MEIN SCHIFF 4, 7th September 2015, Part 7
Thursday 10th September 2015
Today MEIN SCHIFF 4 has arrived in Oslo, Norway. Sailing through the fjords to arrive at the port is one of the delights of being at sea, and after breakfast we were soon out on deck to watch other arrivals. Again, it was a warm day with beautiful reflections off the mountains and vessels around.
Local ferries were sailing about their business, the cream-coloured small ferry was heading back and forth between the port and the nearby Maritime Museum, CROWN SEAWAYS of DFDS appeared and berthed within sight, and finally COLOR FANTASY arrived and headed into her berth.
I can remember arriving here on her sister ship COLOR MAGIC myself in January 2008. At the time my diary notes about the ship said:
"All was light and gleaming on board, and the Magic Promenade was just as I had pictured it, but better in reality. Three decks high, and 163 metres long, it included glass lifts, shops and eating opportunities, culminating at the stern with the Manhattan Gourmet Restaurant set above and around the Oceanic a la carte Restaurant below. This view through the high glass windows of the huge Norwegian flag was mesmerising and I loved the chance to ’sweep down’ the curved staircase to the restaurant."
Of course that design has been used successfully on many large ships since then.
After lunch on MEIN SCHIFF 4 some of us walked around the quays towards the ferry area. We passed the eye-catching building called the Nobel Peace Prize Centre where every December since 1901 the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for the Laureates takes place in front of the King; the other Nobel Prizes are given out in a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden. We also passed the Town Hall with its two distinctive clock and bell towers, which was completed in 1950.
We bought tickets for the ferry OSLO XII which was going over to one of the small islands near Oslo, called Hovedoya. It is only 800 metres across apparently, and there are Cistercian ruins, but we enjoyed the means of getting there. It was satisfactory to discover that all the officers and crew on the ferry were female. We had lovely views of MEIN SCHIFF 4 as we sailed to and from the island.
Full of fresh Norwegian air we returned to the ship and went to the Diamond bubble bar for tea.
As I enjoyed my Earl Grey tea I could look further along the quay and remember being here in January 2008 in the snow. I had just said goodbye to my travelling companions after we had travelled on COLOR MAGIC overnight and then enjoyed a visit to the Maritime Museum. I photographed the PEARL OF SCANDINAVIA. My diary notes say:
"I decided to write my name and the date in the deep snow, instead of in my more usual sand, and trekked back around the harbour to the Norwegian Royal Yacht, the NORGE. Young cadets looking red-faced with the cold were sweeping snow off the decks into the sea, but were happy to talk to me. What a shame that we no longer have a Royal Yacht for our British Monarch I thought, regretting that my plans for building one by public subscription had come to nought."
I remember that I had sent a cheque to the Editor of a major British newspaper with a letter asking them to consider starting such a fund as a gift for Her Majesty. They didn't cash my cheque and they didn't start a fund. Hmm, I wonder if politics came into that decision.
Today the weather was clear and hot and such a contrast with that snowy January trip.
We watched CROWN SEAWAYS depart and then relaxed on our ship and enjoyed the views until our departure from Oslo at 7 p.m.
Ships seen: Kongen, Grace, DFDS Crown Seaways, Prinsen, Color Fantasy, the Maritime Museum ferry, Oslo XII, Oslo X, Mein Schiff 4, Christian Radich built in 1937, Dronningen, Huldra
To be continued...