A couple of days ago, I posted a blog that was the first part of a story about a cruise aboard Crown Princess to the Norwegian Fjords thanks to a grant received from the UK’s MS Society back in 2013. It was a much-needed holiday courtesy of the society’s short breaks fund. I promised more details, so here goes.
Owing to my limited mobility, for any trip outside our state room, the fancy name for a cabin, it was necessary to use my wheelchair. Not that Lisa had to push the chair inside the main dining room where we dined every evening.
As soon as we arrived, a restaurant staff member took over and wheeled me to our table. Then once I had transferred to a restaurant seat, at my choice, the wheelchair was safely stored on one side.
Eating presents a challenge all the time because MS affects my left side, meaning I need to use a fork in my right hand. I am unable to use a knife and fork in the usual way. Lisa is used to cutting up my meat for me, so thought nothing of beginning to do so when our main courses arrived. Instantly, our assistant waiter Zoran appeared and asked if anything was wrong. We laughed and said no, explaining what was going on. Whereupon, the young man said he would do that for me.
Thanking him, we thought no more about it until the next night. Once again, Lisa started to cut my meat when our server said “No, that is my job” and took over. After that, any solid meat was served to me pre-cut. Absolutely perfect. And, after each delicious meal, my wheelchair reappeared and I was wheeled out of the restaurant before my beloved was allowed to take over.
Our first shore excursion caused a problem in that one of my chair’s front wheels was severely damaged as we got off the ship. Still, we managed to enjoy the excursion around Lysefjord on board a boat. On returning to the ship, thanks to the help of a crew member, we sought assistance through the customer service desk. After a bit of a wait, a couple of engineers arrived and took the chair away – only to return about 20 minutes later having replaced both front wheels and apologised that the replacements were blue not black. They worked, that was all that mattered. They could have been pink for all I cared.
Another shore excursion was a dog sleigh ride, not that there was snow on the ground as it was July. Instead, these ‘sleds’ were on wheels but we got the idea. We got our first views of reindeer and also passed a warning sign about polar bears.
On board Crown Princess there was plenty to do with a variety of activities and venues to enjoy with the help of various members of the entertainment team. One of the most notable was ‘CJ the DJ’, really Chris Walker a likeable Aussie larger than life guy. Entertainment was in his blood and still is, although he left Princess last year when he married. (And Chris, if you are reading this, have a great birthday tomorrow.)
It was CJ’s never-say-die attitude that came to our rescue at North Cape, the most northern point on the European mainland. Somehow, one of my wheelchair’s solid tyres came off. I was helped indoors while Lisa and another passenger tried to force the tyre back on. Then CJ appeared, realised that he needed some sort of lever. Not being able to find one, he borrowed a knife from the café, fixed the tyre back onto the wheel and returned the knife to the tray from which he borrowed it.
Overall, a fantastic cruise and a superb holiday that whetted my appetite for further cruises.