Braemar (III) - Scenic Fjords & Waterfalls of Norway
I finally persuaded my dad to go on a cruise!  Due to being 76 with several health issues, we chose Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines due to their wonderful smaller ships and booked the trip to Norway from the 16th-24th May 2018, getting 2081 for £1099 per person.  Back in 2007, I wanted to send him and my mum on Black Watch for their 40th anniversary but due to Saga insurance quotes for him being astronomical, he went off the idea.  Sadly my mum died three years later so never got the chance to cruise.  Checking today, it's very difficult getting insurance coverage over 70 with health issues but at least it's not as bad as then.  By the time it was paid off, that grade rose to £2099 so it pays to book early at times!  Norway is always a favourite of mine and he had never been but we just had to apply for his new passport.  He last got one in 1975 for when we all went out to visit my aunty Kathleen and family (who had emigrated to South Africa) so they invited him for an interview in Cosham, near Portsmouth, which thankfully he passed.  Numerous luggage labels arrived by post on the 23rd April while he e-ticket came the following day.

The day of my dad's first cruise arrived!  Due to the Hythe Scene going into refit and the back up ferry, Jenny Blue, being unsuitable with luggage or mobility issues, we had to go by bus then catch a taxi at the station.  We arrived just after 1pm and there was a short check-in queue.  Everything is now electronic, including the health form where you just answer yes or no when asked.  It took about 45 minutes from taxi drop off to cabin.  But first, there was a problem with, it appeared, all white cruise cards, which wouldn't register, so Guest Services had to activate them then it was down to deck two where the luggage was waiting.  Excellent service, Fred!  Our cabin stewardess was Orana, who was two months into her first nine month contract.  Since it as too late for lunch, it was afternoon tea then a nice relax aft until muster.  Our muster station was the library and lifejackets weren't required.  Then sailaway, which was 10 minutes earlier than the scheduled 4.20pm, reversing into the Itchen to turn.  Aurora and Norwegian Jade followed us.  We stayed out until dropping the pilot then unpacked, stowing the cases under the beds.  Dinner was 8.30pm in the Grampian on deck 8, where we had a table for 6.  We went to the welcome show then to the Palms for Supper Club, which had an American theme before going to bed.  My dad was exhausted.

The following day was at sea and we hadn't put the clocks forward.  Usually on sea days, I lie in until around noon but since my dad needed his various medications, there was no chance of that.  It had been a rough night with the windows getting a good washing.  Breakfast in the buffet was either buffet style or a la carte.  Since I saw jalapeño in the omelette selection, I ordered that with the full English and fried bread.  Out of the 10 cruise lines I've sailed on, only P&O and Fred had the fried bread.  The jalapeño omelette was wow!  They certainly didn't skimp on the jalapeños.  After breakfast, we went to the dietary meeting with the Executive Chef, Robert Swann and Maitre 'D in the Thistle Restaurant, then deck 8 to get some of that lovely breezy air.  We were both tired so had a nap, ordering room service later.  It was the first of two formal nights but my dad was too tied so skipped the Captain's Welcome Party and dinner and had another nap.  Wish his health issues, he'd overdone it a tad.  I took him a couple of desserts then we went to Supper Club, which had the Around the World theme.

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© Patricia Dempsey 16th-24th May 2018
Not to be reproduced without permission