When I decided I wanted to go to Norway, after doing some research, I decided to take a cruise rather than travel by land. Traveling by ship let me travel to these remote towns and cities without having to worry about how to get to them or where to stay all the while lugging my luggage with me. I had high expectations for this trip and I am happy to say they were met and then some.
We started with a flight from Los Angeles to Amsterdam on SAS (Scandinavian Airlines). I had never flown with them before so I wasn’t sure of what to expect. But I was very happy with the flight. We flew in premium economy, the seats were very comfortable, the food was good, the TV screen was large and they had a decent amount of movies to choose from. And they gave us actual comforters instead of those thin little blankets. On the return flight we had access to the airport lounge in Amsterdam which was great since we had a bit of a wait before our flight.
I choose Holland America Cruise Lines. They had a good itinerary and I have vruised with them before and really liked them. The cruise included ports at Eidfjord, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen. Cruising up the fjords to the ports was incredible. The water was completely still and the scenery was beautiful and peaceful.
Bergen was the largest city of all the ports. However it still had that small town feel. It was very easy to walk around and from where the ship ported it was about a 2 minute walk to the city center. We purchased tickets for the hop-on hop-off bus and toured around the city. We stopped by the fish market for a bite to eat and marvel at all the different meat and seafood being sold. Next was a stop at the bakery for cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate. We also toured the fortress which was interesting and worth going through.
Of all the ports Geiranger was my favorite. It sits at the end of a beautiful fjord. I never knew there were so many shades of green. My camera couldn’t click fast enough. We went to a mountain goat farm where they make goat cheese. It was very small and sits in a valley surrounded by mountains and waterfalls. As we listened to one of the cheese makers tell us how they make their cheese, the resident horses who roamed freely around the farm strolled up for a little attention. We had the opportunity to taste some of the cheese and purchase some as well. In the town of Geiranger itself there is only two small (very expensive) shops and a walk-up window where you could purchase hot dogs and drinks.
Norway is not a shopping destination. At most ports there is very little places to shop and the prices are very high but I have to say I did like that when I got off the ship I wasn’t bombarded with the typical tourist port shops. All the ports we went to did not feel touristy.
As far as the cruise itself the ship was very nice. The décor had a music theme to it. All of the food was excellent both in the main dining room and the buffet. There was not a big Broadway style show. The ship’s dancers performed twice. One night was an illusionist and magician. He performed basic tricks tearing a newspaper then putting it back together again and tying two pieces of rope together then turning it into one piece. They were all tricks I have seen a hundred times so needless to say he was not very impressive. A lot of the activities turned out to be sale pitches. However with that say this still is one of my favorite cruises and would highly recommend it. Norway is one of the most beautiful places I have been to and hopefully I will be able to return soon.