Monday 22nd July 2019
Today everyone seems to be up early for breakfast, ready to leave the ship here in Kiel. I could see the Passenger Terminal tent alongside and hoped we wouldn't need to spend any time in there after disembarkation.
I had really enjoyed seeing and sailing on VASCO DA GAMA and thought she was beautifully furnished and planned, with a good flow for passengers. The staff I spoke to had been pleasant and professional and made me feel welcome on board.
My friend and I had chosen Priority Disembarkation, and joined a queue as requested. Unfortunately it would seem that many hundreds of others had also done so, which should not have been a problem, but it was. Nothing could be done, and indeed nothing was done, as far as we could see, but British stoicism saw us through the eventual disembarkation.
Nearing the gangway I handed my cabin card to be registered as I was about to step off the ship and onto the gangway, but the machine said I was not allowed to leave - I was instructed to return to Reception for a cash refund! Since I had authorised my credit card to be used for my final bill, I was surprised at that. Someone in uniform appeared and decided to escort me all the way back to Reception. That was good, as he then waved an arm at the Reception staff and told them to help me straightaway! They did and I was given cash of Euros 7.10 as a refund. I asked why it had not been refunded onto my credit card, but I was told "we don't do that". I signed their acceptance form, and hurried back to the gangway to meet my friend, thinking that had been a weird and rather suspicious experience.
Ah well, a drink and meal (pasta aeroplanes in a tomato sauce) at the wonderful Vapiano soon made me put the incident in the back of my mind; it happened and I will probably never know why, or care about it again..
Ships seen: Laboe, Vasco da Gama, Color Fantasy, Stena Germanica
It was soon time to get a train to Hamburg airport and head for home in the UK. I had enjoyed a fascinating time in Kiel and also on board the VASCO DA GAMA and many other ships. Lucky me, as I often say.
Sunday 21st July 2019
This morning we arrived in the port of Copenhagen, Denmark, but it seemed dark and the rain was pouring down. Plan B was brought forward, and so there was time to walk around the ship and take photographs before heading out to the local train station.
We bought tickets for a train up the coast to Helsingor, ready for ferry rides across the water to Helsingborg and then return on a different ship; we could then wait for a third ferry back again before getting to a fourth ferry where we are booked on board the ferry AURORA for the Waves Restaurant Lunch.
The first ferry was HAMLET, the second ferry was TYCHO BRAHE, the third ferry was MERCANDIA IV and then our lunch ferry was AURORA.
With those lunch tickets it meant we could stay on board going to and fro between the ports, across The Sound, until we had finished and enjoyed our lunch! I think that's a very good idea.
In fact I remember a long time ago (in May 2007), travelling with a group from The Cinema Theatre Association, sailing across The Sound between Helsingor and Helsingborg on the TYCHO BRAHE and being able to watch the passing ships sailing north and south as we enjoyed our lunch. I think most of my companions were more interested in the food than the ships, but I kept looking and soon had my reward. I could see a very good-looking vessel sailing slowly along, and I immediately recognised it as the Danish Royal Yacht. She is a very stylish vessel, often featured on tins of Danish biscuits, and I was very pleased to see her. I spoke to a nearby steward and he confirmed that it was indeed the Danish Royal Yacht, presumably taking some of the Royal Family away for a few days.
Anyway, back to the present and a wonderful meal enjoyed at leisure at sea. We finally had to disembark at Helsingor again to get a train back to Copenhagen, ready to head back to the ship. What a fun way to spend a few hours at sea.
Back at the port I wanted to walk along to see the other cruise ships nearby and take some photographs, so I was glad the rain had stopped enough to do this.
Back on board VASCO DA GAMA I used a lift I hadn't seen before, and was amused at the picture on the inside of the lift. At first it was quite disconcerting because of the apparent proportions of the scene.
Tonight we sail overnight back to the port of Kiel, where we have to disembark.
Ships seen: Vasco da Gama, Crown Seaways, Hamlet, Jeppe, Pernille, Aurora, Tycho Brahe, Mercandia IV, Seven Seas Navigator, Aidamar, MSC Meraviglia, Viking Sky
To be concluded...
Saturday 20th July 2019
This morning I was up on deck by 8 a.m. to watch us approach Gothenburg. The ship notified passengers that today was the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing; I remember watching that event on television with my late husband, and being astonished with what we were seeing. It was all very exciting at the time.
We disembarked as soon as the ship was cleared by the Port officials about 10 a.m. and headed for the tall-masted VIKING ship which is now permanently moored at the waterside.
VIKING is a delight on board and we enjoyed seeing a little of her as we decided to have a rather unnecessary cup of coffee.
I think one of the attractions was all the woodwork in the long bar, plus the sight of a huge television screen showing a picture of a wonderful fire in a grate. I had to laugh at the sound of the fire apparently crackling as the logs burned slowly - well, that was authentic...
This morning we are booked on the little ship ST. ERIK for a lunch cruise whilst sailing around the Gothenburg southern archipelago. She was built in 1881 and has obviously been altered over the years but is fascinating on board. We boarded at 11 a.m. and lunch was served once we sailed, seated at allocated tables in the restaurant. As expected there were always people around and so I chose not to take photographs in the Restaurant, but the decor was lovely, the furniture comfortable and the food very enjoyable.
This is a lovely picture of ST. ERIK, with thanks to Michael at http://liners.gmxhome.de for bringing it to my attention
Here is the history of the ST ERIK: http://www.skargardsbatar.se/sterik_1881/
and the GÖTEBORG: http://www.skargardsbatar.se/nyaskargarden_1915/
with thanks to Alistair D.
Out on deck afterwards we could enjoy the archipelago and other vessels around, including FROJA, YLVA, TRUBADUREN, and the aged GOTEBORG. It was warm and sunny, and earlier I had enjoyed being able to look across the water at VASCO DA GAMA.
We finally returned to the quayside and had to disembark, after a lovely sunny sail around the local Gothenburg waters. Then it was back to our ship VASCO DA GAMA on the shuttle bus and then up on deck. We watched as STENA DANICA approached but didn't enter the harbour, but went back and turned round. We didn't know why that happened but she then turned and entered the harbour.
On a staircase where I hadn't been before, I noticed an interesting sight.
There was time for a coffee before relaxing and then preparing for drinks in the Ocean Bar, followed by dinner this evening in the Waterfront Restaurant in Deck 7's stern, with wonderful views from the picture windows. The Show this evening was called Rock Around the World.
Ships seen: Viking, St. Erik, City of Rotterdam, Stena Danica, Stena Carisma laid up, Stjarno, Stena Scandinavica, Goteborg, Trubaduren, Ylva, Froja, Vasco da Gama
To be continued...