Woke up to the happy anticipation of wandering the charming streets of Denmark, and perhaps partaking of a Carlsberg (what else?) or two. 😊
Looking out from our balcony, we noticed that the CitySightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus was parked up, so we decided that would be what we’d do for today.
We breakfasted as usual in the Bevedere Buffet, then wrapped up well against the cold and disembarked the Arcadia. Arriving at the HOHO bus, we purchased our tickets and were given a map of the route as well as a pair of earphones to listen to the commentary. We asked whether the bus would be stopping at the Carlsberg Brewery, but we were informed this would not be the case as it was closed for refurbishment. Just as well we’d already been twice before, otherwise we would have been disappointed.
As our bus had only gone along to the cruise terminal to tout for passengers off the ship, the driver told us he would take us as far as the Little Mermaid where we would have to get onto the ‘proper’ HOHO bus to complete the route. When we arrived (Stop 5), we had about 15 minutes before the bus set off, and we contemplated visiting the Little Mermaid (which we’ve already seen on previous visits to Copenhagen) but decided we’d do it on the way back instead.
We went up onto the top deck which was covered over with a removable shelter; after all, who would want to ride on an open-topped bus when the temperature wasn’t far about zero! We plugged in our earphones and listened to the commentary as we gazed out of the windows with interest, our heads swivelling right or left depending on what we were supposed to be looking at. We didn’t take any photos as the windows were slightly grubby, preferring to wait until we’d “hopped off” instead. As we had nearly completed a circuit, we arrived at one stop in the centre of the city where we could “upgrade our ticket” to include a ride on the hop-on-hop-off canal boat, which we decided to do.
Alighting from the bus, we went across the road where the boat was waiting on the canal, and we purchased a ticket each for the 90 minute journey. We didn’t need our ear phones for this, as the commentary was live. Before we set off, our guide told us to stay in our seats at all time and not stand up, as some of the bridges we’d be passing under were very low; we saw later on exactly what he meant! 😊
Off we went, gliding past tall, colourful dwellings; the architectural style reminded us very much of Amsterdam. We passed many houseboats, all lavishly decorated for Christmas. They looked lovely and homely and cosy, and I imagined how lovely it must be to live permanently on a boat. The guide told us that houseboats were very much sought-after in Copenhagen and were very expensive to purchase or rent.
As we came to some of the bridges, the guide (who was standing on the outside part of the boat (we were inside, under cover) ducked his head right down as we glided underneath with only inches to spare. Some of the curves were very tight to manoeuvre, and our skipper did a sterling job of negotiating these bends and tight corners.
We really enjoyed our canal boat tour, and once we’d arrived back where we started, we disembarked the boat for a look around. As it was now after 1.00pm, we decided it was time for a cold beer (Carlsberg, of course!) which we thought we’d enjoy while writing out some postcards to send home.
We bought the postcards and stamps (the stamps to the UK were outrageously priced at five Euros each!!) then went into a nearby bar, where we ordered a large, cold Carslberg each and asked to borrow a pen, which the proprietor was happy to lend us. Then we enjoyed the beer and the ambience, listening to English Christmas songs while writing out the cards.
Afterwards, we found a postbox and sent the cards on their way, while walking around looking for the next stop for the HOHO bus so we could complete the circuit. We didn’t find it, but we did find the stop for the shuttle buses back to the cruise terminal and one was coming, so we went there instead.
When we arrived back to where the Little Mermaid is, we saw large crowds of people all jostling for position to get the obligatory photo of this famous landmark. As this was our fourth visit to Copenhagen (and we’re going again in April 2023!) we decided we wouldn’t bother this time, and we just stayed on the shuttle until it dropped us back at the Arcadia around 2.30pm.
Dumping our bags back in our cabin, we hotfooted it up to the Belvedere for a late lunch, hoping it would still be open. Indeed it was, as there were several other people in there, some of them still wearing their coats and hats, who had obviously done the same as us and spent the morning exploring.
Afterwards we went along to the Crow’s Nest and sat on bar stools as we each ordered a drink. We worked out that once you were on your sixth drink of the day, the All-Inclusive drinks package had paid for itself. As we wandered into the Crow’s Nest, we were somewhat perturbed to see a series of buckets in the corridor, placed to catch the drops of water which were coming through the smoke detector in the ceiling! ☹
We enjoyed a couple of drinks then returned to E26 for an hour’s power-nap so we would be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready for tonight. Then we just watched the television, read, relaxed and looked outside from our balcony as the Arcadia prepared to set sail once again around 5.00pm.
Tonight the dress code was just smart-casual, so I wore a knee-length strappy red dress with a black lace bolero as well as a lavish, beaded and sequinned pair of Irregular Choice red boots. Once again, lots of people paused to admire them.
When we were in the restaurant, they handed the menus to us and, at first, we thought they’d made a mistake and given us the same menu as a couple of nights ago, because so many of the dishes were repeated. Caesar salad, steak, chicken, fruit salad – these put in an appearance on practically every evening menu. While we enjoyed the food, the service was once again less than the standards we are used to on cruise ships, and we felt as though they couldn’t get us out of the restaurant fast enough.
The entertainment in the Palladium Theatre tonight was fantastic. It was called “Mister Tickerton’s Clockwork Circus” and was an exuberant, colourful all-singing, all-dancing display, with some aerial work thrown in to a background of evocative ‘circus’ music. As it was an original show, we hadn’t seen it before on any other cruise, and we enjoyed it immensely.
Then it was down to the Rising Sun for a couple of drinks before it was time to go up for the Syndicate Quiz. While we were in there, we spotted John and Linda sitting at a table so we pulled up a couple of stools and joined them. We spent some time discussing the cruise so far; this was our fourth night on board and so far, regrettably, it had fallen a little short of our expectations. Our biggest gripes were the general maintenance of the ship (poor for a ship that is only 17 years old) and the poor service in the Meridian Restaurant. As we sat there, moaning and complaining, we said we hated that we seemed to have turned into those types of people who whinge and complain about everything, but it was very sad to see how much P&O’s standards had dropped in the nine times we’ve cruised with them (five on Arcadia alone). ☹
We then made our way up to the Ocean Room to take part in the Syndicate Quiz which we didn’t win (nor did we come last). Afterwards, we went along to the Crow’s Nest again (still with its buckets outside catching the water from the leaking roof); when I went to use the loos, one of the cubicles had an “OUT OF ORDER” sign taped to the door and one of the taps at the sink had no water coming out of it! ☹ In the Crow’s Nest, we sat and drank and talked and laughed as the time winged by. Looking at my watch, I saw that it was 01:55am. Yawning and stretching, we got up from our seats, said our goodnights, and made our way back to E26. Tomorrow we were due to arrive in Oslo, Norway, and we already had a great day planned.