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TLCOhio

Live/Silver Cloud: Norway Coast/Fjords July 1-16 Reports

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Getting ready to board the Silver Cloud this afternoon. We arrived yesterday in Copenhagen after all three of our flights arrived ahead of schedule (including through Chicago O'Hare and London Heathrow, two of the world's three busiest airports). YES, ahead of time arrivals! Not late or delayed. Our baggage arrived, also. That makes starting a cruise so much easier. Despite all of the pre-trip worries about volcanoes, British Airway strikes, weather hassles, insurances coverage, etc., it all worked well and smoothly. Bad things do sometimes happen, but in most cases, the good things will be the results. That was our good luck and fortune.

 

COPENHAGEN? We super loved this charming town with its great history and architecture from our late July, one day visit on our 2008 Crystal Symphony cruise. Last night was even more fun. We are staying right on the main square, overlooking their large City Hall and Tower. A large sign on this main square says "i'm lovin it". Even though the sign is for that famous American food chain, it also sums up Copenhagen very well. This is a great town to start or end a cruise as it allows more time to experience this nation that is considered the "Happiest Place in the World!".

 

Below are some of the visual delights at Tivoli last night. More to come on our stop at Windsor Castle enroute and what happens next on this July 1-16 Norway Coast/fjords cruise. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

 

At Tivoli, their main gate is lighted in a spectacular and welcoming manner.:

 

TivoliGateNight.jpg

 

 

Tivoli looks so special at night with its famed building designs, water features, gardens, flowers, rides, people, entertainment, etc.:

 

TivoliJapHseLake.jpg

 

 

Tivoli has a wide variety of entertainment happening each day and evening. Here we enjoyed this super energized “BIG BAND” performance, including the Duke’s famed “Night Train” sounds.:

 

TivoliBigBand.jpg

 

 

Part of the City Hall Tower can be seen with this lake view from within Tivoli.:

 

TivoliLakeTower.jpg

 

 

Here is one of Tivoli’s most unique buildings “showing off” with its covering of spectacular lighting. Thomas Edison would be proud!

 

TivoliOrientNight.jpg

 

 

As we prepare to exit Tivoli, here is the lighted look with the trees, other decorations, etc.:

 

TivoliGateNight2.jpg

Edited by TLCOhio

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In order to take advantage of our American Airlines’ Frequent Flyer miles, we needed to travel through Heathrow in order to reach Copenhagen. Kind of a hassle, plus the flight timing options available when booking eleven months ahead were not perfect. Problem? NO! We adapted to make things work. We had a seven-hour lay-over at Heathrow and did a short trip to nearby Windsor Castle. The result? What a spectacular castle and setting!!! My wife was worried on rain. No, I said. Had about four drops and the rains stayed away. AccuWeather has called things correctly, so far.

 

Below are some visual samples for what is there to enjoy at Windsor. If you’re doing a cruise connection to Northern Europe, here’s an option to consider to fill the time and enjoy some great history, art and architecture as you travel enroute. THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

At Windsor Castle, just outside of London and near Heathrow, there is 900 years of history at the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world:

 

WindsorExterior.jpg

 

 

The Waterloo Room at Windsor Castle celebrates with large painting of the key players involved in defeating Napoleon.:

 

WindsorWaterlooRm.jpg

 

 

This Queen’s Reception room at Windsor Castle has spectacular ceilings and architectural detailing, plus nice furniture and paintings. Just like home in the State Apartments. :

 

WindsorQueenChamber.jpg

 

 

St. George's Chapel is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England with many members of the Royal family buried here with the walled areas of Windsor Castle. This chapel is also the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter.:

 

WindsorStGeorgeCath.jpg

 

 

At Windsor, the Changing of the Guard

 takes place at 11:00 daily:

 

WindsorTroops.jpg

 

 

This ceremony also includes a large band with the unique and expected British Royal uniforms and hats.:

 

WindsorBandExit.jpg

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Fantastic photos Terry. I feel like I'm there with u:)

 

Can't wait to hear your take on the Silver Cloud.

 

Have a wonderful time.

 

Cheers

Jennifer

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Fantastic photos Terry. I feel like I'm there with u:) Can't wait to hear your take on the Silver Cloud. Have a wonderful time.

