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TeDaKi

Eurodam Viking Passage September 2015 Review

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Hi all,

 

This is my very first review (and post) on CC. I have just returned from Eurodam's Viking Passage cruise and kept a diary of what I did throughout the journey which I would like to share with you.

 

I know it might be a little late, but better late than never!

 

This review focuses mainly on the ports of call with A LOT OF PHOTOS!!! Not much is covered on the ship.

 

In addition, once I have the review completely finished, I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have, regarding the ports of call and the Eurodam.

 

I hope you enjoy.

 

 

 

Some notes:

 

I am a 23 year old university student from Ireland and I travel with my mum and dad. This was our 10th cruise and first with Holland America. Our previous cruises include 5 with Celebrity, 2 with Royal Caribbean, 1 with Princess and 1 with NCL. We mainly go on cruises based on the itinerary and the quality of the cruise line. This cruise had attracted our attention for many years and we decided to go on it this year due to better timing. (This year’s Viking Passage on the Eurodam was the only time it left in September from Europe).

 

The three of us agreed that this Viking Passage cruise was the best cruise we have taken. I can't recommend it enough. It was absolutely excellent. The itinerary was amazing. The weather was mostly good and we were able to dock in every port as scheduled. It was such a great opportunity to visit many unusual ports on this unique transatlantic itinerary.

 

 

Map and itinerary:

 

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Mon, Sept 7th Copenhagen, Denmark (depart 16:00)

Tue, Sept 8th ***AT SEA 1***

Wed, Sept 9th Bergen, Norway (08:00 - 17:00)

Thu, Sept 10th Lerwick, Shetland Islands (08:00 - 19:00)

Fri, Sept 11th Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (10:00 - 17:00)

Sat, Sept 12th ***AT SEA 2***

Sun, Sept 13th Ísafjörður, Iceland (08:00 - 16:00)

Mon, Sept 14th Reykjavík, Iceland (08:00 - 18:00)

Tue, Sept 15th ***AT SEA 3***

Wed, Sept 16th ***Scenic cruising of Prins Christian Sund, Greenland***

Thu, Sept 17th Qaqortoq, Greenland (08:00 - 17:00)

Fri, Sept 18th Nanortalik, Greenland (07:00 - 13:00)

Sat, Sept 19th ***AT SEA 4***

Sun, Sept 20th St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada (12:00 - 20:00)

Mon, Sept 21st ***AT SEA 5***

Tue, Sept 22nd Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (08:00 - 16:00)

Wed, Sept 23rd ***AT SEA 6***

Thu, Sept 24th New York, NY, United States (arrive 07:00)

 

This was our first transatlantic cruise and our first HAL cruise. We had previously visited Bergen, St. John’s and Halifax. The rest of the ports (Lerwick, Torshavn, Ísafjörður, Reykjavik, Qaqortoq and Nanortalik were all new to us).

 

This was Eurodam's last Viking Passage cruise for the foreseeable future because the Zuiderdam will be taking it over next year. And next year, Shetland Islands and Faroe Islands have been dropped from the itinerary. According to our captain, Captain Werner Timmers, destination specialist Ian Page and guest speaker Jon Sigurdsson, they all agreed that this year's Viking Passage cruise on the Eurodam was the best one ever due to mostly good weather and the ability to dock/tender in every port as scheduled.

 

There was a good mixture of nationalities on board - mainly Europeans, Americans, Canadians and Australians. We figured that the age group was mainly 60+, with only about 5 children, and with me being 23, I can safely say that I was almost the youngest passenger on the ship! I did not mind that at all though!

 

For our dining arrangements, we ate every morning in the Lido buffet. For our evening meals, we ate in the Rembrandt Dining Room on 13 nights and in the Lido buffet on 4 nights. We opted for Anytime Dining. We like the freedom it allows. We normally like to eat dinner after 20:00 and it was never a problem with getting a table. We never ate in the speciality restaurants. The lido buffet and main dining room are just perfect for the three of us. We also don’t drink, so we didn’t buy any drinks packages.

