We were treated to a great day of scenic cruising in the Sognefjord and our pilot took us around in the 10 hours he could be on duty. One of the highlights for me was sailing through a narrow passage, towards the northern pilot station for the Fjord. The entrance is about 180 metres wide and is a great to transit through. Hope you enjoy the pictures!!!
In the evening of Sognefjord we hosted our Britannia Club Party and this was very well attended by our Britannia Club members. We then held a special ‘Sapphire Dinner’ in the Chart Room with a fantastic set menu from Mr Dirk – I love his cooking!!!
And by the way – HOW AMAZING IS GEIRANGER!!! It amazes me every time I am here, and today was no exception. Our pilot started on the bridge at 3:30am this morning and by 7:30am we were anchored and ready to go with our tender service.
It was a dry day, the sun was trying to get out and no wind, so perfect ‘mariner’ conditions for anchoring. Just needed a bit more sun and by the afternoon we had it!! Geiranger became a World Heritage site in 2005 and you can really see why. Tours were popular today including Mount Dalsnibba and a RIB adventure – sounds fun!!!
With all our guests and tenders back, and with the anchor aweigh, we proceeded out towards the Seven Sisters Waterfall. The sun was glistening off the face of the fjord and waterfall and what a SPECTACULAR site. I was able to spin the ship around 360 degrees by the face of the waterfall as well, and guests loved it. We took some great pictures, hope you enjoy them.
A great day has come to an end – next stop Bergen……
Bergen is always a nice arrival into the fjord and then thorough into the harbour. We picked up our pilot at 6am this morning and the sun was trying to break through the rain clouds!! A beautiful sail in of twists and turns, passing under the main bridge in Bergen – Askeybrua Bridge and then we approached our berth at Skolden North. We turned in the harbour and backed the vessel to the final mooring position, port side alongside the dock.
Promptly at 8am our guests were keen to pass along the gangway and step ashore for what is a great place to explore. BUT – you always need your brolly standing-by in Bergen. Bergen is engulfed in history as it has been a settlement since the medieval times, so there’s lots of history to see here.
Our tours proved popular today and guests were going on the Discover Beautiful Bergen, A Taste of Hardanger, Images of Grieg or the famous ‘Vossbanen Steam Railway’ tour. The railway tour is great.
It was a bit rainy today but our guests still enjoyed themselves and just in time for Afternoon Tea everyone was onboard and we were ready to leave for our speedy run back to Dover.
We dropped our pilot off at the Fedje pilot station and then this evening I hosted our Farewell Cocktail Party – many smiling guests – which is always great to see. Our dinner afterwards was again up to the usual impeccably high standard!!
Our seaday before Dover was a chance for guests to relax a bit after a busy week and do a bit of suitcase packing. I hosted my Captain’s Corner in Shackleton’s in the afternoon and as ever it proved very popular with our guests to drop in for a chat.
All in all a great cruise. We have enjoyed being up here in the Norwegian Fjords – cannot wait till we return next year.
A sunny day here in Dover as we were getting ready to start a cruise to one of my favourite regions in the world – the Baltic!!
We are about to start our ‘White Nights of the Baltic’, or maybe it should be called the Blue Suede Shoes of the Baltic, as the theme for this cruise is the music of the legendary Elvis Presley - oh yes!!!
We are now stocked up to the gunnels with food, provisions, fuel and Elvis Costumes . My team for this cruise is our Chief Engineer Ciro, Hotel Director Dawn, fresh from leave Staff Captain Richard and Cruise Director Kayleigh.
Once we were refuelled we departed Dover. After crossing the busy traffic lanes we are now on our way to the Kiel Canal with a sea day tomorrow.
Welcome onboard everyone and cheers to a great cruise ahead. ELVIS IS IN THE BUILDING/SHIP!!!
Well after a relaxing sunny day at sea yesterday, and our wonderful Welcome Onboard Party and dinner, it was time to do the Kiel Canal!!
We embarked our pilot at the Elbe pilot station at 4am and then by 7:30am were ready to go into the Brunsbuttel Lock, which marked the start of the canal transit. A usual transit takes around 7 hours from lock to lock depending on the traffic. It looked as if we were going to be lucky today and would only have one stop - to wait for a deep drafted container ship - and then we'd be able to proceed. The weather was looking nice with glimpses of sunshine, so all was well. A buffet on the aft deck as well for lunch – our guests loved that!!!
We were in the locks in Holtenau just before 4pm after a smooth transit and I saw many smiling faces on deck – so all enjoyed the day.
We dropped our Kiel pilot off at around 5:30pm and then after a busy day it was time to put my feet up and have a bit of dinner.
A beautiful day here in Copenhagen today. Clear blue skies and a light breeze. A Cruise Ship Captain’s dream. We picked up our pilot for the Drogden Channel and harbour at 6am this morning. It was about a 16 mile transit to our berth near the marina in Copenhagen. After passing the Regal Princess we approached our berth and turned round at the dock and backed up into position going port side alongside. We were alongside with gangway out on time at 8am.
