Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Akureyri, Iceland

Welcome to Akureyri!

This morning’s approach as seen on the Akureyri webcam

Before I talk about today, I have to talk about last night.  I was already in bed with my sleep mask on (thanks to the land of the midnight sun) when I felt the ship make some turns and list a couple of times. Not thinking too much of it, I moved more into the middle of the bed. My mask dislodged and I saw something white go by outside. And more white and more white. I can’t see a thing without my glasses but once I got them on I said three words out loud.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Remember how I mentioned yesterday we’d be going above the Arctic Circle? Well not only did we cross it but we ran into Arctic ice while we were there! 

sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Yes, we sailed through this
I've sailed through ice from glaciers in Alaska a couple dozen times. But this ice was something special. Bigger. More imposing. And there was a lot of it. Note: All the pictures were taken after midnight so you can see how light it was at that time.
sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise shipsailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Even after the ship quietly and gently sailed through it all, I could still see what looked to be even heavier ice off the port side for quite some time. 
sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Wonder if an ice breaker would be needed to head north into this?

It made for a very exciting night. Just think, if I didn't need to readjust my sleep mask I would have missed it completely. The Captain said it was unexpected and unusual for this time of year so it was a shock to us all.
sailing through Arctic ice on a cruise ship
Now back to Akureyri. After yesterday's wet and frigid day we arrived today to clear skies.
Akureyri, Iceland
My plan for the day was the Hop On Hop Off bus. From what I had researched the pick up would be very close to the pier. Boy, it certainly was. Right out of the gate.
hop on hop off bus at cruise terminal in Akureyri, Iceland
Their HOHO is white, not red
The bus couldn't get any closer to the ship if it tried
A few notes about the bus:
*It didn’t do a typical narration with headphones but had some monitors with audio and video instead.
*There were only about half a dozen of us riding. Great for me who is still trying to stay away from crowds! I went earlier in the morning so I don’t know if it got busier later.
*There was a place for Scooter with a seat for me nearby.
*It cost 5000 Icelandic Krona which is about 35 US dollars. I paid with my card but don’t know if he would take ISK cash or not.
*The full loop took 45 minutes.

I was going to ride the bus the entire loop to get my bearings and decide where I wanted to hop off on a second trip around.
There were some places I had in mind. The botanical garden at stop #7 was a possibility, but being there were several ship tour busses when we passed by I decided to avoid those crowds. The pool at #9 was an option but not one I wanted to take up today.
Akureyri, Iceland swimming pool
Sightseeing through old town, checking out museums, or taking photos of the churches were options. Some of the town is hilly and since Scooter is not a fan of hills, I didn't feel up to the extra work of dragging him around. So I stayed put and took all my photos from inside the bus.
heart stoplight in Akureyri, Iceland
All of their red stoplights are hearts
Hockey rink for you, Ed.
Since it was such a nice day I headed back to the ship earlier than planned and sat outside with my sweatshirt on and soaked up some rays by the pool, trying oh-so-hard to heal myself.
Akureyri, Iceland  airport runway seen from cruise ship
I waited to see how many airplanes I could get flying straight over the ship but found they used the other end of the runway for landing and take off. Guess we're not on Maho Beach in St. Maarten? (Although, later a large plane flew over and I missed it.)
The clouds moved in later in the day, forming some interesting patterns.
We'll be back here twice more this summer and since I now have my bearings I'll be able to hit the ground running next time. If I’m feeling brave I might even try out the free city bus.

Tomorrow we're in our last Icelandic port of this cruise, Seydisfjordur. It's another tender port and this time I'm really, really, really wishing for dry weather. Between here and there we again go above and below the Arctic Circle where the Captain is certainly hoping for no ice tonight. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Isafjordur, Iceland

Hello from Isafjordur! 

Isafjordur, Iceland

Well, more like from hello from a ship with a view of the town of Isafjordur as I never made it ashore today. It wasn’t because of the tender situation, either. Waters appeared smooth which is always a plus.

Princess ship cruise ship water shuttle
It was because of this:
Bridge cam view most of the day
It’s not because I’m afraid of getting my hair wet, or fearful of braving such cold temperatures as these

Take note of the sunrise and sunset times.
It’s never dark in these lands!
But Scooter? That’s a different story. As I found out during our last cruise, wet surfaces and scooter tires are a bad combination. With only one of the three wheels with a drive belt on it, I have to be super careful when driving on slippery surfaces. Even a little baby turn or a tiny little bump can cause me to lose traction and make the scooter go catawampus. 

I really wanted to go ashore, so first I went on two different outdoor decks and onto multiple surfaces to try out some white-knuckle icy-road no-four-wheel drive maneuvering. Uh, no go. Making lemonade out of lemons (and unintentionally trying out two-handed, two-footed braking skills), I did snag some pictures.
Still some snow out there
These looked to be some type of fishing nets or pots
A closer look at them. Beautiful landscape, huh?
Movies Under the Stars had scenes of Glacier Bay showing.
Today is certainly colder than Alaska is right now.
Tomorrow we’re in yet another port in Iceland, Akureyri. Between here and there we’ll cross above, and then back below, the Arctic Circle. Way cool. Literally!

Monday, June 5, 2023

Reykjavik, Iceland

Welcome to Reykjavik!

Ed and I spent Thanksgiving week here some years back and squeezed in about as much as we possibly could have, so today I didn't feel the pressure to see and do everything in just one port visit. (Plus I'll be back two more times this summer.) 

