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hallasm

Norway Fjord Cruise Q&A - Keys to Successful Planning

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I am hoping to start an on-going conversation about Norway Fjord itineraries. This is not meant to be a roll call, but a never ending Q&A thread focusing on the details of the Norway Fjords, ports, sights, and excursions.

Please post your questions! - CC Members having sailed the Norway Fjords will add their experiences, thoughts and answers.

 

Norway's west coast is one of the most spectacular regions of the world, with som incredible destinations, and scenic views. Various cruise line do offer differen itineraries and different ports of call - it can therefor be hard to decide which itinerary to choose.

 

The main attraction is sailing the scenic fjords - the main fjords in Norway are Sognefjord, Geirangerfjord, Hardangerfjord, Nordfjord, Nærøyfjord (a branch of Sognefjord), Lysefjord and Trollfjord. In addition also to enjoy the fantastic Fjord views from the top of the mountains.

Both Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are Unesco World heritage Natural Sites.
Unesco World heritage Sites along the West Coast are: Bryggen in Bergen, Rock Art of Alta and Struve Geodetic Arc in Alta, Urnes Stave Church (Skjolden) and Vegaøyan (Brønnøysund). Tentative Unesco sites are: Svalbard Archipelago, and Lofoten islands.

Below a list (by no means complete) of the most common ports and some of the sights along the West Coast of Norway, served by various cruise lines - where the port is located in a fjord, I have listed the fjords you must sail trough in order to reach the port.

 

I have marked the Polar Circle - North of the Polar Circle you will have days with Midnight Sun in June and July and Polar Night in December and January. From October through March you can also experience Northern Lights.
Some Norway Fjord cruises do also include Longyearbyen on Svalbard Archipelago.

 

Norway West Coast Ports from South to North:

  1. Stavanger  (Port in centre of city) - The Pulpit Rock, Old Stavanger and Lysefjord Cruise excursions.
  2. Hardangerfjord (scenic sail-in) to Eidfjord or Ulvik (Ports - both Small towns) - Vøringsfossen Waterfall.
  3. Bergen (Port - larger city) - Old Bergen , Bryggen Wharf, Fishmarket, and Mount Fløyen (Fløybanen funicular).
  4. Sognefjord and Aurlandsfjord (Scenic sail-in) to Flåm (Port - small town)  - scenic Flåm Railway and biking. Excursion to Nærøyfjord.
  5. Nordfjord (Scenic sail-in) to Olden (Port - little village) - scenic area - Jostedalsbreen glacier.
  6. Storfjord and Geirangerfjord (Scenic - known as the most beautiful fjord in Norway) to Geiranger or Hellesylt (Ports - small towns) - Seven Sisters waterfall - panoramic and marvellous  views from  Eagles road and Flydalsjuvet (HoHo bus).
  7. Ålesund (Port in centre of town) Picturesque - Fjellstus and Byrampen Viewpoint.
  8. Romsdalsfjord  (Scenic) to Åndalsnes  (Port - City) scenic region. Trollstigvegen, and Rauma railway.
  9. Molde (Port - Town) - scenic and panoramic views.
  10. Trodheim (Port close to city centre). Historical and cultural city.
  11. Brønnøysund (Port - City) - Vegaøyan.
  12. ---- Polar Circle -----
  13. Bodø (Port - City).
  14. Lofoten Islands / Trollfjord  (small ports: Gravdal/Leknes, Stamsund, Svolvær ) scenic area.
  15. Harstad - Situated on the largest island in Norway, Hinnøya.
  16. Ofotfjord to Narvik (Town)- Scenic area - cable car to Narvikfjellet.
  17. Tromsø (Port - larger city).
  18. Alta (Port - City) - The Rock art of Alta.
  19. Hammerfest (Port - City) scenic - the northernmost town in Norway.
  20. Honningsvåg (Port - City) - visit to North Cape.
  21. Kirkenes (Port - City) 10 km from Russian Border.

 

Note: upcoming restrictions.
Be aware that restrictions soon will be applied to the current cruises ship fleet so they cannot cruise the Norwegian Fjords.
The Norwegian Parliament calls on the Government to implement requirements and regulations for emissions from cruise ships and other vessels in tourist fjords, ..., including a requirement for zero emissions from tourist ships and ferries in the world heritage fjords as soon as feasible and no later than 2026.

 

Edited by hallasm
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Same here but right now we are not able to take longer than a 7/8 night cruise. Leaves us with HA and celebrity (has a few for 2019). 

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12 hours ago, maggieq said:

Same here but right now we are not able to take longer than a 7/8 night cruise. Leaves us with HA and celebrity (has a few for 2019). 

