Travel Diary (Day 18) – Hurtigruten Day 3

Day 18 – Sunday 7/10 – Welcome to the Arctic!

IMG_2653At midnight the night before, we had been given the advice that there were in fact going to be passing over the Arctic Circle sometime in the morning, there was the option to place a bet of the exact time this would happen and if you won, you could receive a prize.

We awoke at 7:32am and found ourselves passing the Arctic Circle, our gorgeous MS Kong Harald blasting her horns as we did so. It was something really beautiful to be a part of. It is a lot to take in, being a girl from Australia crossing the arctic circle on a ship! Here are some pics of the incredible views we had as this occurred.

 

This invisible line is situated at 66 degrees 33 minutes north and marks the border to the Arctic Region. However, the exact position does change, as of today it is 66°33′47.4″ north of the equator. It is the most northerly of the five major circles of latitude. It marks the northernmost point where the noon sun is visible on the December solstice and the southernmost point where the centre of the midnight sun is visible on the June solstice. Sadly the Arctic Circle is drifting northwards at a speed of 15 metres per year.

After our beautiful crossing of the Arctic Circle we headed off to breakfast and then came back up onto the deck for Hurtigruten’s Arctic Circle Ceremony on deck, an Arctic Baptism if you will. This happened at 10am. We were taken through one of the most fun and well-thought-out activities ran by the Hurtigruten expedition crew. We were all taken out onto the deck and there was a presentation with our expedition crew leader (who was fantastic by the way) and her warm, yet fierce welcoming of Norde, who appeared on deck and looked suspiciously like our other expedition crew member? Though his feet looked like mine, so I am sure he was the real deal.

 

We had read about the Arctic Baptism and thought about the icy-cold water being slipped down the back of our jackets, but it really is not until you are on that deck, freezing your butts off that you realise exactly how cold the entire thing is going to be.

ea5adcd4-7a50-4ea9-a885-3dda08d7966cWe weren’t there to muck around and there was no way we weren’t going to participate. We held back ten or so minutes to avoid the football scrum which any activity aboard the Hurtigruten managed to be before it was our turn. I am next to certain the Captain/Norde’s eyes lit up when they saw Grant and that ladle went to the bottom of that soup pot and was given the most impressive stir.

Sitting through it is fun, honestly, how many times does anyone pass through the Arctic Circle and have the opportunity to join in something so fun? If you weren’t awake before hand, you certainly were afterwards, I am pretty sure Grant and I were picking ice out of our clothes for the next hour or so! Thank you to the staff for the shot of cloudberry wine and of course the champagne, it certainly made it better!

Grant had way more poured down the back of his jacket and it was hilarious, we all knew who was behind the mask and I think they knew we were pretty good sports so it was actually pretty fun!

Our cold activities for the day were not over, we were excited to be docking in Bordø and to go on the Salstraumen rib boat adventure.

Salstraumen is a small strait with one of the strongest tidal currents in the world and is located in the municipality of Bodø in Norway. The Saltstraumen pushes up to 400,000,000 cubic metres of seawater through a 3-kilometre long and 150-metre wide strait every six hours and creates whirlpools. We had obviously booked this trip ahead of time and there is no way to tell where the tides will be at when you visit the area.Jules Verne wrote about Salstraumen in his novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Edgar Allen Poe has also written about the whirlpools in A Descent into the Maelstrom and it was even described by Herman Melville’s character Captain Ahab in Moby Dick.

Our rib boat safari took around half an hour to get to the Saltstraumen, being in that gorgeous Norwegian water going past sea eagles and the landscape (and of course, rainbows which we hd become accustomed to in Norway!) was beautiful. Beautiful and freezing, as if Norway was not cold enough, throwing yourself on a boat moving at top-speed was amazing!

We also saw parts of the Caledonian Fold Belt which is one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges dating back more than 250 million years. As we made it back to the terminal it started to hail/snow? Which as direct hits to the face was both painful and hilarious. When we arrived back to the port, the Captain of the MS Kong Harald was making it quite clear that we had gone over in time, so it was a quick change and back onto the ship.

