Cruise P2204 on the Saga Pearl II to Norway, July 2018

(Please scroll down to see my photographs and report)

Date: Port: Flag: Tour escort: Comment:
6th July
- Aboard
by 1:30
8th July
Vision of
the Fjords
9th July
- Glorious
10th July
Flor &
12th July
- Off
at 9:00

Embarkation Day - DoVeR Friday the 6th of July

   I awoke just after 6 o'clock and left home just after 8 o'clock. I had an easy run down to Kent, where I stopped off in Ashford for the shops. I got to the ship at 1:15 and was on board by 1:30, with barely enough time to eat my lunchtime snack. After unpacking, I slept for an hour, before the safety drill at 3:15, where I said hello to ACD Andrew. I showed my slides to Grazia, but there were no corrections needed.

Me in my Norwegian teeshirt, photo taken by Chris Lowthian

Me in my Norwegian teeshirt, photo taken by Chris Lowthian

  At 3:45 we had the sailaway from Dover, but it had misted over a little. I chatted with dancer Maureen, whose wrist was no longer bandaged and met the two dance hosts. At 4.45 we had the CD's cocktail party where I met Kayleigh, Cindy, Glynda, Lily & Zoltan. I then worked on my port talks, before dining at 7 o'clock in the Verandah restaurant. I had the chilled fruit soup, the prime rib of beef and the chocolate orange ice cream, sat with two ladies from Oxfordshire and one from Guildford. On the next table were the Vicar and his wife from Slough with another couple.

  At 8:45 I danced a couple of times with Maureen and with a couple of other ladies. I watched the Best of British production show, but kept falling asleep, so I went to bed when it ended at 10:30.

First Sea Day - Saturday the 7th of July

  The sun woke me just before six o'clock, but it was now seven on Norwegian time. At 7:30 I opted for a cheese omelette in preference to the kedgeree special. I then worked on my computer. At 9 o'clock three of the dancing girls taught Achy Breaky Heart, Don't Rock the Jukebox & Red Hot Salsa to half a dozen pax.

  At 9:45 I gave my 40 minute talk on "Flåm & the Fjords", which included details of the new tender step test and the tour organisation procedures which Grazia had asked me to cover. At 11 o'clock Glynda gave her first lecture on the "Ice Ages in Britain & Scandinavia". I lunched at 12:30 on the mixed grill BBQ with a jacket potato, sat at the large oval table in the Verandah restaurant with the chaplain and four couples. At 1:45 I taught the Social Foxtrot to ten pax plus André & Michael.

  At 2:30 I listened to Glynda's talk on "Glaciers & Fjords", before sleeping for nearly two hours. At 6:15 I was on duty in the Captain's welcome cocktail party, where I chatted to a lady from Broadstone as well as Chief Engineer Mark.

  I went through the formal night menu: soup, salad, sorbet, Chateaubriand beef and mixed ice cream, sat with two single ladies, one single gent and another couple. The last three all coming from Suffolk.

  I had a couple of dances after nine o'clock, including Maureen and some of the dancers from my afternoon dance class. I enjoyed the 4D's showtime with Duncan, Daniel (the 2Ds?) plus Jack & Gavin. At 10:30, feeling tired, I retired to watch my first port talk on the cabin TV.

Flåm, Norway - Sunday the 8th of July

  I awoke just after seven, ready to breakfast on the egg & bacon inside a jacket potato. I then updated this blog, whilst listening to my Flåm talk again. At 9 o'clock the three girls taught three more dances including Honky Tonk Stomp.

He's behind you!

He's behind you!

  At 11:15 I gave my 35 minute talk on "Stavanger: City of Fish & Ships". I lunched on the roast leg of beef (it was Sunday!), sat with a lady whose mother had sat next to Gracie Fields at school in Rochdale! I then slept for an hour and a half, before escorting my first choice tour on the all electric boat (LA, M). It was the new Future of the Fjords rather than the older, hybrid Vision of the Fjords as billed. I led my charges down to the tender and then off up the gangway in Flåm. We had a two hour cruise along Aurlandsfjord and Naeroysfjord (narrow by name and narrow by nature). The ultra modern boat was perfectly silent with no vibration! We then had a two hour coach ride from Gudvangen, back to the ship via the Tvindefoss waterfall and the Stalheim canyon. I had to lend a desperate Scotsman a one hundred kroner note in order to use the loo at the waterfall!

  We didn't get back until after 8 o'clock, so I rushed to get changed for dinner. I had the lovely sirloin steak sat with the army Major and his wife from Shrewsbury, another couple and a chap from Bexley. Having missed the start of the comedian's show, I instead took a walk around Flåm in the twilight. I finally went to bed at 11:30 not having danced at all that evening.

Sognefjord, Norway - Monday the 9th of July

  I awoke at 7:45 ready for the egg & bacon on a salmon fish cake special. I then sat outside admiring the sunny scenery until nine o'clock. The three girls taught the Cowboy Charleston, Country Walkin' & California Frieze to only two pax, as the fjord scenery sailed past. At 10 o'clock I went to Glynda's thinly attended talk on rocks and coastlines, but some pax talked all the way through it.



  At 11 o'clock I gave my 45 minute talk entitled "Welcome to Norway!" I lunched on chicken and chips, before running my Social Rumba dance class for a dozen pax. I then slept for half an hour. At the Norwegian waffle afternoon tea I had cherries and ice cream sat with Maureen and her friend.

