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mattduke1

Norway itinerary advice

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Hi experts!  I posted this in the Holland America section, but I thought I'd ask the experts here as well.

 

My wife and I (early 40's) will be completing our 4th trip to Alaska this summer.  We just love Alaska and Holland America.  But we now want to plan a cruise to Norway for summer 2020 (14 days).  We've learned that Geiranger is not to be missed, but we'd also like to cruise above the Arctic Circle to the North Cape.  Unfortunately I can't find a cruise that incorporates both of those.

 

If you guys could be so kind, I've found 3 cruises that would work for our schedule that I'd like to have some input on.  Basically, which itinerary do you think is best for first time Norway cruisers.  Cruise 1 and 2 are on the Rotterdam and cruise 3 is on the Veendam.  Any advice offered would be greatly appreciated.

 

#1 - 14 Day North Cape (Rotterdam, Stavanger, Flam, Sognefjord, Molde, Trondheim, Trondheimsfjord, Hammerfest, Honningsvag, North Cape, Olden, Alesund, Rotterdam)

 

#2 - 14 Day Viking Sagas & Norse Legends (Rotterdam, Flam, Sognefjord, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Oslofjord, Oslo, Rotterdam, Eidfjord, Hardangerfjord, Alesund, Geiranger, Geirangerfjord, Rosendal, Rotterdam)

 

#3 - 14 Day North Cape & Gems of Norway Explorer (Amsterdam, Eidfjord, Hardangerfjord, Bergen, Tromso, North Cape, Honningsvag, Harstad, Leknes/Lofoten, Bronnoysund, Trondheim, Molde, Alesund, Amsterdam)

 

Thank you for your time.

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15 minutes ago, mattduke1 said:

Hi experts!  I posted this in the Holland America section, but I thought I'd ask the experts here as well.

 

My wife and I (early 40's) will be completing our 4th trip to Alaska this summer.  We just love Alaska and Holland America.  But we now want to plan a cruise to Norway for summer 2020 (14 days).  We've learned that Geiranger is not to be missed, but we'd also like to cruise above the Arctic Circle to the North Cape.  Unfortunately I can't find a cruise that incorporates both of those.

 

If you guys could be so kind, I've found 3 cruises that would work for our schedule that I'd like to have some input on.  Basically, which itinerary do you think is best for first time Norway cruisers.  Cruise 1 and 2 are on the Rotterdam and cruise 3 is on the Veendam.  Any advice offered would be greatly appreciated.

 

#1 - 14 Day North Cape (Rotterdam, Stavanger, Flam, Sognefjord, Molde, Trondheim, Trondheimsfjord, Hammerfest, Honningsvag, North Cape, Olden, Alesund, Rotterdam)

 

#2 - 14 Day Viking Sagas & Norse Legends (Rotterdam, Flam, Sognefjord, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Oslofjord, Oslo, Rotterdam, Eidfjord, Hardangerfjord, Alesund, Geiranger, Geirangerfjord, Rosendal, Rotterdam)

 

#3 - 14 Day North Cape & Gems of Norway Explorer (Amsterdam, Eidfjord, Hardangerfjord, Bergen, Tromso, North Cape, Honningsvag, Harstad, Leknes/Lofoten, Bronnoysund, Trondheim, Molde, Alesund, Amsterdam)

 

Thank you for your time.

 

One other, somewhat unusual, suggestion:

 

Have you considered Hurtigruten's Norway Coastal Round Trip from Bergen to Kirkenes (up over the North Cape) and then back again?  It's quite different, and the excursions are very different, too.

 

We took this in March, and we so very delighted with everything.  We also saw the Northern Lights, but that's not a goal in the summer.

They have a different ship leave Bergen every day (about 12 ships rotate), and they each stop at the same ports, each day, during the daytime in one direction, and during the night in the other direction.

 

It's also a local ferry (most of the ships take cars, but not the newest), and the ships are VERY different.  There is one that is quite old (e.g., not even an elevator).  We took one of the newer ones, with a two-story observation lounge with a wonderful forward view.

Most of the stops are quite short, so some of the excursions leave the ship at one port, and return at the next port.

 

The food was excellent.

 

We went for the scenery (and Lights, with luck), and were so pleasantly surprised that we now want to take some of their excursion cruises.

 

Just a thought...

 

GC

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1 hour ago, mattduke1 said:

Hi experts!  I posted this in the Holland America section, but I thought I'd ask the experts here as well.

 

My wife and I (early 40's) will be completing our 4th trip to Alaska this summer.  We just love Alaska and Holland America.  But we now want to plan a cruise to Norway for summer 2020 (14 days).  We've learned that Geiranger is not to be missed, but we'd also like to cruise above the Arctic Circle to the North Cape.  Unfortunately I can't find a cruise that incorporates both of those.

 

If you guys could be so kind, I've found 3 cruises that would work for our schedule that I'd like to have some input on.  Basically, which itinerary do you think is best for first time Norway cruisers.  Cruise 1 and 2 are on the Rotterdam and cruise 3 is on the Veendam.  Any advice offered would be greatly appreciated.

 

#1 - 14 Day North Cape (Rotterdam, Stavanger, Flam, Sognefjord, Molde, Trondheim, Trondheimsfjord, Hammerfest, Honningsvag, North Cape, Olden, Alesund, Rotterdam)

 

#2 - 14 Day Viking Sagas & Norse Legends (Rotterdam, Flam, Sognefjord, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Oslofjord, Oslo, Rotterdam, Eidfjord, Hardangerfjord, Alesund, Geiranger, Geirangerfjord, Rosendal, Rotterdam)

 

#3 - 14 Day North Cape & Gems of Norway Explorer (Amsterdam, Eidfjord, Hardangerfjord, Bergen, Tromso, North Cape, Honningsvag, Harstad, Leknes/Lofoten, Bronnoysund, Trondheim, Molde, Alesund, Amsterdam)

 

Thank you for your time.