Cheers. Jennifer

 

THANKS, Jennifer, for the nice comments! Lots more pictures to come. Here's one below from the new Heathrow Terminal 5 that we had a chance to better explore in London. Glad you're traveling along for this journey. And you can be dressed formal, informal or casual as you tag along. Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

The new Terminal 5 at Heathrow has a unique, large roof span over this massive area that is in part a massive shopping-dining mall and, oh yea, a new 21st Century airport gateway/hub. Things worked smoothly at this facility. Nice and interesting design touches by the architect, Norman Foster.:

 

HeathrowTerminal5.jpg

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Terry, once again wishing you a wonderful cruise. Your pictures are outstanding!

 

Bon Voyage!

 

Keith

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Have a great cruise, Terry. We did this one last year on Regent Voyager and loved it. I will following along to relive it, and I will be interested in hearing about Sliversea as well.

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oops, somebody already started one! Some of the gang are here already...Mayflower, Chainsaw, Conte di Savoia and a few unnamed. Will let you know how our meet "n greet goes this evening!

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Terry, as usual, you are taking wonderful pictures. I won't choose any favorites until the end, but I would dearly love to see some ship interiors and decks.

 

Hint. Hint. ;)

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... We arrived yesterday in Copenhagen ...
Thank you for such wonderful pictures. We stayed in the (rather economical) Plaza Hotel right opposite Tivoli Garden for four days (land trip to the four Scandinavian capitals) in 1999. We are planning on a Copenhagen - Norwegian Coast - Iceland voyage aboard Azamara Journey in August 2011. So we will be reading this thread with great interest!

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P.S. Can we ask how you get such bright pictures inside buildings over such large spaces?

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It’s 8 am on July 2 starting to write while out on the balcony a few notes about our first day on the Silversea Silver Cloud. Lots to share and love!

 

First, I’m on a balcony!!?? Since we booked over a year ago for a Vista Suite, room 427, on a cruise sold-out and wait-listed six months ago, why are we here? Here’s the short version of a long, twisting story. We got all unpacked and settled into our fourth-level room. My wife then noticed a banging, clanking sound. We called the Butler. She said she would check and call us back. I can sleep well with other “sounds”. But, my wife can’t. She’s worried. Really concerned!! It is also July 1 and her birthday. They are going to call her back. While she waits for that update on fixing this problem, I go up to the poolside Cruise Critic welcoming group, meeting the famed duct tape and posters on these boards. She introduces me to Hotel Director Giovanni Dotti. He’s very friendly and out-going, AND, most important, he’s aware that we have “PROBLEM” in our room with the noise. That’s good for him and us that the head guy over all food and room operations is aware, that quickly, of our situation. Then my wife comes walking up with a “challenge”. Do we stay where we are and have potential noise problems . . . or . . . have to get everything packed up and moved to another suite? Decisions. Decisions.

 

Second, moving? To make that choice much easier, they offered that the staff would load all of the things on the hangers from our closet, taking out the full drawers, changing them out to the new veranda suite, etc. It still took some time and effort to pack up our loose items that had been placed, but it worked well to make this change. We still are not totally settled, but we have a full sea day today to get those details polished up. We were lucky in getting this upgrade, plus it also helped that it was my wife’s birthday. As I understand most don’t get this lucky, but we did and won’t complain.

 

Third, ship first impressions? As we approached, the Silver Cloud looked LARGE for a ship holding less than 300 passengers. We were docked at the super beautiful and charming Nordre Toldbod Pier in Copenhagen. This boarding location is right next to the Gefion Springvandet fountain. We had walked past this site on our afternoon stroll back to the ship on July 26, 2008 on our earlier visit to Copenhagen. This is the Danish capital’s largest monument and was built in 1908. It is based on a Scandinavian mythical tale of the goddess Gefion who plowed the island of Zealand out of Sweden. It was donated by the Carlsberg Foundation on the occasion of the brewery’s 50-year anniversary. This boarding area also overlooks St. Albans Anglican Church that is known as the “The English Church” and was built 1885-87. It is lovely inside of it and has some unique history connecting the Royal families of Denmark and England. Later, I will get into more of the differences and details on this ship versus the larger Crystal Symphony we used to sail the Baltics in 2008. We did lunch on the back of the ship on this perfectly sunny and spectacular Copenhagen day. It has been cool in Copenhagen recently and this great weather is not normal here. We’re very fortunate, again. We were outside on the La Terrazza deck, with wine and Champagne, watching the ships go by in this harbor with blue waters, etc. We could see the new Copenhagen Opera House, various church towers, the giant Paul Allen (Microsoft founder) private yacht, etc. The canal tour boats kept passing and it was fund to wave to people from the back of our “yacht”.

