Wednesday, 22 July 2009

My musings from my cruising!

Oh wow! What a fantastic holiday – all the places I wanted to see but wasn't sure that I wanted to spend a week in! I won't bore you all with the intricate details but suffice to say it was absolutely brilliant.

We headed off from Dover on Thursday – that in itself was great because it meant no time wasted in airports. The embarkation process was seamless, we pulled up beside the ship in the car and off loaded the cases to very helpful porters (who weren't allowed to accept tips/gratuities!!) and then parked the car in the FREE car park, free minibus back to the ship and all aboard. Really short queues through immigration and security and very helpful pleasant staff – service with a smile – all round.

As seasoned cruisers (well, we have been once before!) we knew that we'd need our lifejackets for the compulsory drill before we set sail so went to our staterooms (cabins!) to collect them. Then the fun began – John H couldn't get his to clip together – that gave us the first of the many laughs we had over the 10 days!
The first night was incredibly bumpy, to say the least, I think we expected a more turbulent trip than the Caribbean but we were still surprised – especially when the shampoo bottle crashed from the rack in the bathroom scaring the whatever out of us! Friday at sea was wobbly but we soon got used to the roll and adjusted our walking accordingly knowing, as Linda so succinctly put, that as soon as we took the sharp right at the top of Denmark we would be in calmer waters.
Arrived in a beautifully sunny Copenhagen on Saturday, famous of course for the Little Mermaid, amongst other things. We decided to opt for the independent option and walked to the city centre form the boat, problem was we had no real idea of where we were headed! We eventually reached the city centre, desperate for a coffee which we drank in the square, we then headed off towards the Tivoli gardens but were disappointed to find that we had to pay to get in so decided to get the bus back to the ship and continue our hunt for the Little Mermaid, which when we eventually found it lived up to its name – ie it's a little mermaid!

Another sunny day greeted us on Sunday at Waernemund in Germany – we were warned that everything would be closed but were delighted to find ourselves in a vibrant seaside town with a local folk festival in full swing!

Monday dawned with another day at sea, which we spent wandering around the ship – even though the weather was lovely it was quite windy on deck.

Tuesday was Talinn, Estonia – a truly lovely place. We only wandered around the old town but were mesmerised by its traditional buildings and character, being very hilly it meant that we could see on the horizon where to head to – by this time our calf muscles were starting to talk to us!

Wednesday and Thursday meant St Petersburg. We decided to play safe and pre-book our tours rather than opt for visas to allow independent travel. First off was St Petersburg through the eyes of the Russian people. Our elderly tour guide took us through the back streets of St Petersburg to the Metro system after a short trip to a local supermarket. The Metro was something else, spotlessly clean and decorated in the most amazing ways – no photography permitted unfortunately due to anti-terrorism measures. Each station interior is full of marble, granite, mosaic, statues and friezes – all with a different theme. Then on to vodka tasting! Cranberry, delicious; Horseradish, hot; Siberian Nut, Aniseed like. All quaffed with traditional Russian greetings – I won't even try to write them down!

Thursday afternoon was the Peterhof gardens and fountains – over 250 fountains we only saw a few in the lower gardens. I don't think that any words I can write will do any justice to this fantastic place – although I will say that I think it's one of the places that you should visit before you die (along with the Grand Canyon et al)Wikipedia has a good description!

Friday another lovely day took us to Helsinki – possibly the least impressive place that we visited, I'm not sure. We took a guided tour on a London Routemaster bus! I thought the Sibelius monument was quite special (he wrote Finlandia and not Peter and the Wolf as I previously thought – thanks Julie!)

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny in Stockholm – another fantastic place, sadly the ship was leaving at 4pm so we couldn't see as much as we would have hoped. We took the hop-on-hop-off ferry from island to island – all for £10 a ticket. John & I both said that we must go back there for a weekend (at least) to see more.

Sunday and Monday were sea days, the weather started to turn as we took the left at the top of Denmark but the sea was nowhere near as choppy as on the way there, Tuesday morning brought us back to a grey, dull, overcast Dover. The disembarkation process was as good as the embarkation, we left our cases outside the rooms for collection overnight and opted for a 7.50 disembark time. Apart from an elderly lady fainting in the gangway on the way out we were off the ship and on dry land in moments, a porter collected our cases and the process was reversed from arrival – oh, and the music system was playing Bye, Bye Baby by the Bay City Rollers as we walked through customs!!

If any of you lovely people want to see the whole sorry mess of photos you can get to them via this link - happy viewing!


  1. What a fantastic trip. Just got back from visiting the photo album via your link. Just fabulous. I love the picture of you and your husband, you look so happy and relaxed! Glad that you had such a nice holiday, thanks for sharing. Kathy

  2. This looks amazing! What a wonderful time you had. Just breathtaking.


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