There was one couple who seemed quite annoyed that the mans pressed slacks (I am not making this up) were wet and wasn’t the outfit meant to be waterproof? The largest man I have ever seen, who was hanging the outfits up laughed the best and loudest laugh I had ever heard and said “No, not at all! Embrace your inner viking!”.

It was time to continue on up the coast, hands-down one of my favourite days on the ship.

Courtney Gaye Signature copy

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

 

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Travel Diary (Day 16) – Hurtigruten Day 1

Day 16 – 5/10

After a glorious sleep in our rather large double bed, in our gorgeous room on the ship we did what we do best, we buffet breakfast’d!! Anyone who knows me, knows that breakfast is 100% my favourite meal. We lay out our table like we are preparing for Christmas lunch for a family of five.

In terms of the food available, it was lacking nothing! Hot food, eggs of all types, hash, potatoes, beans, bacon, cured meats, many different types of bread, a selection of cheeses (heck yes, the crowd goes wild!), salmon (heaven for me), spreads, juices, preserves, cereals etc. The lot!

The only problem in getting to the breakfast was the 100-150 advanced-aged guests walking around dazed and confused, dripping things, coughing on the food, pushing in, shoving snacks in their shirts, pushing in, pushing me, pushing each other and generally going from Point A to Point B without any care for what was in between. Oh and the lady who just started yelling “Flan!” At the wait staff without any explanation. Rude.

Once we did get to our table (and this was our first morning on the ship), it became painfully apparent that the dead-eye staring at me wasn’t going to stop. I’m not sure about you, but if someone catches you staring – you look away right? Or do you maintain judgemental staring with a grimace on your face for minutes? Maybe those who state aggressively should have been smashing the prunes on offer, get things moving and lighten up a bit!

Over the loud speaker it was announced that for those of us booked on daytime excursions once we were in port, we could collect a sandwich bag and make, and I quote (because it was adorable) a very nice sandwich. Which we did. A sandwich, two apples and we were good to go. One lady however was scooping up bread, meat and cheese like maybe she was making sandwiches for her entire Ancestry.com family tree. Actually come to think of it, this same woman did this everyday and then intermittently throughout the day you would see her and her husband snacking on sandwiches. Also, during our week on the ship I saw more teabags get smuggled into pockets of older gentleman than I have ever seen in my life. The cruise was expensive but seriously, are they now carrying 100 teabags in their packs thinking ‘haha I showed them!’ ?!

I was so excited to get off of the boat and to get moving. We had picked the BEST excursion. We were going on a mountain hike in the Hjørundfjord! It was a grade 4 hike but we figured we could manage. Once we were off of the ship, we were straight into it. It was raining which was less than ideal but really, how often do you get to hike a Norwegian mountain in the rain?! Also for this hike which was indeed grade 4, raindrops covered any sweat/tears during the journey.

Now I’m pretty confident I now know why Australian’s call it a Bush-walk and every other country calls it hiking. A bush walk will occasionally have flat ground, a hike however is something thought up by the devil himself, it has no flat parts and you are always going up. Always!!!

Our guide was the friendliest and coolest man I think I’ve ever met. I believe his name was Kieren, and I wish I could find his details because he was amazing and was also a photographer. The tour was ran through Hurtigruten though so not sure I can find the details.

This hike was full on, it started on an old farm road and continued on a tractor path. It’s a steep climb towards the top, and the last 1,600 ft you climb an old stone stairway. Now walking up an incredibly steep ‘path’ is one thing, but doing it in the rain, after the area has had days of rain is another. Everything was slush, it was slippery and again I couldn’t quite work out why my expensive hiking boots had such little grip in the wet.

When we did make it to the top, which was easily an hour and a half – the view was spectacular, the rain had stopped and we had an incredible sense of accomplishment (which almost outdid the heart palpitations). Our lovely guide had hot coffee waiting for us, we smashed our very nice sandwhiches and after a brief break, we then walked across to the other side of the mountain to view the village of Sæbø on the other side of the fjord!

At the top you can also visit an abandoned bear cave. Before we headed back down the mountain, our tour guide took a photo of us which is now one of my favourite photos ever. He worked my camera like a magician, nearly to the point I felt like I had no right even having my camera!

