It’s a Mystery???

So there I was idly surfing the cruise holiday sites when I saw something that really made me think “I wonder if ‘Herself’ would go for this.” You see I had seen something that stirred my imagination. A cheeky little cruise of 9 days (or 8 nights, if you prefer) where to? Well, at the time the answer was “I don’t know” It was a mystery cruise with Fred Olsen – another adventure as we had never been on a smaller ship nor with Fred. So lots to think about.

I mentioned it to Maggie and after considerable deliberation (about 30 seconds) I was phoning our travel agent and making the booking. Then I had to arrange a ferry to the UK and also accommodation in Rosslare, Burnham on Sea, and also at our Daughter and Son in Law’s (good chance to see everyone over there)

The cruise was in March and some weeks before the off we received a brochure of excursions. Well, we studied this book lots of “Googling” and still we had no clue of the destinations to which we were headed.

We booked two. The Tour “A” which was described as “A panoramic coach tour through the surprise destination. Admire the many points of interest, some of which date back from the 13th Century”

The other Tour was at the 4th destination Tour “J” “Enjoy a relaxing visit to a well renowned event. Explore at leisure your alluring surroundings – don’t forget to bring your camera”

We had an easy trip to Rosslare and to Fishguard on a very flat sea followed by an overnight stop in Burnham to arrive at Tilly and Martin’s house

We saw all of their families and another surprise was our other daughter Louise and her daughter Lily also called in from Hastings.

Saturday 23rd March 2019

After a relaxing couple of days we made our way to Dover to the secure parking which we had previously booked. A very painless exercise. Our paperwork was checked key handed over and the man said “I will put your luggage into the coach just get on board, we are just about to go”. In we got and soon we were being taken to the cruise dock at Dover.

When we arrived the cases were picked up by a porter and we went into the embarkation lounge. Very smart with refreshments available but not needed as we were straight to one of the desks where passports were checked, tickets checked, card checked (no actual money changes hands on board) and identity photographs taken and all information encoded onto our cabin key card. Within 10 minutes of entering the embarkation lounge we were boarding the good ship Boudicca.

We went for a light lunch and then found our cabin on deck 5. Our cases had arrived so we decided to unpack there and then so that job was out-of-the-way.

Our stewardess Dora was near and said “hello”. She is from the Philippines, Manila and is on a 9 month contract. They do work very hard, every day without a break for 9 months, followed by 3 months home leave to see her family. It is the same for the waiting staff.

The compulsory “lifeboat drill” was a simple matter when we heard the alarm and had to go to our muster point. We were shown how to put on a lifejacket and where our lifeboat was. A simple procedure, but compulsory for every passenger regardless of how many cruises you have been on. In fact, refusal to attend is one of the reasons that you can be put ashore and your holiday lost.

The ship left Dover and turned left. We were told to advance our watches by 1 hour,so it was obvious that we were not going to be in British waters.

Went to dinner and met our table mates Liz and James. James was a .Policeman who became a Vicar. Throughout the cruise we got on very well.

The entertainment in the Neptune Bar was excellent “Swing Show” Pity the venue is not tiered as sometimes at the back it is difficult to see.

We have been informed that the crew will be told of our first destination the day after tomorrow when all information about the port will be published.

And so to bed.

From Ships log

Dover UK

Weather Cloudy skies

Air Temperature 12°C

Sea Temperature 12°C

Wind Force 5 Fresh Breeze

(17-21 knots)

 

Sunday 24th March 2019

Awoke after a restless night (“different bed syndrome” nothing to worry about) Decided on a relaxing day so after breakfast went to the Observation Lounge to relax and read. At midday the Captain made his noon announcement “Hello ladies and gentlemen, today we are travelling in a easterly direction or is it westerly? Or south-westerly or anyway somewhere or other” All that was definite was that we would be coming alongside at 11am.

We had an enjoyable lunch and decided to watch a film “Bohemian Rhapsody” excellent!

Posh night so dress suit, bow tie and good frock. Another excellent meal

Gave the show a miss so watched another film “Biryani Blues”

And so to bed

En route to First Mystery Port

Weather: Partly cloudy skies

Air Temperature 10°C

Sea Temperature 10°C

Wind Force 6 Strong Breeze

(22-27 knots)

 Monday 25th March 2019

A good night’s sleep, I think it’s a combination of being tired, an extra pillow (Thank you Dora), and the gentle rocking all helped.

We awoke to bright sunshine and land in sight. After breakfast we went to the observatory Lounge to let the morning go by.

It was soon pretty obvious that we were entering Norway. The flags and the many islands were a giveaway. Exactly where were we are going is still a mystery. We are due in at 11am and our excursion (another mystery) is at 1pm.

The scenery as we cruise in is stunning and my guess is Oslo (and it is)

The excursion was a scenic trip around Oslo (Spoiled a little by the incessant chatter of two women which made it difficult to hear the courier). An interesting point was the Olympic ski jump

Ski Jump 1954 Winter Olympics

The houses and the flats were beautiful, especially in the trees and snow

We were told of the open air pre-school nursery which began in Norway and now two of our great-grandchildren go to a pre-school run on similar lines.

Maggie Pulled in Oslo

As we had missed lunch we decided (for the first time on any cruise for us) to have afternoon tea. Wow! It was wonderful I decided on having a cream tea complete with fresh (still warm) scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream. Wonderful.