 

Fourth, first dinner? Walking into the dining room when you want is nice compared to the fixed seating times. Not a deal-breaker, but just wonderfully comfortable after our “hassles” needing to change rooms. The staff is excellent, friendly, and knowledgeable. There are three selections for each of the three courses. The service was very smooth and timely. The food and setting was especially nice as you could see the passing of the shoreline, ships, etc., as we were starting our sailing to the first of Norway fjords. It did not get dark till after 10 pm. There was a special birthday cake for my wife with a candle, plus ice cream and staff singing. She was super pleases. Then a little walk around the pool deck and top area as the sun is setting. BEAUTIFUL!!! But, wait there is more!!! We returned to our room and there’s a large “Happy Birthday” balloon on the door. Then inside, there are more balloons, plus a cake and Champagne. Then, in the bathroom, the tub is filled with especially scented waters, rose petals, etc. My wife super loved it ALL! It’s a nice way to celebrate a birthday and the start to a great cruise with our friends and neighbors from Columbus.

 

Fifth, butler-staff service? This seems very nice. We met two different Butlers and they are very accommodating, super helpful. It will take more time to know in depth how all of this really, really works. We are liking it, so far.

 

Sixth, sleep? Got some! Seven and a half hours on the ship. Needed it!!! After only a half-hour on the trans-Atlantic flight and three hours sleep in Copenhagen, I was doing well, driving by the “energy and excitement” of starting a new adventure.

 

Seventh, that balcony! Would we pay that added cost difference for this midship veranda? It would not have been in our budget range, or close, for this long of a cruise up above the Arctic Circle where the temperatures will be fairly cool. BUT, right now, it is total, absolute, complete heaven!!! While my wife sleeps in the suite, I can be out here with the early-morning light, playing my tunes on my lap-top, writing this report, reading, etc. HEAVENLY is the only way to describe it. The air is not that cold. You have the sounds of the waves, watching ships pass outside. This outside space with two chairs and a table adds a great dimension to your overall living space. This could spoil us for the rest of our lives. WOW! Life is good and wonderful.

 

Will post pictures in a few minutes.

 

THANKS for the nice comments! Will explain photo secrets later. Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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Terry, great post and I am glad to hear that you are your wife are all settled. Sorry to hear about the initial problem with the room but it sounds like it had a very happy ending. Continue to enjoy.

 

Keith

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Here are some of the ship pictures and views from the Silver Cloud while in the wonderful Copenhagen harbor. Have met lots of folks from Cruise Critic boards. Now at the pool and sending out these pictures. More to follow.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Here is the view as we approached the Silver Cloud at the pier with the large Gefion Springvandet Fountain in the foreground.:

 

CPHShipDeparting.jpg

 

 

This is our lunch table view of the Opera House and spiral church tower in Copenhagen’s beautiful harbor as we had lunch after boarding.:

 

CPHDeptLunchView.jpg

 

 

This is the visual to our right of others enjoying this spectacular dining with the view overlooking the Gefion Springvandet Fountain and St. Albans Anglican Church.:

 

CPHDepartLunchViews.jpg

 

These are the Silver Cloud stairs and a view of the back part of this ship the new Copenhagen Opera House in the background.:

 

CPHShipDepOperaHse.jpg

 

 

This is the view to the north in Copenhagen harbor from the Silver Cloud as we were getting ready to depart. This is the area where the Little Mermaid would be positioned, but she is in China this summer. We saw this famed, but small statute in 2008.:

 

CPHNorthMirMissing.jpg

 

 

The weather was wonderfully upper 60’s for breakfast on our first sea day sailing to Norway. Here’s our dining view with another cruise ship sailing south from fjord country.:

 

CPHBreakfastViews.jpg

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Big congratulations on your balcony! You will use it more than you expect. There were several days warm enough to enjoy it on our Norway cruise last year, and I wished I had brought a pair of shorts a couple of days.

