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Live/Silver Cloud: Norway Coast/Fjords July 1-16 Reports

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Hail! hail! the gang's all here! The weather is wonderful...mid 60s and sunny. It is 10 PM and the sun is shining brightly! This is a terrific CC crowd!

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Terry and duct tape -

 

I can just tell how much fun you are having! Terry's photos are fabulous (as usual) and make me feel as if I am with you. We have never been on the Cloud, or on your itinerary, so we will be anxiously watching this thread and the photos.

 

Thanks for taking time from your anxiously awaited vacations to share with the rest of us! Enjoy it all!

 

Patty

 

Terry - nice job on the balcony! I'm sure that MADE your wife's birthday even if it was a minor inconvenience to make the move. (I guess the ship is not quite at capacity after all?)

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Happy to read you are both having a wonderful time. Could you tell me whether the FIFA World Cup soccer games are broadcast on the ship?

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What amazing pictures and a lovely commentary! We are booked on the Cloud next year and your thread has made us wish for time to go faster! I am sure you are having a lovely cruise - thank you for taking the time to post!! We are all envious!

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This morning’s report will be BOTH spectacular, but also super short? Why? So much happened great that it will take too much time to report all of the details, right now. AND, we are ready to arrive in Alesund and do a special Runde Birdrock trip we have set-up to do on our own, etc. Plus, it’s the Fourth of July!

 

Why was yesterday so great? Super wonderful weather! Almost “hot”, plus much sun. The fjords are so beautiful and dramatic. We had a nice, fantastic train trip up through the mountains from Flam, then Gudvangen with our private driver to Tvinde Waterfall, Stalheim Hotel and then returning by the Stalheimskleiva Road, Norway's steepest road with thirteen hairpin turns that was constructed in 1849.

 

Then in the evening as the Silver Cloud is sailing out through the fjords, we had a custom, five-course dinner by Chef Douglas Hope to celebrate, formally, my wife’s birthday with Hotel Director Giovanni Dotti joining us, a Broadway Rock musical program and it is light outside until after 11:30 pm. What more could be more perfectly nice and enjoyable?

 

Below are just a few of about 300 pictures that I took yesterday. Many more details will follow as the schedule settles down on a sea day.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Arriving at Flam, the Captain is right there directing this process. You can see here some of the fjord mountains, waterfalls in the background. Below are more pictures and highlights from this day in the Sognerfjord that is rated as the best in all of Norway for these views.:

 

 

FjordsDockedFlam.jpg

 

 

FjordsShipView.jpg

 

 

FjordsPoolViews.jpg

 

 

FjordsCloudinWater.jpg

 

 

FjordsHotelValleyView.jpg

 

 

FjordsFallsWide.jpg

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Yes, it is that beautiful! The football/soccer games have been available on both the suite TVs and on the bigger screen at the pool bar. There is a faithful crowd. The Germans were VERY happy yesterday after they beat Argentina. Due to the fjord, we could not get a signal, so the Capt (in his usual wonderful way) arranged with the local hotel to have our guests go to their bar to watch the game! A good time was had by all, the last tender was delayed as was departure but we got to port this morning right on time!

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Terry, great pictures as usual.

 

Terry and Duct Tape and others on the cruise, glad to hear how nice the weather has been.

 

Continue to enjoy.

 

Keith

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Terry, please tell Giovanni Dotti, the hotel director, that the Scottish couple from the transatlantic in April were asking for him. My husband and he kidded each other constantly about football. Gianni supports AC MIlan, and we had lots of laughs about their success (or lack of it!!) He is the nicest chap, so friendly and good at his job. Pat

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Thanks Terry for the wonderful posts. Like so many others on these boards we really appreciate you taking the time to do this. We found your info most helpful when planning our Baltic cruise last year so I was delighted to read you were going to Norway this summer! We have booked a fjords cruise with Azamara in August 2011 and after seeing your lovely photos it can't come soon enough.

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Terry,

Finally caught up with your cruise posts. I have been preoccupied with the Norwegian Epic and posts from its inaugural voyages.

