Color Line Color Fantasy – The Kiel to Oslo Ferry

Best Keep to the Periphery – July 2016
On 7th July 2016 we travelled from Kiel to Oslo on the Color Line ship Color Fantasy.
Color Fantasy in the dock at Kiel.
The cabin on deck 10 was very nice, with a double bed, a big porthole window overlooking the sea, and a spacious bathroom with plenty of water cascading from the shower when you turned it on. The cabin was lovely and quiet. Clean and comfortable.
Outside on deck was spacious too, though nowhere to shelter if it is raining, and only a few lees to huddle in away from the wind.
But inside the ship, away from the cabin, was, eergh, horrendous! On the side of the ship it says ‘Color Line Cruises’, although it’s essentially a ferry. Is this what going on a cruise ship would be like? If so, maybe we’d be happy to pay the fee to keep away!
But the trip started well enough, we were on the aft deck watching the estuary pass as the ship moved away from Kiel.
Leaving Kiel.
Hapag Lloyd MS Europa and TUI Cruises Mein Schiff 1 at the cruise ship terminal in Kiel. The slogans written in a script typeface on the side of Mein Schiff say, translated into English: Hospitality – Wanderlust – Sea Whisper – Quiet – Midnight Sun – Sunrise. What a motley set of slogans. But presumably those who go on such cruises are impressed, if they read what’s written there at all.
A little further out we pass the entrance to the Kiel Canal. Container ship Adelina D registered in Douglas, based in Hamburg, (it says on the websites that follow these things) approaches the locks at the entrance.
And then . . . and then . . . we go down into the bowels of the ship, to the area that is called The Promenade, where the shops and restaurants are located . . .
All shipshape and shining. Carrier bags from the duty free shop.
Queue for the face painting.
All that glitters . . . The tapas bar to the left, perfume and cosmetics to the right, the shutters above are on the windows of cabins, so on booking you can opt to look down on all of this.
We ate a late lunch in the tapas bar. It was good: chicken wings, spare ribs, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, potatoes – best bit the potatoes – stuffed red peppers, mussels – not so good the mussels, no taste – a piece of fat cod – very good – salmon, prawns, a slice of tortilla on a very eggy base. Two slices of bread each. Aioli and/or pesto sauce thrown in for the price. You choose three items on a small plate or six items on a grosse. Man serving looked every bit the ferry sailor, with a heavily-tattooed arm. Spoke very good English.
Perfume & Cosmetics. Periodically the world goes purple, or orange, or green. At the moment purple.
Fantasy promenade. The pizzeria to the left.
Notes verbatim from my diary: The only place I have found on this ship where I can sit more-or-less quiet, the Donkey Pub [can be seen just beyond the pizzeria in the photo above]. But there’s a singer guitarist – binketty-bonk – Johnny Cash song, I’ll Walk the Line, done junior-guitarplonk style. S’just awful. As there’s nowhere else to sit I bought myself a beer, a large Hansa, €7.30. Gawd that guitarist is awful, a relief when he stops. And underlying it is a faint rumble of the floor from the engines of the ship. People wander back and forth with their tax-free shop purchases, wondering what to do next. Depressing. My beer won’t go down, tastes of disinfectant. The lights are putting wobbly chromatic aberrations on my page, to add to my sense of unreality. Gawp, now it’s gone all dark with swirling lights.
I try to write but note that I cannot in this awfulness, the guitarists stops, I try again, but all I write is the word, awfulness, followed by seven exclamation marks!!!!!!! (usually I don’t approve of multiple exclamation marks, this here ferry has undermined all my principles of decorum!!!!!!!)
Three grinning singers appear above you to chant out the forthcoming evening’s delights.
Fantasy elevators. Together with the wide carpeted stairs the glass pod speedy lifts make a great playground for children.
Sometimes we’re purple, sometimes we’re yellow, it depends on which colour lights they’re beaming down at us at that particular moment. While the hanging clown waves down at us, as well he might.
We thought the food and choice on offer was pretty good. If only there was somewhere quiet aside from our cabin to sit and think, other than being banished, like a family with children at an old British pub, to the cool blustery elements outside.
And here’s a tip. In fact two tips, if you travel on the Kiel to Oslo ferry, buy your Oslo Card from the reception desk on the boat, far more civilised than joining the queueing system at the central Tourist Information at Oslo railway station. We did that, having read on the Oslo Card website that you could buy them on Color Line ferries, and the friendly man at the desk gave us some friendly and sound advice. Instead of getting the shuttle bus from the quay to town, he said, talk the walkway and footpath through to Skillebekk – he pointed out the route on the freebie map – and get the number 13 tram, much less of a scrum than the shuttle bus, it’s not far to walk, which indeed it isn’t, and indeed it was.
I had expected that the option to buy an Oslo Card at the desk might have been announced on the ship, but it wasn’t, and the man at the desk had to scrabble in his drawer to find them. This is in marked contrast to Eurostar and ferries from the UK to mainland Europe, where, because the company makes a little commission on the sale of tickets, it promotes them, and this in addition puts over the message it is looking after its customers’ needs and comfort. Color Line too busy with glitzing my ‘cruise’, obviously.
The Oslo Fjord. Passing the Oslo-Lindøye ferry (I think).
Approaching Oslo.
Color Line call the Kiel–Oslo ferry a mini-cruise. The side of the ship says Color Line Cruises. Is that what it’s like on a cruise ship? Gawd!


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