John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Saturday 28 April 2012

[Friday 27 April 2012]
  • At sea
Today the ship’s time HAD changed to Norway time. I woke up ca.6.30am, and then so did Janet. I felt queasy today because of the continual pitching and rolling of the ship. Janet felt OK, though, which is surprising given that travel on buses and cars makes her sick. Ca.7.30am, we went up for breakfast in the Kensington Restaurant. If it hadn’t been a buffet we’d have tried the Boat House, but it was a buffet, so we entered. Two other couples got seated at the table after we were. A gannet passed us, and I saw a number of smallish birds skimming the water’s surface, also one or two small gulls flew by. One or two other vessels were visible on the horizon.
09:30, Shore Excursions Presentation
Holyrood Show Lounge
Join your shore excursion team as they talk
about the tours available in Ulvik, Eidfjord
and Bergen.

We went to the above-mentioned “Shore Excursions Presentation”. When we booked this voyage, we thought the optional excursions were very dear; however, now we were aboard and facing the choice of finding our own way around or paying for conducted excursions we decided not to stint ourselves and to do the latter. I kept a copy of the list of excursions with their prices and times, but I can’t find it as I write this (12 May 2012). Below are extracts from the “Shore Excursions 2012” booklet.

Day 3: Ulvik and Eidfjord
Although the thought of going ashore in the ship’s tender had its appeal (“Overland to Eidfjord”), out of the five options I decided on “Scenic Fossli and Vøringfoss Waterfall”.

Day 4: Bergen
I wanted to go on the Mount Fløyen funicular, but I figured that it wouldn’t be hard for us to find it and buy tickets for it ourselves, so out of the four options I chose the morning “Heights and Highlights” excursion, which included a cable-car ride up the highest mountain Ulriken, leaving the afternoon free for us to do the Fløibanen.

Day 5: Flåm
Out of the four options, we decided on the more expensive but more or less all-day “Norway in a Nutshell” excursion, because it included “The Flåm Railway” option, and more.

Day 6: Stavanger
We decided that enough was enough, expenses-wise, and didn’t choose any of the three Stavanger options.

We went to the Excursions Desk, booked the excursions we’d chosen, and the woman printed out tickets and gave them to me.

Kensington Restaurant 12:00–13:30
Boat House 12:00–14:00

We found that lunches in the Kensington Restaurant were according to a set menu, so we went to the Boat House where there was a pick-and-choose-your-own, mix-and-match, buffet. “We sat with two lovely old ladies”, Janet wrote. There were no empty tables free, so we sat at the free seats at a table occupied by two elderly ladies, one on each side. Getting food and drink to the table was a challenge as the ship bucked and bobbed. We helped them to complete a cryptic crossword, “and that was good fun,” Janet added. “They then departed.” Back in our cabin, I added to this document, and Janet wrote in her journal.

Movie clip — 13:33:00

13:35:21 BST
[I hadn’t changed the time on the camera to Norwegian time (i.e. 14:35:21).]
At sea: views from the cabin window

Tea Time
Boat House 15:15–16:15
Kensington Restaurant 15:15–16:15

“At 3.30pm,” Janet wrote, “we went to the Kensington Restaurant for afternoon tea and got talking to a younger couple. Very pleasant. We returned to our cabin and got dressed up for the Captain’s Cocktail Party.” (“Suggested Dress Code” for today was “FORMAL. Men: Full Suit or Tuxedo. Women: Evening Cocktail Dress or similar”. Yesterday’s had been “CASUAL”.)

15:44:31 BST
[I hadn’t changed the time on the camera to Norwegian time (i.e. 16:44:31).]
At sea: views from the cabin window

17:15, Captain’s Welcome For Early Sitting Passengers
Holyrood Show Lounge — via Hampton’s
The Captain’s Welcome is an opportunity for the Captain to introduce his officers and department heads.
As the ship is full there may be a certain amount of queuing, thank you for your patience.
Please attend the reception relating to your dinner sitting.
Captain’s Reception for Late Sitting passengers begins at 19:30.

Where exactly we should all go was not entirely clear — we followed some others like sheep — but eventually we were lining up to shake hands with the captain before going and finding a seat in the lounge. Not for the first time there was someone hovering around trying to take photos. Not sure whether they got one of me/us lining up, but when the time came to meet the captain, I explicitly said I didn’t want a photo. We had no intention of paying through the nose for such souvenirs. Janet wasn’t impressed with the photos of her on the Jaz Regency, so that was partly what put her off having any on this trip. Having shook hands with the captain and smiled politely, we went through to the lounge. I again refused a photo. There were glasses of sparkling wine and canapés — I had Janet’s glass as well as my own, and a third which the waitress deposited at a table for no clear reason.

Gala Dinner
Kensington Restaurant
(Early Sitting) 18:00
(Late Sitting) 20:15

We joined the other four again. At first I didn’t have much appetite: the continued motion of the ship continued to make me somewhat queasy; but I found that eating relieved the symptoms — during the meal-time, anyway; it didn’t convey any longer-term benefit. Can’t remember whether I chose one of everything, without exception, under each heading of the menu, but I made full use of it this evening. “On the way back to the cabin at 7.30pm,” Janet wrote, “I looked in one of the duty-free shops and bought myself a beautiful pair of Swarovski crystal earrings for £50…”

19:10:49 BST
[I hadn’t changed the time on the camera to Norwegian time (i.e. 20:10:49).]
At sea: views from the cabin window

We both lay down in the cabin. I perhaps continued reading WINNERS AND LOSERS: Reconciling The Irreconcilable — Arminianism vs. Calvinism, and Janet closed her eyes. “The sun was streaming in and it was lovely,” she wrote. “The boat was still pitching about LOTS, and I only dozed. Around 11.00pm I began to feel seriously ill with the violent movements of the boat, and amazingly enough I fell asleep until 2.00am and was SO relieved to find we’d entered a fjord and it was VERY calm. I dozed.” I was asleep for most of that, though I was aware from time to time of some quite severe troughs and crests.

[Sunday 29 April 2012]

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