Costa Concordia Embarks On Her Final Voyage

Costa Concordia Removal

Costa Concordia today embarked on her final voyage, from the island of Giglio to Genoa in northwest Italy. Her towing marks just one accomplishment in one the biggest salvage operations in maritime history.

The journey, which began shortly before 09:00 local time, includes a 17-man crew aboard the Costa Concordia, more than a dozen accompanying vessels, and two giant tugs that are towing the wreck at just two knots per hour. She is expected to sail 15 miles from Corsica and close to the islands of Elba and Capraia before reaching Genoa late Saturday.

“This is a big day for Giglio but we’ll only be able to relax once it reaches Genoa”, Nick Sloane, the South African salvage master in charge of the operation, said.

Costa Crociere, estimate the operation to remove the wreck from the reef and tow it for scrapping will cost 1.5bn euros in total.

Surviving passengers who returned to the Tuscan island of Giglio for the final farewell, said they are ready to put the nightmarish experience behind them.

“We hope that what we’ve kept inside us will depart when the boat departs. And that as it goes on its way, we can finally go on ours,” Anne Decre of the French Survivors’ Collective told AFP, clutching the hand of friend Nicole Servel whose husband died in the disaster.

costa-concordia-towed-away

Costa Concordia is being towed by Dutch- and Vanuatu-flagged boats, while the flotilla carries divers, engineers, a medical team and environmental experts with it.

Sensors attached to the sides of the ship will monitor for possible cracks in the crippled hull, while underwater cameras will watch for debris washing out of the vessel amid fears toxic waste could spill into the sea.

Objects floating free such as suitcases, clothes and furniture will be caught in a huge net while infrared sensors will be used to detect possible oil leaks at night.

Investigators are still looking for the body of Indian waiter Russel Rebello, whose body is the only one not to have been found.

Costa Concordia Removal Convoy

 

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Posted in Costa Concordia, Cruise News

P&O Cruises Britannia Construction So Far

Today I have another set of AMAZING images to share with you of P&O Cruises, Britannia.

This collection shows her construction so far both inside and out – including some cabin shots!

Arriving in spring 2015, Britannia will represent the very best of the best! The largest ship built exclusively for Britain, she will combine signature P&O Cruises features with the very latest innovations in dining, entertainment and modern design. Britannia will embrace a bold new 94 metre Union Flag on her bow displaying the longest version of the Flag anywhere in the world. You can actually see the start of this being painted across her hull in the second image.
Her other distinctive features include blue funnels carrying an illuminated rising sun motif which depicts the Oriental part of the Peninsular and Oriental (P&O) name on the company’s Coat of Arms.
I hope you enjoy this collection! Her maiden voyage is getting ever closer! :)

P&O Cruises Britannia Construction

P&O Cruises Britannia Painting

P&O Cruises Britannia

P&O Cruises Britannia Italy

P&O Cruises Britannia Shipyard

P&O Cruises Britannia Aft

P&O Cruises Britannia Starboard Side

P&O Cruises Britannia Under Construction

P&O Cruises Britannia Deck

P&O Cruises Britannia Funnel

P&O Cruises Britannia Bridge

P&O Cruises Britannia Cabin

P&O Cruises Britannia Twin Cabin

P&O Cruises Britannia Twin Cabin View

P&O Cruises Britannia Lido Deck

P&O Cruises Britannia Atrium

P&O Cruises Britannia Bar

P&O Cruises Britannia Lounge

Images courtesy of P&O Cruises

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Posted in Cruise News, P&O Cruises

Queen Mary 2 – A Photographic Journey

QM2 A Photographic Journey

I must admit that I don’t read very often, I usually keep my designated reading time for sea days as I am just too busy when on dry land to try and keep up to speed with a book. I have been reading one now since last August! Occasionally, however, I come across one that I open and simply can’t put down – that happened recently!

I give you ‘QM2 A Photographic Journey’ by Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross.

 As the title suggests, the book is a visual look at the Queen Mary 2 from bow to stern – literally! It is packed with some wonderful interior images, information on every public space and more, and some quirky little facts. Actually, let me share some of the facts with you now.

