Friday 17th June 2022, Reykjavik
The restaurant breakfast service closes at 7.00am this morning: our slot for getting off the ship is at 9.15am. That gives us a bit of time – conveniently for the structure of this write-up – to have a few thoughts about the cruise that’s just happened. And I keep thinking back to something that one of the Hurtigruten expedition staff said during the briefing for, I think, Grimsey: "if you only get off the ship once during this cruise, you should get off here." Was that just a rhetorical flourish along the lines of "if you only see one film this year...", or are there people on board who really did that? Treated the Fridtjof Nansen as nothing more than a great big hotel where the view from your window changes every day?
If that’s the case, I’m sorry for either their mobility issues or their fear of small boats, but that's just wrong. Because this has been an absolutely glorious trip. The ship itself has been lovely – the sauna and hot tubs easily being the one bit of decadence I could get used to – but all the activities on and off it have been terrifically well organised. At the start the expedition leader Erin warned us that the schedule we’d been given was potentially just a plan A, and weather conditions could at any point force us into a sudden detour into plan B. But that never happened – maybe we were just lucky, but every place we were told we’d be going to, we got to. We experienced all possible aspects of the Icelandic coast, from bustling cities to microscopic islands. We might do another cruise in the future: we will almost certainly get back to Iceland one day, if only because as I write this (two months after the holiday) I’m getting kind of fed up of people asking "so, did you see the Northern Lights?"
And as you can see from the size of this page, we’re not done just yet. Bang on time at 9.15am, we walk off the Fridtjof Nansen for the last time, and back onto dry land at Reykjavik harbour. We’ve got a couple of days before we fly back to London, and the plan is to chill out in the capital after a very busy week. At least that was the plan, until we realised that we were going to be arriving back in the capital on Icelandic National Day, the anniversary of the founding of the republic in 1944.
Plan B, then.