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Frequent guests Janice and Alan White from Cheltenham enjoyed visiting the Norwegian fjords during their first holiday on board Iona. They shared with us a few highlights:
‘All the ports are so pretty in Norway and we enjoyed soaking up the ambience in each one. We absolutely loved Stavanger – it’s such a lovely place to stroll around. Norway is such a great place for walking – in Ålesund, we recommend taking the 418 steps up to the fantastic Aksla viewpoint on Town Mountain.'
‘Iona is beautiful. Her Sky Dome has a stunning inside space and there are also lots of beautiful places around the Grand Atrium to relax in of an evening. We also enjoyed The Crow’s Nest for its lovely ambience at night. It’s a great place for coffee during the day as well. The food on Iona is fabulous. We loved the Pearl Restaurant, as it’s so lovely and bright. And Epicurean is special. The fish dishes are wonderful, especially the scallops.'
With panoramic viewing spots in her Grand Atrium, Iona is the ultimate way to see the Norwegian fjords. Guest Sian Purdy shared her experience of seeing the Fjords for the first time.
"The Grand Atrium was beautiful. The sense of space and the way in which the light and mood changed throughout the day and into the night gave it a special atmosphere. It was our go-to place to meet and relax. And her SkyDome was spectacular – it was my favourite place because of the lovely vibe at sunset and in the evening when the shows were on."
"When we got to Norway, Iona really came into her own. The views of the fjords were just amazing. I’ll never forget waking up in my inside cabin and coming out to see the proximity of the mountains with their snowy peaks and the sheer drama of the scenery. The cliffs and mountains were so close – we were right in the heart of them with 360-degree views."
"The sail-by in Nordfjord at dusk was magical. The air was cool and fresh, but we were toasty warm in the whirlpool with a glass of prosecco! Even when we were dining, there was a sense of being in Norway. We ordered the famous fisherman’s kebab and the marshmallow fondue in The Beach House – they seemed even more delicious with a fjordic backdrop."
"We went on some great shore excursions, including one to Briksdal glacier from Olden and one to the prettiest little town of Skudeneshavn from Haugesund. We explored Ålesund on our own. It’s a lovely city with colourful old houses and Art Deco architecture. For lunch, we had freshly caught fish and chips in the harbour. That’s a meal I’ll always remember."
After Iona’s first Norwegian Fjords cruise, we caught up with Senior Loyalty and Cruise Sales Manager Liz Gordon to hear about life on board and the joys of Norway.
"I love the way peoples’ faces light up when they’re booking their next adventure. It’s fantastic sharing their excitement and being the one to help make it a reality. On top of this, every day is different. I wake up in new and exciting destinations several times a week and meet interesting people all the time."
"Iona is such a beautiful ship and a pleasure to work on. It really took my breath away when I first stepped into her Grand Atrium. The environment is much more fast-paced than the other ships I’ve worked on due to the number of guests on board. It’s exciting and not without its own challenges – but these are what helps me to grow and develop in the role."
"I’ve been to Norway many times and it never fails to amaze me. I’m from inner-city London so the landscapes are just totally different. Olden is my favourite port of call and I can’t recommend enough the 4km hike to Huaren viewpoint. It starts near to where the ship docks and is quite steep but the views at the top are so worth it. Another great experience is Briksdal glacier. It’s incredible to think that within my lifetime this might cease to exist so you’ve got to see it while you can. If you prefer a more leisurely experience, take the Loen Skylift to the top of Mount Hoven for amazing panoramic views across the fjord."
"The Glass House is a favourite of mine with a menu that gives you the chance to try some new things. I recommend the Mini Scotch Eggs with Chickpeas and Edamame to start and the Big & Bold Chicken main (with three different styles of chicken). For dessert, it’s got to be the Baileys Truffle Tea Cake. The Glass House also boasts some of my favourite wines – Jam Shed being top of the list."
"There’s so much choice on board Iona, especially in the evenings with lots of venues providing new and exciting entertainment. There’s something for everyone, so you’re spoilt for choice. However, after full days of interacting with people, I usually head back to my cabin, do a bit of yoga and then settle down with a book."
"I would recommend Iona to everyone. She’s beautiful, bright, and the Grand Atrium provides stunning views of the sea and the different destinations. On top of that, there’s loads of choice for dining, entertainment and lovely chill-out spaces."
"Sailing into Olden past countless snow-covered peaks was a unique experience as I’ve only ever been to this part of the world in summer when everything is green. The Grand Atrium was the best place to be for the sail-in: you’re out of the wind but still have incredible views."
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