To Bergen

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Well… We made it! Tests, more hoops to jump through than a dog competing in the agility trials.

With more paperwork than you need to take a ham sandwich into Europe, we set off for Bristol with our friendly local Chauffeur Service (Bob to us!) around 6:15am. An uneventful journey saw us at the airport around 7:45am.

Check-in was a bit on the slow side, but with fast-track security we were waiting in the departure area by 8:15am. The gate was declared at about 8:30am. Now BRS is a smallish airport; bigger than Cardiff but not exactly LHR. It, like Topsy, just grew and is now a rabbit warren of corridors that lead to various gates that were probably added piecemeal over time. It took nearly 10 minutes to reach ithe gate, and it wasn’t the most distant. Not a travelator in sight! However, boarding was easy and the flight departed and arrived near enough on time.

Amsterdam Schipol was much as always. The expected problem caused by the UK leaving the EU, Passport Control, had no specific effect on us. The e-gates were out of action, so everyone, including EU passport holders, had to join a snake-line for around 20 minutes to complete immigration.

We spent around 3 hours in KLM’s Schengen Crown Lounge (25). We’ve only used the KLM long haul lounge before. By comparison this lounge is poor. Barely enough seating. Very limited average food and beverage selection. Slow clear & cleanup. Free fast wifi so that’s something. However, it’s far better than the alternative… using a Schipol “restaurant”.

The onward flight to Bergen’s gate was about 10 minutes away. When we arrived, the gate was due to open in around 5 minutes. And it did… but the jetway didn’t, so a chaotic crowd gathered around the gate entry waiting (only in approximated lines) for around 15 minutes. The incoming flight was late.

A straightforward arrival and baggage claim, plenty of Viking agents and a coach put us quayside around 6:15pm.

Check-in for the ship was also reasonable simply for the times. Temperature check and “spit in a tube” PCR samples were all that was added. On-board you’re directed to a personal life-jacket safety briefing. That took 3 minutes. All you then do is watch a video in your cabin. What an improvement on the usual drill.

Cases arrived (eventually). Unpacking done. Room-service for 8:30pm.

Yes, we made it. And the aforementioned paperwork? No one even asked to glance at it. Strange times these!