We were part of the Ramblers Worldwide group on this 7 night cruise. I'd read previous reviews and expected a tired, shabby vessel with ultra smiley staff. Black watch is a small ship therefore the dining room is overcrowded and the staff overworked but deal well with the confines of the room and the number of guest they care for.
The food was very good, drinks were pub prices or better. We found Boddingtons on offer at £1.60 a pint.
Fred does not seem to like to communicate with customers. I found it very hard to book spa sessions before boarding. Bearing in mind our limited time on board due to our planned walks I wanted to make sure I could enjoy the cruising aspect of the holiday too, but booking ahead seemed an odd request. We boarded as request at 1700 with a dinner sitting at 1815, but had time to shower and change into the clothes we had taken on with us. On arrival at the restaurant we found that the dress code had been relaxed so that we could have turned up in our travel clothes. We probably wouldn't have, but they just didn't tell us.
Would have preferred a double bed. the cabin had space to allow this, but the singles were fixed so that they could not move. They were very comfortable and the linen was good quality. As we booked through Ramblers a double was not an option unless we chose a suite.
Tea and coffee making items were on a tray in one of the 3 wardrobes. Cases fit under the beds easily and there are noisy metal drawers too, one of which locks for use as a safe. The shower is larger than we expected and efficient. Gel and hand-wash pleasant and not overly perfumed.
The cleaning fairy was so good we never saw her, but there was evidence of her visits.
The artwork on the wall appeared faded but may just have been the original colours, the artwork throughout the ship is an acquired taste.
We took a train from Flam and walked down the steep winding path to a station halfway down and completed the descent by train. A super walk passing numerous waterfalls and through a goat farm. There were cyclists also using the track. The train stops for tourists to take photos of a 'faery' dancing Kate Bush style in the spray from a large waterfall on the way, bizarre, but amusing.
Day 2 From Olden we were taken to the start of our walk by a minibus and hiked past a beautiful mountain hut for stranded travellers to the icemelt river at the base of the Briksdal glacier where chunks of ice bounced about in the flow. A very special experience which our group was privileged to be alone in savouring as the main body of tourists had gone by coach to view another glacier. We passed 4 locals walking their dogs along the track on our return journey. there was another optional walk that afternoon around the outskirts of the town, I didn't take part in that.
The final walk from Bergen started at the top of the funicular where we selected tracks to walk, we went through the cloud hovering above the town to sunlight above and discovered stunning lakes amongst the trees. The walks enabled us to experience Norway, not just see it.
As above, a small shopping area, we didn't use it. Stunning scenery.
We had coffee at the railway carriage cafe around £4, £3 for an ice cream