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2016 Voyage – Northern Europe and Atlantic Crossing – Regal Princess

2016 Voyage – Northern Europe and Atlantic Crossing – Regal Princess

All of our previous long cruises have been basically in the southern hemisphere (since those type cruises always are scheduled in the winter).  This has resulted in a large area of the world we have yet to visit in northern Europe.  This cruise, at one month, is not as long as our others, but it nicely fills in gaps in the list of places we want to see – Scandinavia, Germany, Russia, Scotland and Ireland.  The trip ends with a crossing to Boston & New York.

Tina is joining us for the second half of the cruise (on our second calling at Copenhagen), so she will get to experience her first trans-Atlantic crossing.

Day 1 – 8/27 – Dallas, Boston

Every time we do one of these long trips, I forget the hassle of dealing with the amount of luggage required.  It doesn’t seem possible to minimize the “stuff” because of varied climates and the stupid dress requirements on board the ship – maybe some day they will relax.  This time we have, thru Sally’s […]

Day 2 – 8/28 – Boston, London, Copenhagen

Despite the luxury of the beds in first class, we arrived in London at 10:00am, after flying all night, pretty tired and fuzzy headed.  We had to go through security again and learned that the British are very serious about their “no liquids” policy, like we were a few years ago.  Sally had to completely […]

Day 3 – 8/29 – Copenhagen – Scandic Hotel

After a good nights sleep we woke refreshed to a cool cloudy, refreshing day in Copenhagen.  Our hotel is across from city hall, near Tivoli (the amusement park which inspired Disneyland) and most importantly, across the street from the hop on hop off bus stop. After breakfast (I am always fascinated when a buffet is […]

Day 4 – 8/30 – Copenhagen – Board Regal Princess

Our boarding time is 1:00pm, so after breakfast, we spent the morning re-packing luggage and lazing about.  I returned the European electrical adapter that the hotel had been kind enough to loan me, to keep all of our electronics charged.  After checking out we trolleyed the luggage outside and searched for a cab large enough […]

Denmark Addendum

Considering our time in Copenhagen, I feel a need to comment on the Danish people, at least from the perspective provided by our brief visit. From the friendly passport control officer who greeted us upon landing to the cab driver who carried us to the ship, everyone we met was very friendly and helpful.  While […]

Day 5 – 8/31 – Oslo, Norway (part 1)

Given the number activities and of pictures, and the speed of transmission on the internet I decided  to divide this entry into two parts.  This first part covers our arrival, a visit to Vigeland Sculpture Garden and a visit to the Viking Ship Museum. Oslo, the capital of Norway, lies at the top of Oslo […]

Day 5 – Oslo, Norway (part 2)

Our next stop after the Viking Ship Museum is the Kon-Tiki Museum.  In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific, from South America to Polynesia in 101 days, attempting to prove that the Polynesian Islands were settled from explorers coming from South America.  While it has since been established that the islands were settled from the […]

An Unscheduled Stop–Sept 1

On our way from Oslo to Germany, while nearing Denmark, the ship changed course and sped up.  Shortly the Captain announced that we had a seriously ill passenger on board who needed treatment at a hospital, and the closest one was Elsinore, Denmark, about a half hour away. We traveled to Elsinore and held our […]

Day 7 – 9/2 – Warnemunde, Germany-for Berlin (Part 1)

Due to the number of pictures – I divided this into two parts. Despite our delay enroute, we arrived on time in Warnemunde on time.  Warnemunde, 120 miles north of Berlin on the Baltic Sea, was part of the former East Germany.  We would have liked to look around the town, but went immediately to […]

Day 7 – 9/2 – Berlin (Part 2)

The most visible remaining symbols of the division of Berlin into East & West are the few remaining parts of the Berlin wall.  Some of these are crumbling, pretty much being allowed to deteriorate. Other parts of the wall have been decorated by local artists – the most famous section is simply called “The Kiss”.  […]

Day 9 – 9/4–Tallinn, Estonia

This begins a period of 5 days in ports.  No sea days to write my blog, so I will begin to fall behind at this point, but I promise you we will be enjoying ourselves and will tell you about it as time permits. Estonia is a small country which was part of the Soviet […]