 

We are not hugely into the entertainment scene so we didn't go to many of the shows or entertainment around the ship, nor did we partake in many activities.

 

We did not take any HAL excursions. As with many cruise lines’ excursions, they were ridiculously overpriced. Instead, we always organise our own personal excursions when it is possible! In 5 of the ports (Lerwick, Torshavn, Ísafjörður, Reykjavik and Halifax), we rented a car for the day and did our own sightseeing. Normally what we do is we look at where the ship's excursions go and follow their routes!! Sometimes, we can even combine two of the ship's excursions into our own personal excursion! This way, we get to see even more places for a fraction of what the ship's excursions cost. For example, in Reykjavik, we did the Golden Circle tour on our own. The ship charges US$190 per person for their excursion, which would equal US$570 for 3 people. Instead we rented a car for about US$105 including all taxes, insurance, charges and petrol (gas) which worked out at US$35 per person - a very cheap day for us indeed!

 

Before going on this cruise, I had read about vibration issues on the Eurodam. Some of the observations made by other cruise passengers made me a little apprehensive. But, there was nothing to worry about. While I did notice a little vibration at times, it was certainly not unbearable. The only place where I noticed vibrations on the Eurodam was in the Lido restaurant at some of the tables. It did not make any impact on me, nor my mum and dad at all.

 

 

 

Coming up next: a day-by-day account

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Day 1: Travelling to Copenhagen

 

Our journey started from our home in County Tipperary. We left our home at 07:30AM and arrived at Dublin Airport at 09:50 for our 12:05 flight to Copenhagen with SAS. We left behind schedule and arrived a few minutes late, at 15:30.

 

For our first night, we would be staying in Malmo, Sweden. For the following two nights, we would be staying at the Hilton Copenhagen Airport Hotel. So, before heading to Malmo, we decided to drop our luggage off at the Hilton hotel for the night. There was no problem with this at all and the concierge gladly took our bags.

 

We then took the train to Malmo from Copenhagen Airport (about 20 minutes). Our hotel, the Mayfair Tunneln Hotel, was only a 2 minute walk away from the Central Station and just behind the main town square. Our stay in Malmo was enjoyable. It is a compact city and very easy to walk around.

 

Malmo, Sweden:

 

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Day 2: Copenhagen, Denmark

 

Weather: Overcast in the morning, then rain for the rest of the day. Max temperature 16C / 60F

 

After a good breakfast, we took the train back to Copenhagen Airport. We were able to check in right away at the Hilton Hotel at around 11:30 and we picked up our luggage.

 

Hilton Hotel Copenhagen Airport:

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Today, we toured the North Zealand region by train. A 24 hour rail ticket for travelling around Copenhagen works out at around €17 / US$20. We first took the train to Helsingør, 1 hour from the airport, to visit the Kronborg Castle. It was very nice, but we did not go inside it.

 

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Then, we went to Frederiksberg Castle, in Hillerød. This was one of the nicest castles I have ever seen. It was really pretty. We went inside and it was fabulous.

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Unfortunately, when we went outside to the gardens, it started raining fairly persistently.

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Soon after, we went back to the hotel for an early night.

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Day 3: Copenhagen, Denmark

Weather: Cloudy, with fleeting showers. Max temperature 14C / 57F

 

After a rich and filling breakfast, we took the metro straight into Copenhagen. We were able to get in with the 24 hour ticket which we bought the day before. In about 15 minutes, we reached the city centre and we walked to Nyhavn - a beautiful canal area with colourful houses.

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We then walked to the Little Mermaid, which is indeed little and smaller than I expected.

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We could see the Eurodam docked way in the distance (it was overnighting in Copenhagen before the Viking Passage cruise). I always find it exciting when you see your ship for the first time.

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Next up was the Amalienborg Palace (4 similar palaces in a square). We saw a changing of the guard at 14:00.

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We then made our way to Tivoli Gardens, shopping along the way. By the time we reached the Tivoli Gardens, it was 18:00 and we were tired, so we decided not to go in and instead we went back to the hotel for an early night.

