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 Post subject: Northern Lights cruise
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:05 pm
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We are looking forward to our cruise on the Hurtigruten Line's m/s Trollfjord to see the Northern Lights. Watch this space for daily news as we go!

Start - Saturday 26/01/2013

Day 1. 26/01
Ports visited: Bergen.
Arrived in Bergen safely after a good flight from Manchester.
June sat next to Peter and 'Glen' Harrison on the plane. I sat with Jo Farley and Glynne Ward from Penrith who are a very well travelled couple of ladies who have done the Shackleton journey in Antarctica with Hurtigruten. We arrived at the m/s ‘Trollfjord’ about 18:30.
We are now safely on board and relaxing after a good dinner. I met the ship's Captain Roy Pedersen.
We left Bergen at 22:30 and are now heading for the open sea......and a good nights rest!

Day 2. 27/01
Ports visited: Floro, Maloy, Torvik, Alesund, Molde, Krisitiansund.
Up at 08:15. Ship rolling slightly but "sea legs" still working OK. I saw large floating crane being towed by a tug in the distance but it wasn't near enough nor was it light enough to see it very clearly. We made a short call at Torvik, less than an hour, and off again. We had called at two ports whilst we were asleep!
12:00 Arrived at Alesund, will be leaving at 15:00. Just off to lunch!
We spent a pleasant afternoon and evening chatting to new friends Rob and Margaret Dowlman from Lincoln, who know caravanning friends of ours Roger and Betty Papworth, and Australians Ted and Janet Tully from Newcastle, New South Wales, who are a lot of fun.
In the evening we visited the Piano Bar on deck 8 and listened to music from an excellent pianist-singer from Bulgaria. There is a small dance floor, night club style which was being well used.
We hit the hay just gone midnight ready for a good night's sleep in readiness for tomorrow's early morning guided tour.

Day 3. 28/01
Ports visited: Trondheim, Rorvik. Bronnoysund, Sandnessjoen, Nesna.
Woke up to snow at 07:00. Had a quick breakfast then off on a coach trip to visit Trondheim Cathedral and a guided out of the city. The Christian religion was introduced into Norway by King Olaf after being baptized in Britain during one of his "raping and pillaging" Viking raids. He was eventually murdered by supporters of the old Nordic religion and was canonized three hundred years later. The cathedral, which can hold 2000 people, is claimed by the Norwegians to be the biggest in Scandinavia - disputed of course by the Swedes! We were taken to a high viewing point to see over the city and altogether had a very interesting trip.
We set sail at 12:30, had a good lunch and are relaxing en route to Rorvik.
Had a very casual afternoon and evening watching the world go by, in and out of various small ports chatting with fellow passengers. We spent an hour in the library reading before heading for bed around midnight.

Day 4 29/01
Ports visited: Ornes. Bodo, Stamsund, Svolvaer.
Up at 08:15 for breakfast. We had crossed the Arctic Circle about 07:30. 10:30 Up on deck for my Arctic Baptism...lots of ice down my neck (externally) then rewarded by a "tot" internally! Captain Neptune was in good form but didn't seem to recognize me from crossing the Equator. Internet very slow up here the atmosphere must have frozen it up!!
We had a good day in and out of several ports but had no trips planned. Met up with friends during the day then at 22:30 everyone was on the top deck (9) outside for a fish and schnapps barbecue. It was rumoured that someone had spotted a glimpse of the Northern Lights so there were cameras everywhere...there always is anyway...but there were no sightings.

Day 5. 30/01
Ports visited: Stokmarknes, Sortland, Risoyhamn, Harstad, Finnsnes, Tromso, Skjervoy.
Up at 08:15 just before the ship sailed from Harstad. Once again the ship had called at several ports during the night but they berth and leave port so efficiently that you don't hear or feel a thing. There is beautiful scenery with snow capped mountains with the sun trying to peep over the top everywhere we go. It is just breathtaking.
11:15 and we have just arrived at Finnsnes. Off to have a look around.
Thanks to all for your messages.

