Departed North Shields on 22 June for a 7 days cruise to Fjords & Glaciers on the Thomson Spirit.
One of the reasons we picked this cruise was that it departed from our local area so we could reach the port in about 20 minutes. Unfortunately due the ships late arrival caused by adverse weather conditions going through the Kiel Canal and also other events on the river we had to wait for 2 hours to check in and get on board the ship. When you drop off your luggage you are then given your cabin number and luggage labels to place on your case, at this point I believe you also have your credit card swiped and car parking ticket validated but due to the problems with the delay we had to do this onboard. We then had to drive to the car park to leave the car and then take the bus back to the shop. Have to say once onboard, we moved quickly. When you get to the top of the gangway they take your photo for your pass and one of the crew then takes you to your cabin. This was done very quickly despite the amount of people getting on board and our luggage arrived not long after we did.
Our cabin 142 on deck 7 was a good size with enough wardrobe and drawer
space. Hairdryer in the dressing table unit with lights and socket so quite good for us ladies to sit and make ourselves beautiful. Bathroom not bad shower over the bath and fixed to the wall so if you have mobility issues or larger/taller person then this may be a problem. Also the pressure on the shower could be very, very temperamental along with the temperature.
We would have breakfast and lunch in the Lido Restaurant and dinner in The Compass Rose Restaurant and found them both very good. The choice of food and the service in both restaurants were good and the staff always very helpful. The only problem I had is that I do like the temperature of my food to be hot and a lot of the time it was at best warm. On one occasion at breakfast they brought out a try of fried eggs and thought they would be hot but unfortunately not so. I did ask the head waiter if a microwave was available, but not one in the restaurant, so if I wanted food heated up then one of the staff would have to take my food to deck 4 to heat up. This they would gladly do but I just decided not to bother with that, so at lunch time stuck to salads, which helped with the diet!!!! and on an evening we ate in the Compass Restaurant and this was not a problem in this restaurant. Drinks prices seemed to be the normal city bar prices with offers on each day. Also the Duty Free shop had offers on the two day we were at sea " the vodka for one litre on these days was £8.50.
Entertainment on board was superb and lots going on especially the two days you had at sea. You could sit quietly and read your book or in another bar maybe join the linedancing classes and also lots of entertainment for the evening.
We did not book any of the Thomson excursions as we thought we would make our own arrangements when we went ashore but found the shore excursions very expensive. We did look at booking the train for Flam online before we went on the cruise and this would have been best as everyone will say it books up very, very quickly on the day you dock. Some of the Thomson excursions included hiking, cycling or you could go kayaking which all seemed very popular and also people seemed to have taken their own walking gear and would go off independently. Not many children on board but they did seems to have activities for them. One of our days at sea one of the staff and some of the children were doing a treasure hunt and all seemed to be enjoying it.
Norway is everything you would expect clean, wonderful views and expensive. We would not do this particular cruise again, but many people on board it was their second or third trip, but we would do other trips to Norway going to different ports.
In general the ship if fine but does need some refurbishment. The crew are cleaning it constantly, but no matter how many times they vacuum a threadbare carpet its not going to improve it.
When you depart you have to check the list in Reception and this gives you a colour of a luggage label to take and put on your cases, you collect your cases after you leave the ship. The colour of the label you have also advises you of the time you leave the ship which all works well. Don’t forget that as your luggage has to go outside your cabin door the night before you may need a small hand case to keep the small items your need for the morning.
The crew are all wonderful, very friendly service and nothing is too much trouble for any of them, when you pass them they all speak to you, know matter who it is. One of the crew told us that most of them have worked on the ship for a lot of years and return each year and we think this shows in their attitude in that they are happy with their work. We like to say special thanks to Henry and Vena who cleaned our cabins every day and made a great job of it. Carl, Jerry and Delfino in the Compass Restaurant, they all worked very hard to make our trip enjoyable.