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Day 4: Copenhagen, Denmark (embarking the Eurodam) (departure at 16:00)

Weather: Sunny. Max temperature 16C / 60F

 

Hooray, September 7th is finally here! We booked this cruise a year in advance and today, we are commencing our Viking Passage cruise on the Eurodam. After a late breakfast, we arrived at the Oceankaj cruise terminal by taxi at 12:30. The porters took our luggage and we walked straight up to the check in desks. We were on-board at about 12:50. We didn't go to the embarkation buffet because we were full from our breakfast buffet at the hotel. We checked out our room, a large interior room on Deck 1. It was perfectly adequate for the three of us and we really liked it. We were happy campers. We didn't go for a balcony because we felt that we wouldn't use it because of the cold weather which was expected.

 

A first for us on this cruise was that our stateroom attendants did not get to know us very well at all. We did not have a problem with this as they were very friendly when we encountered them in the corridor. But on other cruises, our stateroom attendants would always introduce themselves to us on the first day and they would know our names by the second day of the cruise. This didn't bother us. We don't know if maybe this is only on HAL.

 

Being our first HAL cruise, we toured the ship right away and liked it very much. Muster drill was at 15:15, followed by sailaway at 16:00.

 

Bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo:

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Goodbye Copenhagen! Next stop: Bergen, Norway:

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The weather was beautiful - sunshine - so we sat out on the promenade deck for about an hour and a half, admiring the Danish coastline. It was so quiet that we almost had the Promenade deck to ourselves!

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Passing by the Kronborg Castle:

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Passing by Helsingborg, Sweden:

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Then, it was time to get ready for dinner. We went to the Rembrandt Dining Room on Deck 2 at around 20:15. There was no line or wait. In fact, throughout the whole cruise, there was never a line when we went to the main dining room (we always entered sometime between 20:00 and 20:45).

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Day 5: Cruising at sea (SEA DAY 1)

Weather: Sunny and clear. Max temperature 17C / 63F

 

Our first of 6 sea days. We were getting to know our way around the ship today. The sea was very smooth today. Unfortunately, according to the captain, the forecast for Lerwick and Torshavn isn't looking too good but he says we'll have to wait and see.

 

We had Indonesian Tea at 15:00 and it was very nice. Tonight was the first formal night. We don't bring any formal wear anymore on cruises because it is an extra suitcase of luggage for the three of us, so we don't dress up. Therefore, we had dinner in the Lido and it was very good.

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Day 6: Bergen, Norway (Docked 08:00-17:00)

Weather: Clear and sunny all day. Max temperature 19C / 66F

Free wifi: Various cafés in town

 

This was our third time in Bergen. The first, in 2009, on the Celebrity Century, it was cool and rainy. The second, in 2013, on the Celebrity Infinity, it poured rain the whole day. This time on the Eurodam, we had beautiful sunny weather - what a treat! There were no clouds the whole day! And it was warm too, up to 19C in the sunshine.

 

We got off the ship at 10:00AM and walked to Bryggen, the UNESCO World Heritage site with its old colourful shop fronts.

 

Me outside the Eurodam:

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Bryggen:

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Then it was up to Mt Fløyen on the funicular. The views from the top of the mountain were beautiful:

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Day 6 continued

We then shopped our way around the city, had another walk around and returned to the ship at 15:30.

 

One of Bergen's main streets:

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Eurodam at the pier:

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The sailaway from Bergen was beautiful, passing by nice islands and little villages.

 

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The ship passes under a bridge, with only 15 feet clearance!

 

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It was nice and sunny and not many people out on the open decks. Soon, we were back out to open sea.

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What a great start of your review. I have always wanted to take this cruise so am very much enjoying your comments and your beautiful pictures. :D

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We did this same cruise last year. Your pictures are stunning and bring back great memories - I'll second your opinion that this is one of HAL's best itineraries. So sad to hear that the Lerwick and Torshavn will be missed - we loved Torshavn and hope to get to Lerwick at some point (we couldn't get in due to a hurricane).

