Black Watch Cruise Review by WalkerC: Journey Towards The North Pole
Overall Member Rating
Journey Towards The North Pole
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Newcastle (England)
For us this cruise was absolutely perfect - we feel like we have been on holiday with a few hundred friends both fellow passengers and crew who were, without exception, extremely friendly. Leaving from Newcastle was very easy with lots of help with baggage at Port of Tyne from cheery porters. Black Watch is an elderly ship but was lovely - high standards, very clean and comfortable with a very happy crew that is clearly well managed by the excellent Captain, Jozo Glavic, and his team.
The food, activities, lectures and entertainment were all first class - we had no complaints at all. and felt that there was something for everyone on board whatever their likes/interests.
The itinerary for this trip was wonderful and full credit to Fred Olsen for this. The Captain stayed close to land throughout Norway, pretty much following the Hurtigruten route which was an unexpected bonus. The ports of call were all interesting and the Captain also took us to the Svartisen Glacier, More into the narrow Trollfjord and also to see North Cape from the sea. We thoroughly enjoyed our excursions, particularly to Grip Island and Strandafjellet Viewpoint - Nusfjord on Lofoten was good too but we would have like more time there. We have visited Tromso before and it was excellent to have a good amount of free time there - we used the local service bus to go to the cable car (public transport is easy in Norway with drivers speaking English which helps - you may have to purchase ticket from local shop before boarding, tourist information office will always advise and printout timetables for you).
The absolute highlight of the trip was visiting Svalbard which was stunningly beautiful and we spent several hours in Magdalena Fjord before time in Ny Alesund and Longyearbyen - I will never forget my visit to this remote and wonderful location.
Other highlights of the trip include whale watching - 11 species were seen during the trip - and bird watching - there were excellent wildlife lectures from Chris Bielby who was happy to answer questions on deck and point out anything of interest, as did the 'birders' on board. We were lucky to have fantastic weather too with only 1.5 days of fog but this was while we were at sea and temperatures as high as 29 degrees at other time.
We would highly recommend Black Watch and can't wait to travel on her again - next trip is already booked! Less
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