What a wonderful cruise, helped very much by the fantastic weather.
Reykyavik – we had booked the Golden Circle with Iceland Guided Tours and had a lovely day. Visited Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir and the techtonic plates between Europe and America. It was only 4 degrees but was dry and we were able to see everything. Our driver took us on a tour of Reykyavik on the way back to the ship and we were able to go into the church there, absolutely beatiful
Isafjordur – brighter day. We hadn’t booked anything and just walked around the small town. Found a fishing museum which had a good film showing what hard lives the fishermen had in the early days. That evening there was a ‘crossing the Arctic Circle party’ on deck. We were warned to wrap up and it was freezing cold. An iceburg was nearby and the captain tried to get as near as possible but unfortunately a mist came down and we could not see it, however we did see the smaller pieces of ice that had become detached. The light was very bright and the sky looked wonderful even though it was after midnight.
Akureyri – our favourite in Iceland. Took a tour with FAB tours and visited Godafoss Waterfall, Lake Myvatn where there are hot pools for bathing and also large volcano craters, Dimmuborgir lava fields and a place that was like nowhere else with bubbling hot water spilling out and strong sulphur smells. Our guide said this was the warmest day they had this year and the sun shone all day. When we sailed the captain announced that there were whales on the port side. We saw small Minke whales and they were blowing water from their blow holes.
Molde – very nice town in Norway. We walked to the Romsdall museum which was very interesting and then walked back into the town. There were some nice shops and cafes
Olden – very small but beautiful. Was a sunny morning so decided to go to the Loen Skylift. Got off the ship early and went to the tourist info (25 yards away). Booked a bus to take us to Loen and the lift pass. Loen is a lovely little place, obviously a new tourist resort on the lake. We spent around 2 hours walking on the marked paths at the top and then returned to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon we walked through the village to the new church. There were open top buses and a land train taking tours direct from the dock. When we were about to leave, the local people turned out to wave us off and played music – a very memorable moment!
Flam – our favourite. We opened the curtains and were nearly docked in the village! Only around 2 dozen buildings but surrounded by mountains and really beautiful. It was very hot and we walked around the fjord and then returned to the ship to get our tickets for the train we had pre-booked. Took the train up the mountain, lovely views and we met some great people from different places who wanted to try their English on us. The atmosphere was great, people had come from all around to sunbathe on the grass and swim in the fjord due to the unusual heat. We eventually sailed and the people on the bank waved us off, Brandi & Max sang classical music and the whole sailaway was quite emotional.
Haugesund – just a town really. Not one I would choose to visit again
Lerwick – had a problem docking due to paperwork and eventually got ashore 3 hours late. We had arranged a hire car and they were waiting for us. Drove down to the lighthouse at Sunburgh, the scenery was rugged and fantastic. There was a lovely tea room there and loads of guillemots and puffins. Then drove to Jarlshof, a Viking settlement, and walked around there. We returned via the coast road and found a stunning beach at St Ninians Isle where we had a walk. Had a quick stop at Scalloway and back to the ship. Loved Shetland!
Invergordon – Was piped ashore and picked up a hire car. Drove across the highlands to Gairloch and then round Loch Ewe where there were lovely beaches. Eventually made our way back stopping off at waterfalls and gorges. Again a sunny and warm day and a pipe band turned out to see us off.
Apart from 1 sea day, the sea was like a mill pond. The ship was a bit crowded on the first couple of cold days when it was too windy to sit outside but after that people were sunning themselves on the open decks.
Food was good and we didn’t feel the need to try the pay restaurants although we were told the food was excellent.
Entertainment was very good although not all of it was our cup of tea but they have to cater for all. Braximusic were fantastic and a great asset to Marella but the whole team worked hard.
Staff, well what can I say? They were brilliant as usual and only a couple of times had to wait to be served in the bar (it was extremely busy when the England football matches were on). Captain Chris was really funny and we looked forward to his daily message
All in all, one of our favourite cruises although it could have been so different if it had rained the whole time.
The cabin was very clean and well presented. The only problem we had was lack of drawer space. There were only 3 tiny drawers so we had to put t.shirts etc in suitcases under the bed. Stupid little tables at the side of the bed, would have been much better if a 3 drawer chest could have been there