I love that docking area in Copenhagen--have walked right by that fountain and church many times.

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Terry,

 

I couldn't be happier for you. I've been reading your posts with interest, and know how much you have been looking forward to this trip. Congratulations on the balcony. My husband and I find the balcony a must -- it really adds to the overall enjoyment. I'll be on the Silver Cloud on August 3, so take good care of her for me. Here's wishing you a fabulous trip.

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Thank you for taking the time from your awesome vacation to let us "virtual vacation" with you. Your reports and photos are amazing. Windsor Castle made my day. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Noticed a little girl is on your trip as well, wonder how she likes the lap of luxury?

Edited by Decebal

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Really enjoying your posts, Terry. Hubby and I were on the Cloud transatlantic 14 - 29 April this year. Loved it so much, we have just booked the Wind from Cape Town to Las Palmas 12 March 2011. Continue to enjoy and keep us up-to-date with your travels!! Pat in Glasgow, Scotland

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Hi Terry

 

More fabulous photos...I'm enjoying them immensely.

 

The balcony was a great birthday present for your wife, I'm sure u will get a lot of use out of it...sailing up & down the fjords. Oh I'm so jealous, your cruise is no. 1 on my bucket list:D

 

I note the little girl in the last pic...how lucky is she to be on SS at her age!

 

Cheers

Jennifer

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Fabulous photos! We are recent Silversea converts (from Regent). We enjoyed the Cloud in March and will be returning in Feb. Can't wait!! (We recognize "our waiters" in you pix.)

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As we sail up the Sognerfjord to Flam this morning, Friday, July 2, were are getting ready for our first port stop in Norway. Flam, with a population of about 500, is nestled deep in a tributary of the world's longest and deepest fjord. It is 128 miles long and has a maximum depth of 4,291 feet. On the question of how deep are these fjords, local say: “A mermaid could swim all the way to China.” Our chief attraction here is the 66-year-old Flam Railway. It is widely known as one of the world's best railroad journeys. It includes twenty tunnels and eight stops as it goes up the mountain. This rail lines rises from Flam’s gingerbread rail station going up 2,835 feet to Myrdal and this "Roof of Norway" rail station. Railroad website: http://www.flaamsbana.no/eng.

 

In the afternoon, we will be sailing to Gudvangen and traveling up the Naeroyfjord. This is rated as the “best of the best” and most “majestic” with its deep blue water. It is 10.5 miles long. It is Europe’s narrowest, less than 1000’ wide, and is surrounded by 5600’ tall mountains. This fjord and its surrounding area are included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2006. Most larger ships cannot travel this routing. One of the advantages to the Silver Cloud, is that it can reach these smaller ports and areas.

 

On our first sea day, it started with a great breakfast on the back terrace overlooking the sea. There was a very interesting 10 am presentation, with movie clips shown, detailing the tie-ins of opera and its Hollywood film uses. We hear from the speaker six more times. He joked that he is so old that he first sailed with Cunard lines in the 1800’s. Then at 11 am, Chef Douglas Hope did his cooking presentation pictured below. Lunch was by the poolside on this enjoyable, sunny day as we sailed on our way to Norway. There was World Cup action and I did my first session with the Trivia “battles”. Our team, with duct tape and Mayflower1 from these Cruise Critic boards participating, beat the others, getting 17 of those 20 hard questions correctly answered. It was the first formal dinner, with lobster as the highlight. The food and French wines were wonderful. The Chef dropped by our table, answering questions and updating on some of the challenging getting food for cruises like this around the world. Of the four main dinner options, 60% went for the lobster. Then, there was a piano performance of Chopin musical greats.

 

Below are some picture highlights from around the ship, as requested. More will follow.

 

For Meow1, the inside-the-palace pictures come out fairly well as I am experienced doing a very steady and gentle pressing of the shutter button. I also have a 10-20mm wide-angle lens that is good for these types of rooms and situations. No flash is used. It’s hand-held. Then, I use my MacBook Pro computer to “fine-tune” the pictures to brighten up, crop and improve the pictures as needed. The biggest “secret” is that I only show the “good one”. If you go to this earlier posting:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=977864

you will find many more photo tips and ideas that are shared for pictures in the Baltics, etc.

