Written by Safarigal
June 25, 2018

June 22nd

Yay, fjords again!

What better place to be but northern Norway to experience the longest day of the year. We went out on deck in the early hours of the morning, and it was still light. It was magical. I know that this region gets long, harsh winters, but just looking at the Norwegian sky at night in summer is a mystical experience.


It never got dark all night, and all of a sudden we were in Stavanger, berthed right next to Holland America’s Konigsdam. Rumor has it that the newest Cunarder is going to be similar to the Konigsdam, so it was great to have a close up look, but I didn’t like what I saw at all. Being right next to our beautiful ship she simply looked like a floating block of flats, and lacked the graceful lines of QM2 or QE2. However I am sure she in beautiful from the inside, like QV and QE, so I will reserve judgment for the moment.



We went down to the Royal Court Theater to wait for our call to join the Lysefjord boat tour. Finally it was out turn to go ashore, and we had a very short walk to the tour boat. We weren’t taking any chances with the weather, and we were bundled up as if we were going to experience an arctic winter. We were not overdressed. We sat up in the open upper deck, and by the time we had headed out of the harbor I was glad for my multiple layers of clothing, although moving and taking videos was a bit of a challenge. At least it wasn’t raining much. We had chosen to sit on the right hand side, as that’s where the available seats were. The left hand side was clearly better in terms of views, so I would say do that if you do this tour.

We went out of the harbor past the petroleum museum. We also passed the many islands where the Stavanger residents live. It was very peaceful. We went under a bridge that had taken the city council 70 years to agree to build, no snap decisions in Norway.


Finally we entered the Lysefjord, passing by the little villages and people’s weekend cabins on the way. The owners of the cabins fly the Norwegian flag when they are in residence, sort of like the Queen and Buckingham Palace. This is so if there is a fire or some other disaster, the local authorities know that they need to look out for that home. Not many people were in their cabnis today. Maybe they knew something we didn’t know.


We entered the fjord under a beautiful suspension bridge. The suspension wires are a blue color, so when the bridge is seen from afar, they blend into the surrounding scenery, and the bridge looks like it is just floating there. Very beautiful.


We made a brief stop to have waffles, jam, cream, and a nice cup of tea, and to meet a Viking, and then we were off again. We learned that the Vikings were actually quite nice people, and that they didn’t wear the hats with horns like those of our children’s school mascot. The Viking women were a strong group, fighting to keep the family farms safe while their men were off having battles, and fought alongside their men, and were called Shield Maidens. However, Brunhilda (from Wagner, not my plant last year on QV) will always have horns as far as I am concerned.




After our break we sailed further up the fjord. This is what I have been looking for with my dream of going fjording. Waterfalls plunging over steep cliffs into still misty waters. It was magical. Total perfection. I could give Norwegian cuisine a miss (sorry Anthony Bourdain if you can hear me), but I can totally embrace the fjords. Even in the mist and rain.

We stopped at a famous rock formation called Pulpit Rock, and then headed out of the fjord again with a stop at a waterfall, and the Vagabond Cave.




The story of the cave is that two tax evaders headed up the fjord to escape the authorities who were in hot pursuit in their boat. The tax evaders reached the Vagabond Cave, and then scaled the walls, never to be seen again. They made their getaway ☺. The authorities were unable to do the climb. Now there is a little green mailbox in the cave, just in case the tax evaders do return and cough up what they owe. This has not happened so far.

After the cave we headed back to the harbor. It had been a very successful tour.

We then wandered around the neighborhood with the quaint little white houses we had seen from our cabin, and ended up at the cathedral. This is a very simple building, but has a beautiful baptismal font dating back to the 13th century, and an intricately carved pulpit made by the Scottish artisan Andrew Smith (we are everywhere). The window behind the alter shows the 4 seasons, and was created in the 50s. It was interesting, but just didn’t fit in somehow.

As we left the Cathedral I asked one of the guides where I could purchase a CD of Norwegian folk music that I could use for the movie I will be making of this trip. He did give me instructions as how to find the local record store, but also gave me a free CD that the Cathedral choir had recently produced. I haven’t had the chance to play it as yet, but I thought this was such a nice gesture.

We searched the shopping district for the record store, and eventually found it next to the McDonalds. It was a great store with as many vinyl records as CDs. The shop assistant showed me several CDs that he thought would be suitable. I bought one – Secret Garden’s Fairy Tales. It is OK, very melodic and soothing, but I was looking for something that was more of a cross between Kate Bush and Enya. Maybe I will find something on line.



Ruth had been looking for a book on Norwegian customs, and we found a great bookstore that reminded us of Barnes and Noble, and sure enough they had the book.