Did you know?

The Sliding glass roof above the Pavilion Pool is called a Magrodome

The Britannia Restaurant can cater for up to 1,200 people in a SINGLE seating!

Queen Mary 2 is the largest, longest and most expensive ocean liner ever built

The Galley team are supported by a team of eighty-five dishwashers, pot washers and Galley cleaners who work around the clock!

Queen Mary 2 is the fastest merchant ship currently in service

Image Credit: Chris Frame

Image Credit: Chris Frame

The books foreword was provided by Commodore R.W. Warwick and reads as follows:

In April 1998, after months of speculation, the Carnival Corporation acquired Cunard Line, and, within a few weeks of doing so, the new owners announced their proposal to build an ocean liner. This ship soon became known as the Queen Mary 2.

After years of Meticulous research and planning, a contract was signed with Chantiers de L’Atlantique, Saint Nazaire, to build the biggest ocean liner the world has ever known. From then on construction progressed with thousands of tons of steel and machinery being delivered to the builders of the ship assigned the yard number G32. On 3 July 2002, exactly 162-years to the day of the maiden voyage of the paddle steamer Britannia, Samuel Cunard’s first ship, I had the honour of giving the order to lay the first keel section of my new ship, the Queen Mary 2.

Several months later I set up residence in Saint Nazaire and watched the vessel grow at a very rapid pace. It was exciting to see the architects’ and designers’ visions of grandeur and elegance becoming a reality. On the Bridge and in the Engine Room the latest in maritime communications technology was being installed to make this new ship the most advanced ocean liner of our time.

On 22 December 2003, eighteen months after the keel was laid, the ship was formally handed over to Cunard Line, and, with only the crew on board, we bid farewell to Saint Nazaire and set sail for Vigo, Spain. For the next few days the crew and I had the ship totally to ourselves to carry out an intensive series of trials and tests. We docked the ship several times and turned her around in her own length using the azimuth-podded propulsion system and bow thrusters. The mooring arrangements, watertight doors and gas turbines were tested. The gangways and tender platforms were rigged. Lifeboats and tenders were launched. The anchors were lowered and emergency drills were carried out. Meanwhile, the Hotel Department were busy preparing cabins and testing the culinary facilities. The Britannia Restaurant was ‘tested’ by 1,000 crew members as we sailed across the Bay of Biscay on Christmas Day, bound for our maiden arrival at Southampton.

These few days of dedicated service by an incredibly proud and enthusiastic crew laid the foundations to introduce the magnificent Queen Mary 2 to the world, and to perpetuate the reign of Cunard Liners on the North Atlantic.

In the ensuing five years, Queen Mary 2 has travelled the world, sailed over 800,000 nautical miles and carried many thousands of passengers. Among those passengers have been Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross. I commend Chris and Rachelle for their dedication in celebrating the first vie years of the QM2 by recording this occasion for maritime history in pictorial form.

Image Credit: Chris Frame

Image Credit: Chris Frame

This really is a great book, especially for all the ‘Cunader’s’ out there!

Why not drop by Chris’ official Facebook page where you can find out more about everything that is Cunard!

Author: Danielle

 

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Posted in Cruise Shopping, Cunard Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line Offers Exclusive New Rotating Menus and More Culinary Variety

Norwegian Cruise Line Logo

Guests setting sail with Norwegian Cruise Line this summer and beyond will have more choices and flexibility in the line’s complimentary dining venues. These new offerings are a further development of the Norwegian NEXT programme, focused on bringing “new enhancements, experiences and transformations” across the fleet, with the goal of elevating the guest experience and building on the success of the line’s two newest ships: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.

The culinary enhancements include: the debut of multiple new menus in the ships’ main dining rooms that offer an increased variety of selections and contemporary dishes; a dedicated “Chocoholic Night” one evening per cruise, featuring speciality chocolate-based desserts in each restaurant; and the ability for guests to make main dining reservations up to 90 days in advance.