 

THANKS to . . . Keith, Sweetpea, Rachel, Jennifer, Oceans&Rivers, Decebal, patnlcc and Ste. Michelle for the nice comments and encouragement. Let me know any added comments, questions, etc. Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

On the Silver Cloud, here is the pool deck area as we were boarding in Copenhagen. On the first sea day with temperatures around 68F and mostly sunny, this was a popular place. They had a nice lunch buffet here, plus a full bar with large screen TV to watch World Cup soccer.:

 

CloudPoolDeck.jpg

 

 

In the Silver Cloud’s Panorama Lounge, they have great forward and high views from the windows and open front deck. Inside, afternoon “Tea” is offered. There is music as people enjoy their beverages (more than just tea) and lots of tasty treats. Below is a sampling of these food delights. Each item is smaller so the calories are less.:

 

CloudPanoramaLge.jpg

 

CloudTeaDelights.jpg

 

 

Executive Chef Douglas Hope, from Canada with great experiences around the world, did a cooking demonstration preparing a lobster risotto treat paired with a nice wine from Alsace in France. This was on our first sea day. When I showed the Chef this picture, he was worried that this photo could “ruin” his image as it showed him working. Not only has the food been excellent, but he and the other staff have been very approachable, friendly and helpful.:

 

CloudChefDemoCooking.jpg

 

 

Here is the exercise area on the Silver Cloud. It is not large, but the views are super, looking forward at the top of the ship. There is a good range of equipment for a ship this size.:

 

CloudExerciseArea.jpg

 

 

The library on the Silver Cloud has both a nice selection of books, DVD’s and CD’s, but also a very warm and inviting style. Major newspapers from around the world are printed out each day and are available there.:

 

CloudLibrary.jpg

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Terry, thank you so much for taking the time to post your experiences and photos! I will be following this thread avidly and hoping you and your wife enjoy your beautiful trip and your wonderful balcony!

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For Meow1, the inside-the-palace pictures come out fairly well as I am experienced doing a very steady and gentle pressing of the shutter button. I also have a 10-20mm wide-angle lens that is good for these types of rooms and situations. No flash is used. It’s hand-held. Then, I use my MacBook Pro computer to “fine-tune” the pictures to brighten up, crop and improve the pictures as needed. The biggest “secret” is that I only show the “good one”. If you go to this earlier posting:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=977864

you will find many more photo tips and ideas that are shared for pictures in the Baltics, etc.

Thank you so much for such interesting inrformation. You must have really steady hands, most people cannot handle slower than 1/60sec or at most 1/30sec. Your 10-20mm focal lengths perhaps refer to your digital camera's CCD chip rather than 35mm film equivalent, for the latter, it will be in the fisheye range! You must be computer savvy, in order to use those photo enhancing programs. Your pictures are among the best posted on this cruise ciritic board, surely far superior than what I can hope for. Congratulations!

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Hi Terry, everything sounds wonderful and as usual your pictures tell a good story. Like you, we also use a Mac Book and with the strong iPhoto capabilities.

 

Would be interested in hearing what the weather is like when you are in port in Flam and look forward to hearing about what you do in port.

 

Continue to enjoy!

 

Keith

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We depart from Copenhagen in 10 days for 8 nights on the Whisper. thank you for the photos, the information etc I fell like you are paving the way for our trip and whetting the appetite! Enjoy your cruise and keep postin.

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Terry, thank you so much for taking the time to post your experiences and photos! I will be following this thread avidly and hoping you and your wife enjoy your beautiful trip and your wonderful balcony!

 

We appreciate your efforts with this thread Terry the photos are fantastic and have set the excitement buds flowing for us joining the Cloud in London on 3 August.We shall follow your progress have a great cruise.

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Hail! hail! the gang's all here! The weather is wonderful...mid 60s and sunny. It is 10 PM and the sun is shining brightly! This is a terrific CC crowd!

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Terry and duct tape -

 

I can just tell how much fun you are having! Terry's photos are fabulous (as usual) and make me feel as if I am with you. We have never been on the Cloud, or on your itinerary, so we will be anxiously watching this thread and the photos.

