Norway Cruise 18th August 2013
Royal Caribbean-Adventure of the Seas
Sun 18th Aug: Warmish, cloudy and sharp showers.
Left home at 8:30am after breakfast. Traffic good and arrived Southampton at 10.45am. Parked the car following instructions-well organised then boarded the ship. One of the quickest we have ever had. Straight through to main hall and then signing up for boarding pass, very smooth. Once onboard we wander around taking photos and getting our bearings before Windjammer for lunch, very busy, as always, everyone arriving now and its lunchtime, but it was made worse by people just sitting at tables after they had finished their meal instead of moving on so that others could sit down. Later cup of tea in Promenade cafe then time to go to cabin around 2pm. As we walked down corridor saw our bags outside another cabin-checked label then took our bags with us to our cabin. Unpacked and enjoyed a rest before fire-drill muster at 3.45pm, that went well and fellow passengers seem very friendly. We went straight to top deck for sail away at 5pm, just as we started to set sail it poured hard with rain! so sheltered under the gym roof till it eased off. Then to cabin to get ready for dinner at 6pm. Casual night but a very long queue to get in to dining room, they opened doors exactly at 6pm every night-never before that time-and as it was first night it took longer for people to file in and find their seats. We had a nice table with good company, table of 8, not always easy to talk across such large tables. Dinner till 8pm then to the Schooner Bar for a cocktail-Pimms till 10pm then off to cabin. Clocks forward one hour before settling down.
Mon 19th Aug: Day at Sea: Sun & Cloud, cool wind but nice.
Woke up to the sun, blue skies but a cool wind around 7.45am. Hubbie set off to get the ice show tickets-before even showering-as you start to get them around 8am and there is always high demand, it's not always easy to get the time/date you want but we did. The tickets are only on sale that morning no other day or time, you can just take a chance and turn up just before show starts and see if there are any seats, but if you're a family you may not get seats together that way. Tickets are free. Breakfast at 9am in Main Dining room but felt food not very good a bit over-cooked and no pancakes! After breakfast walked up to Windjammers to get chocolate milk for later, back to cabin. Went to Destinations talk to find out about some of the tours available, we had already pre-booked our Flam railway tour as we knew that was extremely popular. Sadly many of the other tours were fully booked too, seems silly that there was little choice left, we were told to go to main booking desk and put our names down on a waiting list for the tours we wanted, no guarantees it depended on the tour operators at the destination ports if they could add more buses etc. I will say of the two tours we wanted, we got one of them, but we did our own thing at the other port and had a great time luckily. Had a coffee and cookie before joining a trivia quiz in Schooner bar, only two of us, we got 8 out 11 which we were really pleased with! There are some veteran quizzes onboard. Took a few more photos around the ship before 3pm ice show-Art/Hot Ice, very good, this was our second ice show we have seen, standards are very high and they did not disappoint. Back to room to get ready for formal dinner at 6pm. All our table were there tonight, although we did feel not as many people as in the past dressed formally. After dinner down to the Promenade for Captains party (free champagne) then to the theatre to watch "Invitation to Dance" show, seen a very similar show on another RC ship in the past, but it was good. Cabin around 10:30, glass of wine & bed. (First time we have been allowed to bring one bottle of wine each aboard with RC).
Tues 20th Aug: Alesund: Rain, cold wind &cloudy.
