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Norwegian cruise, London, Bavaria and the Maldives

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So now seems like as good as any time to give my thoughts about this cruise. In summary, I truly loved it and far far exceeded my expectations.

I'd never been on a cruise before (does the Rotto ferry or Kangaroo Island ferry count?!) and never actually had any desire too. A big boat crowded with people sailing aimlessly did not (and still does not) sound even remotely appealing. So this being smaller and also not too busy must have added to the experience. There wasn't anything overly fancy about the ship, but the food was excellent and accommodation did the job. The staff were super friendly and really knowledgeable.

However, what truly amazed me was the scenery and the beauty of Norway. I loved being somewhere different each day without the hassle of packing up and having to fly/drive. Snow and cold is a novelty and added to the experience for me. I'd imagine in summer it must be just as spectacular and the long days would certainly be nice too.

In terms of the room we had on the ship. In hindsight I'd actually go the same option again. While there were certainly better rooms, none were really that much bigger that the extra cost would have been justified for me. The room was quite and had excellent privacy (as opposed to a room on the deck where people can walk around the outside).

Time went extremely quickly and I'm glad we decided to do the return voyage, rather than just the north or south bound one. If you do have to choose one, I'd suggest the north bound one seemed to have better stops during the day. However, in summer where there is more daylight, the south bound option would be pretty good too.

One thing we might have done slightly differently was booking the hiking package. This includes a set number of the hike excursions and is cheaper than paying for them individually. We didn't do this originally as we really weren't too sure how things worked or what kind of things would interest us.

So to say I love this and really glad we did it would be an understatement.
Thank you. I feel a bit reassured as we are doing the cruise from Bergen, northbound only, in two weeks. It was good to hear some practical details and to check out your clothing etc. If you think of anything to include that we can still pick up while here in Spain, I’d appreciate it. Can you take duty free onto the ship? We have already bought some crampons to slip over our shoes, after wishing we had them in Helsinki and Tallin last year.

Looking forward to our trip even more, as a result of your detailed report. Thanks!
 

Daver6

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Thank you. I feel a bit reassured as we are doing the cruise from Bergen, northbound only, in two weeks. It was good to hear some practical details and to check out your clothing etc. If you think of anything to include that we can still pick up while here in Spain, I’d appreciate it. Can you take duty free onto the ship? We have already bought some crampons to slip over our shoes, after wishing we had them in Helsinki and Tallin last year.

Looking forward to our trip even more, as a result of your detailed report. Thanks!
I assume you mean duty free alcohol? Yes you can. Apparently you're meant to hand it over and you'll get it back when you disembark. Ie, you're not meant to drink your own booze on board. We had a few bottles of wine in our bag to gift later on in our trip. No issues. If you're carrying it openly, they might say something, but who knows. Certainly, no problem if you're not planning on drinking it.

I took my ski gloves which worked well when it was really cold. I also had a thinner inner pair that I used if it wasn't too cold/windy or needed to use my camera.

Finally, you can buy clothing/emergency supplies on board. There's a self service laundry which requires coins. Again, they'll give you those on board as needed. I had no need for cash in Norway.

After you board, go have a chat with the expedition team. I suspect they won't be too busy initially. A good way to get questions answered and plan any trips you might want.

I didn't pay for internet on board. Instead just used my $5/day Vodafone roaming. I had covered 99% of the time.

If you have questions, feel free to either ask here or DM me. Happy to answer.

Edit: In most of the small towns you can also buy any emergency supplies. Ie, clothes/pharmacy etc.

And finally, don't worry about needing snacks. You will not go hungry!
 
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Daver6

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Apologies for the delay in finishing up this TR.

We had six nights here booked on points. We booked the over water villa (OWV) for all six. I made contact with the hotel in advance and organised to upgrade to a deluxe beach villa (DBV) for US$160/night based on what I'd read here. The map below shows the location of both and gives an idea of the layout of the resort. We were in OWV number 312 which was right on the end. These have not been refurbished which was not really an issue for us. The white indoor couch was a bit naff though.

Inkedmap_LI.jpg

Pictures of and around the OWV.

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Last edited:
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
265
I assume you mean duty free alcohol? Yes you can. Apparently you're meant to hand it over and you'll get it back when you disembark. Ie, you're not meant to drink your own booze on board. We had a few bottles of wine in our bag to gift later on in our trip. No issues. If you're carrying it openly, they might say something, but who knows. Certainly, no problem if you're not planning on drinking it.

I took my ski gloves which worked well when it was really cold. I also had a thinner inner pair that I used if it wasn't too cold/windy or needed to use my camera.

Finally, you can buy clothing/emergency supplies on board. There's a self service laundry which requires coins. Again, they'll give you those on board as needed. I had no need for cash in Norway.

After you board, go have a chat with the expedition team. I suspect they won't be too busy initially. A good way to get questions answered and plan any trips you might want.

I didn't pay for internet on board. Instead just used my $5/day Vodafone roaming. I had covered 99% of the time.

If you have questions, feel free to either ask here or DM me. Happy to answer.

Edit: In most of the small towns you can also buy any emergency supplies. Ie, clothes/pharmacy etc.