It took just on an hour to go down and even though it was not as cardio-intensive it was hard! The ground was wet, we were in the back of the group, so all of the messed up ground, was even further messed up. Sadly one of the older guys on our walk took a tumble and thankfully the guide and one of the guys on the tour helped him down the mountain.

Once we were back on the boat, warm and fed we waited until we pulled into port at Alesund, this was a place I had heard of, dreamt of and could not wait to see. We only had an hour and a half rocked there. We found an Irish pub (obviously), then we found an older pub, took a few pics in the rain, ran back to the boat and called it a night.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Travel Diary (Day 11) – Faroe Islands to Bergen (via Copenhagen)

Day 11 – Sunday 30/9 – Faroe Islands – Bergen (vis Copenhagen)

Well we knew today was a write-off, as most transit days can be. We had no idea how long the day would feel though! As our schedule really only allowed us to visit the Faroes for three days, this meant we would leave on a Sunday. Sadly there are no direct flights on a Sunday from Vàgar to Bergen, so we needed to fly via Copenhagen.

As our travels tend to play out, we woke up to shocking weather and we were beyond pleased to have experienced the beautiful weather we had whilst we were there.

Our flight was not until lunchtime, so we had a few hours to explore Vagar a little more, we drove out to a beautiful old cathedral, boat harbour and village with some older style log buildings.

We drove back to the airport, dropped off our fantastic little cat which had served us well and decided that wine + beers at the airport were our best-bet for some time wasting.

Once we were on the plane we had a few more drinks and watched movies on our phones and we were back in Copenhagen. We had around a four and a half hour layover in Copenhagen, but once we collected our luggage and then took it to the departures terminal and survived that disaster we couldn’t be bothered leaving the terminal. We had originally planned to maybe go back into Copenhagen and see some more, but sadly that was not to be!

We departed Copenhagen around 9pm and landed in Bergen at 10:30pm, it was such a long day. Once we had our bags we then headed out to our bus transfer which dropped us off at the Torget stop near the old fish markets which was the same block as our hotel!

Originally we had booked to stay at a place called Citybox Hotel, but in my over-prepared state as I couldn’t pre-pay the stay I had cancelled it and booked elsewhere. We stayed at the Magic Hotel in Bergen and it was gorgeous! The rooms great, the location could not have been better, incredibly comfortable bed and all-inclusive breakfast in the morning. If you are heading to Bergen, I couldn’t recommend this hotel any more!

Really not too much to update on today, given it was a transit day – only that we are finding the serving of hot fish meals on planes to be, um…different? Also a lady kept turning around in her seat and turning our air pumps off above our seats. Seriously she did it three times, until I had to tell her ‘No, leave it – that’s my fan and it’s on me’. Oh and the other lady that tried to stay on her mobile phone during our plane’s taxi – hiding behind her seat. Hilarious.

The Scandinavians are a very tolerant and patient bunch, put it that way! We all know what sort of responses occur with that sort of behaviour in America!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Long-haul flights & pure, messy, carnal survival

Long haul flights are nobodies friend. Especially not a friend towards us taller folk. We struggle to get comfortable, we nearly always have someone 5″ sitting in-front of us who drop their seat back ALL the way the second that seatbelt light goes off. If we are lucky we end up in the middle.

I’ve been stuck between two tiny ladies on my flight from Singapore to Brisbane, both fall asleep on me and snore their little heads off. With all of their bags I had no leg room and to get comfy I tucked my feet into the magazine holder in front of me.

On my flight from Peru to Argentina, a lady took her shoe off, lifted it up over her knee and played with her toes for most of the flight. I had another guy on a flight from LA to Miami put his foot through the seats and poke me with his toes. There was the guy who burped and blew his burp breath behind him into my seating area so as not to offend his Wife.

My Husband had a lady eat a red onion covered salad from SanFran to NYC and I’ve had a woman take my magazine from my lap and read it from Singapore to Dubai. That same journey I had air-staff ask me to swap my extra-leg room seat for a pregnant lady. At the time I was too naive to say no and ended up in the middle seat next to her Husband who very aggressively told me I was not to consume meat or alcohol near him.