I would not do #2. It seems to be 2 separate cruises back to back, and you go all the way back to Rotterdam in the middle. 

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#2 doesn't travel above the Arctic Circle at all, and you spend a lot of time returning to Rotterdam and rounding the southern tip of Norway. I think Oslo is a great cruise port, but it fits better (both thematically and geographically) in a Baltic Sea cruise rather than a Norwegian coastal cruise. The Oslofjord may technically be a fjord, but the scenery (wide expanse of water with small islands and low hills) is vastly different from the iconic western fjords.

 

Between #1 and #3, I think it depends on personal preference.

 

#1

Fjords - Flåm, Olden

Small cities - Stavanger, Trondheim

Coastal towns - Molde, Hammerfest, Honnigsvåg, Ålesund

#3

Fjords - Eidfjord

Small cities - Bergen, Tromsø, Honnigsvåg, Trondheim

Coastal towns - Harstad, Bronnøysund, Molde, Ålesund

Lofoten Islands - Leknes

 

The big selling point for #1 is that it has more traditional fjord scenery. Both Flåm and Olden are classic fjord ports. It may even be possible to visit Geiranger on an excursion from Olden.


The advantages of #3 are the inclusion of Lofoten (not the fjords, but considered by Norwegians to be one of the most beautiful places in Norway) and perennial favorite Bergen. I would also include Tromsø as a big plus, because I think it's a beautiful and interesting little city. This sailing also has fewer sea days, so overall there are two more ports than #1, though I'm not sure how much there is to do/see in Bronnøysund or Harstad.

 

I think I'd personally lean towards #3, but if your goal is to visit the iconic fjords, you might be happier with #1.

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I realize that you have a preference for HAL, but if the itinerary is the driving force you should look at Princess.  Our Cruise to Norway included both Geiranger and the North Cape and was above the Arctic Circle for 3 or 4 nights.  It originated and ended in Southampton.  Princess does a variety of this cruise each year with some variation in which ports are visited but I believe Geiranger & North Cape show up on all the 14 day cruises.  I suspect other lines do different versions as well.

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If you like Hal, I think you will also like princess.  We prefer princess, and find both lines to be more similar than different, and I’d go for the best itinerary.  

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We are booked on a June 9th 11 day cruise on Royal Caribbean out of Copehagen.  It beat NCL's prices.

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On 1/23/2019 at 4:47 PM, wheezedr said:

I realize that you have a preference for HAL, but if the itinerary is the driving force you should look at Princess.  Our Cruise to Norway included both Geiranger and the North Cape and was above the Arctic Circle for 3 or 4 nights.  It originated and ended in Southampton.  Princess does a variety of this cruise each year with some variation in which ports are visited but I believe Geiranger & North Cape show up on all the 14 day cruises.  I suspect other lines do different versions as well.

Last year's itinerary is pretty darn good - this year, a tad better with Flam. 

 

I looked at several other main stream lines and think Princess is still doing a good one compared to the others, if one isn't going to do Hurtigruten. 

 

 

Edited by Coral

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Thanks everyone for your expertise and advice.  This information is fantastic.

 

If we stick with Holland America for this trip, I think we're leaning towards #1.

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I have listened to the advice of the experts in this thread and have looked at Princess for some possible fjord sailings.  For the time we're looking to travel, I have found one itinerary that could work.  I'd like to run 2 scenarios by you guys to get your opinions.

 

#1 (Holland America) - Amsterdam, Eidfjord, Molde, Geiranger, Bergen, Amsterdam, Oslo, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Flam, Amsterdam

Pros:  3 outstanding fjord settings...14 Day cruise...new ship Nieuw Statendam...large corner wrap-around aft suite for great fjord viewing

Cons:  Having to return to Amsterdam mid-trip...really looking for just fjord scenery so not really all that interested in several of these ports...$5,000 more in cost compared to #2

 

#2 (Princess) = Southampton, Bergen, Alesund, Olden, Hellesylt/Geiranger, Stavanger, Southampton

Pros:  $5,000 less than #1...no return mid-trip...corner aft suite...would be able to spend a few days in London pre or post cruise

Cons: only 2 outstanding fjord settings...only an 8 Day cruise...much smaller balcony that doesn't truly wrap-around

 

OK, experts...what kinds of opinions do you have for these 2 itineraries.

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Stavanger, Alesund, Trondheim and Bergen are absolutely worthwhile. The Geiranger fjord is, in my opinion "a must see" (I do not know what it means when you state: "Geiranger/Hellesylt", because travelling between those ports takes about 1hr30minutes if I remember well).  I would definitely choose for a North Cape cruise. 

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In the second half of the HAL itinerary, Flåm is the only fjord port. It spends a lot of time sailing to Oslo and back around the southern tip of the country before reaching the fjords. Why not just book the first HAL cruise instead of doing the back-to-back? That would eliminate the extra time sailing back to Amsterdam and would presumably lower the price.

 

Otherwise, I’d do the Princess trip if you’re only interested in the fjords.

 

I wouldn’t worry too much about the balcony. For peak fjord cruising, you should really be out on deck for the panoramic view, and in Geirangerfjord especially, to be able to look up. Unless you’d have a roofless “terrace” style balcony, the view will still be somewhat restricted given the proximity and height of the fjord walls.

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Price wise you're comparing an 8 day to a 14 day cruise. If you're doing a Norway cruise you should include cruising the North Cape above the Arctic Circle. We're doing the 14 day Voyage of the Midnight Sun on Nieuw Statendam in 2020 out of Amsterdam. That same cruise is also sailing this year. It includes some of your ports.  

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