautiful Nordfjord, with temperatures hitting a balmy 16 degrees. Or at least they did at sea level. I can assure you it was a lot cooler than that at the Birksdal Glacier at 9.30am, with a wind so bracing it brought tears to your eyes. Due to my slight mobility issues (and lazy arsed missus) we had opted to do the glacier via a Troll Car. That effectively meant a 15 mile coach drive along the picturesque Nordfjord Valley (which, in itself, was well worth the visit here), a steep and winding 10 minute drive in the Troll Car (basically a 6 man, open topped jeep with just a roll bar to protect you from the elements) and then an even steeper final 15 mins on foot. Other than them both involving mountains, you really couldn't get much different from yesterday's Flam railway excursion, but it was just as enjoyable despite the cold.
    The Troll cars themselves were good fun and, at one point, we crossed a bridge so close to a huge waterfall, that we actually drove through it's freezing spray. And if that didn't wake us up, the wind we encountered shortly afterwards certainly did - whenever we turned in a certain direction, this amazingly strong wind came straight off the glacier and literally took our breath away. We should have guessed really as, whilst we were all dressed in coats and scarves, the Troll Car drivers were dressed for an Arctic Winter. However, we seemed in better nick than the other excursion walking the 45 minutes each way, as some of them were dressed just in jumpers and still had a long trek ahead of them. But it was all worth it, everything looked spectacular and the green and white colouring of the glacier looked almost like a scoop of Mint Swirl ice cream had just been lumped on top of the mountain.
    Alas, almost as soon as we got there, it was time to come back, which is probably just as well as Mandy was rejecting all my invitations to join the Glacier High Club (surely the Nordic equivalent of the Mile High Club). Or at least I think it was Mandy, as all the ladies were feeling the cold so much by this point, that their coats and scarves were covering everything except their eyes. But anyway, someone rejected my advances, and so we trounced back to the coach park cafe for much needed coffee and cake. Our guide, Colleen, then ensured an entertaining and informative coach drive back past some amazing scenery, the higher parts of which had been dusted with the first snow of winter just yesterday. Colleen was great actually. Being Irish born, brought up in New Zealand before marrying a Welshman and living in Olden for 30 years, accent wise she was one hell of a mix, and occasionally sounded like the Swedish chef from the muppets, but a really nice lady.
    After lunch and a snooze we went back ashore to re-explore Olden itself, which didn't seem quite as sleepy as the last time we were here 3 years ago. It is still a stunning mixture of colours and scenery though, with the Nordfjord itself stretching as far as the eye can see, and appearing to be surrounded on all sides by lush green valley and those snow dusted mountain. Not to mention the dozens of gorgeous little wooden houses spread around on all sides. It's a really special place.
    Then tonight it was 60's and 70's theme night. Yes I know, I thought it was last night - which would have made more sense given the entertainment on offer yesterday - but no, it was tonight, and a good number dressed up. There is even talk of a 70's themed party, which sounds good. However, having climbed every bleeding mountain in Norway these last few days ( or that's how it feels), I'm totally knackered and so, after a very brief nightcap , I'm off to bed.
    Stavanger tomorrow. Night all.
    Day 6 - Great Weather Fjord Ducks
    Today we spent a lazy morning in the cabin recovering from yesterday's efforts, and waiting for the rain to stop outside. It gave us a chance to look back at yesterday's photos and marvel again at that glacier. Although my in depth research had involved some pre-cruise documentary watching (Ice Age 2, The Melt Down), I was still surprised by the glacier's vivid green streaks. Apparently that colour can change through the year, often coming through as more of a blue and reflects, I think I'm right in saying, the chemicals and ore within the rock it sits on. It really looked amazing, almost turquoise.
    One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was one of the tunnels we went through during the coach drive to the the troll car pick up point. It was called a Troll Hole and looked to be just a tube-like piece of corrugated iron that ran, for about 500 metres, under a part of the mountain prone to avalanches during the winter. As we approached it, I thought surely we aren't going through that, as well as flimsy it looked tiny. But go through it we did and, with flashbacks going through my head of every tunnel based disaster movie I have ever seen, 30 seconds later we popped out the other end. At which point, I discretely crossed myself and mouthed a silent thank you skywards.
    Anyhoo's, having recharged this morning, we had an early lunch and went ashore to enjoy Stavanger's charms. Our timing was almost perfect as, for the first time today, the rain stopped. Sadly though, the heavens opened an hour later on our way back to the ship with a downpour of biblical proportions. Had we come back 5 minutes earlier we would have been fine. As it was we were soaked through and dripped all the way to the cabin. Before that however, we really enjoyed strolling around the old town's pretty white wooden houses that stretched right down to where a colour co-ordinated Oriana sat towering over them like an ill advised multi storey extension. It made for quite the contrast.
    We also had a stroll around the inside of the cathedral which was much bigger than it looked from the outside. It was built almost entirely from stone and housed the most intricately carved pulpit. It was about 20 feet high and depicted scenes from a 3 foot Samson "holding" the whole thing up, to the Resurrection at the top. For something so ornate and elaborate, and carved in the 1600's, it was in amazing condition. The cathedral is well worth a visit I think and, having got so wet later on, I only wish we had visited it last rather first. But we haven't done too bad this cruise as it's the first time we've been caught in any proper rain - unlike yesterday afternoon's walking excursion to the glacier who all experienced an hour+ of constant and freezing rain - so we shouldn't complain. Also, we did have a chuckle on the way back to the ship when we spotted that the high speed passenger ferry here is called "Fjordfart". And there was me thinking that's what I was doing in Olden yesterday shortly after sinking a Mulligatawny Soup for lunch.
