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Eli_6

Best cruise line for Norwegian/Scandinavian Fjords, Arctic or Iceland?

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I am wanting to take my family of four (kids are 6 and 7) on a Norwegian or Scandinavian Fjords cruise next summer (2020) for my 40th birthday. Carnival only has one date and it doesn't work. Viking doesn't allow under 18. My husband won't cruise NCL after he got sick on one of their ships. Disney didn't work either. I checked out Royal and they seem like the best bet as the date at least worked, but I was wondering if there were other cruise lines that would be better to this area?  Is there a specific cruise line people would rec to this area or a specific ship?

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Does anyone have a list of ships that qualify to sail the heritage fjords in 2020 under the new rules?

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HAL's Nieuw Statendam is still advertising itineraries going to Flam and Geiranger in 2020

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, gnome12 said:

Does anyone have a list of ships that qualify to sail the heritage fjords in 2020 under the new rules?

 

This is an excellent point, especially since many ships recently changed their itineraries due to these regulations.  Normally members of this forum would recommend that you forget about the cruise line and only look at itinerary for Norway, but it is a bit complicated in 2020 due to the changes in regulations for ships allowed to visit the heritage fjords as noted in this quote. 

 

Here's my best recommendation for a cruise to Norway for a family looking for a kids club and other family amenities, which visits three really nice fjords (Alesund, Flam and Geiranger - your kids will love the Flam railway and there's a really nice excursion you can do to ):

a goat farm there)

Royal Caribbean Jewel Of The SeasCruise Schedule: Copenhagen, Denmark (07 Jun d1700); Stavanger, Norway (09 Jun 0700-1600); Tromso, Norway (11 Jun 0900-1800); Honningsvag, Norway (12 Jun 0700-1500); Alesund, Norway (14 Jun 1000-1700); Flam, Norway (15 Jun 0700-1600); Geiranger, Norway (16 Jun 1000-1900); Copenhagen, Denmark(18 Jun a0700)

 

 

If you wanted a shorter cruise to just visit the heritage fjords:

 

Celebrity Silhouette: Cruise Schedule: Southampton, England (27 Jun d1600); Bergen, Norway (29 Jun 1200-2000); Geiranger, Norway (30 Jun 1100-1800); Flam, Norway (01 Jul 0900-1600); Stavanger, Norway (02 Jul 0900-1800); Southampton, England (04 Jul a0600)

 

But hopefully someone can confirm if the Jewel or Silhouette will be retrofitted to visit the heritage fjords prior to your booking.

 

 I took a 7 day trip to the heritage fjords with 2 and 6 year old children (and found Geiranger, Flam and Olden to be the kids favorite destinations)  but please note that I personally found Norway to be a bit more challenging logistically than my other cruises with children due to the fact that cabs aren't allowed to take children without car seats and there's very little public transportation available in any of these destinations.   We don't take cruisetours with children, but if you do you  wouldn't have this issue.  At some time during your trip to Norway it will start to rain and be cold and your kids are going to see a cab and want to get in it but the drivers will refuse to take you anywhere without car seats. You can either arrange transportation ahead of time (cabs are required to provide car seats if booked ahead of time), take cruise tours, take tourist buses  or arrange independent tours ahead of time (this is possible but not as easy in Norway as other locations).  I didn't realize about the cab issue until I was in Norway, and by then it was too late to arrange cabs - I emailed cab companies on our first destination at on our later stops, but they mostly ignored my emails except for one company that responded after I returned home to state they don't check email frequently and missed my request.  I'm not sure if you'd have an easier time booking cabs if you tried earlier).   Honestly, I found it  easier to get around with a 3 year old on my previous Baltic cruise due to the excellent public transportation, which is also great for children.  You might want to look at my signature line to get ideas for your itinerary to Norway with kids, and also to look at my review of a Baltic cruise since it's spectacular and also great for kids.  Norway is great for kids, but a bit more challenging logistically.

Edited by kitkat343

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7 hours ago, Doh15 said:

HAL's Nieuw Statendam is still advertising itineraries going to Flam and Geiranger in 2020

 

6 hours ago, Doh15 said:

Also Azamara's Pursuit

 

I'm concerned that advertising itineraries is not the same as qualifying. I believe that there are still companies that are hoping to delay the implementation of the rules. We have already seen companies that changed itineraries; I think that there will be more of that.

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5 minutes ago, gnome12 said:

 

 

I'm concerned that advertising itineraries is not the same as qualifying. I believe that there are still companies that are hoping to delay the implementation of the rules. We have already seen companies that changed itineraries; I think that there will be more of that.