Your pictures are excellent as expected. Look forward to many more to come.

I know that the best is yet to come.

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Terry

Could you please let us know who the Matre D is and also the Cruise Director and will they be staying on the Cloud until October 3 - thanks

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I use my MacBook Pro computer to “fine-tune” the pictures to brighten up, crop and improve the pictures as needed.

 

Hi Terry

 

I'm just loving your photos. Do u shoot in raw and then touch them up in iphoto? Did u use any filters on these shots (uv or polarising)?

 

Cheers

Jennifer

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As I walked out to my now favorite “writers’ perch”, the Panorama Lounge and its top, rear deck of the Silver Cloud, my words were . . . “WOW!!! WOW!!!”. What a view. What a setting. It’s a nearly 360-degree vista as we sail along. There are some clouds. Some open blue skies. You can see the various mountains and hills. There are farm areas with those cute red barns. Two ferryboats are criss-crossing and another cruise ship is up above on the right. It’s a spectacular sea and land scape. The temperature is not bad, maybe upper 50’s, right now. Being outside with just your robe over your PJ’s works well at around 5:45 am. As we move north towards the Land of the Midnight Sun, it fully light and has been for some time. Great experience!

 

Yesterday was Alesund. Its architecture is characterized by its turrets, spires, medieval-romantic frontages and other whimsical touches that give this town its distinctive style. It is like something from a fairytale. On the night of January 23, 1904, the town, built largely of wood, was totally destroyed at night by gale-aided flames. Only one person died, but more than 10,000 people were left without shelter. Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm vacationed nearby and sent four warships with materials to build temporary shelters. The town was rebuilt in stone, brick and mortar in Jugendstil or Art Nouveau, the architectural style of the time. This design reflects a “romance with the past” and highlights Nordic mythology along its winding streets. To honor Wilhelm, one of the most frequented streets of the city is named after him. The town has an unusually consistent architecture, most of the buildings having been built between 1904 and 1907.

 

About 18 miles to the west is Runde, Norway’s southern most major bird rock with 240 species breeding there. It is a habitat for around one million seabirds, including 100,000 puffins. We had a rental car lined up for the four of us to journey south to this special island. The ship was offering a trip to here, but it got scrubbed as there was not enough signed up for this tour/trip. It was good (and lots cheaper) that we had made our own special arrangements in advance or we would have missed this unique island and coastal experience. It involved a five-mile ferry ride for us and the car, but that was a nice way to sample how that transportation system works. It was very timely and well run, efficient for how the cars and truck got on and off. It took 30 minutes for the trip. This ferry hold 120 cars and 350 passengers. The ferry coast $28 each way for the car and us.

 

It was great seeing more of the wide and beautiful variety of terrains in a way that you cannot appreciate if you are sailing by on a boat at a distance. Some of bridges were unique as we jumped island to island in order to reach Runde. Parts of Runde were so dramatic with the green grasses, rock faces, etc., that it reminded us of Ireland. Great beauty, plus lots of birds there.

 

As we drove back from Rune, did the ferry, etc., we wanted to do the Aksla hilltop that dramatically overlooks Alesund. Some from the ship did the 418 steps up Aksla hill in the center of town. We had our car and that made it much easier, plus you could see some of the housing where residents have great views over the town and area. Whether by walking or car, the view from there is super worth it. You get breath-taking views from this 597’ height overlooking the five islands making up the town. It is called Kniven (the Knife) and has a refreshment place at the top. But, it is all about the views as some of the photos below illustrate.

 

To add more on the World Cup, the interest in those game has been huge and creating an interesting “buzz”, especially among some of the staff as certain favorites lose. There has been a wide mix of feelings as some traditional favorites such as Italy (the Captain’s love), Brazil and Argentina lose. It all adds to the great International “flavor” of this trip.

 

There are about 268 passengers on this sailing. From the USA are 142 passengers. There are 21 from Australia as the second largest group. Many singles are traveling on this cruise, which bring the number down a little from the stated 296 capacity.

