We are winding up day two already on board Nautica (is it Saturday already?). Funny how that time just races by.
We sailed out of Tilbury as more than seventy of us met in the Horizons Lounge for the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. I kept track of the Roll Call members over the past year and Steve did an awesome job creating badges for the event. Of course, we had a couple of mistakes (misspelled names or a missing cabin number) and a few more folks showed up who thought they had RSVP’d to the event and frowned as they were handed plain old sticky name tags. Oh, well, can’t please everyone and mistakes will happen with this type of bookkeeping. What’s weird is that sme people think I am arranging tours for everyone (sorry, no).
Friday was a day at sea and it flew by. The North Sea was as placid as a pond. We slept in, had a great burger lunch in the late afternoon at the Waves Grill, then spent the evening in the Martini’s Grill talking to people and playing our first team trivia competition (we won). We canceled a reservation at the specialty restaurant Toscana because we were still full from the burger lunch and just enjoyed snacks and a few drinks. We also won today at the much larger afternoon trivia event, with seven teams of eight participating. We get “O” points for top-tier finishes, good for cheesy hats and t-shirts at the end of the cruise. People take trivia extremely seriously onboard Oceania.
Today we had a fairly short port stop in Oslo. We arrived at 8:00 am and sailed at 2:00 pm. It was a glorious day, with clear skies and the temperature pushing 80 degrees. Although my right foot was hurting (probably plantar’s fasciitis), we walked from the cruise ship dock to the central docks in front of City Hall (an ugly brown building with two towers – pictures will be posted later tonight!!). We caught the public ferry from here to the Bygdøy Peninsula, with many great museums. On our last visit here in 2010, we took a tour to the Viking Ship, Kona-Tiki and Maritime museums. Today, our objective was the Fram museum, home of one of the most famous exploration ships in history.
The A-Frame building that houses the Fram is a short walk from the ferry. This three-masted triple-hulled vessel holds the record for furthest north and furthest south travel by a wooden vessel, supporting the Arctic expeditions of Fritjof Nansen and Otto Sverdrup and the famous Roald Amundsen Antarctic expedition of 1910-1912 (Amundsen reached the South Pole mere weeks ahead of the ill-fated Scott expedition). We found this museum to be fascinating and the travails of these explorers were mind-bogglng. The Fram’s design was also intriguing, being wider and having a shallower draft, allowing it to ride up on fast ice, rather than being crushed. The Fram also had a retractable single propeller. A second, smaller exploration ship, the Gjoa, is also housed at this museum.
Tonight we are now in open waters sailing to the southwest around the bottom of Norway, after coming down through the Oslo Fjord (a low-hill fjord, but still quite scenic). We arrive in our second port, Stavanger, tomorrow morning at 8:30 am and are scheduled to go on a boat tour to the Lysefjord.
Nautica is quite nice and we have enjoyed its intimate size so far. The food is good, too! Tonight, we are venturing into the Grand Dining Room for the first time. Pictures will actually appear on this blog later tonight!