  At 6:30 I attended the joint Britannia Club / Newcomers cocktail party where I chatted with two couples, the latter lady having been to my dance class that day, but without her Dutch husband. I dined on the sirloin steak again with a lady from Guildford with her mother from Godalming, two ladies from Huddersfield and another quiet lady. We danced both before and after the Swing Time production show.

Stavanger, Norway - Tuesday the 10th of July

The bow thrusters awoke me at 6:45 ready for the special Egg Florentine breakfast sat with the vicar's wife. I was one of the first off the ship at 8 o'clock in order to do some photography in the bright sunshine. I climbed up to the old fire watchtower and then headed back to the ship.

Stavanger old town

Stavanger old town

  At 9:15 I escorted my first choice tour to the famous floral island for a third time (M, R). The twenty minute fast ferry ride got us to the island by 10 o'clock. We had a half hour guided tour from the original nurseryman's grand-daughter, before one hour of free time. I had a mug of the strong coffee in the tea pavilion, before we headed back to our ship.

  I lunched on the pork chop in breadcrumbs with chips & peas sat with Michael. I then watched my "Welcome to Norway" lecture on the in-cabin TV, before sleeping for an hour. I then headed back out into the city visiting the new tourist information office next to P&O's Britannia. The cathedral offered free admission for crew members, saving me 50 NoK, about a fiver.

Stavanger Cathedral

Stavanger Cathedral

  Back at the ship again I updated this blog, before donning my formal outfit. After the classical concert, I dined on the so-called Beef Wellington, but it wasn't beouf en croute! I sat with Margaret from Cambridge together with Phil & Sally from Plymouth.

  We danced both before and after the 4Ds second, also excellent, show. I particularly enjoyed the Beach Boys medley. After the show, I just danced with Maureen and one other lady, before adjourning to Shackleton's lounge for the production singers disco cabaret. When they sang "Rock Around the Clock", I managed to bag a jive with CD Kayleigh! They finished just after 11 o'clock, when I went to bed.

Second Sea Day, North Sea - Wednesday the 11th of July

  I awoke at 6:45 ready for the cheese omelette with crispy bacon at 7:30. I then worked on my computer. At 9 o'clock the girls taught Waltz across Texas, Sex Bomb & Lemon Tree to three pax. At 10 o'clock I gave my 45 minute talk on Grieg.

  At 11 o'clock I listened to Glynda's talk on the origin of the English Channel. I lunched on the smoked salmon salad with chips, sat with a couple from Shoreham-on-Sea. At 1:45 I taught the Modern Waltz to ten pax, followed at 2:30 with my 40 minute lecture on the Vikings. I then slept for an hour and a half, before packing.

  At 6 o'clock I went to the Captain's farewell cocktail party where I chatted to various people. At 6:30 I dined on the sirloin steak yet again with the single lady from Rochdale who now lives in Bexhill, the lady from Guildford, a single gent from Cornwall and a lesbian couple. I indulged in a whole packet of popcorn watching the world cup semi-final. Finally at 10:40 the comedian came on, but I was falling asleep, so I went to bed at 11 o'clock.

Dover, U.K. - Thursday the 12th of July

  I awoke at 7:45, but it was now 6:45 BST. With no special on offer, I had the full English sat with two ladies from Tunbridge Wells. Back in my cabin, I worked on this blog for one last time. I got off the ship just before 9 o'clock with André, to whom I was giving a lift home. We got to Guildford by 11 o'clock and I was home before 12:30 after another lovely cruise!

  In the end of cruise questionnaire I scored 1.66 with 42% Excellents (1.00) 50% Goods (2.00) and 8% Poors (3.00)!

Saga Pearl II

Saga Pearl II

Score card:

6 Dining tables hosted
5 Lectures given
3 Dance classes taught
3 Enrichment lectures given
2 Port talks given
2 Tours escorted
1 Cruise enjoyed

Good points were:

  1. Outside twin cabin on 'A' deck all to myself
  2. Hosting tables in the Verandah restaurant
  3. Efficient cabin stewardess (Jargo)
  4. Photograph on the board
  5. Two first choice tours
  6. Free in-cabin wi-fi
  7. Dressing gown
  8. Free internet
  9. Free water
  10. Free fruit

For the record ...

Shore Excursions Key: N New E Easy L Lunch M Moderate P Panoramic S Strenuous R Refreshments WT Wine Tasting SD Something Different LA Limited Availability
Current Statistics (as of July 2018):
1106 Ports called at
 667 Tours escorted
 382 Ports visited
 253 Lectures delivered
 126 Cruises undertaken
  21 Cruise ships:

	Saga Rose
	Saga Ruby (Saggy Booby!)
	Saga Pearl II
	Saga Sapphire
	Spirit of Adventure (SofA)
	Quest for Adventure (Q4A)

	Black Prince
	Black Watch

	Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2)
	Queen Mary 2 (QM2)
	Queen Elizabeth
	Queen Victoria

	Seabourn Sojourn
	Seabourn Odyssey

	Celebrity Eclipse
	Crystal Symphony

8 Cruise lines:

	Saga Shipping Company
	Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
	Voyages of Discovery (VofD)
	Seabourn (Carnival)
	Cunard (Carnival)
	P&O (Carnival)