 

THANKS to Vival, Wripro, Patnicc, Keith, duck tape, for the nice and added comments! YES, I will share with Giovanni Dotti, the hotel director, the greetings from the Scottish couple on the April transatlantic sailing. Giovannie has been so super and highly visible throughout this cruise.

 

We are now getting ready to dock in Trondheim, Norway's third largest municipality. It has a population of 152,800 with major university-science-medical research facilities. It is considered Norway’s historical, cultural and religious capital. Its history goes back 997 and King Olav Tryggvason, who later was made a Saint. Its Nidaros Cathedral was built from 1070 and is the most important Gothic monument in Norway. The Norway King is still crowned here. In a town noted for timbered architecture, this is Scandinavia’s largest medieval building with a 321-foot-high tower. It was Northern Europe's most important Christian pilgrimage site during the middle Ages and has organ recitals in the summer. The town was Norway’s capital until 1217.

 

For the record, Trondheim is 425 miles north of Bergen. Sunrise: 3:15 am, Sunset: 11:24 pm on this day. For July 5, its average high is 64 and a low of 50. Like all of our days, so far, we will do better on those averages for temperature. Latitude: 63.5° N. Famed actress Liv Ullmann grew up here.

 

Enjoying! Terry in Ohio

 

 

This is the dramatic overview of Alesund from the Aksla vantage point. This spot allows a nearly 360 degree view of this setting for this island city and the surrounding mountains and islands. It is at a 597’ height overlooking the five islands making up the scenic town.:

 

AlesundHarbor.jpg

 

 

From Aksla, here is some of the charming architecture in Alesund. This includes a canal or waterway. :

 

AlesundHarbor2.jpg

 

 

At a lower, street-level part of Alesund, here are some of the buildings along the central waterway, plus a nice statue.:

 

AlesundHarborLowerStat.jpg

 

 

To the south of Alesund is Runde Island, famous for its birds and scenic views. This show a house on this beautiful island with the mountains on other nearby islands.:

 

RundeIsHouseMountains.jpg

 

 

Runde Island has a very small population, except for the thousands of birds. Here is one of the small farm there with a wall of rock behind it.:

RundeIsFarmRockWall.jpg

 

 

Here’s another view from Runde Island, showing the unique bridge design allowing access to this island. It is a one-land bridge with a wide spot at its top to allow for passing cars.:

 

RundeIsBridge.jpg

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As added follow-up and “bonus” coverage, here’s a little more for today’s reporting.

 

Jorge Caeiro is the Maitre D’ or dining room manager. In my book, he is a super-star of huge proportion. WOW! describes his charm, skill, warmth and smoothness. Jimmy Kovel is the Cruise Director. I will check to see if their schedules stretch into October on the Silver Cloud. The hotel director will be off at the end of this cruise as his son is getting married in Mexico City later this month. His son is working as a Chef on one of the other Silversea ships.

 

Words just cannot describe how great is Jorge. He is from Lisbon, Portugal, and has been with Silversea for about sixteen years. To deal with the wide range of personalities and customer needs is so challenging, but he does it in a perfect and soothing manner. He doesn’t have the “ego” that some Maitre D’s will get. We worked with him for my wife’s birthday dinner and he was super. Jorge has spoiled us for any future cruises without him.

 

For Jennifer, who shows great taste in liking my pictures, here are the answers to her good questions. YES, I am shooting in raw as this higher pixel level allows more flexibility and quality as you later on the laptop do added cropping and adjusting, etc. I am using the iPhoto program on my MacBook Pro computer. This program works well, allows plenty of options to fine-tune the pictures and has a great “events” way to group and organize pictures after they have been downloaded. No, I did not use any polarizing filter on these shots. I have that filter for all three of my lens, but did not use it as the conditions have not been that much in need to fiddle with putting on and taking off those filters. My lens all have UV filters on them, largely to protect that glass from damage.

 

THANKS to Tony for the nice comments! Glad to know more and better is coming.

 

We had a nice July 4 program for the USA residents on board with reception in the theater-lounge, music, singing of God Bless America and a large cake, etc.

