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Celebrity Silhouette, Norwegian Fjords Sept. 1 2019

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I found that Wells Fargo, if you have an account, of any kind, with them, doesn't charge extra for foreign currency exchanges.

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Hi Norris,

 

You mentioned a while back that the band playing in the bar was perhaps a tad too loud, and you left.  It has seemed to me that the music levels have been getting louder and louder in the past few years. When we were on the Reflection, the music was felt all the way up the atrium, and the library wasn't the peaceful place that it should have been. Since you spent time as a musician on cruise ships, do you think I'm just entering fogeyhood, or is the entertainment getting ear-bleeding loud?

 

John

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7 hours ago, silkismom said:

I found that Wells Fargo, if you have an account, of any kind, with them, doesn't charge extra for foreign currency exchanges.

 

For our two trips abroad I checked out a lot of places.  Best is to charge to a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.  Then an ATM.  Buying in advance, which we did, I found Wells Fargo to be the best deal.  HOWEVER, even though no extra "fees" their conversion rate is higher than what you would pay if you were in a foreign country and charged your meal (or whatever) to your credit card as the banks get better rates.  That is where Wells Fargo makes their money.   If you were to go to a currency converter site and entered to find out the conversion rate for euros from dollars... whatever it says, that is NOT the amount Wells Fargo would charge.  They would charge you higher.  You also lose money if you want to sell them your left overs when you get home.

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7 hours ago, dtwcal said:

Hi Norris,

 

You mentioned a while back that the band playing in the bar was perhaps a tad too loud, and you left.  It has seemed to me that the music levels have been getting louder and louder in the past few years. When we were on the Reflection, the music was felt all the way up the atrium, and the library wasn't the peaceful place that it should have been. Since you spent time as a musician on cruise ships, do you think I'm just entering fogeyhood, or is the entertainment getting ear-bleeding loud?

 

John

 

Hi John. Thanks for posting an interesting question.

I have to clear one thing up though- I didn't leave the Ensemble lounge because the band was too loud. I was just walking through as the lounge is a walkway to the Specialty Restaurants at the stern. I didn't stop to listen to the band but I thought that indulgent jazz with trumpet isn't the right thing for such a narrow room with people trying to talk with friends in comfy armchairs.

 

Also- the music I like and that is a very wide spectrum from Debussy piano dreamscapes to Led Zeppelin at a festival-played back to back, is played loud and clear in the comfort of my own home where no-one else is forced to listen to it. When I go to a concert-last one was Gipsy Kings in Chicago- I want it to be loud and clear as I am not there to drink cocktails and catch up with an old friend. Princess has some rooms with doors on them where bands can play and people can dance on wooden floors. The rooms are filled with soft furnishings which dull the volume. Celebrity bands may play in open spaces like those down on deck 3 in the atrium with open decks above them. They are playing in a 100 ft high ceiling space which is an upward tunnel of glass-the elevators- and the sound also bounces off the marble floor in front of the band so there is nothing to dull the sound. Forget quietly reading a book in the library in the evening.

 

So people in the library, Sushi on 5, Cafe al Bacio, Passport bar and Martini Bar get blasted.

 

Somehow I never get the time to sit and listen to a band as I restlessly roam the ships but I hear them from all over on the S Class. Ensemble Lounge needs an acoustic piano player-that would be appropriate for the narrow space. The pool deck in the Caribbean needs a steel drum band from the islands not a rock band however good they may be (and they usually are good players).

 

What none of us needs is music in elevators, coming from gas pumps, or on deck 15 on the S Class at 5 a.m where I often find myself. "Background music" is usually dire and intrusive to just plain thinking or talking. 

 

We find ourselves, when not on a ship, choosing restaurants for their good food and a quieter ambiance, where conversation can take place and you are encouraged to sit a while and savor.

Modern restaurant design tends towards big glass windows, hard floors, hard seats and no sound absorbing materials like tablecloths, padded seats and back pillows or leather banquettes. Loud music is pumped into the room to add atmosphere and consequently conversation is a casualty.

 

The ship bands are cover bands and they play loudly to try and recapture the sound of the studio band whose songs they are using for their show and speaking from experience it is harder to fill a dance floor and get a thumbs up from the CD if you are quietly tapping away with a tenth of the energy of the original band in a controlled environment. It's hard for a trumpeter to play quietly when the drummer is emulating the energy found on the original recording.

