Around 8.00am this morning we arrived at Gudvangen, surrounded by soaring mountains with beautiful waterfalls cascading down into the silk-like tranquil waters, a most awe-inspiring sight. Gudvangen translates as “worship place of heathen gods” and lies on Naeroyfjord which is a tributary of Sognefjord. It is a very popular tourist destination and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I had decided not to anchor as it was only for a short time, to disembark our passengers, so I took the opportunity for the Safety Officer, Steve Pittock, to take the controls and have “play” with the ship, while I had my breakfast.The best meal of the day is a good full English breakfast after you have been up all night sailing through the fjords. Not the most healthy but very filling.
Shortly after arriving, a tender boat was prepared to take 27 of our guests on the all-day “Iconic Norway” excursion. The remainder of our guests stayed on board, taking in the breathtaking views, and awaited our arrival in Flam.
I left early from Gudvagen in order to arrive at Flam early, to allow the passengers to enjoy as much time as possible in Flam,(pronounced by the locals as FLOM!).
Our passengers were able to wander off the ship and explore the lovely village of Flam. Flam is in the heart of western Norway surrounded by a picturesque scenery and meadows. The main tourist attraction of Flam is it’s famous railway, which runs up to Mydral to connect with the main Oslo to Bergen line. The railway climbs 2,850 feet above sea level, a dramatic journey, passing breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains and vast waterfalls. This was one of the most popular tours organised by our shore excursion team, with 250 of our guests embarking on this captivating journey.
A more exclusive tour leaving the ship with 19 of our guests was “Fjord Village and Osterbo Mountain”. This tour offered an insight into traditional fjordland culture, with a visit to a fjordland village set around a 13th century church and a mountain farm which was a working farm until the late 1920s. Guests enjoyed coffee with waffles, cream and jam at a final stop before arriving back to the ship.
We slipped away at 5.30pm, heading for Jondal. As we were under pilotage, I have to be on the bridge by law and company procedure, so Tanya kindly hosted our Brittannia party this evening.
The evening’s entertainment started with a Classical Concert, performed by Solo Pianist, Nigel Clayton, who performed a stunning recital of works from Beethoven and Brahms, to the impressionism of Debussy and romantic Chopin.
Shortly following the recital, as a token of their loyalty to Saga, Britannia Club members were invited to join the Saga Pearl II staff and officers for a cocktail party in the Sundowner’s Bar , hosted by Cruise Director Tanya Whitehurst, as mentioned
After tonight’s evening meal at 9pm David Taylor our resident cocktail pianist organised teams of six in The Shakleton’s Bar for a special “Name That Tune” style quiz. David then continued to play music for everyone's enjoyment.
Meanwhile in the Discovery Lounge our resident “Gail Davies” singers and dancers, put on a spectacular cabaret show entitled “Sailaway”. This was their third performance since joining the ship in Dover, and all their hard work rehearsing had cleary paid off. The show was fabulous, well polished with amazing costumes and innovative choreography, and was enjoyed immensely by all those in attendance.