Jump to content

Celebrity Silhouette, Norwegian Fjords Sept. 1 2019

Recommended Posts

Such beauty in London Norris.  Its funny how long you lived there and didn't fully appreciate it all.  It takes a different time and a different eye to realize what all is there.  Your lunch at the pub made me so hungry.  I cannot wait to see your take on Churchill.  Looking forward to your day!

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Bimmer09, great review.  Question about your choice of London hotels;  I'm hoping to leverage your ... how did you put it... "Advil-inducing research" (very familiar :-) which I have not yet started for my Norway cruise on the Apex in April.


What was the criteria that led you to choose the Royal Horseguards? 

Which hotels made it to your top 3 list? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Walt fan said:

Such beauty in London Norris.  Its funny how long you lived there and didn't fully appreciate it all.  It takes a different time and a different eye to realize what all is there.  Your lunch at the pub made me so hungry.  I cannot wait to see your take on Churchill.  Looking forward to your day!


Churchill will be along in the morning as I just saw the photos this morning and worked on them ending with 46 shots and I didn't want to put them up without comments in a hurry before going to work for 12 hours (includes commute in Chicago traffic)


When I looked at the War Rooms on TripAdvisor before  going to London TA said they were the #2 attraction in London and I guess the London Eye is #1. So I was concerned about crowds and taking pics over people's heads. 


When I would move in London-I lived in Wembley, Willesden, Kilburn, Golder's Green, Wandsworth, Chiswick, Turnham Green and lastly East Dulwich I always took one of my favorite books with me-" The Second World War" by W.S.Churchill, a real page-turner due to its subject matter ( I am a WWII buff) and its writer. To actually set foot in the rooms was very compelling to me and yet it was Carol's idea, maybe because she knows me so well and because she admires WSC too from John Lithgow's fantastic performances on The Queen TV series.


I have some good photos to show you. Let's leave it at that for now.


Regarding pub lunches- we usually search TripAdvisor and Yelp for restaurants but that takes a lot of time and Advil. My instinct was to "find a nice pub and eat". No fancy food just good simple grub that I remembered from the old days. Now the food is much better and more varied but I find it hard not to have fish and chips or steak and kidney pie and chips. If there had been spam fritters (cue Monty Python) I would have had those too. They remind me of a time and place. Comfort foods. All our non-hotel meals were in pubs if I recall correctly.


Thanks for the comment!


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Deck Chair Queen said:

Lucy n the sky with diamonds. Do I win anything?


Only my eternal respect as you were the only one who picked up on that song reference.



Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/12/2019 at 5:53 PM, need2cruisesoon said:

Hello Mr N.


Please allow me to intrude albeit very shortly to say hello and welcome back from the UK.
I hope the Queen herself allowed you some afternoon tea on one of your days in London, she is charming and most gracious from what i hear.


So now I retire to the library on the west wing of my mini mansion to follow along (with you) my brother on your epic journey aboard the Silly with a cold G in my hand.







Ron, so glad you found me here. Welcome brother!

Thanks for the drink.


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SempreMare said:

@Bimmer09, great review.  Question about your choice of London hotels;  I'm hoping to leverage your ... how did you put it... "Advil-inducing research" (very familiar :-) which I have not yet started for my Norway cruise on the Apex in April.


What was the criteria that led you to choose the Royal Horseguards? 

Which hotels made it to your top 3 list? 


Hi and thanks for your kind comments!

Criteria? Thames view was foremost. I wanted to know when I looked out the window that I could only be in one place on Earth and the Thames and the structures that stand on it is London- St Paul's , London Eye, Houses of Parliament etc.



I considered the Marriott in the former County Hall across from the Horseguards but it was too vast and too close to the Eye. I looked at the Sunborn Yacht but kept coming back to the Royal Horseguards via its website. It was just our style. We don't need a lot of frills or amenities-spas and pools etc. It may have a spa but no pool that I know of. Location was brilliant. It was quiet at night and had that terrace where my heart sang. I can't imagine us staying anywhere else.

It's low key, elegant and has a good staff. We don't look for modern or hip or trendy. Classic is our style and it was priced fairly. Being able to walk out the Terrace gate and into those beautiful gardens  was a big plus!


Later when we come back to London I show a poster that shows what is within a 5 minute walk of the hotel. A lot of good sites! It took us 10 minutes to the Churchill War Rooms which is coming up next.


Hope this helps. If not ask me for more.




