After our self-drive trip around Ireland, we embarked Oceania's Nautica for 50 days. Our extended voyage consisted of multiple segments that took us to places around Europe ... both new- and old-to-us.
  • Day1

    Leg 1: Northern Glow

    July 5, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 63 °F

    This phase of our 2019 overseas jaunts consists of two cruises booked back-to-back on Oceania’s Nautica. Hence the name of the trip — “Nautical Explorations.”

    The segment we are embarking today in Dublin, Ireland will take us up and around Norway with a dip into Russia. After a few more Norwegian ports on the way south again, the cruise will end in Denmark, Copenhagen.Read more

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  • Day1

    Our Oceanview Cabin

    July 5, 2019, Irish Sea ⋅ ☁️ 61 °F

    We were onboard Nautica well before our appointed time. Lunch was at the Terrace Café ... with our friends — Bill & Star and Sonia & Boris. We met both couples on the 2017 world cruise. Sonia and Boris’s longtime friends, Sofia & Stalik, joined us as well.

    Much of the afternoon was spent getting settled into our respective cabins, with time set aside to attend the mandatory muster drill when the ship’s horn sounded the alarm.

    At 7:00p, Nautica quietly slipped her mooring lines. As the ship headed out to the Irish Sea, we rejoined our friends for a group dinner at the Polo Grill.

    And so our voyage has begun!

    (Oddly, I have no photos from today except for those I took of the cabin.)
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  • Day2

    Day At Sea

    July 6, 2019, Inner Seas off the West Coast of Scotland ⋅ ☁️ 52 °F

    When Nautica left Dublin last night, we had some 540 NM to go to our next port of call. That’s a distance that requires a day at sea . No problem, we love such days.

    In all these years of sailing, one thing hasn’t changed. And that is the swiftness with which a day at sea seems to fly by for us. Today was no exception.

    After meeting up with our friends for breakfast in the Terrace Café, we all went about our own plans .... some together ... some separately. That, to us, is the best way to share a cruise with friends. Do things together when interests and plans coincide ... but not joined at the hip all the time.

    Our activities kicked off with an M&G [meet & greet] to get to know fellow-passengers whom we had met “virtually” on the CruiseCritic roll call. Then came several lectures — two that we enjoyed ... one that wasn’t our cup of tea. Quiet time — reading and writing — was also part of the day. In between, we had lunch at the Terrace Café and partook of afternoon tea in the Horizons Lounge.

    We wrapped up our day with dinner with our friends in the Grand Dining Room; listened to the classical music quartet in the lobby; and went to see Alan Kavanagh, headlining in the theater. His rendition of “Oh Danny Boy” was especially delightful.

    Tomorrow is the first of a run of four ports of call coming up. We’ll be stepping foot on Scottish soil for the first time.
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  • Day3

    Welcome to Lerwick (Shetland Islands)

    July 7, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 48 °F

    Our first port of call of the cruise ... Lerwick ... the capital of the Shetland Islands ... the easternmost town of Scotland ... the northernmost town of the UK.

    First time setting foot in Scotland.

    With Nautica docked at Mair’s Pier, Mui and I spent the day exploring Lerwick on foot ... creating our own path by combining the route marked in red on the map with the black-dotted route that took us to The Knab and beyond.
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  • Day3

    A-Wander in Lerwick

    July 7, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 48 °F

    Mui and I set off from Nautica around 9:00a ... cold at 37F ... windy at times ... the sun barely peeking out but mostly hiding behind the clouds ... damp as well.

    As it was Sunday, the shops and such were closed ... only an occasional glimpse of the locals who live in what the Shetland website describes as “the only town” in these Scottish islands. Very few fellow passengers wandering around town ... most likely on tours going to places outside of town.

    The first part of our DIY exploration was a stroll through Lerwick ... the name of which comes from Leir Wick and means “Muddy Bay.”
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  • Day3

    Leirwick: “Lodberries” & “The Knab”

    July 7, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 50 °F

    Our stroll through town took us through the Lodberries — old traders’ homes with attached shops — to a paved path that led us to “The Knab.” The name of the promontory, which juts into Bressay Sound, comes from Old Norse and appropriately means “projecting knoll or crag.”

    The path took us along the rugged coastline to an overlook from which we enjoyed views of the sound and the “Horse of the Knab.” Nearby we found the ruins of WWI military defenses and the Lerwick Cemetery.
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  • Day3

    Lerwick: “Da Sletts”

    July 7, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 50 °F

    As we cut through the golf course near The Knab, we got caught in a fast-moving squall that left us drenched. The good news? We were dressed in foul weather gear ... rain pants and slickers. Thus we stayed dry on the inside and were able to continue our explorations a-foot.

    We continued our walk on the paved path fronting “Da Sletts” ... sedimentary rocks that have been eroded into flat surfaces where seals love to sunbathe.
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  • Day3

    Lerwick: Lunch Time!

    July 7, 2019 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 50 °F

    My pre-cruise research had suggested that an espresso bar called Fjarå would be a good place to grab a bite to eat. When this was confirmed by a Shetlander we chatted with at The Knab, we headed there for lunch. The place overlooked Da Sletts and was a local hangout rather than a touristy place ... a bonus.

    The place was hopping when we arrived shortly before the breakfast menu changed to the lunch menu.

    Mui ordered the fish-sans-chips … made with haddock. I got the Fjarå ALT … a vegetarian BLT on a toasted bagel … with avocado in lieu of bacon. I added buffalo mozzarella to the mix. We were both pleased with our selections. I ordered a beer brewed in Lerwick — Azure … which the label on the bottle described as a light, hoppy ale. Truthfully, I didn’t care for it … too hoppy for my taste. Mui had an iced coffee that he said was quite good.
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  • Day3

    Sailaway from Lerwick

    July 7, 2019, North Sea ⋅ ⛅ 41 °F

    After lunch, we took a roundabout way back to Mair’s Pier where Nautica was docked. By this time, the damp cold had seeped into our bones. A cup of hot tea at the Horizons Lounge was in order. This was also a good spot from which to watch our sailaway from Lerwick.

    Our group split up for dinner tonight. Sonia and Boris went to Toscana to celebrate Stalik’s 80th birthday. We joined Bill & Star at the Terrace Café where mussels, picked up locally by the chef, were prepared in a Guinness broth.
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  • Day3

    Surprise from Chef Farid!

    July 7, 2019, North Sea ⋅ ☁️ 48 °F

    When we returned to our cabin after dinner there was a surprise awaiting us from our friend, Chef Farid.

    Farid was the Executive Chef on the world cruise we did on Oceania’s Insignia in 2017. Though we’ve run into several of the crew members from that voyage since embarking Nautica in Dublin, Farid isn’t one of them.

    But he knew of our plans for this cruise and gifted us with a tasty treat. We’ve already eaten the chocolate-dipped strawberries. The champagne is waiting to be shared with our friends soon.

    Next up: Bergen, Norway ... 186 NM away.
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