Kathryn’s ‘Last Minute Getaway’ with Cruise and Maritime!


Southern Norway Discovery – Onboard MV Columbus


I had a week’s holiday to spare and wondered where I could go for a last-minute winter break. This cruise looked ideal – just 6 nights away and the chance to discover beautiful Norway – somewhere we’ve never been before.

We had a shaky start due to the ship being delayed in Amsterdam. Using the Cruise and Maritime car parking facilities at Tilbury we were met by smiley stewards who took our cases from the car with a promise we would see them next outside our cabin.

After a 7-hour delay, we smoothly boarded MV Columbus at 8pm, with a promise of free drinks for everyone (or a refund of the £23 day drinks package) as a gesture of goodwill. First stop (after checking out our cabin) was the bar! The ship was a little chaotic but under the circumstances the staff were coping the best they could with the influx of everyone wanting to make the most of the free drinks. I was slightly worried that this was how the cruise was going to be – waiting longer than necessary for a drink. I needn’t have worried. The next day normal service resumed, and everyone was happy.

Our cabin 6110 was allocated on the Main deck (deck 6). Sold as a single cabin normally, the double bedded outside cabin was more than big enough for my husband and I. Tea and coffee facilities, flat screen TV and a hair dryer available – the cabin suited our needs perfectly and was handily located for entertainment and dining. Our cabin steward was smiley and helpful.

Day 1 was spent at sea, entertainment was scheduled though out the day and because the cruise had a cricketing legends theme we decided to go and listen to Graham Gooch, who gave an interesting talk on his cricketing career. Afternoon game of bingo gave us chance to get talking to our fellow passengers. Fun and relaxation were the mood of the day. The ship was large enough to have lots to do but small enough to feel friendly and easy to get around. We had taken advantage of the £23 per day drinks and tips package which meant we were able to sample all the various bars and entertainment onboard without worrying about any extra costs. That evening everyone dressed up for the Captains Cocktail evening which was fabulous!

Day 2 was in Stavanger, the ship moored within easy walking distance of the city and a good selection of excursions were on offer. A beautiful sunny day. Easy disembarkation allowed us to be quickly on land and exploring this beautiful city. We didn’t take the excursion but were happy to wander around and take in the sights, settling for lunch with a pizza sat outside over-looking the harbour. The dress code was more casual this evening.

Day 3 saw us arrive in Kristiansand; beautiful Norwegian houses lined the approach to the harbour. Again, an easy walk saw us in the town centre. We were lucky to enter the Cathedral as an organ and music recital was just starting.

Day 4 – our last day in a port, visiting the capital city of Oslo. We walked easily into the centre and decided to visit the popular ice bar. A fun bar with ice sculptures, where you dress up in fur hooded ponchos and have a drink from glasses made of ice. We decided to hire a scooter – green transportation used by the locals and rode around the city and back to the ship in style!

Our last day was spent at sea again. We enjoyed another talk and quiz by the cricketers and an informative talk by ex-police commander about an infamous drugs baron and his capture. Arriving in Tilbury the next morning, refreshed and relaxed from our little break away. A break where everything was taken care of for us and all we had to think about was what we would eat or see next.

We would thoroughly recommend this easy-going short cruise and would advise anyone not sure if cruising was for them to try this as a taster cruise. The food, port visits, entertainment, service and friendly other guests made this a cruise to remember.


All this is included in the fare –

  • Delicious full board cuisine
  • Afternoon teas and late night snacks
  • Captain’s Cocktail Party (cruises of 6 nights or more)
  • Self service tea & coffee (6am to midnight)
  • Big show entertainment, cabarets and classical interludes
  • Daytime activities and leisure facilities
  • Guest speaker and arts & crafts (cruises of 5 nights or more)
  • Porterage of luggage, port to cabin
  • Port Taxes

And remember…

  • A more traditional and leisurely style cruising experience
  • Smaller sized cruise ships accessible to more ports of call
  • An excellent standard of friendly and attentive service
  • Sterling is the currency on board Columbus, Magellan, Marco Polo and Astoria
  • A choice of eleven convenient UK departure ports
  • A wide choice of wonderful excursions at most ports of call


Kathryn Hallam – Travel Consultant

If you would like to ask me any questions about my experience or wish to know more please call me – 01246 555777 or email me – kathryn@chatsworthtravel.co.uk