 

I don't think you have entered fogeydom. You are just observing with your ears. I don't see one Celebrity drummer playing as loud as I used to in the Song of Norway disco 33 years ago but the spaces they play in now are less friendly (atriums especially) than when bands played only in showrooms built for the purpose or on deck for people in bikinis who were too drunk to care about the volume.  The sound in the Celebrity Theater with a man operating a 24 channel mixing desk is wonderfully loud and clear and appropriate for a 1200 seat space in my opinion, but that is a purpose-built space. Ensemble Lounge and the deck 3 dance floor are not and it shows.

 

Norris

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I sat indoors for the bulk of the journey back to Stavanger, taking hope in memories of being dry but when we approached the harbor again I went out on the bow of the ship. The rain had stopped (Hurrah!) and the wind dried my hair, which is soft and manageable.

 

There! There's the city!  I cried

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Duh Sherlock! said the Captain who does this trip every day

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'tis a wee bit cloudy. Could there be rain in the offing?

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under the bridge we go

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Stavanger

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(3 photos stitched together)

 

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she waits for us

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we live back here

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back on dry land I tip the guide as I leave the boat and look forward to a nice hot lunch

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Norris, I want to express my gratitude for the lengths and level of wetness you went to in order to get those awesome pictures you just shared with us! Thank you for the extraordinary effort!   🏆 

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Well that was a fun excursion, at least when I was up on the top deck, free to roam.

Carol had a situation when she got back on the boat after the waffles- a couple had taken our seats. "Somebody took ours" was the excuse. Carol rousted them. Two wrongs don't make a right!

That aside and forgiving Norway for raining on us, we had a nice 3 hours on the water in such a beautiful place. Now we would have some time to enjoy Stavanger or the harbor part of it at least. We needed another fridge magnet and I needed to have lunch on Norwegian soil for the last time as our next port would be Southampton.

 

These boots are made for walking and that's just what they'll do

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a little beauty

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fridge magnets here?

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score!

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we resisted these

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back outside

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ageless beauty

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I have taken the same Stavanger boat tour 2x.  Both times for our waffle stop we had a small restaurant and ate inside..  I had sunny weather both times and stayed on the upper deck the whole time.

Edited by phabric

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9 minutes ago, phabric said:

I have taken the same Stavanger boat tour 2x.  Both times for our waffle stop we had a small restaurant and ate inside..  I had sunny weather both times and stayed on the upper deck the whole time.

Was this tour  through the  Cruise line  or independent??   Have this port next June.... thanks for any information

 

Michele

Edited by mitaxi

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4 minutes ago, silkismom said:

NANCY SINATRA

  Yes !

Our aerobics instructor uses the song for one of our routines. Selected for the beat rather than the lyrics,no doubt .

When I hear it in class, I wonder what was on the B side of the record.

Now, back to your excellent review and photos, Norris !

 

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20 minutes ago, mitaxi said:

Was this tour  through RCCL or independent??   Have this port next June.... thanks for any information

 

Michele

My cruise and excursion was with Princess in August both times.

 

It is very windy when the boat is going.  I wore a thin spring jacket with a hood, sweater, a wool hat, thin gloves both times.  I need them, I gave a lady another pair of gloves.

 

There were seats in the lower level with a bathroom, I think some kind of snack bar(?).  On the upper deck, no seats, I sat on a life jacket box the whole time.

 

Another person had a review (I forget which cruiseline] they took a independent fjord Cruise in Stavanger, cheaper than cruiseline, with no stop for waffles.

Edited by phabric

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Carol had her Rick Steves restaurant recommendations for harbor dining. One was closed and the other one was this

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the front part was a glassed-in restaurant and the back part was a fish shop. I really wanted to sit outside on this lovely harbor. It was very busy when we looked in and that was another negative. We walked on

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some restaurants were closed and didn't serve lunch. That surprised me given the 2900 passenger ship across the harbor. Dinner only.

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We liked the look of this one as it had an awning to keep the rain off should it come again

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I went in and asked the only waiter there if we could order outside and the answer was yes. He brought us menus which beats guessing what the chef can cook

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this was my reward for getting soaked at the waterfall

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a crisp, cold Norwegian lager

 

lunch is my favorite meal of the day particularly if eaten outdoors somewhere nice

and especially on vacation. I had imagined just this when I was back in Chicago packing

 

We ordered some food...