Day 6. 31/01
Ports visited: Oksfjord, Hammerfest, Havoysund, Honningsvag, Kjolleford, Mehamn, Berlevag.
Our wedding anniversary! Thank you for your lovely cards.
08:05 woke up to see large snow covered cliffs and hillsides passing our cabin...very beautiful.
11:45 to 15:15 Off on a coach trip form Honningsvag to the North Cape at 71 degrees 10 minutes north, the most northerly part of the European mainland. It wasn't originally part of the mainland but it is now attached by a tunnel which goes under the stretch of sea which separated it from the mainland. Everywhere was covered in deep snow. At North cape there is a visitor centre with a restaurant, gift shop and two subterranean floors which included a theatre where we watched a film about the area. the convoy of coaches was preceded by a snow plow for the return journey as the road to the North Cape is little used at this time of the year. We had a very amusing and interesting guide on the coach who was originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, is married to a Norwegian and lives here permanently. On our return to the ship we were greeted with hot pancakes with a luscious pink meringue type of cream topping...luvely!
From 17:30 to 17:45 we called at Kjollefjord where some passengers went ashore to go snowmobiling and will rejoin the ship at the next port at 19:45!
At 17:30 it was all hands to deck 9 to see a local fisherman displaying and telling us all about King Crabs which will be tonight's supper. A very large live specimen was plonked on a table in front of June which may have put her off her appetite!
Well, we have drunk our pink Champagne, phoned the family and will be heading off to dinner.
Dinner over, chatted with friends before heading for bed to have a good rest before tomorrow's trip when the announcement came over the intercom that the Northern Lights were on show. This resulted in a stampede to deck 9 of all the Northern Lights fanatics armed with cameras and tripods. So we spent some time with Jack Frost nipping at our ears, and just about everywhere else! to see our first viewing of this fabulous phenomenon. Let's hope that we have some more clear skies to see some more.
A perfect end to our anniversary celebration.

Day 7. 01/02
Ports visited: Batsfjord. Vardo, Vadso, Kirkenes, Vardo, Batsfjord, Berlevag.
08:00 Up in time to see us setting sail from Vadso.
10:00 to 15:45 We had a coach tour of Kirkenes and visited the famous Snow Hotel. The town is very industrious and home to many Russian trawlers in addition to their own. We first went to a high point to get a view over the town and a long distance view of our ship our ship, then off to the Ice Hotel. The hotel is one of two in Norway and is very interesting with much beautiful ice carving. The building, bar, seats and beds are all made from ice and are completely remade every winter. Adjacent to the hotel are reindeer pens and kennels for the huskies which pull the sleighs which take holiday makers for rides.
During the afternoon back on the ship we watched a short film about the history of trade between the northern Norwegians and neighbouring Russians which was interesting.
From here we are now on our return journey towards Bergen which seems a shame as we have had an exceptionally enjoyable time and don't really want it to end!
But...there is still tonight to try and catch another glimpse of those illusive Northern Lights...so here's hoping.

Day 8. 02/02
Ports visited: Mehamn, Kjollefjord, Honningsvag, Havoysund, Hammerfest, Oksfjord, Skjervoy, Tromso.
After all these nights excitement we had a lie in until 08:58 this morning, but had to get up and out a bit smartish to wave to a passing Hurtigruten ship, the m/s "Lofoten" the company's oldest vessel.
From 11:15 to 12:45 we were berthed at Hammerfest. I visited the Church of Hammerfest which, like the whole of the town barring one small church, has been built since the end of World War II as the German forces completely destroyed the entire town by fire before they left. The church has a below ground air-raid shelter...makes a change from a crypt I suppose! The church is of a simple, modern design but quite beautiful.
At sea in the evening we had quite a good showing of the Northern Lights and managed to capture a few pictures.
We stopped at Tromso from 23:45 to 01:30 when many of the passengers attended a concert at the Arctic Cathedral. Everyone who attended said that it was the highlight of their holiday. To cap it all they were met by a display of the Northern Lights as they left the church.
As we are now moving away from the region where one could expect to see the Aurora Borealis I set the alarm for 02:00 which I thought would be a good time to perhaps catch a glimpse of the somewhat illusive phenomena but, despite braving the freezing cold along with the 'died in the wool' enthusiasts until 03:30, had to call it a day with no further sightings.

