Royal Caribbean versus P+O Cruises

A comparison of our Royal Caribbean cruise and our P&O cruise, for all those cruise nerds out there! 🙂 I will compare several aspects, including embarkation, cabins, food, activities, safety, hygiene, service, and disembarkation.

Check In / Embarkation

On RCL, boarding the ship was seamless.  Continue reading

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I’ve only just Bergen

Actually this was the last stop on our cruise, but the title works, no? Gotta love a pun! 🙂 Bergen is Norway’s second-biggest city, and we were keen to explore!

In Bergen it rains 260 days out of 365, so we were very grateful to have a clear sunny day. Not wanting to take anything for granted, we made a beeline for the Funicular which takes you to the top of the mountain. This is 90 Krone return (about £8.30) which is a lot for a 5 minute journey, but quite reasonable by Norwegian standards! The view was absolutely wonderful with great visibility across the surrounding bays and islands. Continue reading

Four Seasons in One Day on the Flam Railway

When we arrived in Flam the next morning, it was raining and a low cloud hung over the village.  It was a spitting image for the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand.

After breakfast we headed straight for the railway station. The Flam Railway is the steepest train in Europe, taking you from sea level to Mountain Peak (almost 900 metres above sea level) in about 40 minutes. It is lauded as being one of the most scenic train rides in the world. Continue reading

Scavengers in Stavenger, Norway

We arrived in Stavenger (which I like to pronounce rhyming with Scavenger) to pouring rain. But that’s fine – we were expecting it; the South West coast of Norway is known to get lots of rainfall. So after a good breakfast we piled on our waterproof coats, trousers, and walking boots (all my other shoes have holes in them – a source of constant amusement and mockery for my BF!) and set off into town!

We actually explored Stavenger in two halves; the old town and the new town. The Old town, or Gamle Stavenger, was the first stop. This is a quaint area of town full of cute white clapboard houses with red rooves. Continue reading

Norweigen Fjords Cruise

My BF was keen to go again after our last (and first) cruise on the biggest ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas. We considered many and in the end chose a Norwegian Fjords cruise.

I did have to be talked into it, but was convinced, on the basis that this was probably the only way i’d have ever got to see Norway. I had long resigned myself to the fact that we would never go to Norway, on account of the fact that it is so expensive, and there are very few (or no) flights from near where we live. Continue reading

Two Hours in Amsterdam

We stopped in Amsterdam for a 5 hour layover en route back home from Montreal. Amsterdam City Centre is easily and quickly accessible from Schipol Airport, so we were able to hop on a train for a whirlwind visit to Amsterdam!

amsterdam-canals

We had already been on holiday to Amsterdam many years ago, so there was no pressure to sight-see Continue reading

Castles and Lakes in Trakai, Lithuania

Our trip to Vilnius wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Trakai to see the beautiful red castle on the lake. We arrived and hiked up the road into Trakai. We soon realised it was HOT so stopped at a small supermarket for sunscreen and chilled drinks, before decamping to a boardwalk at the edge of a large serene lake to lie down and enjoy the beautiful day.

trakai-castle-2

After our lengthy rest and watching some ducks fighting on the lake, we followed the shaded path around the lake to the castle. Continue reading

Summertime Cycling around Vilnius, Lithuania

We decided to take a cheap flight to Vilnius, Lithuania for my birthday. We had enjoyed a short break to Kaunas, Lithuania previously, so we definitely had unfinished business there! Namely, to eat more food and to explore in the sun (last time it was mid-winter!)

Sports pitches

The standout thing for us was definitely the bikes and leisure facilities! Vilnius has got it together when it comes to cycling and healthy lifestyles. There is a free (well, almost free: 2.90 Euros for 3 days) bike scheme similar to the “Boris Bikes” scheme in London. Continue reading