RCI delivered another great experience. We chose this trip because of the itinerary and it met all our expectations. We spent a few days in London on our way to Copenhagen and had a very good time we were traveling with another couple who were very inexperienced travelers and it was very interesting to watch their reaction to the various sites we visited. We have been to London several times but had never been there when Buckingham Palace was open to tourist and we took advantage of the Queen being out of town and visited her home, quite a step up from our home. Worth the time if you get there during the late summer.
We got to Copenhagen a couple of days early and enjoyed the city, we stayed at the Palace Hotel which was a great location and a very nice hotel just a few blocks from Tivoli Gardens and half a block to the pedestrian mall that is so popular with both tourist and locals. The canal boat tour is well worth the money.
On Sat. Sept 14 we went to board the Vision of The Seas and have never had an easier embarkation. We are Emerald level crown and anchor members and even though they had not set up the premium boarding lines the only way we could have gotten on board faster was to run it was very fast. On board about 12:45m we found that our stateroom was not available but we were not surprised by this and had a lite lunch in the windjammer which was not overly crowded and by that time we were allowed in our room which was typical of any stateroom on a ship small but convenient we had not booked a balcony for the first time in several trips because we felt like the weather wouldn't permit a lot of time out there anyway. We met Ashton right away and he provided excellent service throughout the trip.
A few words about the ship are probably all that are necessary. Vision of the Seas went immediately to a month long refurbishing the day we got off and although everything worked just fine the ship did look a bit dated and several of the amenities on newer ships just were not available but the Captain assured us that all of those issues would be resolved in the upcoming refitting. Things were a bit worn in spots but I'm sure that RCI will have a sparking new ship in about a Month.
The services aboard were very good and the staff was professional and friendly our waiter Tony was efficient and helpful and his assistant was always busy meeting our needs. The Menu was good not great but always had something that was very good . The entertainment on board was a mixed bag the headliner acts were for the most part very enjoyable the production shows (2) not very good at all the music and the voices of the singers just didn't match up weak singers strong songs might have been better with a different choice of songs. Chili Gold a British C&W singer was very good and Los Pampas Goucho"s were super entertainment.
As already noted the itinerary was the reason we chose this trip and it did not disappoint. Oslo Norway was very nice we toured the Viking Ship Museum which was truly remarkable the ships which are on display are in amazing condition for 1200 year old wooden vessels. To think that men could use such boats to travel all the way to North America is hard to imagine. Part of that wonder was reinforced when later in the day our Captain announced that we would not be going to Inverness Scotland due to a big storm that had 60 mph wind and 30 foot seas.
We had three sea days as we ran from the storm going south across the North Sea and through the English Channel before turning west and then North up the West coast of England to our Port of call in Glasgow where we took the RCI excursion to Edinburg which is a beautiful city it was a wet and grey day but the Castle and the Royal Mile make a great destination. The two stops in Ireland were both better than expected Dublin was very crowded and Trinity College was a nice surprise with opening of a new semester and lots of students who were excited and friendly. Cork was a different experience as we just hires a car and driver for the day to tour the countryside which was very beautiful as green as you would expect and lots of castles, Lakes and Mountains which made for great vistas.
Cherbourg was our gateway to visit the Invasion beaches of Normandy and the American Cemetery. Every American should visit this place the magnitude of what happened there 69 years ago is easily understood as you stand on the cliffs overlooking the beaches and the cemetery will just bring tears to your eyes,
We used the RCI trip through the countryside and a visit to Stone Henge to get to airport and return to Houston. This trip lived up to all of my expectations.