Day 9. 03/02
Ports visited: Finnsnes, Harstad, Risoyhamn, Sortland, Stokmarknes. Svolvaer, Stamsund.
Despite the 'early morning' session up on deck 9, I was up and at it at 07:50. The weather was lovely with conditions for perfect photographs of the mountainous landscapes we have been passing. That does not necessarily mean that my photographs will be perfect!
We changed captains today. The crew on Hurtigruten vessels work twenty two days on and twenty two days off. We didn't go on any of the shore visits but had a restful day admiring all of the beautiful scenery we were sailing by.

Day 10. 04/02
Ports visited: Bodo, Ornes, Nesna, Sandnessjoen, Bronnoysund,Rorvik.
Just after 09:00 we passed one of the earliest and busiest trading stations called Selsoyvik on the port side with much hooting from the ship's siren and waving from those ashore. Apparently the some of the local population regularly turn out to wave at passing Hurtigruten ships which is fine for those in the warmth of the ship but must be pretty chilly for them. I imagine there is not too much excitement in this part of the world!
In the afternoon we went on a 'bridge visit' with Captain Yngve Johannessen which was very interesting. Everything is completely computerized but can revert to manual handling when required, of course. We spoke with a young cadet called Anders (Norwegian version of Andrew) who was very helpful.

Day 11 05/02
Ports visited: Trondheim, Kristiansund, Molde, Alesund.
We were woken at 07:20 by a call to the faithful to join the trip into Trondheim in five minutes. We had a few more minutes in our warm bunks!
Hurtigruten's ship the m/s "Nordlys" was in port with us in Trondheim and our Chief Officer was visited by his opposite number which was nice to see as everyone on these ships seem to get on very well together. This is also reflected in the crew's attitude towards passengers as they are always very polite and cheerful.
Just outside of Trondheim is an island called Munkholmen on which there used to be a monastery and later a prison. An excuse for more photos of course!

Day 12 06/02
Ports visited: Torvik, Maloy, Floro, Bergen.
Awake at 07:00 to see snow streaming past our porthole! Today is disembarkation day, thus the early rising. We had to vacate our cabins by 10:00 to enable the crew to prepare for the next passengers.
The weather soon cleared up and once again we had clear skies with excellent light for some final pictures to remind us of our trip up and down the Norwegian coast and fjords. We spent a final few hours with the friends we had met on this wonderful journey before the call for "All ashore!" at 14:30.

Résumé

Our thanks to all the "Trollfjord" officers and crew who made our cruise so enjoyable and especially to Restaurant Manager Elisabeth Nielsen whose department transformed the essential of dining into an art form! Sissel Holm for her exquisite pastry and educated us about Cloudberries... Tusen takk!

And of course thanks and fond memories to friends whose company we shared:
'Aussies' Ted and Janet Tully, Chris and Thea Lawson our table companions, Rob and Margaret Dowlman - have wheelchair - will travel, Peter and 'Glen' Harrison, Jo Farley and Glynne Ward the intrepid travellers, Paul and Elaine Mason (photographers), Robert Hinchliffe (photographer - Deck 9 specialist!), Brenda with narrowboat tales, Roy and Brian Bainbridge, and Gerald Stizek from Germany.

This was a holiday, an adventure and a wonderful experience rolled into one to be thoroughly recommended.

Roger and June Loads

Click on the following link to see pictures from our cruise http://www.shipmatesahoy.co.uk/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=6039 You can view the pictures individually or click on the "View as a slideshow" link on the left hand side of the screen and have a slide show.

If you want to join in or add comments you will need to be a registered user. Registration is easy and FREE. Simply click on the 'Go back to Shipmates Homepage' at the top of the screen and follow the registration instructions. Go to 'Cruisers' unless you would rather be in another category and complete a "Hello" which helps us to know you are not spam! Visit the 'Useful tips' for further assistance.

Click on the following to see a Hurtigruten video of a Norwegian cruise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNdUKUszxEo#t=375


Last edited by Roger & June Loads on Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:25 am, edited 52 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:05 pm
Posts: 8
Hello Nichol, Andy and Peter,
You will be at the palace now for Peter's DoE Gold Medal. We are thinking of you and looking forward to hearing all about it when we get home. No doubt there will be the odd picture or two?!!
Love, Mum and Dad xx


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