After dinner we went to the show based on musicals of the cinema, then back to the cabin to another film Grace and Goliath then bed.

Mystery port 1 – Oslo, Norway

Weather partly cloudy skies

Air Temperature 6°C

Sea Temperature 6°C

Wind force 4 – Moderate Breeze

(11-16 knots)

 Tuesday 26th March 2019

Woke up in Gothenburg, Sweden

After breakfast we caught the shuttle bus into the city. Really, there was not much to write home about. It was a city with the usual shops etc. We did, however, visit a rather nice Cathedral. An unusual point was a children’s altar which was child size complete with small chairs. There was a cupboard with some toys (of a religious type) for the children to play with.

In the main church was a suspended crown of thorns and a “Book of thorns”  A record of lives and people who stand for something important and therefore also risked a lot. One has borne life, others have been imprisoned, subjected to murder attempts, driven away from their country and living in vulnerability and exclusion

Crown of Thorns

Book of Thorns

Children’s Chapel

Took it easy for the rest of the day and saw a film “Mr. Church” before bed Due to arrive somewhere at 8am

Mystery port 2 Gothenburg, Sweden

Weather Clear Skies

Air Temperature 11ºC

Sea Temperature 8ºC

Wind Force 3 Gentle Breeze

(7-10 knots)

Wednesday 27th March 2019

Woke up docking in Copenhagen, Denmark.

So we had a good breakfast and bought our tickets for the “Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) bus around the sights of the city.

First of all I wanted to go to the statue of the Little Mermaid so that Maggie could see it as she had missed it a few years before because she was ill. They tried to tell everyone that it was a 10 minute walk to the statue, but I said to Maggie that it was more like 20 minutes but for her a good 25. I had walked it before. So off we went.

Maggie and the Mermaid – At Last

Took a few photos and went round to watch a HOHO pull away so we caught the next one which was 5 minutes later. There was some confusion with the tickets as no one had told the driver that the tickets issued on the ship were valid. The driver said that as he was going near to the ship we could have a lift. At the ship there was a rep waiting who explained everything to the driver and so all was well and we then took a seat on the upper deck.

I do like the HOHO busses as they take an interesting route and there is a commentary in several languages you simply have to tune in to the one you want.

Hans Christian Anderson

We enjoyed the trip so much that we moved to the other side of the bus and went round again so we saw everything.

Went to the Observatory Lounge after a light lunch to let the world go by.

The evening theme was British Night. Oh dear! What a disappointment. The show was poor and as for the flag-waving etc. …

Mystery port 3 Copenhagen, Denmark

Weather Cloudy Skies

Air Temperature 11ºC

Sea Temperature 8ºC

Wind Force3 Gentle Breeze

(7 – 10 knots)

Thursday 28th March 2019

Awoke and we were in luck about to enter the Kiel Canal so at present we are in Germany. Now we are hoping for the Netherlands but we will see.

The journey through the German countryside is very peaceful and relaxing. The countryside is beautiful.

Cruising the Keil Cana

The show tonight was the Crew Show put on by the ship’s crew, including the engine room, waiters, hospitality staff, etc. Singing and dancing Filipino and Thai mostly

Great show, made up for that British fiasco of last night.

Kiel Canal

Weather Cloudy Skies

Air Temperature 16ºC

Sea Temperature 9ºC

Wind Force 1 Light Air

(1 – 3 knots)

 

Friday 29th March 2019

Amsterdam

Arrived and cleared at 1pm and leaving tomorrow at 1pm

Our excursion left at 1.30pm and to the delight of Maggie we were given maps of the Keukenhof Gardens. We last visited it about 15 – 20 years ago. It was even better now than our memories remembered.

 

 

 

 

Missed our sitting for dinner as we were held up by a traffic accident in the city. So we went to the Secret Garden for a buffet meal. Far better than expected.

Was a lovely evening in the Observatory Lounge looking out at the lights of the harbour, reading, talking and listening to the piano music.

Mystery port 4 Amsterdam

Weather Clear Skies

Air Temperature 16ºC

Sea Temperature 11ºC

Wind Force 3 Gentle Breeze

(7 – 10 knots)

 Saturday 30th March 2019

Lovely day. We got most of the packing done by lunchtime.

The crew had several drills this morning.

Having trouble phoning from the Netherlands just won’t happen.

Set sail at 1pm

Back to Dover in the morning.

Overnight in the Dock Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Weather Partly Cloudy Skies

Air Temperature 11ºC

Sea Temperature 12ºC

Wind Force 1 Light Air

(1-3 knots)

Sunday 31st March 2019

Arrived at Dover at 6am had breakfast at 7am then left the ship at 8 am. Straight off and on to the coach picked up the car and off to Tills with a head full of happy memories.

Well would I do a mystery cruise again? Definitely YES! but perhaps a little later in the year

Would I use Fred Olsen again? Well, maybe. The entertainment could have been better and would have been helped if the theatre had been tiered. Cannot fault the food.

Total Distance Travelled – 1,782  N.M.,  3300  Km, 2051. M

Boudicca Facts

Cabins                       462

Guests                       880

Crew                          372

Refitted                     2011

Tonnage                   28,388 grt

Length                       205.47 m

Beam                         25.20 m

Max Speed               18.5 Knots

Engines                    4 Main