Fantastic Four - Fred. Olsen in Bergen 28th July 2015
A completely unique event was taking place in Bergen on the 28th July 2015 when all four of the current Fred. Olsen fleet would be docked together for the first time ever.  They previously had three with Balmoral, Braemar and Black Prince in the latter's final year so this would be better.  They were all scheduled to arrive for 8am and docking together in the town, with Braemar leading the way followed by Balmoral, Black Watch and Boudicca.  I had booked into the Thon Hotel, Bergen Brygge which is near the port, so it was an early start to get where I wanted.  It was at times like this I wished I finished driving lessons in 1987 but as it was everything had to be planned as a pedestrian and one with a damaged knee.  Still even by foot this was going to be a superb event.  The Fred. Olsen plan was they'd arrive at Marsten pilot at 5.45am, Fleslandskjær an hour later then passing under the Sotrabrua Bridge at 7.15am before emerging from the Askøy Bridge.  It was pretty quiet as I waited apart from one bloke in his people carrier waiting and that was it.  Finally Braemar began to emerge from behind the trees and the excitement really began.  She was followed in quick succession by Boudicca, Black Watch and Balmoral as the sun shone in the rainy capital of Norway.  I was major shippy fangirl as they got closer, particularly the Royal Viking sisters which I've loved since seeing their absent sister in 1988.  It's not every day any of them are together let alone both in the same fleet and they'd be berthed together - squeeeee!!!!  Considering both grand old ladies of the sea aren't much younger than me I make no apology for the number of photos of them both.  8am came and went as did the bloke and since I left the hotel before breakfast, I'd only managed Lucozade but I was too excited to eat.  Balmoral moved to dock after Black Watch had and as she was almost there, I started heading back round.
Rachael Jackson at Fred. Olsen had put me on the port security list so I was able to get some great photos.  I decided to do this on the way back to the hotel since most passengers would hopefully be on tours or in town.  There was a wait as the bloke issuing passes was with Balmoral but when he came it was pretty straightforward and different to here.  There was an American doing a survey on Black Watch just as surprised as I was when not only were we not issued with an actual visitor's pass but our passports were returned.  The bloke gave us passes to keep us happy.  Better really in case you're stopped as you snap from places the general public are banned from.  Even the aft quarter of Braemar was crew only but I could go through.  The pass included ship access but I had such a busy day there wasn't time which was a shame.  I was happy getting up close and personal.


© Patricia Dempsey 28th July 2015
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