    Then, late this afternoon, as we departed Stavanger, the onboard shops had a 70% off sale. Apparently, despite being sat in the sauna at the time, I was also unknowingly Christmas shopping for my wife! Net result, Mandy now has two new Guess handbags which, I'm told, I knew were perfect for her the moment I didn't see them. I'm just glad she forgot it's her birthday next month!!
    Right, second and final formal night tonight and I still need to remember how to tie my bow tie. Toodles.
    Day 7 - One Fjord The Road
    Due to us seeing the late performance of the show by the brilliant Headliners last night, and my usual fatigue related issues now kicking in big time, we had a lazy lie-in this morning and a late breakfast in Al Fresco. With it being a distinct shade of North Sea grey outside, we quickly fuelled up on a bacon panini each and shot off to the cinema. They were showing a Tom Cruise movie called Oblivion which was very good. It was a bit like Star Wars meets Total Recall (plus 10 minutes of the English Patient), and the best sci-fi movie I've seen in long while. I stayed awake the whole two hours so it must have been good!
    Then after Mandy did some brief packing, I treated her to lunch in the same Peninsular Restaurant we've lunched at every day, because I treat that girl like a Princess. Regretfully, we managed to sit within hearing distance (I.e the opposite side of the restaurant) of those two loud ladies from the Flam train the other day, and it was funny to hear them talking about that very trip. They were saying that, of the 30 of us in the railway carriage, everyone else was just miserable, once again completely missing the fact that they were the cause of that misery. It's said that Norway already has one of the highest suicide rates in Europe, but it came damn close to having 28 more that day. God they were dull. And incredibly loud. And in Flam no one hears you scream (everyone has screwed up excursion tickets in their ears!). Needless to say, of the 6 people sat with them at lunch today, 5 looked as miserable as sin and the other one was face down in plate of satay sauce, presumably in some kind of nut allergy based cry for help. The Jam Roly Poly was nice though :-)
    Then tonight, after a final dinner, and pre/post dinner drinks enjoying pianist Claire in the Crow's Nest, we saw the second of Steve Larkins' (Freddie Mercury) shows, which was great fun again. He really is a showman and clearly passionate about Freddie and Queen. And his delivery is just the right balance of great, Freddie style, vocals and light hearted humour. Mandy especially, really loved it. Oh, and we sat a bit closer to him tonight and can confirm those sizeable teeth are (thankfully) fake, which i guess makes his vocals even more impressive.
    So anyway, I best start summing some of this up. Well, it was our 4th time on Oriana and it was a fantastic cruise once again. People always talk about the great atmosphere on Oriana and they are right. Personally, I put it down to the 'his and hers' bathroom cabinets and the increased marital harmony this results in. I think it just keeps the mystery in a relationship when a fella doesn't have to squeeze his shaving foam into just one tiny shared cabinet already bursting with your wife's cosmetic equivalent of smoke, mirrors and industrial strength trimming devices. Of course there's also a nice mix and layout of bars and restaurants on board, a purpose built cinema and a cracking theatre, but no, mostly it's the bathroom cabinets. She's showing her age now obviously (Oriana not Mandy!), but she's still a lovely ship and always seems to have an excellent crew onboard.
    The food in the restaurants has been excellent too. Mandy's dairy free meals have felt a little more restricted this cruise, but then that often depends on the experience and enthusiasm of the head waiter. But it's still a step up on dietary restricted dining shoreside, and Mand says her main courses in particular have been very good. As far as my own, strictly menu based, meals were concerned, and that of our friends Richard and Joyce, there was barely a course we didn't enjoy. They were not perfect by any means, and decent tasting mushrooms and roast potatoes continue to evade them, but overall it was pretty damn good I think.
    Entertainment wise, we always love the Headliners and these were possibly the best looking troupe we have had, as I struggled with my usual first night policy of mentally selecting the dancer I would most like in my lifeboat - not in sleazy way you understand, just in a 'in the event of global holocaust/future of human race depends on us' kind of way. But this troupe looked so good, and were so talented that even Jamie, one of the three male singers, entered my thinking at one stage. Seriously though, every Headliners show we saw was terrific, especially Reel to Reel (British movie soundtracks). Steve Larkin was equally entertaining and provided a fitting, but funny, tribute to Freddie Mercury.
    In terms of itinerary, it was really enjoyable. Having done a similar cruise 3 years ago, this time round we would ideally have liked to visit Geiranger as well as Flam for the first time. But we got to Flam, and met our two other objectives of going back to stunning Olden, and meeting our friends in Bergen, so we did well I think. We fully expect to be back again, so we'll see Gerainger another time I hope. In fact I would urge everyone to visit the Fjords at least once. Sure, it's unlikely to be bikini weather, and neither will you find offerings from the likes of Michelangelo or Leonardo (or any of the Mutant Ninja Turtles actually), but it's one of the most beautiful places on earth and it's just a day's sail away. If you can tear yourself away from cruising to places like the Med, as we eventually did, then you're in for a treat.
    And on that note, it's God Natt from me and it's God Natt from her.
  7. Like
    oldbiddy1 reacted to Falmouthgirl in Wonderful Wonderful Oriana And Our Cruise To The Arctic Circle..   
    At last my husband was given the all clear enabling us to look for a cruise at last, we decided on the fourteen day cruise to the Arctic circle aboard P&O Oriana, as it was a late booking we had to take the cabin and dining times assigned to us and we were notified by E-Mail that no changes could be made.

