Cruising with Seabourn Copenhagen to Dover on the Sojourn September 2010
August 30, 2010 We decided to try a new route to Europe with Icelandair - JFK to Reykjavik to Copenhagen. All went smoothly and we were able to save considerably on our air fare. It was overcast and rainy in Iceland, so we were not able to see much of the landscape. Hopefully it will be clear when we do the reverse route from London Heathrow the end of the month.
Aug 31 - Sept 3 We tried to sleep and get onto European time upon arrival in Copenhagen. We stayed at the Marriott and were very pleased. My cousin's husband Ove picked us up on Wednesday evening and took us to their home for dinner where we met another distant cousin and her husband who were also visiting from America. As always Bente and Ove were gracious hosts who made sure we made the most of our short time in Copenhagen, After dinner we all took the train back to Copenhagen and had a wonderful visit to Tivoli Gardens. The following morning the six of us met for a tour of Copenhagen including a boat tour in the harbor and canals, and a visit to a famous pastry shop for coffee and "danish". That evening we attended a wonderful 50th birthday party for Bente and Ove's son Peter. We were able to meet many more of my Danish relatives, some of whom I met 17 years ago when my Dad and I visited Denmark. It was a wonderful evening. Copenhagen Photos
Sept 3 We boarded the Seabourn Sojourn after lunch and got settled into our home for the next 24 days. The Sojourn is a new vessel which was launched in June 2010. It has 220 cabins and is about double the size of the Seabourn Spirit that we cruised on last September out of Venice. We were surprised when one of the Matre d's from the Spirit greeted us by name when we boarded the ship. Seabourn insists that the staff know the names of the passengers, and he had remembered our name from a year ago!
Sept 4th to 7th Our first full day was at sea which gave us a chance to explore the ship and get unpacked. This was the night for black tie and we enjoyed it. Early Sunday morning we cruised into Stockholm through a beautiful chain of islands. We walked around Stockholm in the afternoon and the following morning went on an interesting Harbor cruise before departing for Helsinki in the early afternoon. Stockholm Photos
Tuesday morning we arrived in Helsinki for a short stay, but enough time for us to get a feel for the city. Helsinki reminded us more of Copenhagen than Stockholm. Stockholm is much more spread out than Copenhagen and Helsinki. It is a city that we would have enjoyed having a bit more time to explore. Helsinki Photos
Sept 8th to 10th Saint Petersburg was our port for the next three days. We were lucky to moor at the Engish Embankment in the heart of the city. We had been in St Petersburg in 2002 as part of a Viking River Cruise trip from Moscow to St Petersburg. The weather during our visit was overcast and dreary which might have contributed to our feeling that the city had deteriorated during the past eight years. There is no denying that the churches and monuments in the city are absolutely stunning, and appear to be well taken care of, but there were many abandoned buildings and the air quality was horrible. We both had problems with a runny nose and cough. We only ventured off the ship for one tour. Visa restrictions in Russia are very strict and unless you are on an organized tour a prearranged visa is necessary to depart the ship. While for most of our fellow travelers St Petersburg was the highlight of the cruise, we were happy to get moving again on Friday evening. St Petersburg Photos
Sept 11th There was a light rain falling in Tallin, Estonia when we arrived on Saturday morning, which was a shame as it was the prettiest of the ports we had thus far visited. As was the case with Helsinki, we were disappointed we did not have more time to spend in Tallin. Tallin Photos
Sept 13th After a day at sea, unfortunately it rained most of the following day that we docked in Szczecin, Poland. We got out our umbrellas and walked around the old city for a couple of hours. Most of the buildings were destroyed during the war, but have since been restored or rebuilt. Szczecin Photos
Sept 14thWe arrived in Warnemünde, Germany to more rain, but it stopped in the afternoon and we were pleasantly surprised by the picturesque seaside town. Lots of small shops, restaurants and cobblestone streets. A great day. Warnemünde Photos
Sept 15th We were in Copenhagen again for several hours to disembark passengers who only booked the first 12 days of the cruise and to load the new passengers for the next 12 days of the cruise through the Norwegian Fjords and on to Amsterdam and Dover where our cruise will conclude. We could definitely feel fall in the air and noticed the leaves were starting to change colors on the trees. Tomorrow will be a day cruising in the North Sea.
Sept 16th to 23rd We first traveled along the coast of Norway in 2003 and I have been looking forward to returning ever since. It is truly a photographers dream come true as it is almost impossible to take a "bad" photo.
We cruised the fjords for seven days, Our September 2003 trip was on one of the large ferry/passenger ships which stayed along the coast and traveled all the way from Bergen to the Russian boarder and back. This time we ventured into the southern fjords. The weather was overcast and cool with lots of rain showers. Not too great for being out and about, but great for photography with saturated colors. We enjoyed wandering around the small Norwegian cities we visited including Aalesund, Molde, Olden, Bergen and Stavanger. They are all extremely clean with colorful buildings. Almost everyone speaks English.
We have become spoiled by the level of service with Seabourn. Our suite is very comfortable and the internet connection is surprisingly fast and reliable. The North Sea got a bit rough at times, but the ship is surprisingly stable and the Captain was able to stay in the "inside passage" for most of the time we weren't in a fjord where it was always calm. Norway Photos
Sept 24th Friday was a day at sea. Even though the seas were rough, we were traveling in the direction of the waves, so the motion was minimal. This was also our last formal evening.
Sept 25th We arrived in Amsterdam at about 9:00 AM and except for a brief shower in the afternoon it was sunny and cool. We have been in Amsterdam for extended visits on several previous occasions, so we used our time to stroll the streets and do a bit of shopping. We also enjoyed a ride through the canals on one of the tour boats. This was Robi's first visit to Amsterdam and he had a good time at the flower market. Amsterdam Photos
Sept 26th We departed Amsterdam shortly after noon and cruised to Dover where our 24 days on the Sojourn ends and we return home via Iceland. We were amazed at the numbers of windmills, oil rigs and tankers we could see off in the distance in the North Sea.