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Trip Report LIVE FROM THE TOP OF THE WORLD ON THE TAHTITAN PRINCESS PART 2

Interestingly enough, I have found that on the longer cruises you have more time to develop friendships with the passengers onboard. On the shorter cruises it’s a bit more hectic as everyone is scurrying to find the perfect tour, activity or just the layout of the ship. My husband, The Crabby Old Guy, and I have been very fortunate to meet many wonderful people from different countries and all walks of life. The one thing we keep reminding ourselves is that laughter is universal and, believe me when I tell you, that we have had a lot of laughs on the Tahitian Princess. In the evening many of us congregate in the casino at the nickel or quarter slot machines and I think we are having a tournament to see who can lose the most money the fastest. You know the routine…bet 20 credits and win 2. The odd thing is that we celebrate our 2 credit wins together and with a laugh. I guess it’s like looking at a glass half empty or half full. LOL

July 12th was a Sunday and we found ourselves in the town of Torshavn, located on the Faroe Islands off the coast of Norway. Never heard of them, well neither had any of us but that is part of the grand adventure of cruising in this part of the world, a new, far away place that few have heard of and fewer have been able to visit. As in many of the European countries, most of the shops and restaurants here were closed; this was a bit of an itinerary scheduling disappointment. (By-the-way, for those of you cruisers on the July 25th TP sailing from NY to Dover, you will be in Bergen on a Sunday and according to Passenger Services Director, Mr. Manfredi, the town market and shops will be open.)

Torshavn is an extremely picturesque port town. It’s a simple walk from the pier to the town and many of the houses have roofs covered with live grass-growing sod. This custom is a holdover from early settlement days when the heavy sod helped keep the walls steady in the wind and help sop up rain. Unfortunately, one of the locals told us that insects love to nest in the sod which is why newer homes mostly have regular roofs. After a 10 minute walk from the ship dock we found the town square down near another pier. There was only one shop and a small café open. So there sat most of the Tahitian Princess passengers having a nice pint of the local brew or a coffee and enjoying a lovely sunny day. There were some passengers who opted to take tours either by cab or the ship’s tour to the outlying parts of the island. I was very surprised to see how expensive the food and clothing was and most of us purchased very few souvenirs. A relatively simple three course meal of salad, cod and desert at one of the two local hotel restaurants was $90.00 US per person. A chicken Panini was about $11.00 US at an outdoor sandwich stand. While certainly a scenic stop and nice place to stretch our sea-legs most of the passengers agreed that the double whammy of stopping at a town that did not seem to care if we were there or not and landfall on a Sunday was a bit of a downer; a longer stay in another of the wonderful larger ports, such as Scotland or Reykjavik might have been more interesting.

That evening we had reservations for dinner at Sabatini’s Trattoria ($20 per person surcharge). What a great place to eat. My one suggestion to those of you who have never eaten at Sabatini’s before is to make sure you have a light lunch that day. The food is well prepared and you have a taste of everything on the menu, (8 antipasti, 4 pizzas, 2 soups (including a fantastic saffron flavored cioppino) and 3 pastas). Your only decision is what entrée and dessert (the apricot pie is delicious) you would like. If you are a brie lover, as I am, make sure you taste the baked Italian brie. It seems to be creamier and softer than the French brie and ohhhhh so good. I will try and post a copy of the menu when I get home end of the month but in the mean time there is a sample menu posted on the Princess website. I heard that there is some talk about “simplifying” this grand menu, I hope that whatever changes made will be only minor as this is a fantastic value in an age of “plus-pricing”.

Cruising in the North Atlantic and into the ports at the top of the world provide some stunning and unique scenery. The mountains, glacial areas and lava fields are beautiful in their rugged and other-worldly vistas. Captain Ravera and his crew took great care and time to cruise close to these areas to afford all unforgettable views and some simply stunning photo-ops, thanks to the TP bridge crew for all of that hard work on our behalf.

July 13th found us in our first of two ports in Iceland, Seydisfjordur. As we entered the fjord between snow capped mountains the beauty of this part of the world was just breathtaking. Now, for some reason that name of the town just didn’t roll easily over the tongues of the majority of English speaking passengers onboard. So after we all butchered the name multiple times we now refer to it as “The-S Town”. It doesn’t help that the Icelandic language has several different letters in their alphabet than we do and therefore you really can’t sound out most of their words. So what is the best way to get from point-A to point-B, do what The Crabby Old Guy and I do…keep a map handy and just point to the places you want to go to. Don’t worry, they already know you are a tourist, LOL, and the good folks in all of these lovely towns are very willing to help you find your way around.

The town center is a short walk from the pier (less then 5 minutes and you will be standing in front of the town pharmacy) and has only about 750 residents. Imagine, the docking of the TP more than doubled the number of people in that area. But Seydisfjordur is an absolutely delightful place where the town’s people were very welcoming to us and the prices of good quality gift items and cafe food are quite reasonable. If you are in the mood for lamb, a local favorite, check out the braised lamb with root vegetables luncheon at the local hotel near the beautiful Blue Church. It is local lamb that has heather incorporated into its diet and the taste is phenomenal in its simplicity. Thankfully, Mother Nature continued to smile on us with lovely weather. There are tours available for the area but we opted to just walk through the town on our own. As you leave the pier and reach the main street, the first yellow house with a green roof on the right hand side (a little tourists shop) has an exhibition by Adalheidur S. Eysteinsdottir. This woman has been sculpting for fifteen years and models her sculptures after 1000 year old sheep that were brought over from Denmark. She has a unique way of using small bits and pieces of wood to create her sheep. She has exhibited in New York and Canada and is now making plans to bring her exhibition all over the world. You can check out her website at www.freyjulundur.is.

July 14th was a sea day and most of us just rested up for our next port of call, Reykjavik, Iceland. That evening was a formal night and we met a very dignified gentleman dressed in a proper tuxedo. On his lapel, though, were 9 different pins. When I asked him what they represented, he explained each briefly and when he got to the last one he, straight facedly replied “You see this little penguin? Well, it cost me $25,000 on my cruise to Antarctica.”

You won’t believe our next adventure at the world famous Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland. This total emersion experience will definitely stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Hugs
Joan Giorgianni
The Savvy Old Lady ™

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