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Old 15th Oct 04, 15:18   #1
Ryan_H
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Default Princess of Scandinavia Gothenburg MiniCruise 24th-27th September

Last month myself and two close friends enjoyed a wonderful trip aboard the Princess of Scandinavia; I thought i would share some of my thoughts on this most enjoyable experience with you...

I had booked the trip back in early August, as a result of receiving one of those 'special offer' letters from DFDS. The price of 94 seemed very tempting, though as is usually the case the amount we actually each paid was somewhat higher than this! I had sailed with DFDS for the very first time a year earlier on another 'Cruisebreak' to Amsterdam aboard Prince of Scandinavia. I was immensely impressed by the 'Prince' and was, like many people, quite sad when she was sold last November. I was even more alarmed when i read that her sister was being marketed for sale and then subsequently very relieved to hear that her owners had seen sense and decided to keep her after all. With this in mind, i was really, really looking forward to a nice long trip, to a country i had never visited before.

We set off for North Shields (this time in my 25 year old Chrysler Avenger!) early on Friday morning and arrived at Royal Quays at lunchtime. I really enjoy the drive up the A1, much more than heading for the Channel ports. Both the 'Princess' and the 'Duke' were in port and were looking typically immaculate. As we headed for check-in, my mind started to ponder the gale force winds we'd been having and i inevitably started to wonder about just what sort of seas were waiting for us. As we boarded the ship, i noted that the 'Princess' has an entirely Danish crew, which surprised me slightly as i had assumed there would be a Filipino presence as on the Prince. After finding our cabin, (located astern on deck 5) we headed, as always, outside to watch our departure. It was a bright, sunny day and the large Danish flag fluttered majestically in a moderate breeze, before being carefully removed as we eased away from the berth, precisely on time. A large Jamaican-flagged car carrier had passed in front of us and was making slow progress towards the open sea. As i attempted to photograph the 'Duke', that wonderfully triumphant-sounding muisc began to play, a feature which i'm glad DFDS still maintain. As we approached the two breakwaters, i noticed the car carrier ahead of us really struggling to pitch its way through the waves, which, at first glance, had seemed pretty innocuous (but then they always do!)

Once at sea, it became abundantly clear that this would be a rather lively crossing. I spent a good hour touring the ship, the main aim of which was to try and locate my travelling companions! I eventually found them playing the fruit machines, amidst a group of otherwise Scandinavian passengers. Whilst one of my friends was a relatively experienced ferry traveller, (he had been on the Pont-Aven in April and had still come back for more!) the other was not and sadly the conditions quickly got the better of him. He subsequently spent the rest of the evening in the cabin and despite taking a sea-sickness pill was too ill to emerge from his bunk. Myself and my remaining friend spent what was left of the late-afternoon in the Columbus club, watching the excellent cruise manager Kristopher attempt to persevere with the Bingo. He did this by keeping his legs incredibly far apart beneath the table he was sat at and when this became too difficult he then calmly announced that he would be getting rid of the table and would instead sit on the stage! The bar staff informed us that the weather was expected to improve slightly by the end of the night. With this in mind, the two of us headed for the surprisingly deserted Seven Sea's buffet, which was again excellent, though i don't think i need to experience 'spiced herring' again for a while. After a great meal, we saw out the night in the Columbus where the band 'Four and more' were doing their best to stay upright (strictly no dancing allowed) until we hit a particularly large wave which caused the expensive-looking keyboard to crash to the floor, along with many people's beverages. Not surprsingly, they then decided to call it a night. The 'Jolly Roger' remained closed all night.
Returning to our cabin around 01.00, the realities of being on the stern in rough weather were really brought home. It was by far and away the noisiest night i've spent at sea; everything rattled, the doors, ceiling, sink...everything!

I got up early the next morning and headed outside for a glimpse of the Norwegian coastline and significantly calmer seas. I then persuaded my friends to join the long queue fro breakfast, which we eventually ate as the ship docked in a bright, sunny Kristiansand. Later, i joked with my still recovering friend that he should think himself lucky that he had made the crossing aboard the 'Princess' rather than a vessel such as the adjacent 'Silvia Ana L' ! Alas, he wasn't amused. We had a wonderfully smooth passage across the Skagerak and that afternoon i paid a visit to the exteremely impressive Sauna, by far the largest and best facility i've experienced anywhere and its free! To think i pay to use a gym with a sauna less than half the size...! Arriving in Gothenburg just after 17.00, i rushed out of the Admiral pub like a fool in order to photograph the passing 'Stena Carrier' togther with the slightly more distant 'Stena Jutlandica' and returned to our cabin to cry's of 'geek'! Yes, i admit it, i clearly must be!

