Cruise 2005: Ireland, Greenland, Iceland and Norway
Photographs by Gerald England
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This page last updated: 20th May 2006.
I am awake at 4am. I go down to the Café Bordeaux which is supposedly open all night for snacks, but turns out to be closed for cleaning. I therefore go up to the cybersuite and delete 220 spam emails.
I sit in the Crows Nest until sunrise. The lights of the Irish coast are just visible and there is a ship far ahead. Grey cloud covers the horizon while thick dark blue cloud hovers above us. A small clear patch lies ahead between the two layers as we sail under what seems to be a ceiling of cloud. Thin knives of fluffier cloud pierce the opening and are underlit by the rising sun. Soon there appears what looks like glowing embers of an ashen bonfire. The higher clouds are deep orange underneath. As we slip out from under the darker cloud, the whole sky lightens and the sun's bright disc shows itself.
I go back to bed and sleep till 9am. For breakfast we go down to the Café Bordeaux where we are served orange juice and a delicious sausage and bacon kedgeree with rice, mild curry and hard-boiled egg.
The ship has meanwhile docked in the Alexandra Basin of Dublin Harbour. This is about two miles from the city centre. We are surrounded by cranes and dockloads of container wagons. The Port Guide leaflet issued by P&O says
It is advisable to take a shuttlebus from the ship into Dublin City Centre as it is not really accessible on foot.We remember our last visit to Dublin. Arriving on the car ferry from Holyhead, we missed our turning for the North due to roadworks and found ourselves in the heaving city centre full of suicidal cyclists crossing blindly in front of us. So we are not bothered about missing out on visiting the city itself.
We learn later though that many people found it a not unreasonable walk, provided you were fit. Several people complain that the shuttlebus isn't free, unlike those that are provided later on in Reykjavik, Trondheim and Bergen. Moreover the taxis, which are lined up to receive people all morning, are good value compared to the shuttlebus. I venture off the ship at one point and speak to a lady from the local tourist board. I learn that we could have easily obtained an accessible taxi independently if we'd wanted to. She also tells me how the harbour was built around three islands.
We spend some time in the Orangery. This is where we meet and get to know briefly many of our fellow cruisers. Most of them seem to be quite seasoned cruisers and they are surprised that we've chosen this particular cruise for our first cruise, even calling it a "brave choice" though I'm not sure why. From Christine's point of view, one downside of this itinerary is that many of the calls are at tender ports where she'll be unable to disembark. We are recommended to try a cruise to the Baltic next time as at most of those ports the ship docks right inside the city.
We watch cranes lifting containers on to the cargo ships. At one point one of the crane drivers does a kind of ballet-dance routine. We see several ships come in to dock as well as the comings and goings of buses and taxis.
Dinner this evening includes venison and pheasant pie. Later we go to the Crows Nest as the ship sails past How th, Ireland's Eye and Lambay while the sun slowly sets.
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