Since our ship was docked in the industrial area, I took the free shuttle to the Harpa Concert Hall. It's quite a spectacular looking building.

Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, IcelandHarpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, Iceland

From the concert hall, Scooter and I rolled around the surrounding areas. So much about today's visit felt familiar. I saw some of the same sights as before.
Was reminded of the beautiful artwork
artwork on wall in Reykjavik, IcelandSun Voyager Sculpture in Reykjavik, Iceland
and the different styles of graffiti. 
graffiti in Reykjavik, Iceland
I ate at some of the same places, too. Just like on our previous visit, I had a famous Icelandic hot dog with everything. The Pylsur lamb dog had mustard, ketchup, remoulade, raw onions, and crispy fried onions.
Pyslur hot dog stall in Reykjavik, Iceland
Pylsur hot dog in Reykjavik, Iceland
Too bad I still can’t taste or smell anything
A little bakery treat for later
I shopped in some of the same stores as before, snagging some new bling for Scooter.
It took a few relaxing hours to wander my way back around. While I had a map in my pocket I never brought it out once. 
Grab some rocks and make your own sculptures at the bus loading zone

It was a good way to spend the first day out of the cabin. I'm still not feeling well and am sleeping a lot, and everything continues to taste like toilet water, but the Icelandic air was refreshing. Tomorrow we're in Isafjordur. It's a tender port so I hope to get to go ashore.

Time zone changes so far: 7

Want to know more about Reykjavik and Iceland? Check out some info and photos from my previous time here:
Reykjavik sights
Swimming in the Blue Lagoon

Friday, June 2, 2023

Isolation No More

After six days in isolation I've received a golden ticket. A self-test with a negative result, followed by a test done by the medical center to confirm the result.

Now I'm a one stripe zebra instead of two!
So now what? I can go out and about wherever I'd like. I'll need to wear a mask for a while not because I'm contagious, but because my immune system is depleted and they don't want me catching the flu. I guess while I've been isolated the flu has popped up on the ship? In June? Since I'm still feeling not so great I'm planning on just staying put here in the cabin. Iceland is coming up in a few days with Norway following quickly behind so I (along with my medical team) think it best I keep laying low for a while and rest up.

I'll need to be full strength to tackle June
Since I'm now in self isolation instead of mandatory isolation, I'll lose my daily calls from the medical center and the calls from dining to place my meal orders. It was nice having those calls when I was at my sickest, but I can take care of my own room service needs now. Something I did wish I had from day one is the letter I received the day before I was released. I had bugged guest services every single day for this information sheet and was told every single day it was on its way. Sure would have been nice to know some of these things during isolation. Someone or a whole bunch of someones messed up in providing the communication in a timely manner. Anyway, you can’t always believe what you read because some of the information wound up not being accurate.
Being I'm still staying away from people and spending my days resting in the cabin and getting my fresh air from the balcony, I missed the Most Traveled Guest Luncheon today. It's hard to make the cut on these transatlantic sailings because there are so many Elites onboard, so being invited to this week's but not being able to go was a big disappointment. But sweet Patrizia, the Loyalty and Events Manager (formally the Captain's Circle Host and soon to be another title, I believe) gave me a call and offered to send the meal up to the cabin. Don't have to ask me twice. Without the menu - and still with no taste and smell - I'm not sure exactly what I was eating. But I ate it anyway!
Salmon appetizer

Even more tender than last week's beef

I almost tasted a hint of lemon?

The foghorn has been getting its workout these last couple sea days. Guess it's one way to mask my hacking cough on the balcony. 

Internet is becoming a little more unstable so I'll sign off for now. See you in Reykjavik.

Time zone changes so far: 5. We also have another coming tonight and another one the next night.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Before kiddo went off to college we spent the summer tent camping around the US trying to visit the last of the 50 states we had previously missed. Our rule was we could only count the state if we ate, slept, or went to the bathroom there. We got them all in (whew) and have applied the same rule when visiting provinces and countries. Being Nova Scotia is a new one for me and I’m still sick in isolation I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to count it today.

Did I eat there? I had lunch on my balcony with Halifax sort of in view. We docked up against a building but I could still see the city.

Did I sleep there? I bundled up with my sweatshirt and two deck blankets and napped on the balcony.

While the bathroom shouldn’t qualify as it happened inside (thank goodness, right?), I had something else count. My friends Vickie and Bernie live here. If you don't know them, they’re avid cruisers and blogged about it for years at Vickie then went on to become a Destination Expert for Princess Cruises, sharing her knowledge with guests in places like South America, the Caribbean, and Canada and New England. Today Vickie and Bernie spent time with two of their other friends from this ship, and those good folks dropped off gifts from them. Now I can feel like I really did visit Nova Scotia. So kind of them to brighten my visit/non-visit day. Thanks you guys! 

Hmm...which one shall become Scooter's port-specific bling?
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Goodbye, Nova Scotia. Maybe next time I'll get to step foot ashore!

We have five straight sea days coming up as we make our way to Iceland. As I’m uncertain what our Internet situation will be between here and there, I might not see you until June 5 in Reykjavik. 

Stay safe and healthy wherever you are. You know I'll be working on it.

Apologies for any errors in spelling or grammar...mind is still muddy.
Time zone changes so far: 4 at the moment but we have several coming up in the next few days.