Saturday 1 August Tromso, Embark Cruise

We woke this morning to an overcast and misty day. After breakfast, we walked down to the dock just in front of the hotel to have a look at the MS Island Sky, which arrived this morning. There was much activity, loading supplies so we didn’t get the opportunity for any good photos yet. The ship is here, we are here, our luggage is here… all is good!
We walked down to the centre of the city to catch a bus to the Botanical Gardens but had just missed a bus and the next one was half an hour away, so we caught a taxi. The taxi dropped us off at the top of the gardens near the University and had a leisurely stroll down the hill through the various sections set on out on the slope leading down to the waterfront. The Gardens are the world’s northernmost botanic garden, with rock landscapes and 25 themed collections of plants. It is an unusual garden because it spends two months in the midnight sun, 7 months under snow and is made up of plants that come from even colder places than Tromso. We saw a large variety of plants that we hadn’t seen before including the blue poppy and several other rare arctic flowers. We needed to remind ourselves that we are actually within the Arctic Circle. Sandy was delighted to find Edelweiss flowers growing in amongst the rocks.
We walked down to the bus stop on the main road to discover that we had just missed a bus and the next one would be in 40 minutes. We were standing looking at our map to decide if it was too far to walk (yes it was) or should we walk across to the port and see if we could get a taxi or just wait for the bus, when middle-aged lady pulled up in her car and would down the window to ask us if we were lost and could she help and we told her that we were waiting for the bus into the city centre and she told us that we had just missed one and that we had a long wait. She said that she was going into the city centre to visit her mother and father and she said “I would be happy for you to sit with me in my car and I will take you to the city centre”. We graciously accepted and had a lovely chat to her on the way – her parents are 92 and she was taking them some food. She dropped us off in the city centre but ensured that we knew where we where so that we could get to our hotel – what a lovely lady!
So, all in all, we had a lovely morning.
We checked out of the hotel at 12.00, left our suitcases with concierge and walked around to the cafe we had lunch in yesterday for a repeat of yesterday’s meal. We walked back to the hotel and sat in the lounge waiting to be taken to the ship.
At 2.30, we met with the APT representative who took us to board the MS Island Sky. We were taken into the lounge for welcome drinks and were served a delicious afternoon tea.
Our home for the next 26 days – MS Island Sky, a small ship, has a maximum passenger capacity of 114, is 90.6 metres in length, 15.3 metres wide, 4,200 tons, with a maximum cruising speed of 12 knots and was refurbished in 2013. There are 75 crew, who are mainly Filipino and Eastern European and our Scandinavian captain, Henrik Karlsson. Our Cabin/Suite, number 509, is on the Erikson Deck on the port side, where we will have views of the Norwegian coastline from our balcony.
We are looking forward to the first part of our APT Small Ship Cruise from Tromso to Oslo, which is called “Fjords and Fairytales”. We will be sailing through Norway’s fjords and we will be able to experience more of the Scandinavian culture up close when we venture ashore into the ancient fishing villages and quaint historic villages along the way.
Our cabin is very comfortable, with a walk in wardrobe and more than enough drawers and storage areas for all our bits and pieces. We have a king size bed and two lounge chairs and a balcony.
After settling into our room and unpacking, we had the mandatory life jacket drill and then went back to the lounge for a Welcome Aboard briefing.
We had a delicious dinner and met some of our fellow passengers – lots of laughs – an enjoyable evening. The ship set sail at 10.00pm but unfortunately we were experiencing misty rain so we only stayed out on the deck for a short time before returning to our cabin.
We are looking forward to a comfortable first night at sea.


One Response to “Saturday 1 August Tromso, Embark Cruise”

  1. Gail Rounsefell says:

    Bon Voyage and happy sailing 🚢😀🍷

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