Many of our guests were taking themselves to the marina at the end of the pier to see the famous Mermaid on her rock. Some nice pictures attached of her, and also the surrounding area – hope you enjoy them.
Tours were going all round the city, including City Tour and Carlsberg (my favourite lager along with Carling when on vacation), Copenhagen & Rosenborg Castle Walking tour and the Seaside Town of Dragoer. To be honest it was a beautiful day just to go for a stroll and grab a coffee in one of the many nice cafes here. Copenhagen really is the centre for Danish life and such a friendly and welcoming capital city!!!
Around 6pm we departed our berth and sailed out of the harbour and back south in the Drogden Channel, passing the Oresund bridge on our port side. It connects Denmark to mainland Sweden.
Tonight was a special night with our Elvis tribute artist, Matt Lewis, presenting the Rockabilly Years and what a show!!!! Rock around the clock people!!!
Next stop after a seaday, the beautiful Swedish capital of Stockholm.
After a very relaxing and sunny/smooth seaday it was time to pick up our Swedish pilot and make our way towards Stockholm, through the beautiful archipelago pilotage area. We picked up our pilot at 9am on the 9th and then it was about 45 miles to Stockholm, which took about 4 hours. We got some awesome pictures coming in and the weather again was in our favour.
By lunchtime we were docked port side alongside on the downtown berth near where the ferries berth. Stockholm is an epicentre of activity and I really like it!!! With 2 days here in Stockholm it provided our guests with the perfect opportunity to explore, or go on tour, or do whatever they chose to in this great capital. Tours popular on both days were those to the City Hall and Vasa Museum, and of course the Waterways of Stockholm. I've done that tour before, and there's no better way to see Stockholm.
Weather has been kind to us on both days and our guests returned with smiling faces – always good to see.
We were alongside in Stockholm until tea time on the 10th and then it was time to leave. 4 hours out of the port and through the beautiful Archipelago and then next port Helsinki.
Tonight is the Britannia Cocktail Party and a chance to catch up with our Saganauts!! And dinner from Dirk!!!
Well as I stood on the bridge this morning, before the turn to the north towards the Pilot station, I could see a bank of fog hanging over Helsinki. It could be a long morning. We picked up our pilot and proceeded with caution towards the port of Helsinki. The fog started to clear around 0.5 miles from the dock and the sun was trying to burn the mist away. We turned and backed up towards the berth, eventually going port side alongside the outer cruise berth. It makes it easier for departure and we can use the nice c-deck gangway!!
Helsinki is one of my favourites and there's lots to see and do within a very close vicinity of the ship. There is usually a market square active near the ship, past the big wheel, with lots of small stall holders selling their goods. Shopping is only a stone's throw away with lots of busy shops and malls, with their coffee shops and restaurants.
Lots of our guests were on tour today either doing the Old Town Provoo, Helsinki Highlights, Scenic Helsinki or the City Tour. The City Tour was a great opportunity to see all the highlights of this wonderful vibrant city.
There was great visibility and clear blue skies for our departure. Much better when you can see.
We dropped our pilot off and then it was Showtime with another great show from ‘Elvis’ with Matt Lewis presenting the 1968 comeback show – brilliant.
Now one of my big favourites has arrived, St Petersburg. What can I say about this amazing, intriguing place?? It’s Fantastic and, even better, the sun is shining yet again.
When I was at school (not so many years ago LOL), I studied ancient world history and modern world history and always found the Russian story so interesting. This place never lets you down with history combined with fantastic architecture. All the buildings have a story to tell!!!
We embarked our pilot at 5am this morning. It is about a 3hr transit, passing through the Naval Base of Kronstadt, which was the base of the Russian Baltic Fleet. With the tidal wall now it is more like a fortress. We were alongside at our Lt Schmidt dock at 8am and all the tour buses were ready to take our Saganauts ashore. Far too many tours to list here, and I have done most of them. Of course we have the Hermitage and Faberge tours, but the Peterhof and Catherine Palace are also a great visit.
We had an overnight here, and the weather lived up to it's great forecast!! Two days alongside go so quickly but both guests and crew have had a great stay.
We left the berth just after 6pm and the outside decks were populated with guests to wish St Petersburg a fond farewell. See you again soon!!!
Another fantastic day here in sunny Tallinn. We embarked our pilot at 7:30am this morning and proceeded to the berth. We turned on arrival and backed in, going starboard side alongside. Funny enough we were alongside the Zuiderdam where I first became Staff Captain at 29. As a young senior officer it gave me a great footing to grow into a young Captain J
Tallinn is a beautiful place, and even better in the gleaming sunshine we had today. Lots of tours going into Tallinn which proved to be popular, but some guests elected to explore this great city themselves. That is what is so great about Tallinn, everything is relatively close by and so friendly.
Well it was finally time to leave this lovely place. We dropped off our pilot around 12 miles from the berth and then made good course for our next port of call Ronne, on Bornholm Island, Denmark in the Baltic Sea. A sea day tomorrow.
A chance to relax……….and for the Captain to do some fishing to catch the fish for the “Fish and Chip shop”!!!!