More trivia dominance, a nice dinner, charming (but cloudy) Stavanger, Russian paperwork, scenic Lysefjord, minor service complaints

Well, our trivia team continued its dominance last night with brain teasers and Name That Tune, winning more worthless O points. Sadly, our streak was broken this afternoon by 15 ridiculously hard questions (our team came in fourth).

We had dinner in the Grand Dining Room last night and it was excellent. Steve went “healthy” and had the Canyon Ranch Spa selections, which included scallops, a consommé soup and Ahi Tuna. I opted for the Cream of Sweet Potato soup with chorizo and a NY strip steak (cooked to perfection). Looking at the picture of me in Oslo, I think I may have to rejoin Weight Watchers when we get back. I hope the Polar Bears in Svalbard don’t mistake me for a walrus.

We also received temporary visas today for Murmansk, or something that is similar to a visa. Apparently we get to go through some serious bureaucratic “Mickey Mouse” (no offense to our favorite large rodent) when we visit this Arctic Russian city on July 12.

This morning we got up just as we docked in Stavanger, in southwest Norway. We overlooked the old town behind the dock area, a maze of (mostly) white cottages with red or black tile roofs, appearing to have been haphazardly dropped by some giant toddler into random locations. Many of the cottages had flower boxes and brightly painted doors. After breakfast, we walked a short distance around the tiny and picturesque harbor to the Rødne Boat pier. It turned out that many folks from our cruise opted to book the three-hour public Lysefjord Tour rather than take a much more expensive ship tour. We boarded and the modern boat left right on time and cruised through the larger harbor area, where one could note that Stavanger is definitely an oil town (the Petroleum Museum looks like a must-see if we ever come here again). The sightseeing tour continued east through the larger Høsfjord, then entered the narrow inlet into the Lysefjord. Although it was cloudy and chilly, the looming, high cliffs were quite impressive. Through the clouds, we could see the bottom of Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), a dramatic two-thousand foot cliff jutting out over the fjord. Adventurous types will hike two hours each way to stand on top of Pulpit Rock or peer over the precipitous edges. We also saw some goats and pulled close to a lovely small waterfall. We returned to the harbor right on time, boarded Nautica and sailed at 2:00 pm. We’re cruising north now, towards Geirangerfjord, with a much more prominent slow swell than previous days.

Now, a minor complaint section – we waited a very, very long time for our Cuban sandwich in Waves Grill today (after many other people coming in after us were served before we finally got our split sandwich). Also, tonight in the Horizons Bar we ordered a glass of a nice Petite Syrah that we had enjoyed previously and instead were served the house Red (we have the drink package, costing us $55 a day for any wine, beer or cocktail on the full bar menu, so I hope they are not trying to pull a fast one). Also, although she is doing a great job, we still have not met our room attendant. We also did not receive any shipboard credits, so we sent an email off to our travel agent. We thought we would at least get pre-paid gratuities, but maybe that wasn’t the case.

A final note: There are 650 passengers on this cruise and 540 or so are repeat customers. Steve and I are pikers with this being only our fourth Oceania cruise.

More tomorrow after our day in Geirangerfjord. We hope for clear skies.

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