 

Thanks for taking time from your anxiously awaited vacations to share with the rest of us! Enjoy it all!

 

Patty

 

Terry - nice job on the balcony! I'm sure that MADE your wife's birthday even if it was a minor inconvenience to make the move. (I guess the ship is not quite at capacity after all?)

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What amazing pictures and a lovely commentary! We are booked on the Cloud next year and your thread has made us wish for time to go faster! I am sure you are having a lovely cruise - thank you for taking the time to post!! We are all envious!

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This morning’s report will be BOTH spectacular, but also super short? Why? So much happened great that it will take too much time to report all of the details, right now. AND, we are ready to arrive in Alesund and do a special Runde Birdrock trip we have set-up to do on our own, etc. Plus, it’s the Fourth of July!

 

Why was yesterday so great? Super wonderful weather! Almost “hot”, plus much sun. The fjords are so beautiful and dramatic. We had a nice, fantastic train trip up through the mountains from Flam, then Gudvangen with our private driver to Tvinde Waterfall, Stalheim Hotel and then returning by the Stalheimskleiva Road, Norway's steepest road with thirteen hairpin turns that was constructed in 1849.

 

Then in the evening as the Silver Cloud is sailing out through the fjords, we had a custom, five-course dinner by Chef Douglas Hope to celebrate, formally, my wife’s birthday with Hotel Director Giovanni Dotti joining us, a Broadway Rock musical program and it is light outside until after 11:30 pm. What more could be more perfectly nice and enjoyable?

 

Below are just a few of about 300 pictures that I took yesterday. Many more details will follow as the schedule settles down on a sea day.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Arriving at Flam, the Captain is right there directing this process. You can see here some of the fjord mountains, waterfalls in the background. Below are more pictures and highlights from this day in the Sognerfjord that is rated as the best in all of Norway for these views.:

 

 

FjordsDockedFlam.jpg

 

 

FjordsShipView.jpg

 

 

FjordsPoolViews.jpg

 

 

FjordsCloudinWater.jpg

 

 

FjordsHotelValleyView.jpg

 

 

FjordsFallsWide.jpg

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Yes, it is that beautiful! The football/soccer games have been available on both the suite TVs and on the bigger screen at the pool bar. There is a faithful crowd. The Germans were VERY happy yesterday after they beat Argentina. Due to the fjord, we could not get a signal, so the Capt (in his usual wonderful way) arranged with the local hotel to have our guests go to their bar to watch the game! A good time was had by all, the last tender was delayed as was departure but we got to port this morning right on time!

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Terry, great pictures as usual.

 

Terry and Duct Tape and others on the cruise, glad to hear how nice the weather has been.

 

Continue to enjoy.

 

Keith

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Terry, please tell Giovanni Dotti, the hotel director, that the Scottish couple from the transatlantic in April were asking for him. My husband and he kidded each other constantly about football. Gianni supports AC MIlan, and we had lots of laughs about their success (or lack of it!!) He is the nicest chap, so friendly and good at his job. Pat

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Thanks Terry for the wonderful posts. Like so many others on these boards we really appreciate you taking the time to do this. We found your info most helpful when planning our Baltic cruise last year so I was delighted to read you were going to Norway this summer! We have booked a fjords cruise with Azamara in August 2011 and after seeing your lovely photos it can't come soon enough.

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Terry,

Finally caught up with your cruise posts. I have been preoccupied with the Norwegian Epic and posts from its inaugural voyages.

Your pictures are excellent as expected. Look forward to many more to come.

I know that the best is yet to come.

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Terry

Could you please let us know who the Matre D is and also the Cruise Director and will they be staying on the Cloud until October 3 - thanks

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I use my MacBook Pro computer to “fine-tune” the pictures to brighten up, crop and improve the pictures as needed.

 

Hi Terry

 

I'm just loving your photos. Do u shoot in raw and then touch them up in iphoto? Did u use any filters on these shots (uv or polarising)?