It was then museum time so we headed to the Maritime Museum. This was actually well done, and worth a visit. We had also hoped to visit the Petroleum and Canning museums, but time was fleeting, and we had to head back to the ship after we finished checking out the Maritime Museum store, which was chock a block with great purchases.

The Norwegian customs officers very kindly sort out your VAT refund on board, so the first thing to do once back on the ship was to complete the form and head to deck 3 to get your money back. I filled out the form incorrectly, so the officer very firmly sent me to the back of the queue to return when I had done it the write way. She reminded me of one of the nuns at my school. Eventually I arrived at the front of the queue again, and this time she was satisfied and handed me the money.

We had some Norwegian money left over, so went to the Purser’s desk to exchange it. I had forgotten that you can only exchange money in the denominations that they have on board, and these in no way matched what we had. I thought I was going to be stuck with them as the bank back home doesn’t do foreign exchange, but we were told that the customs lady might do it.

So we headed back into the queue, and I was quite expecting her to refuse my request for a money exchange, but she was quite happy to do so. This is a really useful service.

It was very, very windy by now, and with our close proximity to the Konigsdam I was concerned about Captain Wells and our pilot’s ability to safely guide us out to open waters again. It was an incredibly tight squeeze, with gale force winds pushing us, but unlike when I left Quebec City on the Veendam several years ago (; we were able to safely negotiate our departure.

Right next to the harbor they were showing a World Cup football match, with Iceland playing, on a large TV screen. The Icelandic supporters were singing and cheering away as they sat outside in the freezing June weather watching the match. I do hope they won. They seem to be having such a great time watching the game.

There wasn’t much in the way of horn blowing as we headed away. I had thought that there would be more with the Konigsdam being there, but alas we only gave 2 blows of our great whistle, and off we went.

I had to stop watching the sail away. Despite my Arctic clothing I was freezing, and I needed to get ready for the second and final formal, or should I now say Gala, night of the voyage.

Tonight was the Masquerade Ball. Having not received an invitation to a hosted table for the first formal night of the cruise I had been ever hopeful that one would arrive for this one. One did not, and just like the invitation to Harry and Meghan’s wedding, I had to accept the fact that yet again I had been overlooked. Bummer.

On the first formal night, and the subsequent informal night we had seem a young couple looking like they were out of the Renaissance Faire. I had though that maybe they were getting prepared for the Masquerade Ball, but they were nowhere to be seen tonight.

We met up with Helen, Martin, and Bill, and another couple, for a drink before dinner in the Carinthia Lounge. I had never really liked the Winter Garden before the “remastering”, and I must say that the new lounge is a huge improvement, and I actually do like it. We sat drinking, chatting and listening to the duo SNRGY (not to be confused with the band Synergy). It was all very pleasant until the music stopped and they had a quiz. It was hard to be engaged in scintillating conversation when I wanted to be involved in the quiz. However, I did manage to remain appropriate for the most part.

We were alone for dinner yet again. However, we did engage in conversation with the foursome on the table next to ours. They had brought their little stuffed moose and lamb to dinner with them. The animals were posing all over the table, and generally having a good time. I wondered if it was just Cunard on formal nights where stuffed animals join in with the fun, or does this happen on other cruise lines. Maybe the presence of towel sculptures on your bed each night takes care of ones need to dine with one’s moose and lamb while wearing a tuxedo. Who knows?

I did not ponder too long on this, as I was very happy with the menu – escargot, lobster tails, and cherries jubilee. I was, however, wondering whose jubilee the cherries were celebrating. when all of a sudden out came the parade of the chefs with the necessary napkin waving and clapping. For the first time I was glad that Brian wasn’t with me. He absolutely hates this spectacle. I like it. Thank you to all of the chefs and wait staff – you are all incredible.


After dinner we decided to check out the Masquerade Ball. It was in full swing and the dance floor was crowded. It’s been a very interesting phenomenon on this cruise. On our cruise earlier this year, the Queen’s Room often looked deserted, but this time it has been packed every night. In fact all of the evening venues have been busy, it has been difficult to find a table in the Commodore Club some nights. Clearly people behave differently on a 7-day cruise than they do on a World Voyage segment.


The show tonight was the Barricade Boys. I had seen them previously and really enjoy them. Ruth stayed for one song, but that unfinished jigsaw puzzle beckoned her, so she left. I joined her at the end of the show. She had met other puzzle aficionados, and the puzzle was finished. It was still light outside – it really is splendid that it is still light after midnight ☺


Post Discussion


  1. harry

    good blog…………

    • Safarigal


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I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.