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Norway

Why Norway?

Celebrating 35 years of marriage requires a special trip. Gathering our adult children and their spouses – between work, graduate school, and personal schedules – was no easy task. We ultimately landed on a 14-day window when everyone was available. Excited, we began our search and eventually decided on a Celebrity Cruise to Norway. I know what you’re thinking: Who decides to pack rain gear and sweaters for vacation in May? Nonetheless that is where and how we wanted to celebrate this milestone. We picked the Celebrity Eclipse because of the itinerary. We have cruised on Celebrity prior (about 30 times!) and always had great experiences so we knew we’d be in a for a nice treat.

Food onboard the ship was delicious. In addition to the dining room and burgers by the pool, our favorite specialty restaurants were Q-sine and Tuscan Grill. Service everywhere onboard was exceptional. There are so many activities onboard that everyone can choose to do as little or as much as you desire. Sleeping on the solstice deck, wine tasting, or glass blowing just to mention a few favorite activities!

While time spent on the ship is nice, the reason we went on the cruise was to experience the Norwegian fjords. If you’re not familiar, fjords are a body of water between cliffs. In other words, incredibly immense mountain-sides next to glass-like water creating spectacular views.

In Bergen, we hiked to the top of Mt. Floen. It is a steep hike, but worth the sweat. The views are breathtaking. We walked the fish market after the hike and had the opportunity to taste the many varieties of salmon and caviar.

In Skjolden (pronounced shoulden) we took a rigid inflatable boat, more commonly known as a RIB boat. We were given thermal wet gear, goggles, and a hat as we floated across the glassy water to experience the grandiosity of the cliffs. While our RIB boat driver played beautiful music, we whisked across the cold water to get a closer view of the fjord and many waterfalls as the serenity of nature swept over us.

Our next port was Geirangerfjord. We kayaked to the Seven Sisters Waterfall. For two hours we kayaked around the fjord to see this beautiful waterfall. As a surprise to my husband – happy anniversary! – I booked the 7 of us to see Geirangerfjord via a helicopter ride! We flew above and between the mountains. It felt as if we were flying on top of the world. This was exhilarating and an experience none of us will forget.

Alesund, is a beautiful town. Filled with restaurants, bars, and a few museums. We began our day by climbing 418 steps to see the entire panoramic view of this city surrounded by water and mountains. How does one describe the exhilaration of making it up 418 steep steps and then to see all the natural beauty that you are surrounded by? Spectacular. Pensive. Breathtaking.

Our next port of call was Shetland Scotland, where the “famous” Shetland ponies come from. Although the tour to the Shetland ponies was brief and not as exciting as our other excursions this week it was interesting to see the beautiful landscapes of this area. The Shetland museum gave us the history of the area. The highlight of Shetland was the most delicious fish and chips that we just sat on a bench and enjoyed our lunch in the sunshine in a charming fishing town seemingly stuck in time.

This was a special cruise for our family. Celebrating our 35th anniversary and our eldest son’s 2nd wedding anniversary. Playing games late into the night on board, trying new wines, dining together, and laughing through our adventures was truly priceless. Norway may not be toward the top of your “Must-travel” list, but I’d recommend it as a way to experience the beauty and serenity of nature that will capture the heart of any adventurer.

Zoetry Villa Rolandi

The Zoetry Brand is one of our favorite group of boutique all inclusive resorts.   Zoetry Villa Rolandi is located across from Cancun on Isa Mujeres.   The resort picks you up with their private yacht on the mainland and you take a 25-30 minute relaxing cruise to the resort.  Upon boarding the yacht the staff provides you a cold towel and a refreshing drink.   As you dock at the resort a team comes out to greet you and welcome you home.  You enter the resort  and again are provided another cold towel and drink and within minutes you are checked in.  Zoetry is only 35 rooms and they are all oceanfront.   Most rooms have jacuzzi tubs on their balconies.

All rooms are very large.  Even the smallest is over 500 sq. ft.  Most rooms have king size beds.  All rooms have either an oceanfront balcony or patio that is steps away from the pool.   Rooms also have large bathrooms with steam showers.   When you walk in your room you will notice the great amenities such as a a bottle of tequila, great internet service, a large flat screen TV with DVD player, 24 hour room service, mini bar and fresh fruit.  Plus they provide Bvlgari bath products, which are the Vacationeeze teams favorites.   They also offer a wonderful pillow menu.

If you are a foodie then Zoetry is the place for you.  Even though the resort is only 35 rooms there are two restaurants plus 24 hour room service and beach and pool butler snack service.   The food quality at the resort is interesting and it is so amazing that people from outside the resort actually pay to eat at the resorts restaurants.  There are no buffets at the resort.  The lunch and dinner menus at the main restaurant are huge.  The focus is fresh meats, seafood and Italian cuisine.  They make fresh pasta and breads in house.  The portion size is also very large.  If you don’t see something on the menu the chef will create the dish of your dreams.    The Le Metissage restaurant focuses on French and Mexican fusion.  They offer a special 7 course tasting menu as well as a large ala carte menu.   The food and service are impeccable.

Even though the resort has only 35 rooms there is no shortage of activities.  There is a small white sand beach that has plenty of chairs and umbrellas.  There are actually 2 pools and a large salt water hot tub.   There are always beach and pool butlers to refresh your drinks and bring you yummy snacks during the day.   They also have a few kayaks and paddle boards for you to use.  There is also a small gym and spa to keep you fit and relaxed.  You can borrow one of the resorts bikes and have a ride around the island.

What really makes this resort is the staff.   Within a day or so they know you and your likes.  Marco, the general manager is always out and around the resort.  He is an interesting person and great to sit and grab a drink with.   Talking about drinks the resort does have the small Cozy Bar.   It is very quiet, but a nice place to grab a drink before or after dinner.

You can also go out and explore the small island of Isla.  You can take a taxi into town for around $10.   The town is small with plenty of shopping and great little local bars and restaurants.  If you want to explore on your own you can renting a golf cart at the resort is an option to  drive yourself around.   There is also great snorkeling around the island.

Our trip came to and end too quickly and we can’t wait to go back.   If you are looking for a resort that is laid back with delicious food then Zoetry Villa Rolandi is the place for you.

 

 

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