The new regionally-focused complimentary dining room dinner menus vary by ship itinerary and change each evening of the sailing, ensuring that guests have a wider selection of dishes to choose from during their cruise. Featuring a sleeker design, along with wine pairing recommendations and anecdotal culinary history, the new menus display several sections – starters, classic dishes, main courses, chef’s signature dish and dessert – and offer an increased variety, with up to 12 starters and up to 15 entrees per evening. The menus have been carefully developed by Norwegian’s culinary team with a focus on balancing popular traditional dishes like prime rib, chateaubriand, rack of lamb and escargot with current dining trends and heightened guest expectations. The new offerings include increased seafood options such as grouper, barramundi, sushi and crab dishes. Contemporary dishes include mojito shrimp ceviche, seared Atlantic scallops with fennel puree, and braised beef short ribs with Cajun shrimp. Additionally, guests can enjoy new lunch menus in the main dining room.

NCLFood

In the popular, complimentary dining venue, O’Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill on-board Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Jewel, the company is introducing exclusive speciality dish nights, such as prime rib, all-you-can-eat baby back ribs, and chicken and waffles. These speciality dish nights give guests an alternative dinner venue in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

One of the most popular additions to the new dining programme is sure to be Norwegian’s “Chocoholic Night,” which offers a choice of up to seven signature chocolate desserts in every restaurant one evening each cruise. Ranging from the delectable warm chocolate volcano to the decadent chocolate Nutella pot de crème and the white chocolate strawberry mousse, the desserts are sure to satisfy any cruiser’s sweet-tooth.

In keeping with the line’s Freestyle Cruising, Norwegian is also making it easier than ever for guests to further customise their holiday experience by offering the ability to make reservations for complimentary dining rooms up to 90 days prior to the cruise date. With reservation times at 5:30 pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, and 8:30pm, the new system provides guests the option of selecting a dining time during any evening of their cruise, for a party size of up to 12 guests.

The new menus and concepts will be available on most of Norwegian’s fleet by 31 July, and on-board Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Sky and Pride of America by early 2015.

Info courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

 

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Posted in Food and Drink, Norwegian Cruise Line

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Food Blog

Food is a big part of any cruise and on my recent Fred. Olsen, Braemar cruise, I enjoyed so many good dishes that I decided to photograph some of them and share them in a food blog.

I have gathered a collection of images from the Grampian Restaurant, Palms Cafe buffet, room service, Marquee Deck bar and one snap of traditional afternoon tea, which was served in the Observatory Lounge.

The food on Braemar was very good indeed. A substantial variety of options day and night and some of the best soups I have ever tasted! I especially liked the fact that both the Grampian and Thistle restaurants offered a menu option AND a buffet option for breakfast and lunch. If nothing on the menu grabbed your attention, then you could help yourself to some of the buffet options – for a picky eater like me, this was ideal! It also meant you didn’t have to leave one dining venue and go to another because the menu didn’t suit your tastes.

I hope you enjoy the pictures, I definitely enjoyed eating the food! ;)

Tagliatelle Pasta Tagliatelle ‘Perugia’ – Ribbon pasta tossed in a creamy garlic sauce with smoked ham, peas and spring onion

Chocolate Cake

Milk, white and dark chocolate mouse cake (it was good too!)

Grilled Chicken Breast

Grilled chicken breast with mushroom ragout

Smoked pork loin

Grilled smoked pork loin with a fried egg

Breaded Fish Goujons

Breaded fish goujons with a small spoonful of potato and tartar sauce.

Pork Cordon Bleu

Pork cordon bleu filled with ham and Swiss Cheese, served with sauteed potatoes, green peas and baby onions

Chicken Vermicelli

Chicken Vermicelli – Clear consomme with strips of chicken, fresh parsley and vermicelli noodles

Tagliatelle Alfredo

Tagliatelle Alfredo – Pasta tossed in a light white wine and cheese sauce, garnished with tomato concasse

Rich Chocolate Fudge Cake

Rich (and delicious) chocolate fudge cake

Poached Pear

Poached pear with fresh ice cream

Ham, Cheese and tomato sandwich

Ham and cheese sandwich with ready salted crisps and a side of coleslaw (room service menu)

Chocolate Mousse

Milk, white and dark chocolate mousse with a raspberry compote

Roasted Garlic Soup

Roasted garlic soup – It smelled SO strong but in flavour it was not overpowering at all, just right.

