I’m back and oh my word, the number of washes I’ve done! Our clothes seem to have multiplied over the 8 days we were away. And apologies for those of you who thought I might put loads of photos on Instagram, I just couldn’t get it to work so there’ll be quite a few on this post! And before I get on to the clothes I wore, a few thoughts on the cruise.
First, it was so good to be back cruising, which I have always loved, and especially on Saga’s ships, where they look after you so well and even pick you up from your door, taking you to and from the port – that’s service in my view!
Second, the food was gorgeous and very ample, including a sumptuous afternoon tea, but I did not put on any weight as by the 3rd day I cut down big-time as I just cannot eat large 3 to 4-course meals every day, So it was cereal for breakfast, not very much for lunch and a 2-course evening meal, which meant no starter and ending with a simple fruit platter. We avoided the afternoon tea as that is very fat and carb heavy. It all felt very healthy as I had mostly fish dishes in the evening, which were excellent.
The highlight of our trip (which was called Norway’s Fjords and Cities) was the trip through the fjord to Geiranger. We did this early in the morning starting just before 7.0am, and the light was outstanding what with the sun coming over the top of the fjord.
This entire fjord is a UNESCO heritage site and from 2025 Norway will be banning all ships (apart from those that have electric engines) from these heritage sites. Good for Norway, say I, but I felt privileged to have seen such a glorious place.
As far as I am concerned Norway has the best scenery in the world (not that I am all that well travelled) and Geiranger was just lovely. However, when we arrived at the tiny village that is Geiranger, it was overrun by tourists and and campervans. I think we need to tread lightly in these places, so I am totally with Norway in trying to reduce the footfall.
It was great meeting so many interesting people from all around the British Isles. By the way, the being driven to and from the cruise extended to people living in Scotland. And although some flew to Gatwick we met a Scottish couple who had been collected by car at 5.20am arriving at the ship at 3.0pm.
And joy of joys, we had a balcony! Why the delight! Because we always go for the cheapest option on cruises and you do not get a balcony with those cabins. For the first time ever we had a balcony in a lower priced cabin, because in Saga’s new ships every cabin has a balcony. Oh what bliss that was!
That’s a new pr of sage-coloured trousers from White Stuff, a new fleece (at a sale price of £20) from Craghoppers, and a new pr of white plimsolls, which I wore every day as deck shoes. See the weather? While the UK was having dreadful weather nearly every day was warm and filled with sunshine. We were so lucky as the southern part of Norway has just had some extremely bad weather with rain and high winds – a lucky escape!
And so to the clothes I wore! Remember I hadn’t been on a cruise since 2019, and as I was packing I was remembering all the cruises I’d been on since 2012, and the thing is, I found out quite quickly that even on Saga the dressing up has reduced somewhat. For example, there was only one Formal night instead of two. And a big change, which I had forgotten was that instead of 3 dress codes of Formal, Smart and Casual, there were only two dress codes: one Formal night and then Smart Casual through the rest of the cruise. In actuality, about 50% dressed up to the Smart level. I mean, no jeans or shorts are allowed anywhere in the ship after 6.0pm but sometimes the dress was very casual, especially the men many of whom wore short sleeved shirts in the evening and no jacket. (Shock/horror!!) But I remember that for several of our earlier cruises men wore suits and ties every evening, and on Formal nights women wore gowns, and Smart was a sparkly cocktail dress and I never wore anything casual on those Casual nights and nor did many other women. Mr F regularly brought three different suits: one for the Formal night; one for the Smart nights; and one for the Casual nights and he wore a tie every night.
You know I’ve just read that last paragraph and nearly deleted it as I must sound such a toffee-nosed old martinet with my ‘standards have slipped’ attitude. But that is what I think, as for me the dressing up is half the fun. Anyway, 50% of the women still dressed up but I now know what to bring next time, which will include Dresses 4 & 5 that I left behind! I didn’t wear my goth dress (#8) and felt a little out of place wearing the frilled pale lilac skirt, which I decided to take at the last minute. But here’s what I did wear.
