Sep 2018 - NCL Jade - Transatlantic Viking Route UK, Iceland, Canada, New York - Days 1-3

We are back on the NCL Jade for the second time. A lot has changed since our last cruise on this ship after its refurbishment but it still remains one of our favourite ships. Not too big (though not too small) and with plenty of public areas and a nice proper crows nest lounge.

This pic from our Venice trip -click here for details-  gives you a good idea of what has changed, the plastic palm trees have been removed and the pool area  re designed. The feeling now is a much cleaner and more spacious area.

We leave Southampton on a warm calm evening after a nice lunch on the aft deck. 

We have a sea day before we reach our first destination - the port of Lerwick on the  Shetland Isles.

We booked this cruise rather late as a last minute direct with NCL and could only get a large window outside - but we were both pleasantly surprised by the size of the room (though the room works infinitely better as a twin otherwise the pullman bed is in the way. If the price is right we wouldn't hesitate to use one again

Quick drink before we head into Le Bistro for dinner

We had prebooked several dining upgrades and as usual tried to fit these in whenever there was a sea day.Le Bistro was excellent as usual though the menu hasn't really changed since the last time.

We will have to tender in Lerwick - despite the new pier that's been completed just out of town the Jade is still a little too large to use it. So its all aboard the lifeboats. Fortunately our latitude points mean we can use any tender at any time.

Rather like a transformer the Jade creates its own platforms for boarding the lifeboats/tenders

Help I'm in a lifeboat

The NCL jade sits stationary in its deep water spot - its computers maintaining its position by GPS

Now this is of course is DI Jimmy Perez's (Douglas Henshall) house from the BBC detective series "Shetland"

This charming little beach (Bains Beach) is next door to the Perez house which is one of a few surviving Lodberries (piers that run into the sea - historically developed into warehouses then houses)

We had arranged a trip ourselves with  Halcrows "Shetland Explorer Tours"

Lunch was included on this tour and was taken in another "Shetland" TV location Series 5 is now showing on the BBC iplayer here

No trip to Shetland is of course possible without ahhhing over Shetland Ponies (cute)

Finally we spent the last moments in Lerwick shopping for the ultimate Shetland Wool Jumper (we used Ninians store on the high street)

Time to get those lifeboats back on board

Our wonderful captain informs us he's going to keep the Shetlands and Faeroes between us and the storms in the Atlantic as we depart for Iceland rather than the normal route shown in red.

Dinner tonight is in the Main Dining Room where we have a table right over the Aft.

Suitably kilted - though to be fair the Shetlands reminded us more of Norway than mainland Scotland. The must buy here is a real Shetland Jumper (ticked).

Sep 2018 - Transatlantic Viking Route to New York - Days 4-5


So after a couple of excellent days at sea making use of the Jades full wraparound promenade deck for exercise we arrive into Reykjavik. Shetland Jumpers at the ready.

Cruise critics "roll call" for this cruise had put us in touch with ICG for two days of touring with them. They set up the Grand Circle on day 1 and a customized Southern Iceland for the 2nd day.

Normally you need a full day for the Southern Section but IGT customized the tour to fit the ships schedule.

This morning though we head off on the Grand Circle Tour

Iceland bridges two continental plates and this supermarket was built right on the fault. A few years ago a tremor partly destroyed the building and the fissure was revealed.

Rest Stops are always better when  coffee and cakes are involved

If you want dramatic scenery then Iceland is the place for you. It also explains why quite a lot of it is recognisable from films and TV shows as there is so much different scenery within quite small areas.

From HBOs Game of Thrones to Ridley Scotts Prometheus its all here. This is Gullfoss Waterfall , located in South Iceland on the Hvítá (White) river which is fed by Iceland´s second biggest glacier, the Langjökull. The water plummets down 32 meters in two stages into a rugged canyon which walls reach up to 70 meters in height.

Our guide today was Andreas - a good no nonsense type of guide. We have now arrived at the geothermal area and the Great Geysir (After whom all other Geysers get there name).

The effects of two continental planes nudging against each other is even more apparent when you arrive at Gestastofa.