Oh and then there’s the tiny, tiny man who jammed his seat back into my legs so fiercely that it blew my meniscus out.

Ahhh flying. Now this was a post I started before we headed overseas. It has now been a couple of weeks overseas and multiple flights so here’s a few of my tips.

1. If you’re flying long-haul, forget the window seat because if there are strangers on the other side of you, you will be faced with the Tyler Durden position of arse or crotch. Go the middle row, outside seat. If you’re flying with another person then at MOST you will only be getting up for each other.

2. Forget your #instagram worthy outfit and get comfortable. Remember, you are in for the long-haul. Quite literally. In your own strange solo space, sitting and marinating in your own juices. Yeah that sounds disgusting but it’s the reality of the situation. You want some moisture-wicking, comfy and loose clothing. As for shoes, wear something you can slip on and off quickly. Pack socks – because your feet will get cold.

3. Creature comforts are your best friend. That’s your space. Get comfy. Set your little home up. Wipe your seat down with antibacterial wipes before you go touching everything. Make sure you have eye-drops & nose-spray. You need to treat yourself like your beloved dog, keep that nose wet. It’s your best defence against other people’s germs. Also, not sure if you’ve ever tried to wash your face in an airplane basin, but it’s no Neutrogena moment. So make-up wipes are where it’s at.

4. After my last flight I feel it’s pretty important to mention this next one. Don’t overdo it on your medication. Don’t over think the process. Do not take double what you are meant to. Because sometimes, some people get really sick and end up putting one of the plane toilets out of commission from your exorcist style illness. Ps. I was that person and I will carry this shame for the rest of my life.

5. Do not replace water with wine. You are not Jesus’ dinner guests. Drink your water or look like a haggard monster at the end of your trip.

6. Be prepared to become the resting place for smaller people. People fall asleep on me. People use my bags as pillows. People have no clue that I enjoy physical interactions with strangers about as much as I would enjoy putting a campfire out with my face. Set your boundaries. Keep them in place or be prepared to become someone’s prison Wife in that tiny flying steel chamber of hell for 14 hours.

7. If you want to eat first. Order a special meal. Not only will you be served first, but you can eat and then go to sleep. Win.

8. Have music lists ready to go. Close your eyes and try to sleep whenever you feel those little lids of yours dropping. If you cannot sleep wake back up and read or watch tv, but the second those little sleeping fairies start flirting with you, try to get to sleep.

9. If you are in the middle seat, let me give you a universally known tip. Those arm rests are YOURS. If someone who has an aisle seat tries to take your arm rests, or heaven forbid the people either side of you attempt this, get crafty with those elbows. They’re yours babe. Never forget.

10. Keep that air on high. Give yourself every possibility of remaining well. Remember, people for some reason seem to treat personal hygiene like a fancy persons treat. Try to keep those coughs, sneezes, burps, stinky breath and of course farts (animals people, they’re animals) out of your face as best you can.

Look, they’re my ten tips. You may or may not agree with them. If you can fly business do it. Otherwise remember it’s a means to an end and travel is the greatest thing in the world!

What’s your top long-haul tip?

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click-through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Travel Diary (Day 8)- Faroe Islands

Day 9 – Friday 28/9

Waking up and knowing that you are heading to a magical land you stumbled across through Pinterest five years ago, is to say the least, a little overwhelming.

As excited as we both were, we really had no idea what our expectations should be or what we would be coming across. We knew that the weather for most of our trip was likely to be rain-filled, windy and cold. So to some degree we were prepared for that (side note: jeans, as fond as Aussies are of them, are not technically wet/warm-weather pants), other than that we had no idea what would be awaiting us.

We caught a cab from our hostel to the Copenhagen Central train station, as neither of us really felt like hauling our packs there. Once we were at the station it was all pretty straight-forward and just like that, we were on our journey to Vágar Airport, Faroe Islands. The flight was only two hours, Atlantic Airways has movies available on their internal and free Wi-Fi which is always appreciated! I made a terrible choice and watched a movie about an elderly couple, one of whom has Alzheimer’s and the other terminal cancer. Grant watched a comedy and his thoughts were “why are you crying? Always go dumb with the movie Courtney. Always”. I’ll admit it, there was far too much crying on that plane.