 

Cheers

Jennifer

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As I walked out to my now favorite “writers’ perch”, the Panorama Lounge and its top, rear deck of the Silver Cloud, my words were . . . “WOW!!! WOW!!!”. What a view. What a setting. It’s a nearly 360-degree vista as we sail along. There are some clouds. Some open blue skies. You can see the various mountains and hills. There are farm areas with those cute red barns. Two ferryboats are criss-crossing and another cruise ship is up above on the right. It’s a spectacular sea and land scape. The temperature is not bad, maybe upper 50’s, right now. Being outside with just your robe over your PJ’s works well at around 5:45 am. As we move north towards the Land of the Midnight Sun, it fully light and has been for some time. Great experience!

 

Yesterday was Alesund. Its architecture is characterized by its turrets, spires, medieval-romantic frontages and other whimsical touches that give this town its distinctive style. It is like something from a fairytale. On the night of January 23, 1904, the town, built largely of wood, was totally destroyed at night by gale-aided flames. Only one person died, but more than 10,000 people were left without shelter. Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm vacationed nearby and sent four warships with materials to build temporary shelters. The town was rebuilt in stone, brick and mortar in Jugendstil or Art Nouveau, the architectural style of the time. This design reflects a “romance with the past” and highlights Nordic mythology along its winding streets. To honor Wilhelm, one of the most frequented streets of the city is named after him. The town has an unusually consistent architecture, most of the buildings having been built between 1904 and 1907.

 

About 18 miles to the west is Runde, Norway’s southern most major bird rock with 240 species breeding there. It is a habitat for around one million seabirds, including 100,000 puffins. We had a rental car lined up for the four of us to journey south to this special island. The ship was offering a trip to here, but it got scrubbed as there was not enough signed up for this tour/trip. It was good (and lots cheaper) that we had made our own special arrangements in advance or we would have missed this unique island and coastal experience. It involved a five-mile ferry ride for us and the car, but that was a nice way to sample how that transportation system works. It was very timely and well run, efficient for how the cars and truck got on and off. It took 30 minutes for the trip. This ferry hold 120 cars and 350 passengers. The ferry coast $28 each way for the car and us.

 

It was great seeing more of the wide and beautiful variety of terrains in a way that you cannot appreciate if you are sailing by on a boat at a distance. Some of bridges were unique as we jumped island to island in order to reach Runde. Parts of Runde were so dramatic with the green grasses, rock faces, etc., that it reminded us of Ireland. Great beauty, plus lots of birds there.

 

As we drove back from Rune, did the ferry, etc., we wanted to do the Aksla hilltop that dramatically overlooks Alesund. Some from the ship did the 418 steps up Aksla hill in the center of town. We had our car and that made it much easier, plus you could see some of the housing where residents have great views over the town and area. Whether by walking or car, the view from there is super worth it. You get breath-taking views from this 597’ height overlooking the five islands making up the town. It is called Kniven (the Knife) and has a refreshment place at the top. But, it is all about the views as some of the photos below illustrate.

 

To add more on the World Cup, the interest in those game has been huge and creating an interesting “buzz”, especially among some of the staff as certain favorites lose. There has been a wide mix of feelings as some traditional favorites such as Italy (the Captain’s love), Brazil and Argentina lose. It all adds to the great International “flavor” of this trip.

 

There are about 268 passengers on this sailing. From the USA are 142 passengers. There are 21 from Australia as the second largest group. Many singles are traveling on this cruise, which bring the number down a little from the stated 296 capacity.

 

THANKS to Vival, Wripro, Patnicc, Keith, duck tape, for the nice and added comments! YES, I will share with Giovanni Dotti, the hotel director, the greetings from the Scottish couple on the April transatlantic sailing. Giovannie has been so super and highly visible throughout this cruise.

 

We are now getting ready to dock in Trondheim, Norway's third largest municipality. It has a population of 152,800 with major university-science-medical research facilities. It is considered Norway’s historical, cultural and religious capital. Its history goes back 997 and King Olav Tryggvason, who later was made a Saint. Its Nidaros Cathedral was built from 1070 and is the most important Gothic monument in Norway. The Norway King is still crowned here. In a town noted for timbered architecture, this is Scandinavia’s largest medieval building with a 321-foot-high tower. It was Northern Europe's most important Christian pilgrimage site during the middle Ages and has organ recitals in the summer. The town was Norway’s capital until 1217.