Margherita Pizza

Margherita pizza on the Marquee Deck

Indian Buffet

My choices from the Indian buffet in the Palms Cafe – Tandoori chicken, vegetable pakora and samosa, chicken curry, vegetable rice and a little piece of pitta bread

Grilled Chicken Burger

Grilled chicken breast served on a toasted bun with fries

Palms Cafe Breakfast Braemar

My breakfast choice in the Palms Cafe one morning – Beans, scrambled egg and hash browns

Afternoon tea Braemar

Traditional afternoon tea served in the Observatory Lounge – Selection of pastries and tarts and sandwiches including egg mayonnaise, cucumber, plump shrimp and avocado and smoked salmon with cream cheese.

Spinach and Potato Soup

Spinach and potato soup – The BEST soup of the entire trip!

Asian buffet palms cafe Braemar

My choices from the Asian buffet in the Palms Cafe – Chicken skewers with peanut sauce, vegetable spring rolls, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, noodles and some courgette, which I scooped out of another set of noodles ;)

Chocolate cake

Chocolate fudge cake with a rich cherry compote

Mozzarella, Tomato and red onion salad

Mozzarella, tomato and red onion salad

Smoked salmon parcel

 Smoked salmon parcel filled with diced potato and chopped spring onion, bound in horseradish mayonnaise

Chicken breast and cheese

Grilled chicken breast wrapped in bacon and cheese, served with chunky chips, vegetables and a BBQ sauce

Prawn Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail with avocado

Tagliatelle Carbonara

Tagliatelle Carbonara – with CRISPY bacon too, not the half cooked stuff that some places serve! It was lovely and creamy.

 

OK! Now you go…….eat!!!! ;)

Author: Danielle

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Posted in Food and Drink, Fred Olsen Cruise Line

Costa Concordia Refloat Video And Interior Photographs

The Costa Concordia was successfully refloated recently and I wanted to share with you a timelapse video of that process, you can view it below. I also wanted to share with you some interior images of the vessel as she is now. I think you will agree that the image of the piano is incredible, for after all this time it still looks brand new!

Costa Concordia remains a tragedy that could have been easily avoided, but now the focus is on moving the vessel from her resting place and doing so as safely as possible.

Costa Concordia Refloat 2014

Costa Concordia Bar

Costa Concordia Piano

Costa Concordia Deck

Costa Concordia Inside

costa-concordia-refloated

Costa Concordia Refloat 2

Costa Concordia Refloat Cabin

Costa Concordia Refloat Interior

Costa Concordia Refloat Video

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Posted in Costa Concordia, Cruise News

Norwegian Cruise Line Orders Two New Ships

Norwegian Cruise Line Logo

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has reached an agreement with MEYER WERFT GMBH of Germany to build two new Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter 2018 and the fourth quarter 2019. Each ship will be 164,600 gross tonnes and include 4,200 passenger berths.

“Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have proven themselves as industry game-changers and are extremely popular with our guests,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “It was only natural that we build on their success with this new ship order that further solidifies our long-term growth strategy.”

The contract price for both ships is approximately euro 1.6 billion. The Company has export credit financing in place for each ship, arranged and underwritten by KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH of Germany.

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept of Freestyle Cruising® which offers guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their cruise holiday on their own terms, including multiple dining venues, relaxed dress codes, a variety of accommodations and world-class entertainment. The Company took Freestyle Cruising to the next level with the introduction of Norwegian Epic in June 2010 and subsequently launched two game-changing vessels, Norwegian Breakaway based in New York in May 2013 and Norwegian Getaway homeported in Miami in February 2014. These ships incorporate groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks creating a whole new complex at sea and connecting guests with the ocean.

