Monday, 22 August 2011


Images from a short trip to Western Norway on Fred. Olsen Line's beautiful MS Boudicca (originally the Royal Viking Sky of 1973 - back then one of the world's top-rated cruise ships). I've always had a soft spot for Fred. Olsen ships. I sailed quite frequently as a child across the North Sea on their ferries to get to Norway and Denmark and thought that they were marvellous. The cruise ships they operate today are every bit as good - though somewhat larger.

The funnel being repainted while berthed at Rosyth.

 Expanses of scrubbed teak decking, shiny white paint and orange liferings - all very ship-shape.

 Passing under the Forth Rail Bridge.

 A Greek tanker and the Bass Rock.

 Dinner - mmm.

 The view from my cabin the next morning - newly hosed deck with man being unwisely unergetic.

 Crossing the North Sea.

 Luncheon curry.

 Captain's Cocktail Party night.


 The Boudicca's Master, Captain Jan Thommessen - also a first-rate jazz trumpeter, plays 'When the Saints Go Marching In' at the cocktail party.

 Enjoying the view ahead.

 Captain Thommessen's morning announcement was 'Well, we have found Bergen, so Plan A worked'. Alas, it was rather damp there.

 But only 30 miles to the south, there was some sunshine. I went to sail on the new high-tech liquid nitrogen gas-powered (LNG) ferries Fanafjord and Bergensfjord.

Back onboard Boudicca, heading for Sandane and Olden:

We anchored at Olden and were tendered ashore. The pier was occupied by P&O's aesthetically-challenged Ventura.

 In the afternoon, I decided to climb a mountain:

 Ventura leaves Olden:

 Captain Thommessen serenades her from the Boudicca's bridge wing with 'Amazing Grace' (Norwegian satire?).

 Discovery at Olden - like Boudicca, a Knud E. Hansen A/S-designed beauty from the early-1970s.

 Discovery overtakes us in the fjord.

The Observation Lounge, above the bridge.

Marco Polo heads for Geiranger, while we make for Alesund. That town made its wealth through fisheries. after a serious fire just after the turn of the last century, the whole place was rebuilt in the then-fashionable 'Jugendstijl' manner:

The Ali G of Alesund. He went up the street dropping the wrappings of his carry-out. I think that, in his mind, he wished he was in the L.A. ghetto, rather than bourgeois Western Norway:

Jugendstijl details:

Seabourn Sojourn leaves Alesund:

 Speeding to Flam:

 Athena, Seabourn Spirit and Boudicca at Flam:

En route to Gudvangen - a spectacular midday sail through the Sognefjord's mountainous scenery:

 Boudicca at Gudvangen:

Me at work as we head back over the North Sea to Rosyth:

 Boudicca's various restaurants; she really is a very stylish and immaculate vessel.

She also contains an impressive array of interesting mid-twentieth century artworks from the Olsen family's extensive collection. Here are just a few - though one could spend the best part of an afternoon wandering round to look at everything properly:

A most splendid ship.