Link to post
Share on other sites

What's to come

 There's some unexpected horses, a pub lunch, a play with a famous actor, dinner by the river in a Gordon Ramsay gastro Pub, transfer to Southampton via Blackberry cars, the Silhouette, sailaway, Lawn Club Grill, sea day, one of the most beautiful sail-ins to a port (Bergen) our first Norwegian restaurant, a great show on board, Alesund and its beauty, Grand Cuvee rediscovered, Norway in a Nutshell, a waterfall soaks me and my camera, lunch on the harbor, one of our most memorable sail aways (Stavanger) sea day, an amazing show on the Silhouette, (in video) transfer by Smiths  back in London and the HoHo bus and our last night in London. And every day a wonderful ship to live on. And more!



Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/13/2019 at 3:46 PM, Bimmer09 said:

Listen to the Lion....



Big Ben in the distance





I was wondering where the homeless people sleep and as I crossed over to Northumberland Avenue on my way to the hotel I found an answer....in tents



A widely seen coffee chain




Listen to the Lion. One of my favourite Van Morrison songs. I now claim my free pint of Guinness. 

Thoroughly enjoying your review- as always.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Churchill War Rooms



Clive Steps



People without tickets line up on the right. Carol the Organized had printed our tickets on line in the USA and so we were able to walk straight in at 10 a.m when it opened



Once inside we lost some time waiting for the elevator to the basement so there were already many down there buying their tickets. We picked up some free handsets with narration for each exhibit and wisely chose English as the language. They worked splendidly. At the first room people ahead bunched up as each was peeking through a small window. This would not do for me  and my camera so I "excuse me", "coming through" my way around the blockage and quickly forge ahead as I felt it had to be easier than this and once from the pack and moving quickly had a blockage-free photo fest....

Most of the rooms are protected by a glass wall or in some cases stanchions preventing you (if you obey) from going further in. Therefore I was often shooting through glass. Flash is not allowed which is fine by me as I don't use one.

The Prime Minister's Private Secretary's Room (First Chamberlain, then Churchill)





You'll see the self-guide number listed on the headphone icon





The P M dining room. Press 16 on your handset



Prime Minister's kitchen



No glass barrier in this room



Equipment wall for electricity, air cleaners etc



Go no further (please)



Signs old and new



Old signs



Link to post
Share on other sites

The Army discuss tactics



Now, where did I put my keys?









Flying bomb (V Bomb) statistics including fatalities






Army and RAF work the phones






Link to post
Share on other sites

Churchill's bedroom. The King and Queen visited him here



I have the place to myself





Churchill and his top men



Map room



Clementine  Churchill's room







I found Carol in the Churchill Museum which was very busy and had no way for me to escape the crowds.



It offers a timeline of Churchill's life





I could have stayed much longer if I had listened to every description on the handset

but I was always trying to keep ahead of the herd and the Museum was one vast room with a lot of people milling around so we decided to make our way out through the gift shop.








Link to post
Share on other sites





The War Rooms are a branch of the Imperial War Museum



I shopped for a fridge magnet and scored. A magnet unveiling will appear at the end of the review.


As we left I visited the facilities



That was our fleeting visit to the War Rooms. On a weekday there may be fewer people sharing the experience. It was a lovely morning outside and we wanted to enjoy the day as much as possible. St James' Park was on our horizon. Find a bench and relax...



Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, clanger said:

Listen to the Lion. One of my favourite Van Morrison songs. I now claim my free pint of Guinness. 

Thoroughly enjoying your review- as always.


Correct and a favorite of mine that I never tire of.

I'm afraid I inadvertently drank the Guinness I was going to send to you.



Link to post
Share on other sites







What was the criteria that led you to choose the Royal Horseguards? 

Which hotels made it to your top 3 list? 


Hi. Deck Chair Queen here, aka Carol. I do most of the negotiaing after Norris finds a hotel! We typically have another criteria, which is ideally within walking distance of the opera house. Unfortunately no opera this trip as we were too early for the ROH season. But Royal Horseguards met this criteria as well. Also public transportation nearby. 


To to get the most out of Royal Horseguards, first join the Guoman loyalty program (it’s free). That gets you either a discount or free breakfast. Having read how exorbitant the breakfast pricing was I figured we would be eating elsewhere and chose the discount. However now that I know that the options for a cooked to order breakfast nearby are nil and having discovered how enjoyable it is to go downstairs and have breakfast on the terrace, I think I would go for the free breakfast next time (I’m not a fan of steam table breakfast so look for the a la carte menu). Just do the math for yourself: breakfast for one if booked ahead of time is GBP18. 

