Heading North

After sleeping soundly we woke up and were shocked to see it was nearly 9.20am, much later than we usually get up.  A quick look out of the window showed us the sea was quite calm and the skies looked as if they were brightening up a bit.

We dressed quickly and made our way to the Palms Café where a second shock awaited us – we had missed breakfast because the time was actually 10.30am.  We had forgotten to put our watches forward an hour, to Norwegian time!  We had also missed the free prosecco that’s always on offer at breakfast time whenever it’s going to be a formal night.  😦

We therefore had to make do with a cup of tea and a small pastry.  Oh well, we’ll certainly not starve on a cruise ship and because we got up so late it wouldn’t be too long until lunchtime.

We then had a look around the shops, where they had a special offer with some items, two for £12.00.  So I bought a silver metallic clutch bag and a scarf/wrap which was black and grey with silver threads running through it.  Quite a bargain, but the prices on Fred Olsen ships are usually very reasonable compared to other cruise lines.

Afterwards we decided to go along to the Future Cruises desk and book another one!  Balmoral will be sailing from the Tyne next year as well, so we booked for August 2017 to go on a nine-night cruise of the German Waterways, taking in Kiel, Bremen and Hamburg amongst other places.  We have three cruises booked for 2017 already!  🙂

It was then time to go to lunch, so we went up to the Palms Café and I enjoyed some cold meats and fresh salad vegetables followed by semolina pudding with raisins.  Thus sated, we went out on deck as we could see the Norwegian coast looming.  The weather was much improved since leaving Newcastle, and we hoped it would remain so.

In the afternoon we decided to go up and do the Trivia quiz in the Lido Lounge and enjoy a drink or two while we were there.  A group of loud Geordies were sitting to our left; they appeared (and sounded) as if they’d been making the most of the all-inclusive drinks package and they looked (and sounded) like characters out of Viz comic.  🙂

We didn’t win the quiz; in fact the loud Geordies did.  We left them to it and went along to the Marquee Bar where we enjoyed watching the Balmoral gliding into the Lysefjorden.

Tonight was Formal Evening and at 5.45pm we had the Captain’s Cocktail Party, minus the captain.  Because of the intricacies of guiding the Balmoral through the narrow and mountainous fjords, he was needed on the bridge.  They therefore changed the name to the Scenic Cocktail Party.  🙂

I wore a full length burgundy-coloured dress with a sequinned bodice and matching sequinned lace jacket, along with a lovely Murano necklace.  Trevor looked very smart in his DJ with his Black Watch tartan bow tie and cummerbund.  We went along to the Neptune Lounge where they were giving out free cava and other drinks.  We normally make the most of this, but when you’re travelling all-inclusive and all the drinks are free, then the thrill has gone a bit.  🙂

By this time the sun was shining and the clouds had disappeared, and on both sides of the ship we could see soaring mountains, a lot of them still with snow on the top.  Every other mountain seemed to have a waterfall cascading down, and the breathtaking scenery was reflected in the mirror-like surface of the fjord.  It was, quite simply, stunning.

The cocktail party lasted about 45 minutes and then it was time to go to dinner.  When we got to table #60, we found we were the only ones there.  No sign of Colin and Sue and no sign of the other mystery couple.  So for Trevor and me it was a case of mange à deux.

The meal was delicious, but we were surprised not to see lobster on offer; I don’t think there’s been a single cruise where we haven’t enjoyed lobster at least once, and it usually features on the menu on formal nights.  Maybe they’ll be serving it another night.

After our dinner we went out on deck to feast our eyes once more on the stunning scenery.  We had missed the famous Kjeragbolten as we’d passed it when we were in the restaurant eating our dinner.  We did, however, come across the towering Preikestolen, otherwise known as Pulpit Rock as the almost-flat 25m x 25m overhanging rock at the top of the cliff does indeed look like a giant pulpit.

Then it was along to the Neptune Lounge for tonight’s show, starring north-east comedienne Brenda Collins.  We have seen her several times before, not only on a cruise but at pubs and clubs back home.  She does a fast-paced, quick change mime act featuring lots of props, and she is down to earth and very funny.  Tonight was no exception.

Afterwards we went, as usual, to participate in the quiz in the Observatory.  We got 13/15 and thought we’d done pretty well, but two other teams had scored full marks so no prize for us tonight.

At 10.30pm we went to the Lido Lounge where they were holding prize karaoke; basically anyone who sang could pick from a ‘lucky dip’ of Fred Olsen branded merchandise.  I got up and sang Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compared 2 U and received an insulated cool bag, good for keeping your packed lunch fresh.  Then I sang Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain and got a manicure set which looked pretty good; it contains nail scissors, nail clippers, an emery board and a pair of tweezers in a neat little case.

We finished the evening by going to the Morning Light pub to listen to the resident entertainer, John Smithson.  He is very good indeed; he sings and plays the keyboard, guitar and violin (not all at the same time).  So he does a variety of music styles, and usually finishes off with rollicking fiddle tunes that has people on their feet, dancing and jigging about.  All good stuff.

Once again it was well after 1.00am when we went to bed.  Tomorrow we were due to arrive in Bergen, and we fell asleep in happy anticipation of the day ahead.

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