Got up around 8.30am to find the Bolette docked in Copenhagen, Denmark, in exactly the same place as we had been docked on Arcadia in December. It seemed strange to be back in Copenhagen again so soon (and indeed this is our fifth visit here) but there’s always plenty to see and do in Denmark’s wonderful capital city. We didn’t have any excursions booked today, preferring to do our own thing.
I enjoyed a coffee in our suite, along with an orange and a banana from the fresh fruit bowl. Going out onto the balcony, we could see the waiting shuttle buses and a couple of the “hop on, hop off” buses which we’d taken last time we were here. We had to go to the Oceans bar to collect a shuttle bus ticket; we were number nine.
Apparently there was a traffic jam holding up some of the shuttle buses, so there was a bit of a delay, and cruise director Simon’s voice apologised and said he’d do his best to keep us updated. We therefore went up to The View self-service buffet for another coffee, but this time we accompanied it with a glass of prosecco as tonight was Formal Night once again. 🙂
Eventually our coach number was called, around 10.00am, so we made our way down to Deck A to disembark, and boarded the coach for the 20 minute ride into the main city centre. Ships always used to dock within walking distance of the city and just along from the famous Little Mermaid statue, but that part of the dock and cruise terminal is undergoing extensive refurbishment and building works, hence our having to berth so far out.
On our way through the familiar streets, I spotted an interesting-looking building with several spires (a church? a castle?) set in manicured gardens; we thought it looked a good place to go and visit.
The bus dropped us off next to the impressive Copenhagen City Hall, so we alighted and looked around to get our bearings. We thought we’d walk along to the Tivoli Gardens; it had reopened now after being closed over the winter. We were there at Christmas which is the absolute best time to visit, but our daughter and son-in-law had visited Copenhagen last month and Tivoli Gardens (as well as the Carlsberg Brewery) had been closed, so we wanted to stand outside the gates and take a selfie to send them, with the message “Here’s what you could have won!” 🙂
When we arrived, the gates were just opening and queues of excited children and teenagers were beginning to form, so we decided against going in.
We wandered through the streets and shops, heading in the general direction of the interesting spired building we’d seen, which Google Maps told us was Rosenborg Castle, set in the King’s Garden. The weather was pleasantly warm, especially in direct sunlight, so we thought a gentle stroll through well-kept gardens would be lovely.
We discovered that the castle was built in 1606, orginally as a summer house for King Christian IV. It had orginally been built in the Dutch Renaissance style, but had been extended several times, evolving into its present condition around 1624. What we found interesting was that it contains a treasury which houses the Danish Crown Jewels.
We pondered whether or not to go inside, but the weather was just so lovely we thought it would be a shame to spend the time indoors. As it was, there was a barracks next door to the castle where the Danish Royal Life Guards, who guard the castle, are garrisoned, and they were outside going through their drills.
It reminded us of the changing of the guard you can see at Buckingham Palace, and we stood and watched the guardsmen as they marched, presented arms, stood to attention etc. on the one-word commands of the leather-lunged drill instructor. 🙂
Afterwards we spent some time walking around the beautiful gardens, some of which had the topiary cut to look like a maze. There were some red tulips, whose petals were wide open to the sun, and they looked lovely with the sun making the petals gleam.
We certainly had no problem clocking up our 10,000 steps today! We decided we’d walk back into the town and find a pub and go in for a Carlsberg (in any case, I needed to loo!). You can’t come to Copenhagen and not have a Carlsberg; it’s the law or something. 😉
We found a nice looking bar/restaurant with big windows that allowed us to look out onto the street for a spot of people-watching. We each ordered a glass of Carlsberg, and sat and enjoyed it and chatted and looked at each happily. Wasn’t it just great to be cruising again and here we were, in the amazing city of Copenhagen, on a Tuesday afternoon. I could certainly think of worse places to be! 🙂
Once we’d finished our pints, we took a slow stroll back to the City Hall to await the shuttle bus; it didn’t take long. Then we arrived back at the Bolette around 1.30pm and went up to 7036 to dump our bags and wash our hands before going for a late-ish lunch in The View. I enjoyed some chicken tikka masala washed down with a glass of chilled rosé wine, before we went out onto the aft decks for a short while, then back to our suite for an afternoon power nap. So far we hadn’t made any use of our massive balcony which was a shame; but the weather was typical of spring in Northern climes, so it was just that little bit too cold.