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We did this same cruise last year. Your pictures are stunning and bring back great memories - I'll second your opinion that this is one of HAL's best itineraries. So sad to hear that the Lerwick and Torshavn will be missed - we loved Torshavn and hope to get to Lerwick at some point (we couldn't get in due to a hurricane).

 

Nice to hear you enjoyed last year's Viking Passage cruise. It sure is an amazing itinerary.

I believe they are dropping Lerwick and Torshavn next year because they are so hard to get into due to poor weather most of the time :( . We were just so lucky this year - we made it to both of them without any problems! :D

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What a great start of your review. I have always wanted to take this cruise so am very much enjoying your comments and your beautiful pictures. :D

 

Thanks!

Lots more to come.

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What a wonderful review.

 

Great pictures.

 

did you say more to come? ;)

 

Even better :)

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Keep them coming!

We were on this same cruise--enjoying the memories as I scroll through your pictures.

Our personal highlight was the transit through Prince Christian Sound.

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We had wanted to do this cruise this year, too. Eurodam is our favourite, and we are 3, too, but DD couldn't do it, so we decided to put it off for another year. Now we will have to wait until they decide to bring back the missing ports! Or do Voyage of the Vikings.:)

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Day 7: Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland (Anchored 08:00-19:00)

Weather: Partly cloudy. Max Temperature 14C / 57F

Free wifi: Tourist Information Centre at the Town Square

 

At 02:00AM, the clocks went back one hour. I woke up around 07:30AM and looked at the bridge cam and saw that we were sailing into the Shetland Islands. We went for breakfast soon after where it wasn’t too busy.

The tendering process soon began and a ticketing operation was in process.

 

View of Lerwick from the ship:

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Should we bring an umbrella???!!! :

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We made our way to the Queen’s Lounge to pick up our tickets at about 08:50, waited about 20 minutes for our number to be called and we were on our way on the tender to shore. We arrived at 09:30 and proceeded directly to the Star Rent a Car office, which was located about a 5 minute walk away. We signed some paperwork, our car was waiting for us and we drove off right away.

 

Our rented car for the day : Volkswagen Polo

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Today, we toured both sides of Shetlands Islands’ main island - the North and the South. It is interesting to note that HAL’s excursions don’t offer a full day tour combining the North and the South. Their excursions only do either the North or the South. Whereas, by hiring a car for the day (GBP£45 or approx. US$70), we were able to tour both sides!

 

We first proceeded north, first stopping at Mavis Grind, a scenic stop which is the narrowest point in the Shetland Islands (only 32 yards at its narrowest point).

 

Mavis Grind:

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Nice scenery en-route to the North:

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Day 7 continued ...

 

Then, it was straight up to Eshaness, with its beautiful cliffs and rock formations in the sea. It was very windy here and we really had to be careful not to go too near the edge! This was the most northerly part we drove to.

 

Eshaness cliffs:

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On the way back, we saw many sheep crossing the road in front of us, as well as Shetland Ponies.

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We stopped beside some Shetland Ponies.

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One of them was very cheeky, and even stuck his head into our car!!!

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Day 7 continued ...

 

Making our way down south, we drove through Hillswick village and then stopped in the town of Scalloway and the Scalloway Castle. It is an old ruin and free to enter. Scalloway is a pretty town too.

 

Hillswick village:

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Scalloway Castle:

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We then drove further south, reaching our most southerly point at the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, where we stopped to take some photos.

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Another Shetland Pony:

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Very near this Lighthouse was the Jarlshof Viking Settlement. While we stopped outside it to take some photos, we didn’t go in to it. It looked very similar to the L’Anse-aux-Meadows Viking settlement site in Northern Newfoundland, where we visited last year.

 

Jarlshof Viking Settlement:

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Day 7 (Lerwick) continued ...

 

We then headed back to Lerwick, where we dropped off the car at about 16:30. In total today, we covered 130 miles.

 

Lerwick is also a small pretty town. It has a main pedestrianised shopping street with a town square. But apart from that, there is not a whole lot to do there. If you are in Lerwick for a day, it is necessary to get out of the town and experience the beauty of the Shetland Islands’ countryside. We really thought that the landscape of the Shetland Islands was very similar to the Irish landscape.

