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Europe » Sweden » Stockholm County » Stockholm
August 31st 2018
Published: September 1st 2018
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What a wonderful end to the day! We had a leisurely start to the morning, followed by a leisurely breakfast, for today we join our ship. When we have a voyage ahead of us we don’t go out and occupy ourselves for the morning, we just bide our time in our hotel room, packing, tidying and just waiting till it’s the right time to leave. We had our room until checkout of 12 noon, but we took ourselves down to reception at about 11.30am, checked out and went outside to the waiting taxis.

The first cab on the rank was driven by a young guy in his 20s, born and raised initially in Baghdad. Tom showed him the map clearly showing our cruise terminal and the berth number of our ship and off we set, making the most of the underground motorways. When we arrived at our destination there were big ferries (bigger than our ship), but no cruise ships in sight. The driver was perplexed as he didn’t know where the berth number was and these ferries were all he knew at this location. He asked a man crossing the road and was given some unclear directions. We drove on - I could see that there were some other ships to the west but he was sure we were in the right place. Tom went inside and asked an authoritative figure who confirmed our berth site, so off we set, with our taxi driver ringing his friend and conducting a conversation in Arabic on the whereabouts of more cruise ships. At one stage he turned right twice to a chorus of us saying no, go straight ahead, so he did a u-turn and went the way of our suggestion, stopping at the first in the next collection of shipping berths, with yet another International ferry. We told him that was not our ship, so Tom got out and another dock employee was consulted about where to find our ship. This one walked over to our driver, giving instructions in Swedish, which our driver assured us he could understand, so we continued on to another berth from where we could see our ship but were a little unsure of how to locate the gateway to it, so I said “here are some taxis, follow those taxis” and sure enough, they led us to our ship!

What a relief it was to pull up and have a lovely man in a Silversea uniform walk over to our cab and greet me whilst Tom was paying our fare (on which the meter had been stopped on when our driver was uncertain of his location - he kept saying “this is good for me, I learn new places”]. The Silversea man opened the boot and relieved us of our luggage, giving instructions as to the whole checking in procedure done in stages (welcomed and checked on the list, continue to the marquee for security screening of hand luggage and bodies, a declaration of good health and the issue of our security cards, onto the ship and welcomed with towelettes, and advised at every turn as we got on the lift and went to the purser’s reception area where we were greeted with a glass of champagne whilst they took our photos and relieved us of our passports), and then it was time for lunch (chicken breast with veg for Tom, sushi, smoked salmon and a small cheese/cracker selection for me, all accompanied by Heidsieck Monopole champagne).

After lunch we explored the ship a little until they announced that we were able to proceed to our suites, where we found our precooked shore excursion tickets and our luggage waiting for us and promptly started unpacking. After 4pm we donned our life jackets and proceeded to our muster station, La Dolce Vita - a fine salon with bar facilities and much comfy seating. After many instructions we were taken out to our life boat where were given more information before being allowed to return to our suite. Then it was time to open our welcome chilled bottle of Heidsieck Monopole and watch the dockside activities, the late arrivals (one just 5 minutes before sailing) and the packing up procedures. We were on our balcony watching our departure when it registered that the doorbell sound was for our suite and Aditya, our butler, was entering our suite. Addie, as we are to call him, was very welcoming and was ensuring that all was to our taste, particularly the complimentary minibar.

Before we knew it, it was time to dress for dinner, and we had a reservation at La Dame, one of the two restaurants requiring an extra fee To dine. We both ordered the caviar to start, followed by lobster tail soup for me, and mushroom soup (served on a log!) for Tom. Sorbet was then served to clear the palette before our mains of beef for Tom and duck for me. All washed down with more Heidsieck. This was followed by a chocolate concoction for Tom, and a Grand Mariner soufflé for me, petit fours and a glass of ruby port. During dessert the lovely American sisters at the next table started chatting to us (they would be about Shannon’s age) - delightful girls. We also recognised the sommelier, and she confirmed that she had been on our Panama cruise in 2016.

We made our way back to our suite, found that Addie had left us a bottle of Baileys, as requested, and had to put our clocks forward one hour - it was now just after 11pm!

This afternoon we have met a couple from Melbourne, a couple from Toowoomba, another couple from the Gold Coast, and an Austrian man who is now Australian and lives with his wife at Watson’s Bay! The couple from Toowoomba had caught an Uber to the docks. He had left them at the ferry terminal and they then had to get a taxi to the correct berth!!!

Random observations in Sweden: the elevator button that should be “G” for Ground is “E” for Entreplan.
Swedes don’t drink very much alcohol - most abstain Mon-Thurs, but they do party on the weekends. Alcohol is twice the price compared to Germany and “alcohol tourism” is a thing where Swedes will take their stationwagon on a ferry to Germany and buy up big. When you buy a glass of wine you automatically get a glass of water as well.


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