During the evening we entered the Skagerrak and we'd spend the night cruising down the Kattegat to Copenhagen. I went onto the Boat Deck and could see lights on the coast of Norway (probably the town of Kristiansand) off the port side, and those of Denmark on the starboard side.
|Norwegian coast and light pollution|
|An atrocious photo of the map of our route through the North Sea, the Skaggerak and down the Kattegat.|
|Illuminated deck plan model. One of these was located next to the elevators on each deck|
|Boat deck on the port side. Apologies for quality of photo but I had to resort to ISO 12800 and use a fair bit of noise reduction|
|A cute little waterfall arrangement under the stairs on Deck 4|
|Arrival at Copenhagen|
All to soon the sad moment to leave the ship came. When it came to it, I didn't really want to leave, Vision of the Seas is a lovely ship, one of the last of the nice looking passenger ships before the floating blocks of flats that have come along since she was built in 1998.
As Patsy has 'Platinum' status, we got priority disembarkation and we got the chance to take pictures of the ship at the dockside. We left our bags with a Royal Caribbean shoreside employee and got some pictures of her alongside. Unfortunately, we couldn't get bow shots as she'd dock stern in, but made do with stern shots instead. It has to be said that, as far as modern ships go, Vision also has a nice arse...Patsy says the ship's stern reminds her of a duck's backside and so nicknames her 'Ducky', but I can't see it myself.
|Alongside at Copenhagen|
We had gone as far as Tivoli Gardens, but we didn't go in because they wanted 75 DKK for the privelige so, especially as it began to rain, we headed back and watched Fawlty Towers, Allo Allo (both with Danish subtitles) and some assorted rubbish on the tv for the rest of the day. It was one of the most boring afternoons and evenings of my life!
|Not at 75 DKK|
Patsy and Kevin, who'd come round to meet her, headed back to Dibden on their bus, while I had a short wait for the free bus to Town Quay.
The 1415 Red Jet was cancelled, due to some saga or other with technical difficulties (the fast ferries of RF and Wightlink always seem to have some issues) so I had a bit of a wait for the next one at 1445, so I took the opportunity to walk along Town Quay, get the SLR out and take some pics of Independence of the Seas alongside Berth 101. Typically a Red Funnel car ferry got in the way, as Red Funnel ships always do, so I had to wait until it was out of the frame.
|Independence of the Seas at Southampton. Click for larger photo|
And that was that. The trip went quickly, as all good trips always do. Would I go on a cruise again? Yes, probably, but I am not in a hurry to do so. I like ships (of course), I like the sea, I like being on the sea and it's something different. I wouldn't want to do it all the time though, and I don't think I'd want to go for more than a week or even 10 days, mostly because it gets expensive and because there are people around all the time (I like to get away from people, something almost impossible to do aboard a ship). I have to admit that I prefer backpacking trips to the USA, Australia, Asia and South America.
The reason for the expense is that you don't pay for things on board at the time of purchase, you have a card that they swipe every time you get a drink in a bar, or an item in the shop and, if you're not careful, it mounts up. On one visit to the shop, I managed to rack up a bill for $94 and when I added up all my costs for drinks, etc, later the bill came to far more than I intended to spend. If you could pay by cash or debit card, life would be simpler, rather than getting an unexpectedly massive bill at the end.
A round trip, Southampton back to Southampton, would be better. It saves the hassle of having to fly one way. If I did another cruise one day, I would take one that went from Southampton and back to Southampton. But, despite minor aggravations such as one or two idiot passengers and the formal night, I enjoyed it.
As for Vision of the Seas herself, she's a poppet of a ship with a lovely happy crew and I hope she comes to Southampton again sometime in the not-too-distant future. She gets 4.5/5 from me, not that I know anything! The missing 0.5 was for the food being slightly hit-and-miss, especially the steak being practically inedible.