October 1, 2012
My passion for cruises became a reality when myself and my mum travelled on the much loved Queen Elizabeth 2 on her Westbound transatlantic crossing to New York in January 2007 – the voyage being a gift for my 18th birthday that year. Then in 2009, I travelled for the first time on board Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 on her Iberian Odyssey voyage during her 5th Anniversary Year. I very much hope to travel on the new Queen Elizabeth in the (hopefully) not to distant future.
The voyage to Norway which I recently sailed one was in many respects a ‘first’ – it was the first time I had travelled on board Queen Victoria, the first time of being on a World Club Voyage and the first time visiting Norway. This voyage would see calls to Stavanger, Flam, Olden and finally Bergen with a day at sea each way. My personal highlights were the calls to Stavanger, Flam and Olden as you will read.
As I travelled down on the train heading down to Southampton, I was filled with great excitement and wonderment of what was to come during the next week – at this point I had only ever seen photographs of Norway and the Fjords – I was not to be disappointed as you will read!
One of the great appeals of a cruise for me is when an itinerary features at least one or two ‘sea days’ – this as Captain Olsen summed it up in her Noon address was ‘the perfect time to enjoy the ship and its facilities’ and the weather, combined with a calm to slight sea, made for a perfect day to spend some time out on the open decks.
After a day’s sailing from Southampton, we arrived at our first port of call, Stavanger. It was here that I participated in a walking tour of this city. It was most interesting to walk along the cobbled streets and see the beautifully maintained wooden houses in the old town, though to the strikingly modern memorial to Stavanger’s fisherman and to hear of the cities association with the North Sea oil fields.
Flam – this was arguably my favourite port of call during the whole voyage, even before we arrived, the transit through the fjord was simply stunning – it is very hard to try and describe just how amazingly beautiful it is, the rugged mountains, the fresh, crisp, clean air and the mile upon mile of rolling, green countryside.
Olden is, in my mind at least, a real hidden gem and another destination which offers stunning views and despite the initial poor weather and low cloud, this for me added to the beauty and mystery of Norway’s fjords. I took the opportunity to enjoy a panoramic tour of the Nordfjord which I can highly recommend and to savour the stunning views along the way at each photo stop.
I would like to end by taking the opportunity to thank Captain Inger Olsen, The Ship’s Company and all the wonderful people who I met during the voyage, both new and familiar faces, for what has been the best voyage to date.