Weather: Morning Fog giving way to very heavy afternoon showers.
Air temperature: +18°C
At 06.30 we entered the river at Travemünde where, with the assistance of a tug boat we came alongside. Sadly, then it was time to say goodbye to the guests with whom we had shared the past 14 days of adventures and friendship. But as one door shuts another opens, and after a couple of hours spent helping re-victual the ship and showing a group of visitors around our lovely vessel, I was in the Observation Lounge to greet and check-in all 124 of our new guests.
By 16.00 all guests were aboard and settling into their suites when, at 17.00, Captain Peter Stahlberg made the announcement we were all waiting for. That all safety checks were complete and we were letting go the lines in order to depart and begin our cruise - Majestic Fjords and Icy Lands - that will take us from Germany north via Denmark and the exquisitely beautiful fjords of mainland Norway, across the Arctic Circle and to ice-girt Svalbard, and hopefully in excess of 80°N.
Unfortunately, however, our sailaway from the delightful town of Travemünde was marred by the torrential, almost monsoon-esque downpour that had been threatening all day. But, unabashed, we all launched into a period of intense information dissemination as we proceeded through our series of briefings. At 17.30 we kicked off with our mandatory safety briefing, followed an hour later, just as we had all caught our breath, with Crew and Expedition Staff introductions (at which we welcomed four new faces to our intrepid team of 10), mandatory Zodiac briefing and tomorrow’s destination briefing - all masterfully conducted by out fearless Expedition Leader, Conrad.
By the end, it was clear from some of the guests’ faces that they were not only tired from a day or more of travelling but were thoroughly informationed-out! Certainly time to retire to the welcoming embrace of The Restaurant, to meet new faces and to make re-acquaintances, and for the first but without doubt not the last time, to enjoy the hospitality of the dining room team and the delicious results of the hard work of the kitchen department.
Then an early night all round - certainly for the Expedition Team at least - as we make our way north on calm seas across the western Baltic to our first destination, the delightful Danish town of Helsingør and our first day of activities.