Also P&O, Princess, RCCL, Cunard, MSC, and Costa are offering 7/8 days Norwegian Fjords cruises - primarily from Southampton and Copenhagen

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Currently booked on an 8 night Norway Fjords sailing via Celebrity Reflection for May 2019. This one goes out of Dublin and stops in Alesund, Bergen, Geiranger, Olden and then Belfast. Right now, I'm currently planning to book a fjords to trolls excursion for Alesund and a GOT tour in Belfast. Rest are up in the air right now. Always looking for suggestions or if any of the remaining ports can be DIY 🙂

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Here som inspiration for Bergen, Ålesund, Geiranger and Olden

Ålesund

In addition to the excursion to Trollstigen you can also walk - Ålesund is very walkable. In 1904 a fire destroyed Ålesund's city center. It was rebuilt in  Art Nouveau style and is very picturesque. Also visit the Aksla Viewpoint with a cafe for a cup of coffee.

Bergen

The city is also very walkable and good for a DIY-day. Bryggen Wharf is on Unesco’s list of World Heritage - another popular attractions is the Fish Market

Also take a trip up to Mt. Fløyen with  Fløibanen funicular or to Mt. Ulriken with the cable car and enjoy the view of the city, the fjord and the ocean.

Geiranger

Sailing through the Storfjord and a Geirangerfjord to Geiranger has a fantastic view to the mountains  - just before arrival to Geiranger you’ll pass the Seven Sisters Waterfall. Take the panorama bus to the best viewing points: Geiranger Skywalk at Dalsnibba, Flydalsjuvet or Eagle Bend. Geirangerfjord is at the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites

Olden 

Olden is a small pleasant village at the end of the scenic Nordfjord. A ten minutes walk from the quay will bring you to the centre of Olden. From here excursions to Briksdal Glacier, Loen Skylift, Kjenndal Glacier and boat trip on Olden Lake.

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12 minutes ago, hallasm said:

Here som inspiration for Bergen, Ålesund, Geiranger and Olden

Ålesund

In addition to the excursion to Trollstigen you can also walk - Ålesund is very walkable. In 1904 a fire destroyed Ålesund's city center. It was rebuilt in  Art Nouveau style and is very picturesque. Also visit the Aksla Viewpoint with a cafe for a cup of coffee.

Bergen

The city is also very walkable and good for a DIY-day. Bryggen Wharf is on Unesco’s list of World Heritage - another popular attractions is the Fish Market

Also take a trip up to Mt. Fløyen with  Fløibanen funicular or to Mt. Ulriken with the cable car and enjoy the view of the city, the fjord and the ocean.

Geiranger

Sailing through the Storfjord and a Geirangerfjord to Geiranger has a fantastic view to the mountains  - just before arrival to Geiranger you’ll pass the Seven Sisters Waterfall. Take the panorama bus to the best viewing points: Geiranger Skywalk at Dalsnibba, Flydalsjuvet or Eagle Bend. Geirangerfjord is at the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites

Olden 

Olden is a small pleasant village at the end of the scenic Nordfjord. A ten minutes walk from the quay will bring you to the centre of Olden. From here excursions to Briksdal Glacier, Loen Skylift, Kjenndal Glacier and boat trip on Olden Lake.

 

Thank you! Gives me plenty to research and plan.

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Do you know if it is possible time wise to do both the Loen Skylift and the Briksdal Glacier on the same day the cruise is in port in Olden... or do you have to chose one or the other?

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You should be able to do both in a day - depending on arrival/departure of you cruise and timing for the Glaciers tour. You can find more detail in provided links.

Loen Skylift is located only 6 km from the Port of Olden. There is shuttle bus from the cruise pier in Olden.

It’s a 45 minute drive from the pier to the Glaciers where you normally will spend two hours - more info

 

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36 minutes ago, the links said:

In Flam ,we have a 9 hour stop. What would be the best things to see?

 

We did the famous and historical Flåmsbana rail AND we did the gorgeous Stegastein Viewpoint on a land trip we took to Norway two summers ago. Either one of those is excellent.

Here is a pic from the Stegastein Viewpoint... note you do take hairpin turns bus ride from Flåm to get up there- we found it thrilling and exhilarating... but if someone is nervous on roads, it is not for the faint of heart.

IMG_0530.jpg

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1 hour ago, the links said:

In Flam ,we have a 9 hour stop. What would be the best things to see?

 

 Flåmsbanan and Stegastein Viewpoint as mentioned by naturelovergirl are two very good options in Flåm - in addition a fjord cruise on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Nærøyfjord is also a possibility.

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Thank you, hallasm, for the wealth of information you've provided so far.   We won't be in Norway until 2020, so it is a bit of a ways off, but do you have any specific recommendations for Molde?

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22 hours ago, dfish said:

Thank you, hallasm, for the wealth of information you've provided so far.   We won't be in Norway until 2020, so it is a bit of a ways off, but do you have any specific recommendations for Molde?

Here you have som inspiration for Molde. Link with more information.

The city is located on the northern shore of Romsdalsfjord. You can visit the center of Molde, Molde Cathedral and outdoor museum of Romsdalsmuseet.

From the Varden viewpoint (1 hour by foot) a nice view over the Fjord and the 222 mountain peaks covered by snow.

Som excursions from Molde are: The Atlantic Road built on bridges and landfills across small islands and skerries, and spans from the small communities of Vikan and Vevang to Averøy - and Marble caves at Naas. The caves are a result of mining operations, and were active from 1938 - 1987.

