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North Atlantic Cruise in September 2014
The trip started on the 6th of September 2014 in Hirtshals, where Norröna was waiting for us in the pleasant weather. We had been looking forward to this cruise and were excited to discover what awaited us.
At the check-in counter in Hirtshals, we received the key card to our luxury cabin, which we had booked as an add-on, because we wanted the added comfort on the 36-hour voyage between Denmark and the Faroe Islands. We had a very good first impression of the room, which had a delicious fruit bowl to welcome us. In the spacious cabin there was a nice double bed, a minibar and a sofa set, there was also a flat screen TV.
The departure time was 3 pm from Hirtshals. An hour and an half later, all the Viking cruise passengers were invited to a welcome meeting. After the meeting, we headed to the buffet restaurant to enjoy a nice dinner together.
After a good night's sleep we went to the restaurant and had an enjoyable buffet breakfast, where there was plenty to choose from. After breakfast, at 10 am, we went to the Saga Café to see an informative film about the Faroe Islands. Afterwards we looked around the ship and Lene had a session in the gym before we ate lunch in The Diner. The rest of the day was mostly spent in the cabin, because we wanted to watch the U.S. Open tennis tournament to follow Caroline Wozniacki, as well as catch up on the national football team. We went to bed early that Sunday night, so we would be ready to enjoy the excursion in the Faroe Islands first thing Monday morning.
Monday morning at 8 am, we met our guide Óli in front of the ferry terminal in Tórshavn. The first excursion was to Kirkjubøur, but before leaving Tórshavn Óli took us to the beautiful old part of town and spiced the tour with amusing local stories. The next stop was Kirkjubøur where we saw the Magnus Cathedral, which is the old cathedral that was built around 1300 in Bishop Erlendur’s time. After that, we visited Saint Olav´s Church, which is the oldest church in the Faroe Islands and is still in use today. We were then invited in to the old farmhouse for coffee and cake, and we got to visit the exciting Roykstovan, which is part of the old farmhouse and today serves as a museum. It was a great cultural excursion. When the tour had finished we boarded Norröna again, where the Saga Café was ready to serve us coffee and Icelandic cake, while there was a showing of an informative film about Island.
We arrived in Iceland the next morning at 10 am. The journey took 18 hours and was wonderfully relaxing. The excursion this Tuesday morning was to Mývatn. The cruise host and guide Simon was ready to take us on this adventurous and different experience of Mývatn. The trip to Mývatn was a 10-hour excursion; it may sound like a lot, but we had so many different experiences, and nice weather, which made the day feel perfect and time, just flew by. The many different impressions and the exquisite photo stops, as well as the unique landscapes were fantastic. We experienced endless landscapes with snowy mountaintops in the background, we went swimming in a 40-degree nature bath in Mývatn, and we saw lava formations at Dimmuborgir, geysers and boiling mud at Hverir. A magnificent and distinctive country! After this long and eventful day, it was also nice to return to Norröna, where the lovely evening buffet welcomed us.
On Wednesday morning, it was time for another tour in Iceland. This time we went to Lake Lögurinn where we heard about archaeology, the nature of the area and afforestation. We ate in Skriðuklaustur, which served a nice buffet with many local dishes, coffee and cake and a great view. We were back in Seyðisfjørður a couple of hours before we were lifting anchor. Again, the weather was very pleasant, so several of the passengers took the opportunity to walk around Seyðisfjørður before departure.
Thursday at 3 pm, we arrived in the Faroe Islands for a second time. We immediately went ashore to meet Óli again. This time he was going to guide us to the romantic village Gjógv. Again, the weather showed itself from its best side. We had a fantastic trip between beautiful green mountains, spectacular views over land and sea, quaint villages with well-kept houses and many quick well-chosen photo stops along the way!
We arrived at the ship before dinnertime. After dinner, we went to our room to see tennis on the flat screen where we spent the rest of the night. Saturated from the day's impressions, we were glad to retreat back to our spacious room, combined with walks in the fresh sea-air on deck, and a little conversation at meals with fellow passengers, but we had not yet found time to enjoy the bar and cinema. Friday we set out to sea again. During the voyage, we had plenty of time to enjoy the ship’s amenities. A few times, we also chose to eat lunch at the Simmer Dim Steakhouse where the food was nice. On Friday evening, we went to the big Viking buffet, which was great fun to experience with many extra local specialties - and staff in high spirits! A good end to a wonderful trip!
In addition, we would like to mention that the service from the Smyril Line staff was superb! The staff members in the reception were always ready to answer questions with a smile and solve any problems. In the restaurant the staff were wonderfully sweet, smiling and highly service minded. No matter how busy the restaurant was, we always felt that the staff had time for us and that everyone was treated equally and received the same great service. We would give six or seven stars to the Smyril Line staff who we were in contact with.
We had a fantastic eventful week with well-planned outings. Compliments to the talented and funny guides and a tiptop driver in a nice bus. The tours gave us excellent samples of the two very different countries. We were maybe extra lucky with the weather, it was certainly enjoyable throughout! The views were indescribable and must be experienced. We remember the fantastic scenery and the green or snowy mountaintops in the background. The trip has been a wonderful appetizer, which means that we would like to visit the Faroe Islands again and hike on the many islands.