I was expecting Sweden to be expensive and was certainly not dissapointed! The rounds just seemed to reach new heights in every bar we visited; i never thought i would come to regard 4 for half a pint as reasonable! We did, however, thoroughly enjoy the experience of a Saturday night in Gothenburg and really apprecaited the many contrasts with a similar night in Leicester! We returned to the ship after midnight (via the 'free' bus) to enjoy the two hours of 'Four and more' we had missed the previous night.

I think its fair to say we awoke rather later than planned the next morning and as a result missed our complimentary breakfast, which was slighlty annoying. We therefore decided to purchase hotdogs from the 'Sky Bar' which wasn't really the same. It was again a very pleasent, sunny day as we headed for Kristiansand. Having spent what was left of the morning outside, we headed for the Columbus club in the afternoon and were to remain there pretty much uninterupted until the evening. Kristopher entertained us with Bingo and, the event we'd all been waiting for, the famous DFDS horse racing game! We were all rather puzzled as to why 'Pink Floyd' had been replaced at the last minute by 'Oscar' the dog; was there some controversy? Anyhow, i enjoyed this unique spectacle all the more as my horse, 'Red Devil', was to win me a 30 Krona gift voucher which after the previous night was particularly welcome. We pooled our remaining resources that night and had a superb meal in the Blue Riband restaurant; both the food and the service truly were impeccable. Leaving Kristiansand, i recalled Captain Johnny Andreasen's more postive-sounding weather forecast and though the weather looked rather dark and hostile, the wind and sea state had calmed significantly. That night in the Columbus club Kristopher excelled himself yet further, singing an excellent set which included 'When a man loves a woman' and 'Bad moon rising'. He was universally popular with all the passengers, many of whom (including myself) were almost queueing up to have their photographs taken with our outstanding host.

Arriving on the Tyne after breakfast the next morning i was, as always, rather sad to be heading home but also full of admiration for the Princess of Scandinavia. She is i think without doubt the best maintained ferry i have had the pleasure of sailing aboard. What is more, i think the quality and service which DFDS Seaways offered us was second to none. The company often state in their litterature that they aim to provide passenegers with 'Great Maritime Experiences'; they certainly did this for us, and some. I would recommend the Princess of Scandinavia as a 'must' for any ferry enthusiast; you won't be disappointed.

I will try and post some of my more interesting pictures soon...
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Last edited by Ryan_H; 15th Oct 04 at 18:07.
Old 15th Oct 04, 16:23   #2
Dan
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Default Re: Princess of Scandinavia Gothenburg MiniCruise 24th-27th September

Hi Ryan.
Sounds as though you had a really interesting time.
I love ferries in bad weather, sounds like you do too!
Looking forward to seeing your pictures.
Dan.
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Old 21st Oct 04, 12:17   #3
Normandie
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Default Re: Princess of Scandinavia Gothenburg MiniCruise 24th-27th September

Ryan, a very nice travel report and I must think immediately about the many trips I done on the Prince of Scandinavia on the route Hamburg-Harwich and once also Ijmuiden-Newcastle. The ships are just great, with cosy atmosphere and outside I found them always some of the most elegant looking ferries ever built.

About breakfast, surprised me you could miss that, as I remember, we have always been very thankful that you not just could take breakfast but they had offered a "brunch" too for those tho liked to sleep bit longer

I find it positive they are keeping the Princess of Scandinavia, I have read a report about their new ro-pax ferry from Cuxhaven-Harwich "Dana Sirena" and read that you can not expect much as well, people beeing disappointed, beeing used to something like the "Prince" or the ex. "Hamburg".
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Next trip: will be planned soon
http://www.ferriesofeurope.fotopic.net/
Old 24th Oct 04, 19:26   #4
spll
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Question Re: Princess of Scandinavia Gothenburg MiniCruise 24th-27th September

Corandier,
Does not the Dana Sirena sail Harwich to Esjberg !
The Duchess of Scandinavia ex Bergen of Colour Line(on Charter) does Harwich to Cuxhaven.
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