A Travellerspoint blog

Testing the Cold Weather Gear

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Another cold, windy and wet day as we continue North into the Barents Sea. I took the opportunity to test my selection of clothing. I dressed in the various layers and found my way to the open deck and stood there for some time. It appears that there's adequate protection from the wet and cold. The sole crewman I met must have questioned my sanity.

There is little to occupy us today so we'll spend some time catching up on some lost sleep. It is strange that no matter the time of day, the outside looks the same sadly the overcast hides the sun.

After lunch we visited the Library to consult an atlas and learn about our destination and locate it on paper. It proved to be a challenge as Longyearbyen doesn't feature in the index. The only map that includes the area is focused on the North Pole and doesn't extend to the Norwegian mainland. It looks like we'll be well inside the Arctic Circle. Longyearbyen is located on the West coast of Spitsbergen the largest island of the Svalbard Archipelago and the administrative centre of the region. Located half way between the tip of Norway and the North Pole makes Longyearbyen a convenient location to launch Arctic exploration.

The Library on the Pacific Princess is the most expansive we've seen aboard any recently visited ships. As the new ships grow larger facilities like this have given way to more accommodation. I'm particularly impressed by the open fire place and carved marble surrounds. Nice touch even if it isn't used in earnest.

Spent most of the afternoon dozing and watching TV in the stateroom. The ship continues to rock and shudder as she sails at 17.5 knots. There has been an announcement that the weather is expected to improve later tonight, it doesn't look promising at the moment. There's also a notice that due to our position the satellite connection for the Internet is likely to be unavailable or unreliable. Don't know when this will be posted.
Today's temperatures were a high of 8 °C and a low of 1 °C. No sunrise at and no sunset we are in 24 hour sunshine.

Tomorrow we'll be in Longyearbyen.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 05:47 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

North to Longyearbyen

Saturday, 1 July 2017

There was light outside well before 06{00 but there was no visible sun. The excellent weather of the past two days has given way to a lumpy sea, overcast sky and persistent rain. There isn't much of interest in the entertainment activities so we settle for a lecture and two movies. Frank Sandstrom presented an overview of the Bush Pilots who opened up the interiors of Africa, Canada, Alaska and Australia. His knowledge is not in question but his delivery somewhat wooden.

Next we watched the movie "Allied" on the stateroom TV. The small format and questionable sound did little to enhance this dark tale and the mix of languages and too brief captions made it difficult to follow in detail. After lunch we returned to the Cabaret Lounge to watch the movie "The Founder" which was a simpler story based on facts and documents the foundation of the McDonald's chain. The simple concept which was turned into the massive corporation by a driven salesman. According to the story the corporation owns the real estate and leases it to the franchisee with a fundamental clause that the lease is conditional on the maintenance of the standard.

Went to the evening show in the Cabaret Lounge where ventriloquist Kieran Powell and his friends entertained us for almost an hour. The most clever puppet is his dinosaur that can operate independently by some form of remote control. His singing and voices were outstanding.

It was almost 20:00 by the time we went to dinner on Deck 9 where we were two of very few. The ship continues to rock a little, the rain is heavy at times and although it is light outside there's no sign of the sun.

Today's temperatures were a high of 11 °C and a low of 8 °C. Sunrise at 03:00 and no sunset.

Another day at sea as we sail North to Longyearbyen at best speed where we expect to arrive on Monday.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 11:56 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

Trondheim, Norway

Friday, 30 June 2017


View 2017 UK & Artic Cruise on greynomadm's travel map.

Woke to bright sunshine at 06:00 and the ship had already started on her course up the fjord which runs Eastward for over 100 kilometres to almost cut Norway in half. There are small settlements and solitary houses on both sides of the fjord with rugged mountains as a backdrop. There are a number of extensive fish-farms in the calm waters.

With an arrival time of 12:00 we will have sailed for about 8 hours inland. That is most unusual for an Ocean Cruise Ship. Not much to do but lots to see as we continue towards the city. Enjoying the advantage of a balcony we can watch the various settlements as we sail past. On occasions there are views of distant snow covered mountains.

Checked in with the Internet Manager and explained my unintended loss of connection time, he promptly credited my account with 60 minutes. I suspect there were others caught out with the flaky connection as we left Bergen yesterday afternoon. With stability restored, for now, I spent some time searching for other itineraries that visit this region. Between now and this time next year there are only four voyages similar to this one and two have already SOLD OUT. This is proving to be a unique experience.

Our Shore Excursion today consisted of a city drive and a musical recital at the Ringve Museum. The city drive highlighted the many colourful wooden buildings and the more modern reconstructions following a number of fires over the many years. Our first photo stop was at the Nidaros Cathedral dating to the twelfth century. Over the years sections have been rebuilt but it remains an impressive structure.

