Photo by Roderick Eime licensed under CC
Jeni Ward is a solo silver traveller who uses a foldable mobility scooter. She recently enjoyed a marvellous cruise on Cunard's Queen Victoria, on which she visited the Norwegian fjords, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Read about her inspiring adventures.
Jeni’s top tip for someone planning a cruise trip, or indeed any holiday, is to figure out what mobility/disability equipment you will need on your travels before having a conversation with the travel company to find out what they can provide. For Jeni's cruise, Cunard set her up with a large disabled cabin equipped with wet rooms and wheelchair accessible balconies.
The incredible fjords
The first stop on her journey, following a comfortable North Sea crossing, was at the charming coastal town of Stavanger, where narrow streets and multicoloured buildings sit around a picturesque old port. It was a relaxing way to start the holiday before moving on to the spotlessly clean Bergen, where Jeni found an exceptional fish market boasting all types of fish and many places in which to sample them. Bergen is full of brightly coloured flowers, almost everywhere, and the houses - old and new - are often wooden and traditionally feature grass roofs for grazing cattle - an interesting novelty. Everywhere in the country is beautifully green, from the forests to the lovely meadows.
She found Olden incredible - waking up to the sun rising above the snow and ice-capped mountains while the Queen Victoria sailed through a crystal clear fjord. She enjoyed breakfast al fresco on her balcony before embarking on an awe-inspiring coach trip down to the fjord and up past the lake. She was speechless at its beauty - the way the mountains reach down to the water, with the stark white of the glaciers and ice reflected in it, and the wild flowers everywhere, with gorgeous scents attracting bees.
Glaciers and waterfalls
Iceland was decidedly colder than Norway, due to the snow, glaciers and a definite chill from the glassy Nordefjord, but Jeni wrapped up and enjoyed a leisurely tour of the town of Akureyri before visiting a waterfall. The waterfall contained huge rocks which legend says are trolls turned to stone after being caught out in daylight.
The next day she travelled to Reykjavik and, despite the chilly weather, headed off on a coach to bathe at the Blue Lagoon. Having managed the tricky feat of showering before entering the water - modesty in the masses preserved - Jeni found the lagoon divine and fortunately very warm. The mud of the lagoon offered a luxuriously warm and silky feeling, and while not immediately transformational, it did leave Jeni’s skin feeling great.
The Queen Victoria was captained by a woman, Cunard’s first. She is from the Faroe Islands, so the visit there was greeted with much excitement by the local news teams, and in the evening there was a display of local dancing at which the captain showed off her talents in this department.
At Torshavn in the Faroes, Jeni took another pleasant tour, seeing many herds of multicoloured sheep and further houses covered with grass roofs. It was the last port of call on her wonderful holiday before returning to the UK.
'A great experience'
The trip wasn't completely hassle free: the port at Instefjord is a tender port, leaving Jeni shipbound because they couldn't get her scooter to the port; and on a day spent at sea, 2 of the lifts were out of action for several hours which limited her ability to move between floors. However, Jeni remained cheerful and enjoyed the company of the charming and keen waiting staff at the bar.
The holiday was 'all in all, a great experience', Jeni said, and she found cruising with her mobility scooter as a solo passenger offered much more freedom than she had expected. All the coach drivers on the land tours were more than willing to assist at the various stops, and the staff on board were extremely helpful. Jeni saved the highest praise for the concierge, who facilitated her entire cruise by booking tours and assisting wherever she could.
If you have any further queries, please get in touch with our partners, Silver Travel Advisor.
Note: The information given is by way of suggestion only. It is correct, to the best of our knowledge, but we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions on our part.
This article is brought to you by our partners, Silver Travel Advisor