We woke up around three o’clock, and I got showered and shampooed and sorted out, ready for the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail party at 5.15pm. It seemed a bit too soon for a ‘farewell’ party (we still had three more sleeps on board!) but Simon had already explained that, because we were in Oslo tomorrow and we had a packed events programme for the remainder of the cruise, tonight was the only night we could fit the cocktail party in. At least here, on the Bolette, they were having a captain’s cocktail party which was more than we’d had with P&O and Cunard recently. On Cunard’s Queen Victoria in November we never even clapped eyes on the captain once. Several times during this cruise Trevor and I had discussed how much more superior FOCL were to Cunard and P&O – we were so pleased that this was the Fred we knew and loved, and it’s why we’ll continue to cruise with them. 🙂
Just before 4.30pm we heard the dulcet tones of Captain Mikael, welcoming us back on board the “glorious Bolette” and adding that he was looking forward to seeing us at his party at quarter past five.
At five o’clock a knock on the door and the cry of “canapés!” let us know our little tasty snacks had arrived, and we accepted the small rectangular dish from the smiling busboy. Then we took one more look in the mirror and swept out of our cabin (suite!!) towards th Neptune Theatre.
As we arrived, we saw the receiving line of Captain Mikael, some of the officers, and cruise director Simon waiting to greet us with their “good evening” and “how nice to see you” before we made our way to our ‘regular’ table at the front. Some of the members of the orchestra were playing tasteful tunes as we accepted a glass of fizz and some more tasty hot and cold canapés. Then the musicians struck up with the familiar strains of Anchors Aweigh! as the Captain was clapped onto the stage. This time, however, he wasn’t introducing his senior officers, but some of his navigation staff.
Captain Mikael explained that one of the most common questions he was asked what “who is driving the ship when you are not on the bridge?” He’d therefore brought his navigators onto the stage to show us; the next question was “if all the navigators are here, who is driving the ship now?” We were assured that the Senior Safety Officer, a Croatian called Duje Bubalo, was currently at the helm. 🙂
As ever, the Captain’s speech was hilarious as he bantered with his staff. If he hadn’t have been a captain he could have been a comedian. It made it funnier because all his sallies were delivered totally deadpan; what a great bloke.
We enjoyed several more glasses of the free fizz before it was time to proceed to the Terrace Restaurant and table #46 at 6.15pm. When we arrived, Roy, Jane, Peter and Marian were already there; Peter had borrowed a tie from Roy so we could have a full house for the formal night.
In addition, we had an extra guest on table #46 – the Senior Safety Officer, Duje Bubalo, who told us he was from Split. A bottle of white wine was brought out to our table, which our waiter told us was compliments of Duje – the drinks were on him tonight. 🙂
As ever, we savoured the sumptuous food and drink; the appetisers, the house salad with its delicious dressing, the main course of a perfectly cooked steak for which bottle of red wine was brought out. Not forgetting the excellent company and the stimulating conversation.
Just before the dessert, Duje apologised that he would have to leave us and return to the bridge so the captain could host the second-sitting cocktail party.
To finish off, I enjoyed the cheese board once again, washed down with a glass of tawny port. By this time, we noticed the sun was getting low in the sky again, so we dashed back to 7036 to get some more wonderful sunset photos. Sunsets at sea are the best! 🙂
We then went down to the Morning Light pub for a couple of drinks; the show was starting slightly later on tonight at 9.00pm to allow for the second cocktail party. It was busy in the Morning Light; it’s obviously a very popular venue, particularly when the quiz is on, when it’s sometimes hard to get a seat.
The performance in the Neptune Theatre tonight was called ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and featured the unusual combination of a circus theme set to 1960s music. It certainly worked, however, and we loved the colourful costumes and the fantastic singing and dancing.
Afterwards we hotfooted it along to the Morning Light again to bagsy our regular bar stools for the quiz. Still no win! Despite getting 13/15 several teams had scored 14, and one even had full marks. Maybe the questions are too easy or some people are doing back-to-back cruises where the same questions are asked – it has happened before! 🙂
Then we headed up to the Observatory where they were holding a Silent Disco. Participants received a headset which had a choice of three playlists; the playlist they chose was identified by coloured lights at the sides of the earphones; either red, green or blue. This meant that, if you chose the Green playlist and you saw someone else with green lights on their headset, then you knew they were listening to the same music as you, and you could dance together.
Trevor and I didn’t join in; we decided it was more entertaining to watch, especially when the dancers started singing along to the music – we couldn’t hear the music, only their singing! It was an absolute hoot when one playlist obviously did the Macarena and everyone started doing the actions and the dance. What a laugh; we certainly found the whole thing very amusing. 🙂
It was well after midight when we enjoyed our last drink in the Observatory and headed back to 7036. We’d had a great day once again, and we looked forward to revisiting Oslo tomorrow.