Info courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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Posted in Cruise News, Norwegian Cruise Line

P&O Cruises Britannia To Host First British Cookery School At Sea

 Britannia-Union-Jack

When the doors of the country’s newest cookery school, The Cookery Club, open next March on Britannia, Britain’s largest cruise ship, it will offer the most comprehensive schedule of classes for all ages and abilities as it travels the world.

Run in consultation with James Martin and featuring the other P&O Cruises Food Heroes Marco Pierre White; Atul Kochhar; master patissier Eric Lanlard and cheese expert Charlie Turnbull, The Cookery Club will have 24 state of the art stations for participants.  When the celebrity chefs and experts are on board they will be taking masterclasses and hosting interactive classes over lunch and dinner at the chef’s table. Many other celebrity chefs will be joining the ship for special demonstrations and classes.  Details to be announced shortly.

Resident chef and manager of The Cookery Club Rob Cottam, who joins P&O Cruises from Leiths School of Food & Wine and Ashburton Cookery School, will be ensuring the classes are reflective of current trends and tastes.  Rob has lived and worked abroad/internationally including Malaysia and Australia and is an expert in Far Eastern cuisine and will be running a series of dim sum and Thai street food classes as well as a variety of other themed and seasonal classes.

Cookery School

Cookery School

Rob Cottam said: “Many of the classes will reflect the ports of call so passengers can go to local markets, vineyards and see speciality producers in the morning before an afternoon learning how to use wonderful Mediterranean, European and Caribbean ingredients, herbs and spices to create exciting dishes they can recreate at home.

“For example during our call to Lisbon the classes may include traditional pastel de nata, custard tarts; or our day in Olden may have a fish masterclass to include filleting and many different cooking techniques. There will also be chocolate, Moroccan and bread speciality classes as well as more general Sunday brunch and French and Italian bistro favourites.

P&O Cruises offers a seven-night cruise with master pâtissier Eric Lanlard. Departing May 23, 2015, the cruise sails to Guernsey, Spain, & France from Southampton. Also on offer, an 11-night cruise with James Martin. Departing Sept 14, 2015, the cruise sails to Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar from Southampton.

Info courtesy of P&O Cruises

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Posted in Cruise News, P&O Cruises

Copenhagen with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

This wonderful cruise is sadly coming to an end, we are making our Kiel Canal transit today, at sea tomorrow and we then arrive into Dover on Thursday morning. I really am sad to be thinking about getting off. I feel like I have been on Braemar for a lot longer than two weeks and I am incredibly comfortable onboard – maybe I need to find a place to hide! ;)

We were in Copenhagen, Denmark, yesterday and although the weather was pretty rubbish for quite some time, I did enjoy my time ashore. I went on a Copenhagen and Tivoli excursion and loved every minute of it. We left the ship (which had the best berthing location of all the ships that were in port I might add) and made our way towards the Little Mermaid statue. I am glad I can say I have seen her, but she was a lot smaller than I expected. Someone had also written something across her chest so that took away from the viewing – I wish people would just leave things alone and not feel the need to destroy or deface everything around them! From the Little Mermaid we made our way into the city and had a stop at the Palace, where we watched the changing of the guard. We drove right through the main city and I enjoyed it, but I was desperate to get to Tivoli!

Little Mermaid Copenhagen

Tivoli was awesome! It was like a magical world within a world. That is the only way that I can describe it. It is right in the heart of the city and offers visitors beautiful gardens and a small theme park. In fact, Tivoli is actually home to one of the world’s oldest rollercoasters! The weather was awful for quite some time but eventually it did dry up, which I was grateful for, but I never got the chance to go on any of the rides – I suppose I have an excuse to go back now. Tivoli is a magical place for young and old, there are many rides, some lovely gardens and several restaurants, bars and small gift shops. You really could spend a substantial amount of time here especially if the weather was nice. It almost has a make believe feel to it, imagine Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the kind of other world things that he offers, Tivoli is like that, it’s like a real life version of something you would only ever imagine to be real. I have to admit that I did think Tivoli would be bigger and that there would be a few more garden areas, but I was more than impressed by what was on offer and we had the pleasure of getting up close to a tiny baby Peacock. If you have visited Copenhagen before or want to do something a little different then Tivoli is definitely my recommendation. I took the trip as an organised excursion, but if you would prefer more time there then it is easy enough to do on your own.

Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen Denmark

Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen

This cruise really has been amazing. I wish I had experienced a Baltic voyage long ago because I am now hooked on the region and have already decided what I will do in several ports when I return. I really do have it all planned out! If I go back to St Petersburg I will go for Catherine’s Palace and probably the Hermitage. In Tallinn, I will explore the one small area of the Old Town that I missed  and probably try some local food in one of the many restaurants, I would also pick a voyage with another long call here so I could spend the evening ashore. Stockholm, I would go on the city Ghost Walk, which I really wanted to do when we were there but sadly I didn’t have the opportunity and in Denmark I would do a city walking tour, taking in on foot everything I viewed this time from the coach. I would also make time for another Tivoli visit, obviously! ;)

We are currently making our Kiel Canal transit and I am enjoying the scenery on the open deck. The weather is not great, but thankfully it has just stopped raining. It is such a great experience and we have several hours of it left. It’s mostly fields and trees that one can see, but occasionally we pass a windmill or ferry station – you never really know what lies ahead. On our evening transit we passed one or two motor home parks and they let off fireworks as we passed, that was a nice welcome!

Kiel Canal

I did leave the deck for a little while and sampled the German Lunch in the Palms Café, which was very nice! I think I have overdosed though on Bratwurst! They were like giant succulent hot dogs and I couldn’t get enough! Two Bratwurst and then Schnitzel was probably not a good idea. I am so full I could burst! ;)

A lady commented on my blog before I left to say she was also on the same cruise and I have just met her, finally! :) It’s so nice to connect with people onboard that you have had some interaction with pre-cruise. Cruising really is a close community of thousands of people and I love it!

I have so much more to tell you and things to share with you about this lovely ship, Braemar, but this piece shall cometh soon along with interior images………watch this space!

Author: Danielle

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Posted in Fred Olsen Cruise Line

St Petersburg and Tallinn With Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

As I type I am sitting on the open deck enjoying a gorgeous day at sea. The weather today has been absolutely perfect and many passengers are taking the opportunity to relax in the fresh air, read, chat or just watch the world go by. Its days like today that money can’t buy!

Since my last check-in with you all we have visited St Petersburg in Russia and Tallinn in Estonia and both visits were certainly something to talk about.

Peterhof Palace Park St Petersburg

We spent two days in St Petersburg but to be honest even that would never be enough to take in everything this wonderful city has to offer. On day one I had an excursion to Peterhof Palace and Park and what a palace it was! The weather was perfect, barely a cloud in the sky, and the tourists were flocking to this visually impressive slice of luxury, just outside the main city. Photography inside the palace is prohibited so sadly I can’t share any interior images with you, but let me tell you that it was incredible! I had been torn between Peterhof and Catherine’s Palace but I am glad I went with the first option. Every single room had a different theme, we went from the rather impressive Ballroom and Audience Hall, which were both clad in gold leaf and completely over the top with decoration, to a Chinese themed room, which looked like it had literally been plucked from the Orient and dropped in the palace completely untouched. The décor in every room was impressive as were the furnishings and even the little things like the Wedgewood dinner set. Of course the entire palace was incredible and I would highly recommend the visit, but it was the gardens that I really wanted to see and I was not disappointed by the beauty! The fountains are turned on at 11am so after our interior visit we were just in time for the fountain ceremony to begin. WOW! That’s all I can say! It visually blew your mind, everything was superbly maintained, the grass was a perfect shade of green, the water crystal clear and the small flower gardens were beautiful colours. I don’t think the gardens would have had quite the same appeal if the weather had been awful, but we were very lucky and the sun was hitting the Scoop Basin and Samson fountain in a way that lit up everything around them. It was a place that I could have happily explored all day, you would probably need at least half a day in reality just to walk around the gardens!