 

Lerwick's main shopping street:

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The town square:

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Eurodam anchored in the harbour:

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After about an hour strolling around, it was 17:30 and we got the tender back to the ship. There were very few passengers left to get back as most were already back on-board.

 

At about 17:50, the captain made his announcement for the navigational information for our route to Torshavn. Everybody was back on-board and we were going to be leaving one hour ahead of time, at 18:00. And, he also said that because there were high winds expected for Torshavn tomorrow morning, we would cruise faster to Torshavn and arrive earlier than scheduled. We would arrive in Torshavn at 08:00, instead of 10:00, two hours ahead of schedule. This was great news because our planned schedule for the Faroe Islands was fairly tight anyway (we were hiring a car again), so the extra two hours would give us more extra time.

 

Sailaway from Lerwick was very quiet on the outside decks. It got sunny. We passed out a lighthouse and we were soon out to open sea.

 

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Day 8: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (Docked 08:00-17:00)

Weather: Cloudy and foggy in Torshavn, but partly cloudy outside of Torshavn, windy everywhere! Max temperature 11C / 52F

Free wifi: Tourist Information Centre at the Shuttle Drop off point

 

 

We arrived in Torshavn two hours ahead of schedule, at 08:00, before it got too windy to dock. This was great because it gave us more time to explore. After a good breakfast, we were off at 09:20AM. Because Tórshavn is an industrial port, you have to get a free shuttle from the ship to the port entrance.

 

Early arrival into Torshavn:

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There isn't an awful lot to see in Torshavn itself. We first walked around Tinganes, the old town area which is also where the government buildings are located. It is really nice with good photo opportunities and there are many houses with turf grass roofs.

 

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We then walked around the harbour and got back to the port entrance by 10:30.

 

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Day 8: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands continued ...

 

We had pre-booked a rental car with Avis and it was to be delivered to the port. Through previous email communications with Avis, they said that the car would be parked beside the custom office and that it would be unlocked with the keys in the glovebox. So we made our way to the custom office and looked around for cars. We saw one car with an Avis sticker. We opened it, it was unlocked and the keys were in the glovebox, so we assumed that it must be our car and we drove off!

 

Our rented car for the day : Mazda Premacy

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Our first stop was at Kollafjørður, a little village with a turf roof church. This village is located about 20 minutes North of Torshavn.

 

Kollafjørður Church:

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We then proceeded north, stopping to take photos of the beautiful fjords and mountains.

 

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We arrived at a village called Eiði, a very picturesque village with colourful buildings. But all I can say is that it was the windiest place I have ever been to. It was so strong; the wind would literally blow you away. Especially when opening the door of the car, you would have to be so careful so that the door would not blow off. The three of us couldn't stand up straight!

 

Eiði:

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Then, we drove on the mountain road and passed out a beautiful mountain sea cliff with sea stacks. It was fabulous and the sun started to shine.

 

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Day 8: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands continued ...

 

Our next stop was Gjógv, a gorgeous village located at the end of the road at the harbour. This was the nicest village we visited and I highly recommend visiting there. There was also a ship's tour there, but once they left, we had the place to ourselves!

 

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Day 8: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands continued ...

 

Another village near Gjógv we visited was Funningur. It is small with a turf roof church which is very similar to the Kollafjørður church.

 

Funningur Church:

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On the way back to Torshavn, we stopped off at a village called Saksun, which is located at the end of a road. There is a waterfall and a church there which makes for very nice photos.

 

Saksun:

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Day 8: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands continued ...

 

We drove back to Torshavn, fuelling up the car on the way, and arrived back at the port at 16:05. We parked the car in the same place, left the car unlocked with the keys in the glove box. I quickly used the free wifi to check up some emails and we then got back on-board the ship before the 16:30 all aboard.

 

We had a quick snack at the Lido, headed outside for sailaway, where it was foggy and very windy at first. The sailaway was very scenic and it really reminded me of the coastline on the west coast of Ireland.