    It was a 14 day cruise to the Arctic Circle from Southampton taking in seven ports we had not visited before and duly arrived on board the Oriana on the 11th July, with priority embarkation we were soon through checkout and in the lounge with a glass of champagne and some very nice titbits being offered a couple.. of glasses later we were told our cabin was ready.

    We were allocated an inside cabin on B deck midships [deck 10] the cabin was a large inside twin beds and a large mirror on the wall which made the cabin seem even larger. a settee and table , four large drawers between the beds and a five drawer dressing table with four smaller drawers alongside , a television stood on top with shelves to put bags and hats and any other paraphernalia such as cameras and chargers on it, there was also a hair dryer in the drawer

    A three door wardrobe stood beside it giving us plenty of room for long dresses, suits and shoes the cases went under the bed, the bathroom was the usual shower with curtain washbasin and toilet with plenty of room for toiletries and plenty of light , our cabin was positioned a few cabins from the lift which made us central and made it easy for us to access all the facilities so far so good.

    Our cases appeared promptly and after unpacking we did a tour of the ship before lifeboat drill, I have sailed on the Aurora and had expected her to be very similar although there were some differences , for instance the Crystal pool on Oriana didn't have a roof as does the Aurora but the weather was so good it didn't matter , the prom deck is a wrap around deck which we like, Andersons and Harlequins , the Lords Tavern all on the same deck, Chaplin's cinema the library the casino we explored them all before time for the sailaway a glass of champagne In hand and alongside like minded people we waved Southampton goodbye on our quest to see Norway the trolls and the sprites.