Day 10 – 9/5–St. Petersburg, Russia

Our very first visit to Russia.  As a child of the cold war, I have embedded preconceptions about this place, and I find it amazing that I could grow up in an era where a visit to Russia was not even remotely possible, and now we can cruise into the harbor for a visit, and […]

Day 10 – 9/5–St. Petersburg (Part 2–The Hermitage)

After lunch, we walked to the Hermitage, which was just a couple of blocks away.  The Hermitage is a huge palace built in 1764 originally as the winter palace for Catherine the Great, who died before it was finished.  It was occupied by her successor, Elizabeth.  There is a very large square in front of […]

Day 11 – 9/6–St. Petersburg (Canal Tour)

Our second day in St. Petersburg we took the morning off and then went on a canal tour in the afternoon.  Since the city was originally designed as a canal city, like Venice or Amsterdam, it makes sense that touring by canal would be efficient.  Plus given the traffic in the city, canal boats are […]

Day 10 – 9/5–St. Petersburg (St Isaac’s Square & Cathedral)

The first St. Isaac’s Cathedral on this site was a small wooden structure built in 1710.  Several versions have been built here, culminating with the current structure which was commenced in 1816 and completed in 1858. Models of the previous cathedrals. Because of the marshy land upon which the cathedral is built, scaffolding (shown in […]

Day 12 – 9/7 – Helsinki, Finland

On the Baltic Sea, about 200 miles west of St. Petersburg, we arrived in the capital of Finland, Helsinki, the next morning – still game for touring but growing weary after 3 straight days of ports,with no restful sea days to recharge. Finland is tucked in between Sweden and Russia.  It was part of Sweden […]

Day 13 – 9/8–Stockholm Sweden

So many firsts on this trip, and Sweden is another one.  Only smaller ferries can get close to Stockholm because of the absence of a deep water pier, so we docked in the port town of Nynashamn about 50 miles south of Stockholm.  I  say we docked, but I am not sure what you might […]

Day 15 – 9/10 – Back to Copenhagen

We had a day at sea headed back to Copenhagen, where Kristina would join us.  I tried all day to email and text her to arrange a meeting place and time, but got no response.  By the morning, when we docked, I called her business partner Ru in Dallas to see if he had heard […]

Day 16 – 9/11 – Kristiansand, Norway

When I saw this port on the itinerary, grouped with Oslo, Stockholm, Glasgow, etc – I thought, “what is this place”?  The only port which I had never heard of, turned out to be a charming little town, with lots of art work, a beautiful park on the seaside and a striking absence of shops […]

Day 17 – 9/12 – Bergen, Norway

A couple hundred miles from Kristiansand, on the western coast of Norway, lies Bergen.  Originally a Viking trading port, it was founded by Viking King Olaf Kyrre in 1070 A.D.  The town grew as a trading port, and in 1360 it became part of the German Hanseatic League, a merchant guild that controlled all trade […]

Day 19 – 9/14 – Glasgow, Scotland

Our ship docked at Greenock, on the River Clyde, about 15 miles outside of Glasgow. After discussing both Glasgow and Edinburgh with Tina, who has been to both, we elected to take the two hour bus ride from our port, in Greenock, to Edinburgh to see the castle.  We drove first through Paisley, Scotland, famous […]

Day 20 – 9/15 – Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland (the part of Ireland that belongs to the U.K.).  It was founded in the 17th century and prospered, becoming famous for its linens and shipyards.  More recently, Belfast has rebounded from years of political strife known locally as the “troubles”.  Though I am sure I am oversimplifying, the […]

Day 21 – 9/16 – Cobh, Ireland (the port for Cork)

The small town of Cobh, serves as the port for Cork, which about 30 miles away.  This is one of those ports that we can dock right in the center of town, making the logistics of getting on and off the ship quite nice. We walked around the town for a few minutes and then, […]

Day 27 – 9/22 – Boston, USA

After five days at sea we docked in Boston at was once a Navy facility, and is now being converted into office space. Five days at sea may seem like quite a long stretch, but they are great opportunities to rest, relax and recharge.  Also, the ship changes its menu of on board of entertainment […]

Day 29 – 9/24 – New York, NY, USA

Early this morning we sailed into our final port – New York, past the Statue of Liberty. Even early on a Saturday, the city is lit up. Perhaps the worst part of any cruise is the end – not just because it is over, but because the debarkation process is usually a pain.  Maybe because […]