Cruise Part 1 – Booking it up

What with Sal’s health and mobility issues we had decided to get a suite with a balcony. That way if she wasn’t feeling up to doing anything she could still enjoy the view from the room in a degree of comfort. When we checked there was one Superior Suite remaining.

When we decided to try to get on this cruise we really didn’t expect that there would be any space remaining. It was a special cruise to see the Total Solar Eclipse and Northern Lights and as we found out later when talking to other passengers we were right to have those doubts.

It turns out that this cruise was booked up 2 years ago, when it was first announced and this is why…

Click to see full brochure (pdf)

Omega Holidays were offering holidays for those especially interested in astronomy and the eclipse. WOW! Needless to say, the Omega Holidays were fully booked but it was then obvious that John Culshaw, Pete Lawrence and Paul Abel, from Stargazing Live and The Sky at Night were going to be on board. If we were excited about the cruise before then now we were doubly so as both Sal and I are closet amateur astronomers (we have a small telescope and watch the night sky whenever we can).

The first issue for us first then was how much would travel insurance cost for Sal? We called a couple of specialist insurers for insuring those with health issues and it was not too bad. I was on the phone and booked up the cabin.

Now the clock was ticking because we next had to book the tours because they were filling up fast and all the really good and popular tours were already fully booked but there were some that looked interesting so we then booked them up. More on tours later.

Clothes – we were going well north of the Arctic circle. It would be cold. We had no real proper cold weather clothing… or so we thought… but a review of what we did have showed that we probably had the bulk of what we needed but I needed a coat and we both needed some boots. Cotswold Leisure sorted us out on a single visit.

Yaktrax Ice Grips

It was going to be snowy and icy (or so we thought) so we bought some Ice Grips to put onto the soles of our boots. Snow chains but for people instead of cars!Again, more on the weather later.

I wanted to do some solar photography and I didn’t have any solar filters. After some investigation I gave up on getting anything affordable right away but instead opted for using welders glass as my filter for the camera. This turned out to be a very bad idea… more in the photography part of the blog later.

Car parking was easy to arrange. The port offers a valet car park service at a sensible price and that seemed the easiest way given we would likely have 4 suitcases plus had luggage. 15 nights for about £150.

We decided that with the sailing time of 4.30pm and arrival back in the early morning we didn’t need accommodation in Southampton. 4 hours each way in the car would be fine.

So we were booked up and ready to go…

Next… more about the boat and the cruise itinery.


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