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Norway Cruise

The day started when I locked myself out of the house. I was in the park at 4:30 am and when I returned an hour later, I realised my error. Luckily mum was awake so I walked over to her and picked up a spare key.

The four of us met at Clapham Junction and headed to Southampton on the train. Embarkation was seamless and we were onboard before 12. When Jim and I found our room we were dismayed to see one double bed. I mean I like Jim a great deal, but I’ve never felt like spooning with him. When I saw our room steward, Niraj, I explained we were friends, not boyfriends. He took one look at me in my gym gear and realised that he was in the presence of pure heterosexual masculinity. 🤣 The beds were split.

Our two attempts at trivia did not produce a win although we were close. How many rings does Saturn have? I will never forget that one.

The Simon’s have the beverage package, but we do not. Indian barman Christopher tried to sell me and Jim the package for $1200. For seven days? Was he insane? It turned out that as a Diamond member, I get four free drinks per day anyway. And Jim takes on less fluid than a cactus.

I joined the spa experience which was largely disappointing, but inexpensive. The steam room is the hottest I’ve had on a ship, but the sauna is infrared so you need to be in there for an hour before a single bead of sweat appears. No fancy water features either.

The good news was that the casino had caveman keno. The bad news was that the casino had caveman keno. I’ve not found it on a ship for a long time.

At about 2:30 am a passenger was taken from the ship by helicopter and flown to France. I slept through it.

The second day was at sea as we steamed toward Bergen. There are 4500 people on the Anthem of the Seas and a number of them shouldn’t be allowed to leave their home town, let alone cruise. 1800 from the UK, 1200 from the US, 100 Mexicans and various other nationalities. It’s the Brits who disturb my latent snobbery the most.

I rose early and slipped out of the room leaving Jimbo to sleep. I warned him of my early morning shenanigans. He refused the earplugs. He might change his mind on that one. I caught the sunrise which was highly acceptable. I then mooched around the deserted ship for a couple of hours.

Our sea day was sunny, but a little cooler than balmy Southampton. Jim introduced us to a new card game called Stick ‘em. He won. I came shockingly last, but a good game nonetheless.

It was a formal evening and we all wore something smart. A little light blackjack followed, before retiring first. I’ve not come across a single person at the tables that I like. Blackjack and other games are so much nicer when you have a good bunch at the table. The Ultimate Texas Hold’em table was chock full with some very miserable looking people.

During the second night we had another medivac case involving a helicopter. Me and the chaps might start a sweepstake on who is next.

Tuesday was our first port of call – Bergen. I’d been there before, but I didn’t remember much. The port hours were 12 pm to 7 pm which meant missing the afternoon cupcake making class. I’m sure I’ll get another chance at some point.


Bergen has the title of rainiest city in Europe. Sometimes it can rain for two straight months. 231 days of rain per year. Something to do with the orographic lift which I thought was something a plastic surgeon might do to your arse. Anyway, we had beautiful blue skies and warm sunshine.

The sail in was picturesque as we navigated our way in through the 10 mile/ 16 km fjord. We let the crowds get off first. We were in no hurry. We headed for the funicular however the line was imposing so we decided to walk. We didn’t exactly get to the top, but we got high enough to have some nice views of the city. Bergen is a nice clean city, extremely non-threatening, and the roofs had shiny tiles.

The sail out was equally spectacular and three of us took in the various vistas and changing scenery on the way to our next stop in Olden.

Jim and I played blackjack in the evening. He had been using an app which assesses the correctness of your opening decision. He’d played thousands of hands so he knew what he was doing. My seat was the luckier of the two despite him not putting a foot wrong.

We woke early to see the last part of the sail in. Very scenic indeed. I wish we’d got up earlier. This was my first time in Olden. The sun was shining but it was noticeably cooler. Some of the mountains surrounding us were still snowcapped. Whilst Bergen is Norway’s second largest city. Olden is not even a city. Not even a town. It’s a village with a population of 479. It made up for it with natural beauty. Jim woke the Simon’s to see the sail in. After banging on the door and waking them, Simon E apparently said to Bully, “We better be f#cking sinking”. 🤣

Fjord on the way to Olden

One of the good things about a Norwegian cruise is that you get internet during the long transit in and out of the fjords. Otherwise it’s $26 a day.

Three of us got off the boat- Bully decided to stay behind and read his Jack Reacher book. We boarded the little Noddy train for an hour tour of the town, lake and a waterfall. It was great scenery, but a little expensive for what it was. I say great scenery – it was breathtaking. I defy anywhere in the world to claim more natural beauty. I can see why Norway was voted as the happiest country in the world in 2017.

Loen, near the Skylift

After the fun train, we took the Skylift tour which was a cable car ride in the next village. £66 quid each! The ride up was steep, and as we ascended the views were magnificent. After reaching a height of 1011 metres we spent about an hour up top with snow all around us. On the way up we met a paraglider who was on his fourth jump of the day. We watched him take off. There were also some BASE jumpers in wing-suits tossing themselves off. BASE stands for building, antenna, span, earth. We elected to take the cable car back down. A super day.

View of Olden from the ship

The casino didn’t open until we were out of the fjord which took four hours. By the time it did open, the eager punters were already in situ. I’ve never seen such a busy casino. Both poker tables had people sitting and waiting half an hour before opening time.

Next stop Geiranger.

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