Woke just after 8am, showered and had breakfast in Windjammers, a lot better choice of food. Ship was rocking and I didn't eat that much! Had taken a sea-sick pill first thing and gradually feeling better. Done a couple of quizzes in Schooner bar then hot chocolate and pizza, rolls & cake for lunch before getting ready to leave ship at 2.30pm. Weather not good, wanted to walk up the many steps to the viewpoint Aksla, I had read you get great views up there, I was very hesitant as I am not a fit person and I thought about it for awhile, decided to give it a go, steps uneven and some were difficult, also railings were dodgy, we met one lady who gave up as she suffers with vertigo, but I kept going stopping to rest at flat areas and to let other people past, took me a good hour to get up the 418 steps, but I was so pleased with myself I did it. The views were great, even though the weather wasn't, cloud kept coming and going and the biting wind was a battle. Stopped at the cafe there for hot chocolate, bit disappointed it came from a vending machine, but the views in the cafe were the same as out on the veranda, so I got my breath back and warmed up before heading back down. There is a tourist train that runs up to the viewpoint but you have to book it and the queue was very long when we got off the ship, some people didn't get a booking till much later in the day-or no booking at all. Once down back in the town, wandered the few shops that were open and headed towards the church, rain was off and on, some of our friends got the HOHO bus, but not from outside the ships terminal they walked to the tourist office and managed to get one there, they did say it was running hours late as traffic was bad-we never even saw one going around! The town was okay, not as picturesque as I expected. Back to ship just before 6pm-so had missed or dining slot (we weren't concerned though) went straight to Windjammers for dinner before returning to cabin for a short rest. Show at 9pm "American Dream" Motown songs, very good, grabbed some tea before going back to cabin so Rod could drink his wine(I prefer tea!), watched TV, sea was rough so took another tablet before retiring. 11pm.
Wens 21st Aug: Skojolden: Mild, no wind, a little drizzle first thing.
Awoke just before 8am, had an awful night sea was rough. After a light breakfast in Windjammers (hubbie doesn't suffer) went on deck as we sailed through the fjords, once in the fjord the sea was flat calm. Great views up there and we stayed longer than intended, cold wind blowing. Arrived early in Skojolden 12.15pm instead of 1pm. Had a light snack & hot chocolate then walked into the town, very quiet in some places, just follow the people if you're not sure where to go. It was so strange to think there were more people getting off the ship than live in the town! Wandered the back roads, I had found a map online and we followed that some of the way, discovered the most amazing lake, few people there, so quiet and the waterfall over the far side was mirrored in the lake, beautiful. Like watching the birds too, strolled back to the ship, got back there about 3pm So another hot chocolate and a snack as we were on a trip at 5.15pm (this was the one we went on a waiting list for and they told us the day before we were lucky). All on the bus & up the winding roads, to Jotunheimen National Park, stunning views and at the top VERY cold, my ears hurt too, thought it was the cold, but now I think it was the altitude. Saw glaciers and snow, really glad we got on this trip. Back to ship by 8.30pm and went to Windjammers for dinner (missed dining room again-but we were happy). I was feeling very tired as I had not slept well last night, so early to bed for me. There was an 80's parade on the Promenade but I didn't go, it started at 10.15pm, I knew I was up early tomorrow to.
Thurs 22nd Aug: Flam: Sunny, warm & no wind.
Up at 6am and got ready for railway trip starting at 8.15am. (also found out today did not get trip for Stavanger tomorrow). It was about 40mins each way on the train, lots of people, so glad we had booked it. Stopped at the large waterfall on the way up and on the way back down. When we reached the top we went inside the hotel for coffee and (cold) waffles with jam/yogurt-that's how the Norwegians like their waffles. We then had time to wander some of the trails, sadly not enough time to walk to the large lake nearby and see the waterfall that has a bridge over it. But the views we did see were stunning, very clear, fantastic waterfalls and wonderful mountains, well worth going there. Returned to Flam (pronounced Flom) and re-boarded ship for some lunch, then hubbie put his shorts on! Back off the ship and wandered Flam. Went inside the small museum, well worth a visit its free, strolled the souvenir shops, there are many! wandered to the small beach area, saw people canoeing and a mad few in swimming-water very cold. Went to the famous Ageir Brewery for one of their famous and expensive beers (it was a treat we decided for us). You could buy small tasters of all the beers, but they were very expensive. The brewery was set out like an old Viking round house, we enjoyed it and even got chatting to some real Norwegians who were holidaying in the area, lovely people. Lots of people back late from trip (3 coaches) so sail away was delayed. Decided to miss formal night tonight as we wanted to be on deck for sail-away. Good thing we did, to see the ship doing a 180 in the fjord, with very little room for error, was a great sight, and the views of the high mountains, waterfalls and just the sun setting were well worth it. Went to Windjammers for dinner before show at 9pm "Las Vegas" , then back to cabin to relax, bed about 11pm.
Fri 23rd Aug: Stavanger: Very warm, dry, not much wind.