 

Goodbye Torshavn! Next stop: Ísafjörður :

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After a while when we were back out in open sea, it got quite rocky with the ship swaying from side to side and up and down. Dinner at the Rembrandt Dining Room was quiet when we entered at around 20:30.

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Day 9: Cruising at sea (SEA DAY 2)

Weather: Raining most of the day, clear by evening. Max temperature 8C / 46F

 

At 02:00AM, the clocks went back one hour. Not much to report of today, just a relaxing day at sea. It was raining outside all day since morning. This evening’s dress suggestion was the second gala night, but we didn’t bring any dressy clothes so we ate in the Lido instead.

 

The sky had cleared by evening and there was a beautiful sunset.

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The sky was looking good for the Northern Lights. Just after sunset, we went up on the top deck and could see a glow of light in the distance.

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Unfortunately fog quickly started to cover the ship. And, it remained foggy for the rest of the night, so unfortunately, no good Northern Lights sightings tonight!

 

At this stage, we thought we had seen the Northern Lights and we were convincing ourselves that we had! But little did we know that in a few night's time, it would be fantastic!

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I am enjoying reading your review with the stunning photos. Your last post has me anticipating the continuation of your review. My husband has always wanted to go on this trip.

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Thank you for such a wonderful review. Looking forward to more.

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Thanks for your wonderful review. Looking forward to the next installment. You are an excellent photographer with a keen eye. Glad you had such a great trip.

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Day 10: Ísafjörður, Iceland (Anchored 08:00-16:00)

Weather: Overcast, low clouds. Max temperature 6C / 43F

Free wifi: Tourist information kiosk near the tender dock

 

Woke up at 07:15AM and up to the Lido for breakfast at 07:30. It was a little busy but easy to get a table. This was a tender port. We picked up our tender tickets at the Queen’s Lounge and waited about 20 minutes to be called to the tender. The ship was anchored out a good bit from the tender dock. We were off the tender at exactly 09:00. A Hertz staff member was waiting for us with our pre-booked rental car, and we were on the road by 09:10.

 

 

Ísafjörður Harbour:

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Our rented car for the day : Toyota Yaris

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Our first stop was to see the Thonguskogur Waterfall, just outside Ísafjörður, which was very pretty. We were the only people there. We soon saw a tour bus coming, so we took all our photos, and left before they arrived! It's always good to be ahead of the tour buses!

 

Thonguskogur Waterfall:

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Next stop was Suðureyri, a village at the end of a fjord. It was small, but nice to see.

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P1030305_zps7ldtjujm.jpg

 

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Day 10: Ísafjörður continued ...

 

Next up was a village called Flateyri. It has a nice church, a lovely view of the mountains, a nice harbour, a museum and a shop.

 

Flateyri:

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Flateyri Church:

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Inside the church:

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Harbour and mountains:

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More turf grass roofs!

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Driving back along a fjord:

P1030312_zpspmw0f8hc.jpg

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Day 10: Ísafjörður continued ...

 

Then, we headed back towards Ísafjörður and drove along the Isafjord to get a view of the Eurodam anchored in the fjord.

 

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One of Eurodam's tenders:

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The Eurodam looks tiny in this big fjord!

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We then drove to Bolungarvik village, north of Ísafjörður, which has a nice church on a hill.

P1030528_zpsnx7eiacc.jpg

 

P1030521_zpsnbfuam4b.jpg

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Day 10: Ísafjörður continued ...

 

Then, it was back to Ísafjörður where we had a walk around the town. Some shops (mainly tourist shops) were open, but others were closed because it was Sunday.

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We returned the car to the port and were back on the ship at 14:30.

 

Before sailaway at 16:00, we had burgers and fries at Dive In and they were delicious.

 

Sailaway was scenic, but very cold outside and because it was so windy, there was a wind chill.

 

Goodbye Ísafjörður! Next stop: Reykjavik

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Tonight, for dinner, we decided to dine early at the Lido buffet and get an early night because we would be getting up early the next morning for our day in Reykjavik.

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