Hello from the North Sea and P&O Cruises, Oriana. We are at sea today and tomorrow then we start our REAL Norwegian adventure. I am told internet connection could be very limited from tomorrow so I thought it only right I should check-in with you all today.
We left Southampton several hours late, as most of you know because of repairs that were being made to Oriana’s propellers. We finally sailed at 4am on Sunday morning, roughly 4 hours later than originally planned and almost 12-hours later than she would normally leave. Our Captain literally sailed us full steam ahead and we managed to claw back 11-hours which was incredible! In fact Oriana broke fleet records by reaching a top speed of 27.5 knotts. Bad weather sadly forced us to slow down overnight on Sunday and our arrival into Stavanger yesterday was an hour later than planned but we stayed in port later to make up for it so it really made no difference.
I must say it is great to be back on Oriana, she really hasn’t changed all that much since I was last onboard in 2008. The food has been very nice thus far, just thinking about Sorrento makes my mouth water. The Prawns and Beef are DELICIOUS!!! We are dining at the Ocean Grill tomorrow night and I am hoping to try the Lobster, really looking forward to that. Our cabin is spacious and the balcony bigger than I expected, although we can’t make much use of it because of the weather it is nice to have and I stole a few minutes there yesterday as we sailed from Stavanger. The crew are all very friendly and I have seen several familiar faces which is always nice.
I was actually expecting this cruise to be bitterly cold from day one but it has been quite mild up to now. I am sitting on deck 12 aft as I type, looking down over Oriana’s beautiful tiered stern. It really hasn’t been COLD yet but I suppose that is yet to come. We will officially enter the Arctic Circle at 3am tomorrow morning so from that point I think the thermals will be out!
Stavanger, Norway was quite pretty, different to what I was expecting but we had a nice walk through the cobbled streets that were lined with old and beautiful wooden houses, it was like going back in time! We didn’t follow a map or plan anything we simply just wandered. At one point we came across a street filled with brightly coloured wooden fronted buildings, it was a bit of a shock and actually reminded me of being in the Caribbean, very odd considering the white washed wooden houses lining the dockside and then the more Dutch style restaurants and bars that lined the opposite side. There was no real theme or style it was more a mix of this that and everything in between. I was told before leaving that Norway is very expensive and having visited one Norwegian port I can say that is entirely correct. Some things were incredibly pricey but you I did come across the odd café that offered a cup of tea and cake for 250 Norwegian Krone, about £2.50, which wasn’t bad at all.
Our next stop is Alta, Norway, on Thursday and that is when our fun ashore shall officially begin. Husky rides, snow-mobiling, Sami camps and so much more. It will be an incredible few days that is for sure!
As I said it is great to be back on this wonderful ship. She has so much character and personality, I love the atmosphere onboard and there is a wide mix of ages which is nice. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect now she is adult only but I have seen a fair few young faces amongst the crowd.
I will check back in with you all as soon as I can.