Smooth night, wasn't sure if it was going to be rough as we had come out of the fjords now. Slept till 7am, then slowly got ourselves up ready to wander into town. No trip for us today, so wasn't to sure what we would do, had done a bit of homework before we left England and had a few ideas to work with. Off the ship about 9.30am, checked to see if could get on local boat trip to Pulpit Rock, but it was chaos there, long queues, hubbie went to front to ask if it was worth waiting in line but no one would talk to him, so gave up and decided to wander the tow. Shops didn't open till 11am, went to a tower where I knew you could get views over town-Valberg Tower-said it didn't open till 11am, but door was open so I asked the man inside if we could come in, he spoke English and said yes we could, there was a charge to climb the tower, but we felt it was worth it. Got some great views of the town and our bearings before setting off towards the petroleum museum, didn't go right in just wandered gift shop, before heading back into the town. Shops were now open, but they are expensive, found the cathedral and a church to visit and a seven eleven for some cheap drinks. Had got cookies with us, from on the ship and sat in the harbour area for our lunch. After our "cheap" lunch headed to the sardine museum in the old town area. Glad we went there it was fun and learnt a fair bit about the trade, nearly bought some sardines but weren't sure if you could take onboard the ship! The admission ticket also gave us free admission to the Maritime museum, so walked to that which was nearby, just a quick stroll in there before getting an expensive ice-cream and heading back to the ship by 3.50pm. Drinks on our balcony and watching the sail away before dinner at 6pm in dining room. Everyone there, they had wondered where we had got to, but we said, we were not going to miss out on the sights just to get to dinner on time. Theatre for David Copperfield show, it was fairly good, better than I had expected really. Back to cabin after 10pm, relax, hubbie drinking last of the wine before retiring.
Sat 24th Aug: Day at Sea: Cloudy, windy and cool.
Clocks went back one hour last night. Woke about 7.30am and lazily got ready for breakfast in Windjammers. Went to trivia quiz for awhile, then to deck 5 for a hot chocolate. On the promenade they were preparing an enormous buffet, hoards of people waiting to get at the food! They had cheeses, hams, fruit, cake, an enormous apple pie-which was delicious-with ice cream, and fruit/veg characters decorating the tables. Relaxed on our balcony for awhile, sheltered from the cool wind and enjoying the quiet, spotting oil rigs! Done most of the packing, as that had to go outside tonight. Hubbie went and paid off our statement with cash as we had not sent much of it, using up the kroner we had left. We had been told there was a free galley tour today and as we have never done one thought it was worth going. Queued for half hour to get it, lots of people in queue but it moved fairly quickly. It was interesting to see where all our food is prepared and how they get it all out to the passengers. Back to room around 5pm to get ready for dinner at 6pm in dining room. After dinner wandered promenade then went to the theatre to watch "Farewell Show", returned to room and finished packing to put cases outside cabin door for 11pm.
Sun 25th Aug: Southampton; Cold, wet and windy.
We were docked by 5am, we were given a time of 6am to leave the ship originally but my hubbie had got it changed to 8am. So we were still up early and had breakfast before leaving our cabin and going to our meeting point, ready to leave the ship. Smooth disembarkation, straight off with no problems, did have to walk to the car with our cases, but we were soon on our way home.
A few things about us and the ship.
We are a couple in our 50's, like walking but not long distances. We have sailed with Royal Caribbean about 5 times now and before that it was Ocean Village, have not tried any other cruise lines yet, it's more important to us the travel dates (as I work in a school) and the destinations.
We are not party people, I like my bed, 11pm is fairly late for me, but I do tend to get up fairly early.
This was the first time RC let us bring wine aboard, which is great, one bottle each.
We do take ships tours but depending where we are have done tours independently as well.
Adventure of the Seas is a really nice ship, my hubbie prefers Independence, but I really like Adventure for the size, activities and just the feel was really good. Lifts as always are a bit hit and miss, at busy times we ended up walking up or down stairs, but that's the same on all the ships. Good cabin, space well laid out, kettle with tea (no coffee) in room. Balcony good, seats comfy. Bed good. Deck 8 was quiet most of the time, few children running through late evening but that happens on most ships. Staff on al RC have been excellent, cabins are really good, sea-view or balcony (I love a balcony if we can afford it!)are what we usually choose. Adventure had the best boarding times of any of the ships we have been on. Some we were hours getting through.