Didn’t sleep all that well last night; I’d started a tickly throat a couple of days ago that I had put down to the very dry air around the ship, but during the night it had turned into the sniffles – a cold. The first thing I did when we got up was take a couple of paracetamol; I was determined I wasn’t going to let a cold ruin Christmas and the rest of this cruise.
Our 24-hour Oslo Pass was due to expire at 10:20am, so we decided that we’d leave the Arcadia straight after breakfast and visit the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum which was only about a 20 minute walk away; if we could be there for its opening time of 10:00am our passes would still be valid. Therefore, after wrapping up warmly we disembarked the Arcadia once more, into the sub-zero temperatures, and tentatively picked our way across the icy terrain. If anything, the ice seemed worse than yesterday and I was terrified of falling and breaking something (it wouldn’t be the first time that had happened to me on holiday!!)
As I went onto the Google Maps app for directions to the museum, I was advised that it was closed; this is because Norwegians do their main Christmas celebrations of Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. In fact, the town and the streets in general seemed strangely quiet – was anything open?
Standing in the bitterly cold, biting wind, I didn’t want to venture into the town if nothing was going to be open, particularly if I was starting a cold, so I decided to go back to the ship while Trevor said he would take a walk into town and see if he could find a supermarket that was open so we could get some salty licorice chewing gum (my favourite – hard to find in the UK but available everywhere in Norway) as well as some brunost, the sweet Norwegian cheese.
In any case, “all aboard” time was 1:30pm today as we were due to sail at two o’clock and have a day at sea tomorrow.
Back in our cabin I pottered around for a while, reading, watching TV and just relaxing. We had a cute little live Christmas Tree that had been placed in our cabin a couple of nights ago, our cabin steward Anthonio said we could take it home with us and plant it in the garden to remind us of our Christmas 2022 cruise.
Trevor arrived back around 11:45am with a carrier bag containing a kilo of brunost and 10 packets of the chewing gum for me, so mission accomplished. Shortly afterwards we went up to the Belvedere buffet where there was some queueing; this is because you were no longer allowed to serve yourself, the staff had to put your selections on the plate for you. This is because there were several cases of suspected norovirus cases on board, so P&O were trying to keep this at bay as much as possible. Oh no, that’s all we need! 🙁
Apparently they believed that a passenger had actually brought the gastrointestinal illness on board with them, but judging from the dodgly plumbing around the ship, we did wonder if that was just an excuse.
After lunch we decided to go up to the Crow’s Nest and partake of a couple of drinks and watch the sailaway at two o’clock. We’d seen Captain Martyn Sharples in the lift earlier on, and he assured us that the ship would be warmer once the gangway doors were sealed once again and the ship had put to sea. We hoped he was right, as it was still uncomfortably cold.
In the Crow’s Nest, everyone was in a festive mood and the drinks were flowing. Loads of people were wearing Christmas jumpers and Santa hats. Canned music belted out Slade and Wizzard and Wham as we enjoyed our drinks. At 1:30pm Trevor decided to go out on deck and watch the arrival of Santa Claus on board, but there was no way I was going back out in that cold again! 🙂
Just after 2:00pm the Arcadia slipped her moorings and set off again. We watched her progress for a while, then decided to go back to our cabin. On the way, we stopped to photograph the wonderful gingerbread village that had been created in the atrium. While the Christmas decorations on the Arcadia were thin on the ground compared to those on the Queen Victoria a month ago, you had to give P&O their due for a fantastic gingerbread village.
Back in E26, I took another couple of paracetamol to keep my cold symptoms at bay, then got showered, blow-dried my hair and into my Christmas dress and Christmas boots. Trevor had bought these boots for my birthday in February and this was going to be first chance to wear them. They are called “Trees a Crowd” and they are by Irregular Choice. They feature a Christmas tree that really lights up! The boot has a micro-USB part inside it so you can charge the lights! 🙂
We decided to have a pre-prandial drink in the Piano Bar before going into the Meridian Restaurant; before we left I wrote out three Christmas cards for the other couples on table #61: Vic and Marlene, Alan and Margaret ,and Les and Rose.
Predictably, my boots attracted a lot of attention, with every other person stopping and coming over to me, some of them photographing and/or videoing the boots. 🙂
Arriving at our table, I dished the Christmas cards out and had barely picked up the menu to look at the options before the waiter arrived to take the order! What is also unusual is that they take the order for the dessert at the same time as the starter and main, instead of bringing a separate dessert menu as they used to. We also have to give our drinks orders to the waiter as well. No wonder none of them look as if they are happy in their work; they are having to do the jobs of the busboy and wine-waiter as well.
After dinner we went down to the Rising Sun pub, which was much warmer now that the gangway doors were closed. John and Linda were in there, and we gave them their Christmas card. We were laughing because we had had it printed with their names a couple of weeks earlier, and it featured a large Sunderland AFC crest – John and Linda are Newcastle United supporters! John would not even touch the card; he reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his NUFC gloves which we put on before he could bring himself to read the message in the card, ha ha. 🙂
We watched part of a Christmas quiz (we didn’t participate) until it was time to go into the theatre to see tonight’s production show, called “Deck the Halls” by the Headliners Theatre Company. It was a colourful, exuberant Christmas show and we really enjoyed it a lot – the evening entertainment really is very good.
Then we just did the usual – went to the Ocean Room afterwards and met up with John and Linda again for the Syndicate Quiz which we didn’t win once again. We stayed for a short while afterwards, but didn’t go up to the Crow’s Nest this time as the late nights were beginning to catch up with us a bit. Nevertheless, it was still after midnight – Merry Christmas everybody! 🙂
Tomorrow we would spend our first Christmas Day at sea, and we looked forward to what the day would bring. 🙂