 

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Well, here I am eating fish and chips again with mushy peas

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Carol had her teriyaki salmon, washed down with ginger beer

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this was (I regret) only our third meal in Norway-Bergen, the buffet in Voss and now Skagen and each one was simple food done just right. Next time we go we will look forward to the food

 

As we ate under the awning there was a downpour of Miami magnitude (my measurement for rainfall having spent so much time there) The closed restaurant next door was getting a wash-down while we stayed dry

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the bill-roughly $77. Beer was $9 each and I had to enjoy 2 of those

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more soon...

 

 

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Before we left I went to use the restroom and took some pics of this over 200 years old restaurant along the way

The espresso machine is from this century and I wish I had it at home

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we have 2 espresso machines at home ; one a Capresso make which can also brew drip coffee and grind the beans and the other is a Nespresso which uses pods of really good coffee and comes with my seal of approval. I can't exist without coffee but I spurn any flavoring such as hazelnut, kimchee or halibut.

 

There are two cooks in the kitchen and I stop to thank them for a delicious lunch and promise to write a TripAdvisor review. I will write a bunch of them about London and each port in Norway after I finish this. 

 

I pass a couple of dining rooms

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the wood on the walls is original

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after the restroom I visited the wine cellar

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time now to move on...

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It has stopped raining and we enjoy a walk along the harbor front

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we will leave within the hour

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By the ship there are enticing little streets climbing up from the harbor. I resist the lure to go up there with the camera. I have since seen beautiful photos from these streets ( in this review) and regret not going up but I hope to return to Stavanger someday in the future.

 

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One last longing look back and I step onto the gangway for the last time

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4 hours ago, MJSailors said:

  Yes !

Our aerobics instructor uses the song for one of our routines. Selected for the beat rather than the lyrics,no doubt .

When I hear it in class, I wonder what was on the B side of the record.

Now, back to your excellent review and photos, Norris !

 

 Side B was day Dream by Dora Hall

 

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Thank you, hockeyguru32. I thought it may have been another song by Nancy Sinatra,but couldn’t think of any.

    Now,back to our regularly scheduled Bimmer09 review !

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The little alleyway I didn't explore. Next time!

 

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now we are back on board

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waiting for the departure

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Carol was too  tired to attend Afternoon tea in the buffet so ordered room service tea and cookies-they were out of scones

 

Stavanger Sailaway

I went up to the Sunset  bar when I returned to the ship. Just a couple there, without drinks.

I went to the bar which was deserted. No bartender. Odd. I went behind the bar and opened the door to the stockroom and there was the bartender reading his cell phone. "We're closed!"

Say what? "Go downstairs".  I did go downstairs and get my drink there after searching between the sofa cushions for a bartender. Stellar not-service!

 

Back up to Sunset and I acted as the "go downstairs" host to the other people who came along.

 

For the 5.30 sailaway I went back down to our cosy cabin

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we pushed away from Norway

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Thank you Norris for allowing me to follow your Norwegian adventure. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing Norway through your eyes and wonderful narrative and photos. It bought back great memories of my June cruise. I will definitely have to go back to Norway - it is just so beautiful! Thanks again for an excellent review! 

Allison

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Oil rig tender at a guess

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I'm looking left and right as there is something to see on each side

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the industry is mainly on the starboard side as we leave

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residential to port

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48921047811_f36e0fa06c_6k.jpg

 

looking back

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more, much later

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The Stavanger sail away  is a pretty long one and these photos prove it. Even though it iS Norway's  4th largest city with a population of 120,000 which is miniscule, it is stretched out along the shore with single family homes predominating.

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leafy suburbs

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It's not a tourist city, it's a city that serves the oil industry that has made Norway rich

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imagine seeing the Silhouette sailing past your window once a week!

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new houses being built

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now we see farmland so we must be leaving the city behind

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Edited by Bimmer09
correcting capital letters

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Sunset on the North Sea

We took a nap after the farmland, as fatigue and the love of naps kicked in.

When we awoke the sun was going down

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there is no such thing for me as one picture of a sunset -the light and the clouds are ever-changing so I wait it out, knowing no two sunsets are exactly alike

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last one

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