Petehof Palace and Park Russia Cruise

In the evening I embarked on a waterways tour, which again was very nice! It was a good way to appreciate the beauty and architecture without the hustle and bustle of other tourists that were probably trying to do the same thing. The architecture in St Petersburg is amazing! Every building makes your eyes light up, even the Cartier store was an attention grabber – well it was for me. We passed several notable sights including the Spilled Blood Church and the Hermitage. It was just a peaceful way to explore and a chance to see the city from the waterways, which in reality is exactly what the city was built for – to be viewed from the water. Again we had ideal weather, not a drop of rain fell from the sky, that was until we boarded the coach and then the heavens opened. I’d had a wonderful day in Russia and I was looking forward to the offerings of day 2.

Waterways St Petersburg Baltic Cruises

Day 2 started with an easy morning, my tour didn’t depart until 1:30pm so I took advantage of the time to relax and get ready for my excursion without any rush. We left the port on time and made our way into the city and towards the Church of Spilled Blood. I have always wanted to visit St Petersburg and in particular the Spilled Blood Church so I was incredibly exited to get there. Again this is another architectural masterpiece, it really is beautiful to look at. I was mesmerised by the outer beauty, but once inside it was like being in another world. I didn’t know where to look, every single inch of the interior is beautifully painted and depicts various religious scenes. I can’t stress enough just how amazing it was and I say again, if you are visiting St Petersburg then PLEASE go and see the church, but don’t just look at the outside, you MUST go in. Inside the Church you will also find the spot where Emperor Alexander II was mortally wounded, they say his blood is still on some of the stones! I took hundreds of interior shots, I couldn’t stop myself from clicking the button on the camera. I wanted to capture every piece of art and I think I succeeded! I could never verbally do the Church justice so I hope you enjoy the images below and you can see for yourself just how impressive it is. They certainly don’t make them like that anymore!

Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood

Spilled Blood Church St Petersburg

Spilled Blood Church Russia

Church of Spilled Blood

My Spilled Blood Church excursion brought an end to our time in Russia and although we still have one port left, I have to say that it is now my second favourite port of the cruise, the first now being Tallinn, which we explored yesterday.

I opened my curtains and was greeted by glorious sunshine, there was a rather dense sea fret lingering over the port of Tallinn but by noon it had burned away and we had clear blue skies all day – perfect for exploring! I left the ship, grabbed a map and off I went into the Old Town. Like Russia, Estonia was a place I had always wanted to visit and I was terrified of being disappointed, I can now say I wish we had spent an overnight there as I completely fell in love with the Old Town and I felt very comfortable exploring on my own. Our call also coincided with a song and dance festival, which is held in the city every five years, so the streets were alive with thousands of people. Apparently there are over 40,000 people that take part in the festival, so you can imagine what the atmosphere was like! Mix that number of people with the amount of locals that were gathering for the festivities and tourists that were rolling in, and you had a rather busy Old Town! I walked all over the place! I explored every area bar one and felt quite accomplished with my little adventure. I took in the Town Wall and its defence towers, St Olav’s Church, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Holy Spirit Church and so much more. They say Tallinn is like something out of a fairy tale and having now visited myself I can see exactly what they mean. Everything seems to branch off from the main town square, which makes it an incredibly easy place to navigate, but I would suggest you take a map as many of the narrow streets look very similar and it you could be easily confused if you don’t have clear directions. Even the streets that are less visited are impressive and have character, it’s a destination that you can immerse yourself in completely even if just sitting in a café watching the world go by. You don’t need a massive amount of time to explore here, but I would have loved to have experienced the Old Town at night.

Old Town Tallinn

We are in Copenhagen, Denmark, tomorrow then we will have a daytime Kiel Canal transit and a day at sea before returning to Dover on Thursday. I really don’t want to get off! :(

I will check-in with you all again soon!

Author: Danielle

 

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Posted in Fred Olsen Cruise Line, General Cruise Articles
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