Wendy Taylor, CTC, STE, Leisure Division Leader with Preferred Travel of Naples, recently took a 20-day cruise from Dublin, Ireland to Oslo, Norway. She landed in Dublin from Miami and was able to spend two incredible nights at the Fitzwilliam Hotel in the heart of Irish city. This downtown location has breathtaking architecture, great walking, Irish pubs, galleries, and International clientele.
While she was there, Wendy visited Trinity College and had advance tickets to the “Book of Kells,” which is the oldest and most famous book in the world. The manuscript is a copy of the first four gospels in Latin and was compiled in 800 A.D. The college also has the “Long Room,” which is the library holding more than 200,000 of the oldest and most well-known books from around the world.
In Dublin, they took advantage of the hop-on-hop-off bus system to get around the entire city. Many tourists were interested in stopping off at the Guinness factory and the scotch distillery, but there were countless attractions to take in during the two days.
The ship disembarked from Dublin at 9:00 pm, which gave ample time to enjoy a full day of the city. The luxurious ocean liner is exclusive luxury at its best. With only 684 passengers, there is ample time to meet new friends, be known and know the staff by name, and enjoy smaller ports in less tourist-ridden towns.
Even though it is a boutique style ship, it has grand amenities like a casino, world-class entertainment, a luxurious Canyon Ranch spa, five-star dining and so much more to offer each passenger’s unique style and comforts.
The lecturers were motivating and held talks on not only upcoming towns and excursions like glaciers, birdlife and museums, but also courses on oceanography and other environmental and pragmatic social interests. Most of the guests onboard were very well traveled, with various mobility levels. Some were extremely active and wanted to take hikes and long scenic ventures, while others were looking forward to doing sight-seeing and enjoying the pristine environment and culture.
The trip was from June 28th to July 18th, and the weather could not have been any better, with clear skies, warm sun and flat seas, the cruise and excursions were flawless.
Wendy was a Signature Cruise Host to 34 passengers. Mostly they were U.S. tourists, but some Canadians and Israelis were in the group too. She made sure that everyone was comfortable, tended to and welcomed. They had a cocktail night to meet and mingle, and several of the single clients found that they enjoyed each others company so much, that they toured the towns together and even ate dinner together in the evenings. Wendy joined several passengers to different shows, coffee and unwinding to make sure they had “smooth sailing.”
A memorable stop was Belfast, Northern Ireland. Wendy enjoyed the Titanic museum, not just for the April 11th story about the harrowing tale, but also for the historical aspect and cultural chronicle of Ireland in the time that the ship was built. The three hours flew by, and Wendy wished she could have stayed longer to learn more about this captivating time in Ireland’s past.
Because the ship is smaller, they were able to visit unique towns and islands; Wendy couldn’t say enough about the towns in Scotland. Ullapool and Kirkwall (Orkney Islands) was an enclave of stunning rural, quiet, pristine nature. They visited fishing villages and had tea in local tea shops, and the best part for Wendy was that they were with locals, as there were no other groups of tourists except for the few from their ship.
Another favorite of Wendy’s was Bergen, Norway, which is built around a harbor, surrounded by mountains and of course, the funicular railway. Bergen is one of the biggest exports of seafood. All of the markets have beautiful fish displayed, and all of the restaurants are charming. It was extremely difficult to choose one, but everyone told them that you couldn’t go wrong with whatever choice you made, as it is the freshest and most desirable seafood around. Wendy was not disappointed by her decision. The meal was fantastic, and the views were breathtaking. Every town in Norway that Wendy described was full of color. The houses and businesses boast beautiful rainbows of hues that perfectly fit enigmatic Norway.
In Alesund, Norway, Wendy hiked the 418 steps up the Askla Viewpoint. She had a scenic panoramic view of the entire peninsula from her vantage point and an ideal bird watching experience. To Wendy, Norway is the most well-kept, cheerful place on earth. The splashes of colors mixed with the culture and friendly residents make Norway one of her favorite places to visit.
When the ship entered Russian waters, the color contrast was the first thing passengers noticed. In Russia, most buildings and homes are gray, concrete and stark, but the intriguing towns were inexplicable with thought-provoking detail.
The Solovetsky Islands in Russia boast a sizeable botanical garden that is the northernmost botanical garden in the world, so the microclimates that it endures allow for the most unique vegetation. There are more than 100 species of plant life there in the peaceful garden. For those with history and militant interests, Stalin’s most notorious prison the Gulag is on this Island as well.
Archangel, Russia is more developed for tourists. The fine arts museum has more than exclusive 3,000 works on display. There is also a pedestrian section of Archangel called Chumbarova-Luchinskogo Avenue, which is an open air museum with traditional housing and buildings from the 1930’s and an indoor shopping complex with restaurants and boutiques.
On their way back to Norway, Wendy was about to discover one of her most favorite destinations, Geiranger (Geirangerfjord), Norway, which is a small village off of the Geirangelva River. When they arrived, the waterfalls, rainbows, and lush green landscape took her back, as she welcomed those colorful homes and buildings once again.
Although Geirangerfjord is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations and a UNESCO world heritage site, they only allow five ships per day and no more than 8,000 cruise passengers. The roads have hairpin turns, with ample hiking and sightseeing, but no matter what you choose to do, there will not be crowds, just superb scenery.
One of the most beautiful things about Wendy’s trip on the Oceania Nautica was the fact that every passenger – no matter their limitations, liberations or expectations – had an up close and personal view of the ports and most of the fantastic sites directly from the ship. This type of trip is great for those that love nature and scenery. “Sitting back and taking it all in is a therapy of its own,” said Wendy. “And I can’t wait to go back and explore more of those remarkable towns again.”
Preferred Travel of Naples
If you would like to learn more about your opportunity visit the world, Preferred Travel of Naples is the best place to start. With the highly traveled and experienced staff to guide you, rest assured that you will be in the best hands.
To find out more about this trip or other fascinating destinations, please contact Preferred Travel of Naples at 239-261-1177 or visit preferrednaples.com.