My first taste of cruising was on board the long-gone, but much loved QE2, more years ago than I care to remember. I had two voyages on board her, to the Norwegian fjords and to the Med. While I could not help being impressed by her grandure and elegance, I found her rather large (despite being small compared to the modern “floating blocks of flats”), and I was always uneasy about the rigid class system on board.
When I resumed cruising a little later, I looked around for smaller, friendlier ships, and tried a week-long cruise back to the fjords on Fred. Olsen’s Black Watch. I found the small ship very much to my liking, being able to reach tiny places at the ends of fjords, and the smaller number of passengers meant places were less crowded or busy, and I stood much better chance of actually meeting the same person twice.
Once hooked, one or two cruises a year followed, gradually increasing in length, and sometimes on the other three ships in Fred. Olsen’s fleet – Boudicca, Balmoral, and Braemar. I saw and photographed many wonderful places around Europe, particularly loving both the coast and fjords of Norway, the highlight was definitely the cruise to Svalbard, which was stunning in clear blue skies and bright sunshine for all 24 hours of the day.
Move forward 9 years, and I am just starting my 17th cruise on Fred. Olsen ships. Due to changing circumstances I am now very fortunate to be able to take more frequent and longer cruises than ever before. To record all these adventures for myself, and to share them – and some of the photographs I take – with others, I thought it was more than time I started this blog. I hope you enjoy sharing my travels