As our plane came in for landing and we spotted many of the Faroe Islands our of our window, we were nearly jumping from our seats. Flying into the Faroes is other-worldly, it is honestly like nothing you have ever seen before. Or in our case, will ever see again.

Getting off the plane was easy, getting the keys to our hire car was easy – there was just one problem. My international sim did not work there. Grant had bought a SIM card at the Copenhagen airport as well as the top-up credit, with the assurance (yet disdain) that it would work by the cashier. Yet here we were, in the Faroes with absolutely no reception. Thankfully I managed to feed offa servo’s Wi-Fi as G bought us very bizarre drinks (my request admittedly) which tasted like Guinness cola soda (but in a bad way, not a good way). So after a few back and forthcoming we found our Air BnB in Tórshavn.

Our Air BnB absolutely blew away any expectations we had, it was gorgeous, local to everything and had anything you could possibly need. Relief. Pure relief after our bare-as-bones hostel stay the two nights before.

It was a converted area on the bottom floor of our hosts home. We had a separate bedroom, laundry, wet room, tv with Apple TV and a courtyard. The kitchen was fully equipped and it just felt like home. For three nights we paid around $600 Australian and our host had left some local fruit and biscuits and locally brewed beer as well. It was just lovely.

It was getting on in the day so we went and spent a small fortune on a grocery shop, came home, had a few drinks and watched tv. The little comforts. We also started planning our Faroe Island attack for the next couple of days.

I was still coughing and generally being gross (seriously a holiday tradition of mine is to be a germ-riddled pain in the arse. So Grant slept in the lounge room, which is so unfair for him. He’s such a gentleman, honestly if it was me I would have kicked me out to the lounge room.

It was hard to believe we were finally here, this little place we had only dreamt of, changed our plans for and squirrelled away an extra amount of money which would make your eyes water to get there!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Travel Diary (Day 6) – Paris to Copenhagen

Day 6 – Tuesday 25/9

Today was the day we were to say aurevoir to Paris, as sad as it was we were incredibly excited to start the next leg of our adventure. Initially the morning did not start out well. We may or may not have over-indulged in the red wine on our dinner cruise the night before. So to wake up, pack our bags and get out and going was much harder than it should be.

Once we were packed and loaded to the high-heavens (why the hell have I packed so many things?!!), it was time to head to the metro station. Naturally the metro we needed had serious delays so we thought about catching the local bus. Then we realised that I’m horribly poor planning we didn’t have any cash to buy tickets (because, idiots). So we walked 500m the WRONG way, because our internet is deadset out to ruin our lives (seems dramatic, but remember = wine flu), then we turned around and walked the other way. Then we got off at the right stop to catch the bus that goes directly to the airport. Of course on the wrong side of the Arc de Triomphe, which meant legging it the other way. Then we horribly, terribly, inexcusably asked the bus driver if we were at the wrong one. This question caused the type of offence you would think would occur if you kicked someone’s dog or spat on their bus. He yelled at us in French and indicated we should basically piss off. To be fair, G spoke French really well when he asked the question. So, go figure. Maybe he had wine flu as well (or was an a-hole). The next bus driver was lovely and told us to move one bus stop down (old mate cranky pants had told us to walk around the corner, so he’s a jerk).

Regardless, we made it to the airport and might I say, these European airports have got this check-in situation SORTED. For someone who likes a smooth check-in, having the ability to pretty much do the entire thing on my own – is total travel bliss. Charles de Gaulle airport is really cool, it reminds me of a museum, all of these different tunnels and escalators weaving in and out from each other.

Once we got to our gate, I awkwardly made myself the table mate of a man who was sort of kind of hogging all the power-points. It must have been interesting watching this non-French speaking human pull out around 12 cables and plug in every single digital appliance known to man and get to charging!

G came back with chocolate croissants the size of our heads and two gigantic coffees. Hello wine-flu cure! Our flight from Paris to Copenhagen was around two hours. Luggage pick-up was cruiser and we were out of the airport within half an hour. What’s crazy is this whole non-boarded situation, it seems such a waste having to buy a 50-something page Passport only to get two stamps!