 

On the Butler program, I have been super impressed with how this works and serves. Initially, it was a she or Butleress. She was great and our friends there love her and how she operates and helps. Our Butler is Parqi Dubhaski from India. He is also super, very, knowledgeable and helpful. He had worked previously with Silversea as a waiter in the dining room before doing his training for this position. The hotel director at dinner made the point that having a Butler allows a single point of contact for the guest. It has worked well for us. You don’t have to guess which person to call or ask. You just push the button for them, they are beeped and they call right back. There were doubts and questions as to whether this “Butler thing” was just marketing gimmick or more. My verdict is that it works super well and is real “value added”. With the Bulter and most all of the staff, there is a great attitude and spirit. It is not just a fake smile and only a “HI!”. They work had to be helpful and knowledgeable. Impressive!!!

 

Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Here is our Butler, Parqi (second from left), and four of his associates on the back of the Silver Cloud as we were sailing out from the spectacular fjords on Saturday.:

 

CloudButlerFjords.jpg

Edited by TLCOhio

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Hi Terry

 

Thankx for answering my questions. This last lot of pics are spectacular.

 

Without doubt, I think this is the best live report I've read on these boards. Thank u so much for taking the time to post your wonderful experience.

 

Cheers

Jennifer:)

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Just for Jennifer, here are some added pictures from the ferry boat as we crossed south to Runde Island and its birdrock areas, at Runde with its huge coastal rocks, the famed Hurtigruten coastal ship, Alesund building details and the Norway banner, two Norway residents in their highly-detailed costumes with hand work done by her mother and another angle from the vista point at the top of Aksla.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

RundeIslandRocks.jpg

 

FerryCrossing.jpg

 

CoastalFerries.jpg

 

AlesundVistaPerch.jpg

 

AlesundLocalDress.jpg

 

AlesundBldgFlag.jpg

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Thank you SOOOOO much, Terry, you are letting us re-live our wonderful Silver Cloud cruise in April this year. I feel as though we are cruising with you! Really enjoying your posts and thanks for giving our love to Gianni. Keep it coming! Pat

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Terry, thanks for taking the time and sending such robust seamail reports coupled

with beatiful pix...and kudos for taking the extra effort in recognizing (word & pic) the special Silversea Cloud folks who are going above and beyond.

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I want to add that Terry's written documentary and his pictures have been very refreshing. I've truly enjoyed them.

 

Keith

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We are really enjoying every super photo and every written word. Thanks! Please keep them coming.

 

We have an Asian trip booked for later this year but we definitely have to look at getting this itinerary on our radar!

 

Patty

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We had a beautiful sunny and warm day in historic Trondheim on Monday, July 5. We were docked on the Silver Cloud about two miles from the main downtown, but Silversea had a free shuttle bus to connect us to the central part of this very interesting and nice town. We were in port from 7 am to 7 pm, allowing plenty of time to see Norway's third largest municipality. Trondheim has a population of 152,800 with major university-science-medical research facilities. It is considered Norway’s historical, cultural and religious capital. It does not have the great art options of Oslo, but its Cathedral and older architectural highlights make it very special to visit. And its size is very compact and easy to explore.

 

We first saw the Nidaros Cathedral, built from 1070. It is the most important Gothic monument in Norway. The pictures below give a good sampling of its details and beauty. For the admission price, there was a 30-minute tour in English inside with background on it being built and all of the history connected with King Olav Tryggvason, who later was made a Saint by the Catholic Church.

 

In the second posting of visual highlights, there are pictures of the “Old Town” area. This town was Norway’s capital until 1217. The center of town is the Torvet or market square with the Fish Market (Fisketorvet) located to the north. You will see the Stiftsgården, a Royal residence in the heart of the city. We did a 25-minute free electric bus around the main downtown that gave us a sampling of this enjoyable city on a super perfect weather day. On this bus, we meet a young 13-year-old boy who gave us a nice sampling of his city and answered our various questions in excellent English. He was charming to meet and talk with, plus informative and entertaining.