    After we went back to our cabin we found we were allotted freedom dining 6.30 until 9.30pm we usually do fixed dining on a table for 6 to 8 so went down at 8pm and the queue was horrendous everyone had the same idea, we were given pagers and said we would share a table we met two other couples and shared after that we met at 8pm every night and shared , I know it's defeating the object of the exercise of mixing every night with different people
    but we all got on so well and had a wonderful dining experience.

    Our waiters were always spot on and cheerful especially the wine waiter I saw no shortage of them as someone on a previous review had mentioned, there was a great choice on the menu and Salmon, steak and Chicken were always available, the food was hot and delicious not having to wait for veg etc is a bonus a good move on PO's part the same at lunch a good choice and the sweets were mouth watering the service great no complaints on our table.
    We also came down for cream teas cornish cream, scones, teacakes and crumpets, sandwiches and fancies with a choice of teas and served in a china teapot my idea of heaven.

    They have two restaurants with extra charges the Ocean grill and the Italian the Sorrento we all dined there one evening on the open deck at the stern my OH had the steak sizzler on a hot stone it looked like a small Sunday joint he thoroughly enjoyed it I had the wonderful sea bass it has a surcharge of just 5 pounds and well worth a try. the staff were very efficient and pleasant.

    We had 2 days across the North sea the first day was glorious sunshine where we took to sunbathing on the back terraces and swimming a couple of quizzes and line dancing, time then for the Captains gala night, we were up in the Crows nest mingling a glass or two in our hands and the Captain made his speech, his name was Captain Ashley Cooke and he told some great jokes one about married life being a game of cards it starts of with hearts and diamonds and ends up with clubs and spades....
    Also we would now be able to say we went to the Arctic with Captain Cooke..

    Our first Port was Olden we moored alongside and took ourselves off on a glacier bus which took us up some mountains where there was snow still on them and some pretty villages and then we walked around the town a very small but pretty community very lonely in the winter I should image.

    The second port and was named Andalsnes was shrouded in mist we had to tender in it reminded us of an Alpine village with it's pretty houses and snow capped mountains it , we did a leisurely walk around the village those who went up in the mountains didn't see very much because of the mist.

    Next came Trondheim sun shining a beautiful Sunday we walked ashore [they had a shuttle] and reckoned it would take 10-15 minutes to walk but I would say it only took 5mins you crossed the bridge and there was sailing ships museum we were very excited to find it as we are very interested in the tall ships unfortunately it was closed, on into the wide streets , past the Royal palace it cost 6 pounds if you were an OAP and -8 if not to look around all very interesting lots of antiques and a lot of history.
    There is a large market square then on to the cathedral made up of Norman and gothic the original was built in 1075 we spent quite a time looking around, then on towards the fortress and the old town bridge where the river is lined with old coloured warehouses all very accessible.

    We also came across the Trampe-- the bicycle lift.. the bicycle lift helps cyclists up the steep hill almost up to the fortress the cyclist inserts a keycard and pushes the start button they then put their foot on the footplate and are pushed up the hill there are lots of cyclists in Norway the pathways are marked out for them.
    No need to take expensive coach trips every thing was at hand and they were charging 6 pounds return on the shuttle bus for those who booked the reduced fares this was the only port this was in operation .

    Lofoten Islands, Leknes there are seven Islands it was very wet and murky and we were tendered in and the we caught a complimentary bus we didn't do much just had a look around and back to the ship to dry out.

    Alesund, was a lovely tranquil and pretty town sun shining we walked of the ship and into town there was the Art Nouveau centre and the Aalesunds museum with exhibitions we were interested in the German occupation by the Germans in the 2nd world war , it also had a large Aquarium and a bus to transport you it is supposed to be the largest and best in Scandinavia we didn't manage to get there we walked to the church which was magnificent.

    Flam... Sognefjord is the deepest of all the fjords at the head is Flam and the famous Railway. we waited for the ship to dock and my husband went down the jetty to the Flam ticket office and bought two tickets for the railway at a cost of 80 pounds [the PO trips cost in the region of 63pounds each for the same journey,] we boarded the train and had a wonderful journey stopping at a huge waterfall where a sprite ? or Siren was singing and dancing beyond the gallons of water pouring down ,wonderful scenery and waterfalls all the way ,old churches snow capped mountains a wonderful journey .