The Atlantic Road and the caves can be combined.

 

It might also be possible to take the excursions with the scenic Rauma Railway from Åndalsnes  or the National Tourist Route, Trollstigen - however a bit longer excursions.

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We're cruising in June 2019 to Flam, Stavanger, Kristiansand and Oslo. I'm fine for ideas for Flam (train ride up and cycle down), Stavanger (Preikestolen hike) and Oslo (city exploration), but I'm completely stuck for ideas for Kristiansand. We want to be out and about doing something active and/or enjoying the scenery. Any suggestions would be most welcome. 

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1 hour ago, Belgian fry said:

but I'm completely stuck for ideas for Kristiansand. We want to be out and about doing something active and/or enjoying the scenery. Any suggestions would be most welcome. 

While it's obvious what to see and do in the majority of the Norwegian ports, Kristiansand is a bit different - located in Southern part of Norway far from the mountains or fjords. Which week day in June will you be in Kristiansand? - things to do like sightseeing railway and boat trips does vary based on week days.

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We'll be there on Wednesday 12 June. I've been there before but just wandered around the fish market. It's my husband's first time in Norway and his first cruise.

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Posted (edited)
I'm sorry not to have any really good suggestions for Kristiansand in June
- my best suggestions are boat tours in the archipelago of Kristiansand or Setesdalsbanen Railway. 
Not sure if those tours are available in June. Hope others can help.

 

 

Edited by hallasm
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On 1/1/2019 at 7:13 AM, hallasm said:

Here you have som inspiration for Molde. Link with more information.

The city is located on the northern shore of Romsdalsfjord. You can visit the center of Molde, Molde Cathedral and outdoor museum of Romsdalsmuseet.

From the Varden viewpoint (1 hour by foot) a nice view over the Fjord and the 222 mountain peaks covered by snow.

Som excursions from Molde are: The Atlantic Road built on bridges and landfills across small islands and skerries, and spans from the small communities of Vikan and Vevang to Averøy - and Marble caves at Naas. The caves are a result of mining operations, and were active from 1938 - 1987.

The Atlantic Road and the caves can be combined.

 

It might also be possible to take the excursions with the scenic Rauma Railway from Åndalsnes  or the National Tourist Route, Trollstigen - however a bit longer excursions.

Thank you so much!   Do  you know if there is any way to get to the Varden viewpoint besides hiking up?   We could handle the hike down, but probably not both ways.

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35 minutes ago, dfish said:

Thank you so much!   Do  you know if there is any way to get to the Varden viewpoint besides hiking up?   We could handle the hike down, but probably not both ways.

You're welcome - I'm not aware of any public transport to Varden - it's possible to drive by car - 10 - 15 minutes. At the top you will find the restaurant "Vardestua".

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4 hours ago, hallasm said:

You're welcome - I'm not aware of any public transport to Varden - it's possible to drive by car - 10 - 15 minutes. At the top you will find the restaurant "Vardestua".

Ok, thanks!   We will have to carefully evaluate this.   It sounds like our kind of thing, but Art Thritis has moved in with us and makes his presence known way too often these days.

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Delighted to have discovered this thread, we are sailing on an 11 night Fjords cruise in May/June this year and are looking to plan excursions. We are visiting Olden, Alesund, Andalsnes, Trondheim, Leknes, Tromso and Honningsvag.

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2 hours ago, CruisingFox27 said:

Delighted to have discovered this thread, we are sailing on an 11 night Fjords cruise in May/June this year and are looking to plan excursions. We are visiting Olden, Alesund, Andalsnes, Trondheim, Leknes, Tromso and Honningsvag.

Olden, and Ålesund is covered in post # 6

- In June/July you’ll have midnight sun for Leknes, Tromso and Honningsvag.

Inspiration for the remaining ports:

Åndalsnes
Scenic sailing through Romsdalsfjord  - the main attractions are  the Trollstigvegen, and  scenic Rauma railway.
Trondheim,
the city with Nidaros Cathedral, Bakklandet (oldest part of the city) - Sverresborg Open Air Museum and Løkken Vintage Train and Old Mine.
Leknes, Lofoten
Lofoten is very scenic and a Lofoten Island sightseeing recommended.

Tromsø
The city with the  Arctic Cathedral, Botanical garden, and Fjellheisen (Cable car).

Honningsvåg
A visit to North Cape or a Bird Cruise at Gjesværstappan - a Nature Reserve is home to many seals and about 2.7 million seabirds.

Please add your additional/detailed questions.

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Thank you hallasm that's very helpful. We are looking at the possibility of the ecar and walking for Alesund, we've booked for the North Cape and would like to do the SkyLift or Glacier trip, or both in Olden. I will explore your suggestions. Very grateful of your advice.

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In Andalsnes we loved the famous and thrilling hairpins of the Trollstigen... we drove it- but know that plenty of people take bus tours there.

 

We also love the Rauma train. It is a truly beautiful trip.

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