 

For the record, Trondheim is 425 miles north of Bergen. Sunrise: 3:15 am, Sunset: 11:24 pm on this day. For July 5, its average high is 64 and a low of 50. Like all of our days, so far, we will do better on those averages for temperature. Latitude: 63.5° N. Famed actress Liv Ullmann grew up here.

 

Enjoying! Terry in Ohio

 

 

This is the dramatic overview of Alesund from the Aksla vantage point. This spot allows a nearly 360 degree view of this setting for this island city and the surrounding mountains and islands. It is at a 597’ height overlooking the five islands making up the scenic town.:

 

AlesundHarbor.jpg

 

 

From Aksla, here is some of the charming architecture in Alesund. This includes a canal or waterway. :

 

AlesundHarbor2.jpg

 

 

At a lower, street-level part of Alesund, here are some of the buildings along the central waterway, plus a nice statue.:

 

AlesundHarborLowerStat.jpg

 

 

To the south of Alesund is Runde Island, famous for its birds and scenic views. This show a house on this beautiful island with the mountains on other nearby islands.:

 

RundeIsHouseMountains.jpg

 

 

Runde Island has a very small population, except for the thousands of birds. Here is one of the small farm there with a wall of rock behind it.:

RundeIsFarmRockWall.jpg

 

 

Here’s another view from Runde Island, showing the unique bridge design allowing access to this island. It is a one-land bridge with a wide spot at its top to allow for passing cars.:

 

RundeIsBridge.jpg

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As added follow-up and “bonus” coverage, here’s a little more for today’s reporting.

 

Jorge Caeiro is the Maitre D’ or dining room manager. In my book, he is a super-star of huge proportion. WOW! describes his charm, skill, warmth and smoothness. Jimmy Kovel is the Cruise Director. I will check to see if their schedules stretch into October on the Silver Cloud. The hotel director will be off at the end of this cruise as his son is getting married in Mexico City later this month. His son is working as a Chef on one of the other Silversea ships.

 

Words just cannot describe how great is Jorge. He is from Lisbon, Portugal, and has been with Silversea for about sixteen years. To deal with the wide range of personalities and customer needs is so challenging, but he does it in a perfect and soothing manner. He doesn’t have the “ego” that some Maitre D’s will get. We worked with him for my wife’s birthday dinner and he was super. Jorge has spoiled us for any future cruises without him.

 

For Jennifer, who shows great taste in liking my pictures, here are the answers to her good questions. YES, I am shooting in raw as this higher pixel level allows more flexibility and quality as you later on the laptop do added cropping and adjusting, etc. I am using the iPhoto program on my MacBook Pro computer. This program works well, allows plenty of options to fine-tune the pictures and has a great “events” way to group and organize pictures after they have been downloaded. No, I did not use any polarizing filter on these shots. I have that filter for all three of my lens, but did not use it as the conditions have not been that much in need to fiddle with putting on and taking off those filters. My lens all have UV filters on them, largely to protect that glass from damage.

 

THANKS to Tony for the nice comments! Glad to know more and better is coming.

 

We had a nice July 4 program for the USA residents on board with reception in the theater-lounge, music, singing of God Bless America and a large cake, etc.

 

On the Butler program, I have been super impressed with how this works and serves. Initially, it was a she or Butleress. She was great and our friends there love her and how she operates and helps. Our Butler is Parqi Dubhaski from India. He is also super, very, knowledgeable and helpful. He had worked previously with Silversea as a waiter in the dining room before doing his training for this position. The hotel director at dinner made the point that having a Butler allows a single point of contact for the guest. It has worked well for us. You don’t have to guess which person to call or ask. You just push the button for them, they are beeped and they call right back. There were doubts and questions as to whether this “Butler thing” was just marketing gimmick or more. My verdict is that it works super well and is real “value added”. With the Bulter and most all of the staff, there is a great attitude and spirit. It is not just a fake smile and only a “HI!”. They work had to be helpful and knowledgeable. Impressive!!!

 

Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Here is our Butler, Parqi (second from left), and four of his associates on the back of the Silver Cloud as we were sailing out from the spectacular fjords on Saturday.:

 

CloudButlerFjords.jpg

Edited by TLCOhio

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