Baltic Christmas Market Cruise
Michael Pearce | September 23, 2020 | P&O Cruises | Aurora
Norway beckoned us to view her splendours through the door to the open deck, when suddenly the door was flung open to reveal our shivering waiter who stumbled in saying ‘I’m a tropical animal!’. we both laughed at the absurdity of this revelation. The air was cold, but not freezing as we had arrived in what was our first time Baltic Christmas Market cruise’s final destination of Norway in early winter. Our Aurora’s Captain Neil Turnbull had said that we would see all the wonders of northern Scandinavia at first hand as we drifted through the ocean sea from our Southampton shore. Aurora sailed on the 9th of December 2013 firstly to Amsterdam, Denmark, Sweden and finally Norway. We were only slightly perturbed by the advent of the coming ice and snow for which we prepared for the weather to do its worst.However, on arriving in Norway, there was none to be had because at every port we saw temperatures higher than melting snow. Our Norway guide was most apologetic saying that if we had been only a week earlier, we would have seen sow at least six inches deep.
We had chosen the Aurora as it was ideal for a comfortable cruising holiday in order to have a unique opportunity to see my girlfriends ancestral family home in Norway. This was a major benefit in that flying there would have excluded the wide range of entertainment and service of Aurora’s excellent crew. The cuisine served by our attentive waiter, who did not suffer to greatly in the cold wind of Norway, was exquisite and varied as we traveled from one Scandinavian country to the next. We could see that this was one of the benefit factors that made P&O Cruises win the industry’s British Travel Awards year on year. Our first call to the picturesque Amsterdam gave us the feeling that our cruise was going to be more romantic than we had expected, it’s streets turned into quaint alleyways beckoning us to savor it’s delights such as hot chocolate served in it’s small taverns, or a full’English Breakfast’ for only six euros at an aptly named ‘Teddy’s Corner’, to which my small ‘Teddy Bear’ companion that had accompanied me around the world on his own passport, was most impressed. Tivoli gardens in the heart of Copenhagen had tried to anticipate their winter by exhibiting tired old reindeer who must have decided that the warmer weather was not to their liking and so staged a sit down protest. We managed, however, to take some pictures of them as they laid out in front of the Chinese Theatre waiting no doubt to see the next show! Sweden’s Gothenburg next on our itinerary there to see the famous Fisherman statue in the main square all lit up in a splendid ice cold blue light, but the air was still warm!. However, the best was yet to come for while we were at their ice rink, we were very surprised to be see a full hours worth of a ‘Disney’ like ice skating show, which to the both of us was more tan just a highlight of the cruise to date, as it was totally free! Our ship came at last to Norway where we were allowed to see Viking ships close up in their museum and superb statues in ‘Vigland’ park. Our coach the took us to see the famous ‘Winter Olympic Ski Jump’, we never realized how absurdly steep it was, all we could say was ‘Well done! Eddy the Eagle’! even then we saw only a smattering of snow in parts of Oslo. To round up the last day of our cruise we were treated to an evening with ‘Michael Ball’ who had a standing ovation after his performance. We shall book another cruise to Norway, but hopefully next time there will be Snow!
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