A cruise has always been on my bucket list and I have recently fulfilled my dream and experienced the most wonderful time on board the Marco Polo. After losing my husband (who unfortunately was an extremely poor traveller) in 2016 I kept my promise to him by going on a cruise with a very close friend of us both. Previous to this my only ‘cruising’ had been on our narrowboat Myway, which we both absolutely adored, and the odd cross channel ferry with a friend.
We joined the Marco Polo in Hull, only 50 minutes from home, on the 29th June for an 8 night cruise to the Norwegian fjords. After being shown to our cabin and introduced to our cabin steward Ronal we unpacked and made for the deck to sample what the next few days had in store for us. Sitting on deck with a cup of coffee in glorious weather was the stuff dreams are made of and being first time cruisers we were in awe of everything. ‘This is the life’ we both agreed. After the obligatory lifeboat drill we decided to eat in Marcos bistro and were amazed at the choice of food on offer. The following day was spent at sea and we enjoyed wall to wall sunshine and soaked up the sun rays only moving for lunch and afternoon tea (the scones with jam and cream were out of this world!!) and then to shower and dress for Captains night and our first dinner in the Waldorf restaurant after which a show by the permanent entertainment company led by Mitch which was excellent.
The following morning Sunday we awoke to glorious weather and our first glimpse of the Norwegian fjords – awesome!! Our first port of call was Eidfjord and we took in all the amazing scenery all around us while travelling by coach to our destination the amazing Voringsfoss Waterfall.
The following day we anchored in Flam and had to take a tender ashore – another ‘first’ experience. Our day included a trip on the infamous Flam railway calling at the famous Kjosfossen waterfall for a photo stop – it has to be seen to be believed – and on to Vatnahalsan for waffles with jam and cream and a cuppa at the hotel there. A most wonderful day.
Next day found us in Olden and a trip on the Troll car up to the Briksdalsbreen glacier – definitely worth the hike to the lake at its base for this stunning phenomenon. Afternoon tea was awaiting us when the Troll car dropped us off. A visit to Old Olden church a wooden structure built in 1759 completed our day before we sailed away from the quayside being waved off by flag flying residents.
Wednesday found us in Andalsnes the mountaineering capital of Norway. We decided to have a lazy day and wandered round the town stopping to shop and have the most wonderful cup of coffee in the square. Back on board it was time to try out the jacuzzi which was a relaxing experience and then dinner and showtime with a cocktail.
After a choppy journey overnight we arrived in Bergen but after 5 days of sun and temperatures of 25 degrees we were greeted with drizzle and very low cloud.
Fortunately our trip on the funicular was not marred by the weather (and it had stopped raining) and although very cold ‘at the top’ the view over Bergen was amazing. Back down in the city after a city coach tour we wandered around stopping for coffee and the fish market where there was a huge variety of fish to be seen and tanks of giant crabs. Back on board it was gala night so another wonderful meal with the apparently obligatory ‘parade of the baked alaska’ and exquisite entertainment from Mitch and his team.
Friday was spent at sea and the weather was once again in our favour. There is always plenty to do on Marco Polo but we decided just to relax, read and enjoy our food.
So Saturday arrived and we sailed back into Hull and home.
A truly wonderful experience and our recommendation for anyone who hasn’t done this cruise – do it you won’t be disappointed – and we will certainly be cruising with Cruise and Maritime again and on Marco Polo.