Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Newcastle, and Hadrian's Wall, June 27th


There were several tour options available for Newcastle. We always enjoy taking a Princess Cruise tour with the assurance that should we run into problems of any sort with equipment failure causing a delay in our return, the ship will wait for us . We had visited Hadrian’s Wall before, between Hexham and Carlisle. We felt it was time to renew our acquaintance.

The Wall is 73 miles long and connected Wallsend on the Tyne with Bowness on Solway Firth. In most places, the rampart was 20 feet high and 10 feet thick. Portions of the original wall still exist. It is always nice to touch the stones, sit on them, think about the construction efforts….Most of the stones were removed by local persons interested in using them to build their own homes. We were told that at least 3 major castles were built with stones from the Wall. We were able to drive along the route of the original wall, visit parts of the Wall (designated as a World Heritage Site) and view the rolling hills of Northumberland.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gravdal to Trondheim


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Gravdal (Lofoten Islands) Web Cam Photo

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See, it's not all ocean!
Forgive me for getting this out of sequence, but I thought you might have already looked at the Lofoten Island postings and would miss this, if I put it in there.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Scenes From Bergen, June 23rd

Bergen is always everyone's favorite. It is nice to come for a 2-3 day stay, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy all the sites. From Bergen, one can take the Norway in a Nutshell one-day tour, offering the train to Myrdal, scenic train to Flaam, cruise along the fjord to Gudvangen, with a motorcoach ascent to Voss, ending with a rail journey back to Bergen. This requires a special trip to Bergen, because it cannot be done while there on a cruise day. (Be sure to click on the video link in the lower right hand corner on the "Norway in a Nutshell" page.)




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After visiting Bergen for the day, the Ocean Princess will be at sea on June 24th before arriving in Dover early on the 25th.
(What would it be like to spend a few nights in a Martello Tower? I will tell you more after joining the ship.Click on the link to see Guy Ruddy's Martello Tower in Dymchurch. The five of us will be staying in the Martello Tower in Folkestone.)

Geiranger, July 22nd

The motorcoach tour from Hellesylt is a very scenic drive. When it reaches Mt Dalsniba, there is a descent into the village of Geiranger. There are many photo opportunities along the way. The ship waits in the basin below.




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Hellesylt, on the Way to Geirganger--July 22nd

Not everyone will get off the ship in Hellesylt, only those on an overland trip to Geiranger. After dropping off the land tour passengers, the ship will continue through the Geirangerfjord to the town of Geiranger and wait for the tour passengers there. Those who remain on board will want to take the shuttle boat into town to explore the town, or take one of the many tours to the top of the mountain.

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Trondheim, July 21st




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Friday, June 18, 2010

Murmansk to Gravdal (Lofoten Islands)

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Following the Progress of the Ocean Princess

Five of us sailed last year at this same time with the Tahitian Princess. We traveled on exactly the same itinerary that she is on now. Her name has since been changed to the Ocean Princess. I am sure the captain still refers to her as his "Beautiful White Lady". We five met on this ship, and enjoyed it so much, we decided to sail from Dover on June 25th across the North Atlantic to New York City -- AND return, a 36-day voyage.

In actual time, the ship has left Murmansk, and will sail down the coast of Norway, stopping at the Lofoten Islands, the city of Trondheim, Hellesylt (in the Geirangerfjord), and finally, Bergen, before sailing into Dover, England, early on the morning of June 25th. Don't you love the Web Cam today--all that ocean ahead!

I will continue to post a few photos from the sailing we were on last year, so that you can better understand the routing of the ship before we join her in Dover next week.

More Lofoten Islands

(Ocean Princess will be here on June 20, 2010.)
When we visited last July, the Lupines were profuse.
Just a brief note about animals who live (and eat) in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Because there are 24 hours of sunlight, they continue to eat for 24 hours. I never saw one undernourished animal! The cows have one unique problem--the milk producing element expands so much it drags on the ground.




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The varied landscape makes these islands a particular treasure. Access from land and sea is from Bodo, Norway, or when visiting on a cruise ship.

Scenes From the Lofoten Islands




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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lofoten Islands, June 20th


After the ship departs Murmansk, she heads north to the Berents Sea one more time, then heads westward past Nordkapp to the northwestern side of Norway. A wonderful treat awaits the passengers, as they have the opportunity to explore the Lofoten Islands. The first time we had the chance to visit these islands, we were on Hurtigruten's ship "Richard With". We decided to stay on board ship, since we were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary that evening, and the ship's crew planned a very nice dinner treat for us. Last year, I finally was able to see the exquisite beauty of these special islands.
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Scenes From Murmansk, June 18th, 2010




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Many cruisers on board have already been to St. Petersburg on Princess Cruises. One comment which is heard frequently -- "Murmansk is not at all like St. Petersburg." I love this little video of Murmansk.
Photos -- 2009
Note: Reports are coming in from 2010 passengers on this ship as they visited Murmansk. The consensus seems to be repeat trips anytime soon. Murmansk does have an interesting history, and they are responsible for the amazing nuclear icebreakers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ocean Princess, June 16-18, 2010, Map

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Cruising to Murmansk on the Berents Sea


This photo was taken at 1AM while we were having a midnight meal on Deck 9. (2009)Perhaps this is what the passengers are enjoying tonight.
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Honningsvag, June 16th



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When the Ocean Princess leaves Honningsvag, it will cruise into the Berents Sea, on the way to Murmansk to arrive on Friday, the 18th. (Photos were taken when we sailed the same ship and itinerary in 2009.)