Leaving the city behind we were transported to the Ringve Museum situated in impressive gardens and landscaped parks overlooking the fjord. The museum is based on the manor house of a wealthy merchant and his wife. She established the museum which now contains some 2000 musical instruments from around the world.

This was an unexpected cultural experience for me. With talented musicians in period costumes preformed shot recitals on some of the historic instruments in rooms decorated to represent structures of the period. All of it went over my head.

Back aboard we decided that the walk into the city was out of the question so instead went to the Cabaret Lounge to watch the movie "Gifted". I'm no movie buff but I thought the cast made their characters totally credible. I'm sure I've never seen them before.

A late dinner on the aft deck and then watched our preparations for departure. The weather has been phenomenal with the maximum reported to be around 28 °C. Today's sunrise was 03:10 and sunset will be 23:32. As I write this at 21:45 the sun still shines brightly through the balcony window. The whole experience is taxing my brain.

Two days at sea as we sail North to Longyearbyen where we expect to arrive on Monday.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 23:51 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

The Port of Bergen, Norway

Thursday, 29 June 2017


View 2017 UK & Artic Cruise on greynomadm's travel map.

The waters were dead calm as we sailed up the fjord into the cruise terminal. On the way in we passed under two bridges and saw the many inlets on either side. There was just enough sunlight to make most features stand out. We noticed another Princess in port and later discovered it was the Crown Princess. By the time we docked there were two more ships being tied up. We were joined by Cunard's Queen Elisabeth and AIDA's Sol. Our little ship looks quite small compared to the other two.

We had a quick breakfast and walked into the town centre. Lots of colourful buildings and a great variety of vessels to keep the camera busy. By about 09:00 we started to walk back and were thankful we'd left early as there was a tide of people from the three ships walking into the town. The local traffic must just LOVE the additional wandering pedestrians.

Arrived back at the ship in time for a quick bite in the deck 9 Buffet and an adjustment to our gear before heading off on our Shore Excursion at 12:00. Our meeting place is on the pier.

After a bit of confusion we found our tour guide and boarded the coach. It was a short drive to the base of the Mt Floyen Funicular for a ride to the summit. The views from here were breathtaking and the whole of the city was spread out beneath us. There was ample time to wander around and the mandatory gift shop certainly benefited from that free time. Not that we were the only people there but we did add our bit.

Down from the mountain and back on the coach for a long drive around many areas of the city. There are seven mountains that surround the city centre creating many spectacular views and some interesting winding roads. The coach stopped where possible, allowing for photo opportunities.
Throughout the tour our guide emphasised just how lucky we were to have a fine day. Bergen is reputed to have over 270 rainy days each year. We returned to the ship at 15:15 with an 'all aboard' time of 15:30. We may well have been the last tour to return. We sailed out shortly after.
On our way out to sea we sailed past some strange structures which I suspect were oil rigs.

Visited the Buffet for dinner where we enjoyed the view of the passing coastline and also tucked into the different vegetable options available. Another hot chocolate from the bar and life looks good. My Fitbit has recorded over 11,000 steps for today. Showtime tonight kicked off at 19:45. Tony Daro entertained us for 45 minutes with a string of wisecracks, jokes and one-liners. One of the better comedians we've had on board.

Looks like I've blown almost 100 minutes of Internet time and can't imagine how it happened. Will have to budget the remainder and hope to see out the remainder of the cruise.

Today sunrise was 04:14 and sunset will be 23:09. Tonight we sail for Trondheim where we expect to arrive about 12:00.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 12:11 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

A Lively Day at Sea

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The swell and wind in the North Sea has created considerable movement on our little ship. We both slept quite well and particularly liked the recently upgraded beds and bedding. Woke to some lumpy seas with all external decks closed for safety. Got ourselves organised and went off to breakfast. It has been a while since we've stepped sideways almost as much as forwards. It is a good thing the ship's relatively short or we would take all day to go from forward to aft.

The Destinations Presentation in the Cabaret Lounge is the first of today's selections. The presenter is Johanna Grove who delivered an overwhelming amount of information on the ports of Bergen and Trondheim. Her years of experience showed in her polished and professional delivery.

It was an interesting walk up to the Buffet for lunch where we had no difficulty finding a table. There were surprisingly few fellow passengers about.
Filled in a part of the afternoon wandering around the ship looking for possible photo ops. The atrium was quite a contrast to that on the larger ships. There's an impressive piece of art between deck 4 and 5.

Dressed up a bit for the formal night and tracked down the elusive Maitre d'Hotel who had totally forgotten what he promised the night before. Looks like we eat in the buffet for the remainder of the cruise.

Watched some TV and dozed off to the gentle rocking of the ship. By 22:00 there was only an occasional shudder as the ship hits a bigger wave.

Bergen tomorrow where we expect to dock around 07:00.

Until next time. Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 09:29 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

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