While on our first short cruise to the Norwegian fjords on Fred.Olsen's Balmoral in May 2016 we booked this year's longer cruise to the fjords north of Bergen and Bergen itself. As the cruise started in Belfast this saved connecting flights and the itinerary included a short visit to Kirkwall on the Orkney Island.
The coach connection provided (at a cost) by a local travel agent and embarkation went to plan but there was then a long wait till departure. The following days were enjoyable, blessed with wonderful weather, good food, excellent entertainment and plenty of companionship among our fellow travellers. We enjoyed the extra perks of a balcony suite, though 8010 on the port side seemed to miss out on a lot of the sunshine!
Towards the end of the 8-night cruise we learnt that some of our fellow passengers had been laid low with what may have been an upper respiratory infection and that some of the crew were also unwell, but still working. Unfortunately, soon after our return we both succumbed to a particularly debilitating virus and almost 2 weeks' later we are still "under the weather". This has not just been the usual headcold but a full-on viral infection with fever, coughing and overall malaise. Could it be that we picked up a foreign strain which has knocked us both out and curtailed our normal very active lives?
The promised feedback form has not yet been received from Fred.Olsen despite having received emails from them prior to our departure.
Our subsequent illness has left a rather negative feeling about cruising overall and perhaps the Fred.Olsen line, with whom I first travelled in 1962!
Suit 8010 is spacious and well laid out. We made good use of both wardrobes and the other extra facilities. The balcony has an unrestricted view but we found we didn't get much of the lovely sunshine on it so made use of neighbouring deck space and the general pool area.
We opted to visit the Briksdal Glacier and National Park using the Troll Car as my husband has recently had surgery. This turned out to be a wise decision as the remaining short trek was quite adequate for us. We enjoyed beautiful scenery on a wonderfully sunny day and the tea and cakes were a bonus. Our guide on the bus was very knowledgeable and added to the overall satisfaction of our choice.
We'd an early start but had wonderful weather to enjoy this spectacular piece of railway. Wasn't sure how easy it would be buy tickets onsite ourselves but this seems to have been an option, although there were 2 ships in port. A cost-saving consideration maybe?View All 212 Flam Railway Reviews
Having been to Bergen last year when we got the cable car up to Mount Floyen independently we opted for the out-of-town trip to Grieg's summer home this time. We weren't disappointed. It's a magical place in a lovely setting and the short lunchtime concert was a treat - though the music wasn't familiar to us. The guide on the bus sang for us as we made the short journey out to Troldhaugen.View All 28 Troldhaugen Concert Reviews
As our visit to Kirkwall was quite short we opted to do our "own thing" once we got to town on the shuttle. We visited the cathedral, where a children's orchestra were playing, and walk out to the Highland Park Distillery where we made some purchases! We've visited other distilleries so didn't opt for a tour on this occasion. I walked further up the road to enjoy the views of Scapa Beach and back over Kirkwall. Purchases in Jollys' wonderful shop and some coffee and cake rounded off our brief visit. Some fellow travellers had got together and hired a taxi to take them to some of the island's landmarks e.g. the Italian Chapel - a cheaper option than availing of the cruise company's tours.