Edited by Deck Chair Queen
Link to post
Share on other sites

Following along Norris and really enjoying the review.  I too was born in 1952 and lived in London in the 70s. I’m so glad you still loved London after so long away. She is a beautiful city, albeit very changed in recent years. 

We've just finished a Norway Fjord cruise on the new Saga ship and I wrote a Live From blog during it. I’m looking forward to reading about your trip to that stunning country. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Norris - your what's to come made me dizzy with anticipation.  I cannot wait.  But, I am a HUGE WWII buff and slowly took in Churchill's War Rooms.  Wow.  Well done.  I so want to see them in person one day.  I also want to go to one of the Air Museums there.  I heard they are amazing.  We went to the WWII Museum in Nawlins back in 2005 before the Hurricane when it was just one large building.  We went back in September of last year and I had to ask a WWII veteran how to do it all in a day. It is over 4 large buildings now with another building just for movies.  We went from opening to close and probably could have stayed longer.  I always leave the memorials and museums with a huge lump in my throat and feeling very humble.


On a side note, I love your hotel.  My view on hotels in London are (1) they are very expensive and (2) you get what you pay for.  I have tried to take a lot of Advil and dive into TA one day to see if I could find something more in my price range but the Advil wasn't working and I was getting too frustrated. I think if I do my dream trip and visit London I will have to start saving more.  


Eagerly following along Norris!!! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Back out on the streets of Whitehall and walking towards St James' Park for a sit down



I had to stop to take a photo of this cute little cottage



The edge of the park



Fierce, threatening beasts



Just then Carol noticed a crowd gathered on Horseguards Parade which we walked through on our way to the War Rooms



The parade ground is home to this eye candy



Horses, unless I miss my guess



and these are probably people


Link to post
Share on other sites

Patience is a virtue 



They are changing the Horseguards as there was maybe something wrong with the first batch.

It takes longer than changing a lightbulb, I can tell you that. They stand still, quietly for 20 minutes, maybe trying to remember who makes the first move. Amazingly well-trained horses!



Police officers on horseback hold the crowds back and answer questions from the holdbackees.

The Police horses don't mind being petted and stand still. Amazingly well trained horses!





The Red team depart after their Captain bellows out some orders, with a Police escort. The Blue team sent them packing



This is a daily ritual and points to the Traditions in Britain that go on for decades and centuries and adds to the charm of the country who goes its own way and respects the past. It adds color to the lives of those watching as its not something you see everyday. I'm glad we stumbled upon it. Thanks to Carol the alert!


Now we could adjourn to the park...



This is a country that really pays tribute to those who have died to make it what it is.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/11/2019 at 2:22 PM, TM said:

We just returned from doing the Norwegian Fjords on Princess.  We stopped at Stavanger, Olden, Geiranger, and Bergen.  Princess only does this a few times each year.  It was an amazing cruise.

Which was your favorite? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Bimmer09, your Churchill War Room pics are mesmerizing.   Thank you for your keen tactics and assertiveness needed to get the great photos.  Much appreciated.


I went to the Churchill War Room museum > 10 years ago.  I thought I remembered it well because it had such a profound impact on me.  But you posted pics of much that looked new to me.

Did they mention an expansion?    (but ... how would they expand?  It's underground!) 


Maybe they just enhanced some of the exhibits.   


The quandary your pictures put me in: 

I will be on the Apex to Norway in May  (Hey - you should be on that cruise too!) 

Pre-cruise London itinerary not planned yet, but now this makes me want to see the Churchill War Room museum again.  But... there's so much else in London I haven't seen!  Gah! 


Are you going to St. Pauls?   We were in the middle of a Santa's Elf flash mob at St. Paul's Cathedral one Christmas.  So much fun!  


@Deck Chair Queenthanks for adding that insight re: ROH.


Could I ask you & @Bimmer09 & London mavens an additional question about London hotels? 


My Big City Hotel selection strategy that has worked best to date: 


1) Select a hotel near the most "alive" and fun area of the city at night.

Advantage:  Explore all day.  Return at 4pm.  Shower, nap, rest the feet. 

Then dinner and fun at night to late night someplace very close.


Alive and fun to me means not just bars but including sights and overall pedestrian activity.

This strategy works great in Rome which I've been to ~ 12 times for work and fun.


2) Select a hotel with a room view of something really interesting at night and day.

An active river or port with lots of boat activity would be my choice over a beautiful but mostly empty beach view any day.


London area for 1) would be where? 

London area for 2) would be where you are right now! ;-)   Congrats on an awesome location & hotel! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team: New Ship Ultramarine
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
  • Create New...