Travel

MY WET DREAMS

Town of Gereinger at the end of its namesake fjord

Most passenger ships have been sitting idly at anchor since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the cruise industry last February. A few cruise lines had hoped to resume operations by year-end, but it now looks like it may be late spring of 2021 or later before most start sailing again. Until then, all I can do is dream about my favourite cruse destinations and where I will be sailing to once a Covid-19 vaccine makes travelling by ship safe again.

 

Norway will be at the top of my list of sea dreams when cruising returns to normal.

My wife Gail and I first discovered the west coast of Norway with its charming towns and beautiful fjords some 10 years ago on a 12-night cruise from Copenhagen aboard the Seabourn Sojourn. The ship’s itinerary took us along some of the most magnificent fjords in the world (they have more than 1,100 of them in Norway) including the 205-kilometre long Sognefjord and the breathtakingly beautiful Geirangerfjord, which was featured in the Disney movie ‘Frozen.’

Cunard’s QM2 – the only ocean liner afloat

It was a marvellous cruise that left with us an appetite for more, particularly since we had only sailed a third of the way up the country’s coast to the town of Molde. So, when we made plans to return this coming July, we signed up for a 12-night voyage with Silversea that will take us from Edinburgh, Scotland all the way up the Norwegian Atlantic coast to North Cape above the Arctic Circle.   Other ports of call will include Rosendal, Bergen, Flam, Alesund, and Trondheim.

My second wet dream will take us across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe to the United States in August of 2021. In my view, there is only one way to cross the pond in style, and that is on a luxurious cruise ship that restores elegance to long-distance travel and makes jet lag an impossibility.

Your humble scribe with his wife Gail in the QM2’s Commodore Lounge

We first experienced a trans-Atlantic cruising in 2008 when we took an 18-night voyage on the Emerald Princess from Venice, Italy to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Luxurious cabins instead of small airplane seats; great food cooked to order instead of reheated cafeteria style meals; live entertainment instead of old movies; and bars, fitness centres and clubs in which to pass the time instead of trips to the airplane lavatory.  What’s not to like if you have the luxury of time on your side?

This time we will be sailing from Southampton, England to New York City on the Queen Mary 2 for the 7th time. We love the QM2 because she is a true ocean liner (rather than a cruise ship). The difference between a cruise ship and an ocean liner is that the latter is designed, equipped and built to do regular ocean crossings. In contrast, cruise ships are built to sail between ports of call in more protected waters, although they still do the occasional ocean crossing as part of a repositioning cruise.

Cruising the Rhine River

In addition, the QM2 has all the modern amenities available today to keep people entertained during a crossing, including a planetarium, a superb roster of lecturers, a computer learning centre, Wi-Fi, its own theatre company at sea, a kennel, and much more.  

My third sea dream will take place along one of Europe’s major inland waterways.

We fell in love with river cruising in 2018 after taking a 7-day voyage from Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Austria with AmaWaterways. The small capacity ships (typically no more than 130 passengers), the beautiful scenery along the major European rivers (the romantic Danube in our case), and the fact that ships can dock close to the historic centres of the cities they visit made it an experience we had to repeat.

AmaWaterways’ ship on the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary

This time we plan to sail along the Rhine River with AmaWaterways from Amsterdam, Holland to Basel, Switzerland in May of 2022. Our cruise will take us past medieval castles, Gothic cathedrals and iconic vineyards on our way through historic cities such as Cologne, Rüdesheim, Ludwigshafen (for Heidelberg), and Strasbourg.

My fourth wet dream will take us back to the Hebridean Islands of Scotland.

We first visited the Hebridean Islands in September of 2019 at which time we discovered that western Scotland is one of the most magical and majestic places to cruise in the world. And there’s no better way to experience their beauty than on a small British-run cruise ship called the Hebridean Princess that’s become a stand-in for Her Majesty’s Royal Yacht Britannia.

Hebridean Princess in Scotland

Last time, we sailed to the Inner Hebrides which included Islay, Colonsay, Isle of Rum, Isle of Skye, Isle of Eigg and Isle of Mull. On our next cruise in September of 2022, we will be sailing on an itinerary called “Islands of Contrast” which will call at some of the islands of the Outer Hebrides including Barra and Eriskay.

There are many other places we are dreaming of cruising to including the Amazon River, the Douro River in Portugal, Japan, the Eastern Caribbean, and a trans-Pacific cruise from Chile to Tahiti with a stop in the Easter Islands. But we won’t be making reservations for these wet dreams until we receive our next CERB payment!

 

Feature image – Bergen, Norway

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This is David’s 87th post on Gentleman’s Portion. The SEARCH function at the top works really well if you want to look back and see some of his previous stories.

 

1 reply »

  1. I’ve never been on a cruise, but after reading the article, it will be on my check list to do one of these striking trips,

    Liked by 1 person

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