    Last but not least Wonderful Bergan the last port in Norway again we sallies forth into the brilliant sunshine along the waterfront the Queen Victoria was just tying up and a pullmantur the Empress was also tied up so it was quite busy, we went along the quayside it's full of brightly painted wooden warehouses almost medieval closely packed together now used for a variety of purposes, long tall buildings .
    We crossed the road to the fish market selling all sorts of fish . they cooked it there and you could purchase it and eat it at the tables, the place was buzzing we were going to do the Vernacular but the queues were so long we decided against it.

    We discovered that they were hosting the first leg of the Tall ships race the next day [ I live in Falmouth and we are hosting it in August on the leg to Lisbon] I was sorry there were none anchored up I love to see them with their sails out. Bergen was my favourite but all these ports had something special and you were able to easily do your own thing without organised and expensive coach trips.

    The headliners worked hard yes ,I had seen some of the shows before but they were just as good they also put in a Abba tribute plus a Freddy Mercury tribute which were both very good, and a souls and motown night we had two singers, and a Cliff Richards sound and look a like and Tom O'Connor all very enjoyable and if you wanted a bit of culture there was a classical pianist at the start and end of the cruise.

    All in all this cruise ticked all the boxes the ports the food , quietness of the cabin and the great staff all so cheerful I would recommend it and would certainly think of going this way again. sorry it's such a long review but once I started I found so much to say  
    Staff my cabin steward was a real ambassador for PO cruises, nothing to much trouble always happy I recommend him, we were always late out in the evening and although I told him not to bother but he insisted, as for the waiters they were so efficient and friendly even though we had different ones  and the wine waiter was tip top on his toes noticing when we needed him.    
    Plenty to do on board , Quizzes, dancing , Gym, films and a guest speaker on U boats  battles etc art. classes even Zumba to keep fit something for everyone..   There certainly were some great bands especially up in the Crows nest, and around the ship, they seem to have  the entertainment sussed on this ship, As for the food it was plentiful and varied good choices and now plated came piping hot,  we were very satisfied it seemed as though they had pulled out all the stops to make this cruise a great on for us.
    The Itinerary was one we had not done before and it didn't fail to delight us wonderful stops we would recommend it and maybe do it again  and go further North maybe.
    Hope you enjoy it I have put up a photo album  of some of our shots but I am not a great photographer  .
  8. Like
    oldbiddy1 reacted to Sapsford11 in Bergen, Andalsnes, Olden And Stavanger   
    Hi all,

    I live in Bergen and run a tourist website about things to do in Bergen, http://www.thingstodoinbergen.com.

    For information about Mount Floyen and Mount Ulriken, please visit the following pages



    Included on the site are the top attractions which are considered a must do when visiting Bergen. Also if you do get the chance to venture a short way out of the city it's well worth exploring the Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord. Stopping at sites like Steinsdalsfossen and the fantastic view at Aurlandsfjord.

    If you have any questions i will be more than happy to answer them the best I can.


  9. Like
    oldbiddy1 reacted in Bergen, Andalsnes, Olden And Stavanger   
    Bergen is just made for doing on your own.

  10. Like
    oldbiddy1 reacted to cruise chef in Alesund   
    just been reading the comments and if you have used a city sightseeing bus in a previous location, save your ticket produce it at the next port and this usually entitles you to a further discount which really makes them great value, doesnt even have to be in the same country where the ticket was used so ideal for cruising
  11. Like
    oldbiddy1 reacted to Wilbo in Alesund   
    We have been several times to Alesund and particularly like the cruise into port early in the morning which is very beautiful and one of the best there is . It is worth getting up early for (normally about 6am) even if just on your balcony. As to thing to do I agree that the town is a little limited but a trip up Mt Aksla is a must and this is included on most other tour excursions. Of these our favourite was to a lighthouse on a nearby island which provided access to superb coastal scenery. The other was to a large aquarium and penguin park on the edge of Alesund ...... nothing out of the ordinary but a pleasant trip and relatively quiet.
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