And finally, don't worry about needing snacks. You will not go hungry!
We are just home after completing the 7 day cruise. Other than the final night which was rough... although we did see the lights.... it was just fantastic.

Your tips were all handy. We somehow had internet built in, brilliant. Laundry was free, loved that. We didn’t bother drinking wine on board with cheapest bottle $100. We had a duty free bottle of gin and had that pre dinner which was all we felt like.... unfortunately most people missed the king crab final dinner, too rough and many were ill! The crampons were terrific as were some liner gloves from decathlon that actually work with phones.
So many thanks. Well worth doing in winter, just stunning countryside and towns. 🥰
 

Daver6

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Now prior to moving to the DBV we actually enquired about staying in the OWV. We really liked it and figured the novelty factor was worth it. Unfortunately it and all others were booked out.

During the first three nights we thought there were very minor things with service which were just not as polished as they should have been, given the cost of this place. All exclude the 10% service charge and 12% tax. I needed to get some thongs (footwear) as mine broke in Norway (slipped on ice getting out the spa). You really are a captive audience. They wanted US$64++ for a basic pair of Havaianas. Cost in Australia is under $30 AUD. Luckily I managed to find some no name brand for half that price, but still very expensive!

Anyway, the small service failings were noted. On arrival, our concierge took us too our room. He noted a small pathway light with the villa number was broken. He also noted the pool light was broken and said he'd get them fixed. This never happened. We also received a bottle of red wine in our room. While a lovely gesture, cheap red in this environment didn't sound appealing. The next morning we saw our concierge and asked if the wine could be swapped for a couple of cold beers. He agreed and said he'd organise it to be done. Never happened. We needed to follow up. When ordering food, a couple of times there appeared to be communication issues. All this things were pretty minor and didn't warrant making a fuss over, but they started to add up.

When we got back to our new DBV after the cruise the room seemed warmer than the previous one, even though the air-con was set to the same temp. We turned it down and went out. A few hours later it didn't seem any cooler. That night we had a dinner in the wine cellar. I called reception and requested someone come sort it out. I asked them to come after 7pm as we would be out. Instead, the guy came a little earlier, fiddler around with something and told me it was fixed. We needed to leave for dinner.

When we came back from dinner, rather late and rather merry, the room was still no colder. We had a very restless night's sleep. We also noticed a few things were missing. The front blinds were meant to be motorised, but they weren't. We noticed the villas around us had sheer organza curtains to give some privacy. This was confirmed looking at the hotel's website. Ours was missing. So it almost seemed work had not been completed on the villa we were in.

I decided to the best way forward was to get the resort manager to come to the villa to show this in person. The manager was odd the island so we got the duty manager. She was quite apologetic. She said we could move to another DBV or get it fixed. We really didn't want to have to pack up again so elected for the repairs. After being out of the villa for a few hours it was still not done. Communication was poor with us having to follow up all the time. Eventually I just said we'd now rather move, what compensation would be offered. We were told we could move to a two bedroom DBV. Essentially this has an extra bedroom where the rear outdoor day bed is. For us, this was pointless and didn't consider any benefit. I said I'd accept this but expect the upgrade price for the three nights to be waived. It was.

The rest of the new villa was identical. I'll include some pictures showing the second room, which would be great for kids. This villa was also a little more private, had the sheer curtains etc.

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Daver6

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We decided to book in for the whale shark tour. Apparently the Maldives is the only place in the world where you can see whale sharks all year round (other than an aquarium). They believe it is a place where the juvenile males come to hang out.

The tour consisted of a short briefing and educational bit on the whales. There were a total of five guests in our group and two guides plus a skipper. Then onto the resorts speed boat. First stop we got to snorkel with some manta rays, which were amazing and massive! Lots of fish too. Then back onto the boat to search for the whale sharks. It took some time to find one after lots of driving around (or whatever the nautical term is). We were warned prior to hopping in the water that all the other boats with tourists in the area would be there shortly. It seems there are no real restrictions on the number of people in the water around the whale, which was pretty depressing. Nevertheless, it was amazing to see such a large creature up close. He was totally unfazed by all the humans.

Aside from the numbers of other tourists, I thought the tour was extremely well run and very professional from the Conrad. Fresh fruit and drinks (non alcoholic) were provided. Something worth doing IMHO. The video was taken by one of the guides on the day. The rest are my pictures.


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Daver6

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The resort also has a "house reef" which is on the north side of the main island. It's easily accessible. Unfortunately most the coral is dead from a bleaching event a few years ago. This is actually the case for the entire Maldives. There are signs that the coral is regenerating though. To make up for this, both the variety and amount of fish was amazing. The best I've even seen in my somewhat limited snorkelling career. I found it fascinating and spent many hours out there. The highlight was a black tipped reef shark.


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Daver6

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One other specific thing I want to comment on was the wine dinner in the wine cellar. As a bit of a wine nerd, this was fantastic. Like everything at the resort, it wasn't cheap. However it did represent (relative) value for money. The wine pourings were generous with top ups and some extra wines too. The somm leading it was fun and met some interesting people that night. IF you like wine, this is worth doing.

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