We bought a two-day travel pass for our stay, because we knew it was the best value for money. We had so many grand plans for Copenhagen, such limited time BUT, I was quickly crashing from some germ I had picked up from somewhere. We caught a Taxi to our hotel as Uber does not exist in Copenhagen (how reliant on Uber’s we have become for clear instructions, despite any language complexities!). Once we made it to our accomodation, we quickly found out what the meaning of a hostel is. Upon check in, we paid for a laundry room card, were given a couple of bags of sheets and towels and we were on our way. The view was spectacular, but after our luscious stays in Paris, the bare-bones hostel style was somewhat shocking. Once the bed was made, I was out. I slept from 3pm until the next day. So poor G was left to his own divides. Props to him though, he went out and wandered and got a feel for the place. I’m just sorry I missed it. My body desperately needed that sleep though. Apparently I slept/snored and tossed around like a demon-possessed freak for the night, but I think it helped.

Unfortunately, I did not really make the best of our time in Copenhagen for day one, but we made it, illness sometimes happens when you travel, and with a month ahead of us, I needed to just miss our a bit and let my body do its thing.

We made it to Copenhagen!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Travel Promotions & Discounts – August 2018

Good morning everyone!

Can you believe it is August already? G and I can now officially say we are heading off on our five-week holiday NEXT MONTH!!! Our excitement levels are off the chain at the moment, I almost feel like I have ants in my pants, just trying to sit still and do my work!

Given it is August, I thought I would share a few promotions running this month with you!!!

Contiki AU Adventures

Australian residents can save up to $1,315 on USA and Canada deals, 10% on Europe trips, 20% off all Iceland and New Zealand winter trips!

I could not praise Contiki more, I have been on three Contiki trips and each one I have made lifelong friends, seen more of the destinations we visited than I would have if I travelled alone and had an incredible amount of inclusions in my booking!

Booking.com $20 discount

$20 refund with every Booking.com reservation made (for you and I!), just follow the link above.

When you book and pay with Booking.com you are guaranteed the best prices and also unlock personalised travel guides to your destination – which is amazing.

Scoopon Australia

Save 35% on your next holiday in Australia, 45% on your next trip to Bali or 50% on your next vacation in Vietnam!

Exclusive offers on extraordinary everyday experiences from luxury travel to local activities with Scoopon:

P&O Cruises

$1 deposits are back! Check out the Ship Yeah! sales running until 14/8/18.

Enjoy not only the $1 deposit per person but the free room upgrade. G and I have taken advantage of this and it is absolutely worth it! P&O Cruises – stress free travel, loads of inclusions and the friendliest people you will ever meet. They have some really amazing promotions at the moment and you can book up to three years in advance and pay it off!

Europcar

Enjoy 15% off the base rate for 5 days.

We have booked our hire cars for our adventures through Scotland and Norway with Europcar, we have found that their prices, inclusions and fine-print have been the best.

Travel Insurance Saver

Save 15% to 33% with Travel Insurance Saver.

Finally, but possible MOST importantly – your Travel Insurance. Do not forget to book your travel insurance. For competitive prices, check out Travel Insurance Saver for your next trip.

Let me know how you go and if you get any discounts!

ENJOY!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

Cruising Holidays: Pro’s & Con’s

After all of these years, I refuse to be a travel-snob. I get no satisfaction in entering some tireless debate about whether 5✩ or backpacking is ‘real’ travel. Hostels v. hotels. Taxis or the local bus, so on and so forth. Travel is an incredibly personal experience, I just don’t think it is fair to compare your preferred travel with others.

What I do support and encourage however, is sharing knowledge! Let’s foster a community where we share what we know and support everyone in their own chosen method of travel, yeah? Great!

My first cruise was on 2010, I was excited because my brother had just turned 18 and we wanted to go on a trip together. So a couple of friends and my brother booked a 7-night cruise to the South Pacific. It was a great escape during the winter but here is why it was not so great:

sharing a quad room with four adults, none of whom are in a relationship with one another, gets…cramped.

having a quad room down in the bowels of the ship and not checking whether or not anyone gets sea-sick, can be problematic.

↑ being stuck on a boat without an escape and having the same places to drink / party every afternoon / night.

