Saturday, 20 June 2009

66 Degrees North

Pete and I have been on a bargain holiday – a 12 night £3000 cruise for £700! And it was fantastic and made a change to the usual sunshine holiday. Now I know what you are thinking, aren't cruises for old people... well the cruise up to the Arctic circle (66° north) was packed with wealthy oldies and we were some of the youngest but it really didn't matter. It appears that age is no barrier to having a good time and we met some lovely people including the couple from Barnsley who we shared our dinner table with.

Here are some highlights:

Food: So much food – 40 tonnes in fact for the 900 passengers and 350 crew! (The head chef told us). The meals were amazing, in between the cakes and more food.
Sunsets: Seeing the sun trying to set at gone midnight and then not bothering is a great thing to see. We had 4 or 5 nights where it didn't get dark.
Fitness room: To make up for some of the food, I went to the gym about 7 times and the sauna too.

The crew: All so friendly and willing to make every day an event. We even had a camp Filipino waiter called Thomas who wanted us to introduce him to a nice guy in London.

The itinerary:

  • Day at sea exploring the ship.
  • Stop 1 – Bergen, Norway. The place is stunning, sitting in a wide valley at the end of a fjord. It was the most expensive place I have ever been to. A pint of beer is £11! Despite the fact that they have rain 275 out of 365 days, we had sunshine and missed the Springsteen concert by 1 day.
  • Stop 2 – Skjolden, Norway. A tiny village at the end of the longest fjord in the world – 60 miles of amazing scenery. Opening the curtains to see the bay and mountains was a 'wow moment'. We walked around the area rather than taking one of the expensive excursions.
  • 2 days at sea was next which meant enforced relaxation, some presentations and entertainment and we watched a couple of films too. We started to see whales on this part of the journey and there were dozens over the next few days.
  • Stop 3 – Isafjordur, Iceland. A small town in the western fjords in brilliant sunshine. We took only excursion to a deserted village in the middle of nowhere only accessible by boat. It was an incredible day and I took loads of photos.
  • Stop 4 – Reykjavik, Iceland. I had visited a few years ago, but didn't get a chance to look round. Pete and I spent a few hours walking round a truly cool and cosmopolitan city. Well worth a trip if you get the chance.
  • Day at sea
  • Stop 5 – Torshavn, Faroe Islands. Another surprise for me as I had expected a basic town in this remote place, but found a small sophisticated town with lots to see and do. As with all the places we visited, the scenery was impressive. I think that the football stadium may have been big enough to seat everyone in the city!
  • Stop 6 – Invergordon, Scotland. A bit of a dump and a poor choice of stop. Nothing to see here so we went back to the ship and had a jacuzzi in the sunshine and ate cake.
  • Day at sea and then home.

All in all, it appears that the calm seas and sunny weather was pure luck, especially around the north of Iceland. And we also got a bit lucky picking a cruise line that didn't rip you off and had great evening entertainment.

There is so much to tell you about each place, but I would bore you. Let me end by saying that the Icelandic guys with blond floppy hair are a very pleasant sight and that the phrase “All's well” ended the Captains announcements in his thick Norwegian accent.

So... All's Well.


  1. 1 how did you get that bargain?
    2 what? NO blogpost link to Invergordon? Didn't they save the best 'til last?

    (Wait a minute-reality check...a cruise to Invergordon?!?!? Ah! Now I understand why they had spaces to fill for £700).


  2. 1. It was in the paper.
    2. The Invergordon stop replaced one to the Orkneys as someone had double booked a cruise ship at that port!

    The cruise was really Norway and Iceland and was worth every single penny.

  3. p.s.
    Invergordon was an OK stopping port if you wanted to go on a coach trip to Loch Ness or somewhere else I suppose.

  4. I'd love to see the fjords - sooo jealous.

    Orkney would have been good too - sure you'd have enjoyed that!


  5. Mmm... wanna get out of here! ¬¬

    so jealous too!

  6. Wow...seemed like a great trip!