A Small Taste of Things To Come

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Europe » Norway
August 24th 2014
Published: June 12th 2017
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With the time change, we were all awake quite early, but with the blackout curtains in place, no one was in a hurry to get up. Our first port of call was to the Kristiansand, on the southern coast of Norway. We weren't docking until after lunch, so we had the morning to explore the ship, shop a little, and Anna and I played our first round of trivia -- which we won! With all the nationalities on the ship, all of the announcements were made in (and most crew members speak) five languages -- English, Italian, German, French, and Spanish. This made some of the organized events, such as a trivia, pretty elaborate affairs, what with all the translations. The line did a good job of adjusting things to meet the language challenge. For example, our first trivia game was written, and involved matching of currencies and countries.

We'd booked an excursion through the cruise line before we departed, but found out the previous evening that it had been cancelled. It was to have been a short railway trip, but we were able to rebook on a city tour and small boat cruise. It was sunny and relatively warm when we disembarked and joined our bus tour. Kristiansand is a small city, centered on fishing and forestry. The traditional white-wooden houses were very nice, but the highlight of the tour was a boat trip around several of the islands outside the city's harbor. Our ship was a converted masted sailboat and the scenery was incredibly reminiscent of Maine. Being in southern Norway, there were no deep fjords, but rather rocky and heavily forested islands and seashore, on which any Mainer would feel at home.

Our tour concluded with a short visit to the very small fishing village of Lillesand about 10 miles up the coast from Kristiansand, where we had our first Norwegian ice cream (excellent) and first up-close look at Scandinavian prices (scary!).

We returned to the ship with only about 30 minutes to spare before departure. We missed our dinner seating, but had already made reservations to eat in the ship's "specialty" (read "pay"😉 restaurant, which is called Shanghai. It was an ala carte restaurant, with dishes from China, Thailand, and Japan. We ordered several small plates and really enjoyed the meal.

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