 

We had another very enjoyable dinner in the main dining room, seated at a table next to the water to see the sights as we sailed from Trondheim. It was bright and sunny as we could see the various farms with red barns, the rocky coasts, green fields, etc. Sunset was not till near midnight.

 

Today is a sea day as we cross the Arctic Circle on the way north to the Lofoten Islands. We will arrive Wednesday at 8 am in Leknes where we have a rental car reserved to see the sights and natural surroundings that are regarded to be among the most stunning in Norway. These islands have its mountains, peaks, cliffs and white sandy beaches that attract the elite of Norway to be a key vacation spot during their summers. With 2,647 people, Leknes is the trading and shopping centre of this 70-miles long island archipelago. There are 35,000 people living on all of the islands and they are 886 miles northeast of Bergen. In November 2007, National Geographic Traveler rated the Lofoten islands of Northern Norway as the third most appealing islands in the world. In Leknes, the sun (midnight sun) is above the horizon from May 26 to July 17, and in winter the sun does not rise from December 9 to
 January 4. For our visit on July 7, the average high is 57 and a low of 50. The record high is71 and record low of 46 on this July 7 date. We will have twenty-four hours of daylight. Latitude at Leknes is 68.1° N.

 

So far, our trip has had above average temperatures and great weather. We are very fortunate in these conditions. Plus, it is a great ship with a super staff and nice, diverse fellow passengers.

 

THANKS for the added nice comments and interest shown in following along for this trip! Let us know any questions or comments. Or, suggestions on what are upcoming as we head toward the North Cape and the top of Europe. Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Trondheim’s top and most historic attraction is their Cathedral. Nidaros Cathedral was built from 1070 and is the most important Gothic monument in Norway. The Norway King is still crowned here.:

 

TrondheimCathTower.jpg

 

 

This is the front of Trondheim’s Cathedral. This is Scandinavia’s largest medieval building and has a central, 321-foot-high tower.:

 

TrondheimCathFrontFull.jpg

 

 

This is a close-up of the stone detailing on the front of Trondheim’s Cathedral.:

 

TrondheimCathFront.jpg

 

 

This is inside the museum for the Cathedral. It features many architectural items from over the nearly 1000-year history of this structure. In this area is also a museum with the various Royal crowns, chairs, etc.:

TrondheimCathMuseum.jpg

 

 

This is the main alter at the front of this Cathedral.:

 

TrondheimCathAlter.jpg

 

 

Here is a longer shot inside of Trondheim’s Cathedral.:

 

TrondheimCathMain.jpg

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Here are the added visual highlights from Trondheim with its charming and interesting architectural styles.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

 

Stiftsgården is the royal residence in Trondheim, originally constructed in 1774 with 144 rooms constituting 43,000 sq. ft. It is the largest wooden building in Northern Europe, has buttercup-yellow coloring, a Rococo style with Baroque details, is open 10 am-5 pm and has been used by royals and their guests since 1800.:

 

TrondheimPalaceFront.jpg

 

At the rear of the Stiftsgården Palace are these open, public gardens in the heart of the city. This visual gives a sample of this nice, shaded area with its seating areas, fountain, flowers, etc.:

 

TrondheimPalaceGarden.jpg

 

The specialty stores and shops are concentrated around the downtown pedestrian street of Nordre gate. Some of these are older, traditional wooden structures, but some, such as this one, is newer and more contemporary for their design.:

 

TrondheimNewBldgShopping.jpg

 

This Trondheim bridge leads to the Bakklandet district. This “Old Town Bridge” connects to the antique wooden house used by canning workers in the early 1900’s.:

 

TrondheimBridgeOldTown.jpg

 

This is an example of the charming, wooden structures that can be found around Trondheim.:

 

TrondheimOldTownBldg.jpg

 

Looking down the waterway, you can see a sampling of these various structures along this part of the town.:

 

TrondheimWaterBldg.jpg

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Wonderful pictures. By the way, just curious, do you know why several statues have missing heads?

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Terry, it's great that you have had such wonderful weather. That really makes a difference. Great pictures. Continue to enjoy.

 

Keith

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