This is my best dress! A beautiful Monsoon velour velvet beauty bought in 2012 for, I don’t know, £10? It was something like that. And I managed to get into it albeit it is a lot tighter around the middle, despite me being the same weight
And below, here I am scrolling and trying to get Instagram to work! I promise you I didn’t do much of this as we were very sociable throughout the cruise. As we had just gone around the promenade deck for an evening stroll, I’m wearing a black cashmere cardi I bought a few days before the cruise at the exorbitant price of £9.
And here is another beauty, which I will wear on a Formal night when we go on a longer 2-week cruise. I love it as it sparkles with sequins and fits amazingly well. It was of course, another charity shop find bought many years ago.
And below I am wearing dress 6, which you can’t see all that well in this photo as I’m wearing a green bolero cardi over it. This was our first night and you can see I was just so happy to be there on the ship. Actually we hadn’t left Dover as we were waiting for a gi-normous block of flats to leave before us (Saga is a small ship at under a 1000 passengers) and as you can see the weather was awful with rain and a Force 8 gale, which made it a little bumpy that first night. But thereafter the North sea became as flat as a pancake – never seen it so flat. Over the next 6 days the weather was amazing, until that is, you’ve got it, we were returning to Dover!
I wore that dress twice, btw.
I also wore my black crepe trousers twice. I haven’t got all that many photos of my outfits, I was in the moment as they say, which is actually where you’re meant to be on holiday! But here’s an action shot of me marching into a bar for my pre-dinner drink – a St.Clements, which was always very refreshing.
And here I am wearing the top out on deck after dinner.
Although it looks navy in this shot the top is black, which btw, I got new earlier this year from Sainsbury’s (which is a well-known supermarket for those of you living outside the UK). And I wore the same very old sandals throughout the 7-days! They do have sparkles on them and looked the part despite their age.
Well, that’s the fancy evening gear I wore, and now I know what to wear, I shall be far more at ease packing my suitcase when we go next year on a 2-week cruise.
Here I am in two of my day time outfits. That hat! I bought it years ago (?2016) in Flam, Norway and it is an old favourite and so easy to pack as well. That’s my new White Stuff trousers paired with an old charity shop top. The shoes are two years old now.
And during a day out in Sandnes, I wore this new white top with a pair of thin charity shop jeans. On board ship during a sea day I wore the top with some thinner black cotton trousers, plus my white deck shoes on with black socks so I was very co-ordinated!
As you can see a cruise is my ‘happy place’! Btw, we don’t go on outings all that often, in fact none on this cruise. (We will btw go on more next year as there are several ports of call we haven’t been to before, so an outing here and there will be useful.) Instead, we like to stroll around a port, and always search out a coffee shop were we stop and drink our coffee surrounded by Norwegians. In this port we also went to our favourite shop (Sostrene Grene, which is actually Danish) and a Science Museum, which was great and also full of Norwegians.
So that was my cruise. In a blink of an eye it was over, apart from some great memories. If I have learnt anything it is that Norway is just the most beautiful country ever, the ship was filled with lovely people and it was so easy to be sociable, the staff are amazing, the food bountiful, the sea and weather was kind, the dressing up, as ever, was unbelievably fun, and 7-days is too short! Here’s to next year and a longer cruise – yay!
Oh and another thing, What with all the walking in ports and the long corridors and flights of stairs on board ship we walked 20,000 more steps than we usually do and an added bonus is that finally both of us feel so much better and fitter. So it really was a great experience and worth every penny I spent on it. In another post I must tell you about the products I bought from the Spa for the bags under my eyes that seem to be working!
Anyway, normality returns, the washing is finished and I am left with some lovely memories. Thank you for reading my enthusiastic and not too gushing (I hope) report of the cruise to the end.
You must let me know if you’ve had a good holiday recently. But that really is all for now.
With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper