My apologies for the late posting of this blog. We have just returned from our cruise which was great – see below – but on the way home I took ill, and though I am much better today I am still fragile! 

I have been on my first cruise. It was to Iceland and the Northern Lights. We visited the Faroe Islands on the way to Iceland where we stopped at Reykjavik and Akureyri. Then we also stopped at Kirkwall in Orkney on the way back. 

I had mixed feeling about going on a cruise, but seeing the Aurora Borealis was one of the things we have wanted to do for ages and there was also the opportunity to see whales. My reservations were partly to do with the apparent ‘hierarchical structure’ of cruise ships, represented in the different levels of cabins, and the assumed display of affluence. It soon became clear, however, that in terms of everyday life on board, it wasn’t the allocation of cabins that signalled difference but the choice of eating places. The restaurant with its waiter service and al la carte menus was posh, with themed evening including two formal occasions when dinner jackets and bow ties, or at least lounge suits had to be worn. The buffet was always informal. Having said that we tended to eat in the restaurant and we had an upgrade to a double suite with balcony. I confess I enjoyed both. 

We had several days and night of rough seas, but we managed to survive without being sick.

The excursions were really good. The guides gave us information about island life, and we had opportunities to sample local cuisine. We saw the Geyser (from the original name of Gysir), a waterfall and Parliament Valley as part of the Golden Circle while at Reykjavik. And we saw a humpback whale surfacing several times while at Akureyri. We also observed the Aurora Borealis twice, so our hopes were well fulfilled. 

One of the benefits of the cruise was that as we were on the oldest cruise ship still working, there was limited or no WiFi. This meant I could relax, cut off from the pressure of emails and the various responsibilities I carry. I had put in place arrangements to cover my absence and I could trust that matters were in good hands. I really appreciated the break from the onus of trusteeship and even from the work on the allotment. Time to read, watch films, learn about different cultures and spend time with my wife all adds up to a good holiday.

Now I am back, I hope that the experience will have given me new insights into how people love and also deeper understanding of myself.

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