The beautiful Vision of the Seas was going to be leaving Europe for the last time in 2013, just over 4 years since she arrived. I’d been on her first European, from Harwich to Oslo in 2009 after a fabulous Mexican Riviera cruise the year before from LA with my friend, Amy Blume, so had to be on her last. 2008 was when I completely fell in love with the ship so was delighted when Royal Caribbean changed her Caribbean itinerary for a European one. Southampton to Copenhagen in 2011, Copenhagen to Southampton in 2012 and now another taking me home but three more days and a different route. Royal Caribbean did my air again and the flight was 6.40am with SAS. Couldn’t have been more than 30 on the flight and when I went to collect my luggage, I was told I was the only one on my flight. I went to wait in the airport with Nils, who was from Oslo, and slowly we were joined by loads of Americans, some of whom were meant to have arrived the day before but their flights were cancelled due to weather. A contrast to wet 2012 when we were met by glorious sunshine! We arrived at 11am and thanks to priority check-in, it was through quickly, not taking your passport this time, then up to the Windjammer which didn’t open until 11.30am.
Cabins were ready at 1pm and it turned out Nils was further along my corridor. My case turned up more than 4 hours after boarding. Muster at 4.30pm then off for Vision’s final Copenhagen sailaway! Our Captain is Lis Lauritsen, a half-Danish/half-Japanese lady who lives in Portugal (she told us that a lot). And so off to Oslo with the possibility of missing Invergordon due to weather, but we would be told the following day. My steward was a very nice lady called Patricia Howard from South America, who had joined that day, having previously been on Freedom, and had training for a week. The Cruise Director, Topi, seemed familiar and I later learned he HAD been on in 2009 as I’d thought.
The show was a change from Kirk Marsh to Bee Gees Magic, who were meant to be on a few days later. They were good.
Dinner and my waiter Branislav is from Serbia. Head waiter Dorota from Poland. I can’t remember the name of the other but he’s from India. I had two elderly American ladies who were hard going. They had enough trouble hearing each other and remembering things so it was hard having a conversation. When are Royal Caribbean going to put solos together??? Brani had been on Radiance at New Year so was telling us about when the ship anchored in the bay due to bad weather on New Year’s Eve. Exhausted after a wander on deck so bed.
The Oslo weather was completely dismal, though thankfully dry for our arrival. Thomson Spirit was already in, docked by the Opera House. The bloke who played Maurice Gibb was in the lift as I went to breakfast with all his stuff so it was obvious we would not be going to Invergordon.
Afterwards it was time for some dock photos and then it began to rain.
It was Diamond Club at 5pm, though it was only mentioned in a letter after tall the crap about booking future cruises. Didn’t seem to be a dedicated host, unlike on Indy and Radiance. I’d completely forgotten the Thomson was sailing at 5pm so I snapped her through the window since they locked the outer doors.
Sailaway was a little before 6pm and the Invergordon cancellation was confirmed, so we would be going to Greenock via the English Channel instead, which gave us 3 sea days. Didn’t bother me. I’m here for the ship, not cruise, so just being on her as much as possible suits me! It poured as we were finishing the turn. It rained the first time Vision arrived in Oslo (so we spent 10 hours at the airport instead of being tourists!) so apt it did as she left for the final time.
Captain’s booze up, which I wish was back in the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge rather than Centrum. More seats for a start! Captain Lis had photos taken with people then gave a potted history of this gorgeous baby, including her maiden voyage was from Southampton – yay! First Captain I’ve had on here who mentioned that VERY important fact. No idea how many Brits are on but less than the 31 Australians she started passenger numbers with. More than 1000 Americans but only 1700 total.
Dinner and I was now alone after Hinge & Bracket had decided to leave – wooo! Dorota seemed desperate to push me onto the other table Brani served but it was full of couples so no ta. Would rather be on my own. Bed after signing up to the internet.
Our first sea day and no chance to lie in as it was immigration for Diamond and upwards Crown & Anchor members between 8-9am. Some doors were locked on the Prom deck. Hinge & Bracket said behind me as we waiting in the theatre and said they preferred early sitting. As I was leaving, I was asked my room number by one of the officers who then wrote it on a piece of paper, put in on my passport and kept it. Why??? Even in 2012 when they held onto them at check-in, we got them back at immigration. It was completely ridiculous and they stupid letter at the terminal about passports was full of so much bollocks rather than written in plain English. So collection for some would be 22nd and others IN Southampton on the 24th. What if people forget because they’re concentrating on getting off and their travel arrangements? Whoever came up with that is just insane. Back to bed until lunch then just had a lazy day, saw Thomson Spirit through the closed doors and went to Diamond Club then saw Dirk Marsh in the theatre. It got rougher after dark though.
The 17th we were passing Dover instead of enjoying the east coast of Scotland but at least it wasn’t raining! Braemar and Amadea where in the port, so the weather wasn’t bad enough to still keep us partially locked in. If it had been, Dover cruise port would have been closed.
Seabourn Pride was ahead of us after lunch, doing 7 knots and pitching beautifully, as well as disappearing into squalls. Sadly, I missed Celebrity Infinity heading to Harwich due to the rain.
Decided to have another snooze at 5pm and less than an hour later, my cabin phone rang. It was Guest Services about my passport and it would be delivered right then, which is was. So what they hell was that all about??? Why did they take it after immigration???
Skipped the C&A booze up and went to dinner. As I came out, I saw the disembark info up by the Centrum lifts. We’ve only been on a few days and already they can’t wait to boot us off!
Woken up at 9am by a wave hitting the ship and opened the curtain to absolutely gorgeous weather! Didn’t really do much except enjoy it between food.
Diamond Club and the weather was much nicer as we passed Dublin.
Dinner, bed as it was an early start in the morning.
Land ahoy after the glorious days at sea. Greenock but I’d been told the weather was crap so didn’t see our arrival. Instead I set the alarm for 8am and seconds later, Captain Lis came on to say we had clearance. I was meeting an old friend I hadn’t seen since 2002 so killed some time until he got here.