↑ Four people having the inability to decide what they do / do not want to do.

↑ having your room down on the party-level of the ship and not partying = sleep can be tricky.

Basically my clearest memory of my first cruise, was feeling like I was in a washing machine when we hit high swell and feeling rather violated (personally and financially) when I paid nearly $200 to cop a needle in the backside to stop my sea-sickness.

In 2016 my fiancé and I headed out on a new cruise and boy, it could not have been any more different to the first one! We had a balcony room on the beautiful Pacific Aria. We were on deck 10, near the coffee shops. We had pre-paid most of our activities and had scored a complimentary drinks package. We spent seven nights cruising up / down the beautiful Queensland coast. We visited Hamilton Island (a place close to both of our hearts), and Cairns. The cruise was amazing, the staff excellent and the experience itself turned me into a total cruise convert!

My top five reasons as to why I love cruising:

  • Everything can be pre-paid. Including sail-away inclusions. Want champagne and strawberries for your sail away party? You can have it.
  • The day of the Bain Marie’s where you self-serve eating areas are gone. Instead you line up and have pleasant and good-safety aware people serve you. There is nothing more repugnant than watching someone stand at the Thai beef salad / prawn salad area and pick all of the meat out, leave the place in a mess and sneeze all over the uncovered food. So for me, I think ta wonderful that P&O have changed the way they serve food.
  • Activities for days! Unless you are completely ignorant, you are able to fill your days with a variety of activities. Sure Bingo isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it for a bit of fun. If you aren’t playing yourself, get to the area early and watch the bingo die-shards go in for the kill! It’s amazing!
  • Tricia and game shows are also great. They also show movies up at the top deck with the pool.
  • You don’t need to pack and unpack at are such destination! You just grab what you need for the day and take off! Its amazing going to sleep somewhere out in the ocean, being gently rocked to sleep and waking up against the incredible backdrop which is Cairns!
  • If you’re after an adventure packed holiday, then a week at sea on an all-expenses paid cruise may not be for you. However if you need a break and you want to board a boat, unpack your stuff and then have everything organised and paid for ahead of time, then I cannot recommend a cruise highly enough for you.

Some tips:

  • Your travel insurance may not automatically cover cruises. Double check the fine print and know that there is cruise-specific travel insurance out there.
  • Drinks packages are worth it, if you are planning or drinking more than three or so beverages a day. Keep in mind they are normally capped at $12 or $15. If you purchase a drink above this amount, the total cost will go against your account. Keep that in mind.
  • The water package is worth it. Buy your six bottles, keep them in your room and I guarantee you will value it.
  • Tea and coffee from the barista is worth it.
  • Tip your stewards. We tend to go with around $5 a day for the cabin stewards and leave a rounded tip at the end of the trip. Don’t pinch your pennies.
  • Be friendly! Talk to your stewards. Get to know them. Know that anyone serving you spends up to eight months on these boats. Away from their friends and families. Kindness is free. Don’t be ignorant. I spent a good half hour shaming a guest on our last cruise, whose stance was “they don’t mind being away from home, it’s a great privilege to work on these boats”. Okay. Ignorant much?
  • The restaurants on board, aside from usually one or two are included in your fare! Try them at least once. Your out of pocket is usually drinks and a tip. Want a date night with table service? Give it a go. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Have fun! Relax! Sleep in. Enjoy it and go with the relaxed vibe there is. Things take a little longer. Remember the other people on the ship also paid to be there. So just avoid unnecessary aggression and if the line is too long where you are, then move on to the next!

P&O have a sale at the moment and seeing as you can book and pay off your holiday years in advance, you really have nothing to lose!

To check out their current offers click here. They currently have $1 deposit sales with free room upgrades. We have been on four of them and quite honestly, I cannot wait for the next one!

I have never bought a cruise holiday when it wasn’t on sale or didn’t have some amazing additional perks thrown in (on-board credit, drinks package, dinner credit etc.,). The beauty of this is they are on sale all the time!

Here are a few links to get you started!

P&O Cruises

Travel Insurance Saver

Trip.com

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! 

Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post, however some of the links in my blog posts may be affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

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