 

Fair enough— I picked that wording intentionally. But I seem to recall reading somewhere on these boards that some ships could qualify if the chose to use low sulfur diesel marine fuel (vs the residual crud most ships burn).

 

If that’s true I don’t know how you project who will actually comply and who is marketing an itinerary they can’t deliver. 

 

(Probably naive of me but I’d like to think at some point cruise lines would suffer legal or reputational consequences from marketing an itinerary they know they can’t meet.)

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11 hours ago, gnome12 said:

Does anyone have a list of ships that qualify to sail the heritage fjords in 2020 under the new rules?

No - the problem is that it is not only the ship - the problem is the quality of bunker fuel used - primarily content of Sulfur. I believe that all ships will qualify for 2020 with a good quality bunker fuel but much more expensive.

However, it will change dramatically after 2025 where no emission will be allowed in the Heritage Fjords - only electrical propulsion.

Also soon we will see cruise ships powered by LNG or biofuel.

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No - the problem is that it is not only the ship - the problem is the quality of bunker fuel used - primarily content of Sulfur. I believe that all ships will qualify for 2020 with a good quality bunker fuel but much more expensive.
However, it will change dramatically after 2025 where no emission will be allowed in the Heritage Fjords - only electrical propulsion.
Also soon we will see cruise ships powered by LNG or biofuel.


I've been following discussions about the Heritage Fjords restrictions for a while, and the "only electrical propulsion" statement is confusing. Aren't all cruise ships using electric propulsion already? The screw is turned by an electric motor. The only question is where does the motor get its electricity from, and the answer for most cruise ships is "a big, dirty engine that runs on variable quality bunker oil." Newer ships will use a LNG-powered engine to make the electricity, which arguably would improve but not eliminate the ship's emissions.
A truly electric vessel will still have to get its electricity from somewhere and store it in batteries onboard. The ferries that run between Flåm and Gudvangen are, I believe, considered electric-powered. Where do they get their electricity? Do they plug them in at night like an electric car? Do the cruise ports in those fjords (Geiranger, Flåm) have the ability to allow a cruise ship to plug in and recharge?
I would think it theoretically possible for a bunker oil powered cruise ship to add a boatload (pardon the pun) of batteries, and potentially shut down the engines for sailing into the fjords, running the motors off stored energy in the batteries. But there would still be the issue of powering the "hotel" portion of the ship while in the Fjords, which would require the port to provide a LOT of electricity to docked (or moored) ships.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, just_dont said:

Aren't all cruise ships using electric propulsion already?

Hurtigruten has few hybrid ships today for expedition cruises but already by January 2021 strict regulations for the Norwegian Coastal Ships  - today operated by Hurtigruten. 

Hurtigruten is currently converting 7 of their ,standard’ ships to LNB(bio gas) hybrid with batteries for electric propulsion.  Havila Kystruten is building four new hybrid ships for the Norwegian Coastal Route ready by January 2021. 

Those Ships are hybrid and will sail the Heritage fjords by electric propulsion - If there will be hybrid ‘conventional cruise ships’ sailing the fjords after 2025 they will probably get powered by electricity when in ports. 

If no hybrid cruise ships by 2026 they will simply not be allowed into the fjords.

I do not know how big hybrid ships it’s possible to build - Hurtigruten/Havila ships are typically 800 pax. 

Hurtigruten first hybrid cruise ship

Edited by hallasm
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1 hour ago, hallasm said:

Hurtigruten has few hybrid ships today for expedition cruises but already by January 2021 strict regulations for the Norwegian Coastal Ships  - today operated by Hurtigruten. 

Hurtigruten is currently converting 7 of their ,standard’ ships to LNB(bio gas) hybrid with batteries for electric propulsion.  Havila Kystruten is building four new hybrid ships for the Norwegian Coastal Route ready by January 2021. 

Those Ships are hybrid and will sail the Heritage fjords by electric propulsion - If there will be hybrid ‘conventional cruise ships’ sailing the fjords after 2025 they will probably get powered by electricity when in ports. 

If no hybrid cruise ships by 2026 they will simply not be allowed into the fjords.

I do not know how big hybrid ships it’s possible to build - Hurtigruten/Havila ships are typically 800 pax. 

Hurtigruten first hybrid cruise ship

Thank you for posting all of the info about the new regulations, which I was completely confused about.  This is extremely helpful information.  Unfortunately, the Hurtigruten ships won't have kids clubs, so it could be much harder for families to visit the heritage fjords of Norway, which is unfortunate given how beautiful they are.  Hopefully the mainstream cruise lines will build at least a few ships to achieve this goal if it is technically possible.

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Thank you for the link. I think that helps clarify it for me a bit. The "electric powered" ships are not pure electric (i.e. battery powered; plug in to charge), but rather hybrids (with cleaner engines).
I still take issue with calling this a "first hybrid cruise ship" on a technicality, since the vast majority of ships are already hybrid powered, since their fossil fuel engines produce electricity to drive electric propulsion motors. I guess the key differentiator is the addition of battery storage, enabling propulsion even with the engines turned off. And that would indeed be a significant challenge for larger ships, as the space to store enough energy (in batteries) to support those ships would be significant.

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26 minutes ago, kitkat343 said:

Unfortunately, the Hurtigruten ships won't have kids clubs,

No kids club, no shows and very limited entertainment- great sceneries, good food and excellent lectures (on ships with expedition teams). Ships sailing coastal voyage are working ships - 34 ports in 5 days. Majority of stops only 15 minutes. 

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, hallasm said:

No kids club, no shows and very limited entertainment- great sceneries, good food and excellent lectures (on ships with expedition teams). Ships sailing coastal voyage are working ships - 34 ports in 5 days. Majority of stops only 15 minutes. 

That sounds great in 10 or 15 years!  Norway was so beautiful I hope to get back someday.

Edited by kitkat343

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1 hour ago, kitkat343 said:

That sounds great in 10 or 15 years!  Norway was so beautiful I hope to get back someday.

Yeah...sort of like Viking. It will be great when I am 50+ and kids are in college, but doesn't work for me at 40 with two elementary aged kids. 

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Anyone know about Celebrity Apex?  They have one sailing to the Fjords on May 3rd. Apex is a brand new ship.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Eli_6 said:

Anyone know about Celebrity Apex?  They have one sailing to the Fjords on May 3rd. Apex is a brand new ship.

Geiranger was one of our favorite cities, and Alesund is supposed to be lovely.

 

A cruise starting on May 3rd is a little early for Norway.  The good news is that the waterfalls will be full due to a lot of snow melting run off.  But you might have some difficulty arranging tours - we sailed starting on May 16 a few years ago, and needed to specially arrange some tours because we arrived prior to some of the tour options normal schedule.  In Flam, it took a couple of weeks to arrange a visit to visit goats on a local farm because it was earlier than the normal season.  I'm not sure if everything will be available in early May, and you should check your excursion options prior to booking this cruise.

 

 The road to the Geiranger Skywalk is seasonal, and we actually missed it because it usually opens between May 15 and early June, after the roads have been completely cleared of snow and the annual avalanche occurs (it was late in 2017 and the road opened two days after we arrived in Geiranger.  The rest of Geiranger was beautiful, but that was something we missed).  On the other hand, because we arrived in the shoulder season it was easier to arrange things that were running - we booked the cruise 6 weeks before we sailed, and were still able to get tickets for the Flam railroad and to move our golf cart reservation at the last minute at the Briksdal Glacier when we decided to see the Loen skylift in the afternoon, when the weather was better.

Edited by kitkat343

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I am booked on the Crown Princess - July 25, 2020 sailing.  No itinerary changes revealed yet for this 8 night cruise.  May be worth considering for your family.

 

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We also cruised with Princess. But I believe it was with their baby, Pacific Princess.

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I have my first cruise to Norway booked.  I was attracted by the idea of being able to get an Aft cabin (first time for me) - but not sure if I have made a mistake with the ship being so large.  The deposit was small so if I have made a huge mistake I won’t worry losing it.  I would rather lose the deposit than have a disappointing cruise.  

 

I am booked on Iona on 6th June next year.   I hope that the itinerary has attached.  

 

I have no idea about heritage fjords.  Do the folk here think that this itinerary will go ahead?

 

Once I started considering a Norway cruise I realised that I have been missing a treat.  I am pretty sure that this will be the first of several cruises in that direction.   So even if I won’t get to the best spots on this cruise, I could just enjoy my aft cabin and once I get home starting planning for the next cruise.  

 

I hope that makes sense - and I welcome comments.  

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Posted (edited)

Olliebertsmum,

I don't know about the Fjords, but we have been in an aft facing cabin before and LOVED it. We actually had a corner after balcony on a caribean cruise.

Edited by Eli_6

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10 hours ago, ollienbertsmum said:

was attracted by the idea of being able to get an Aft cabin

An aft cabin will be fine - however the best views are still from upper decks

 

10 hours ago, ollienbertsmum said:

not sure if I have made a mistake with the ship being so large.

Do not know which ship but I cannot see any difference from sailing the Fjords by a small or a large ship - the Fjord experience will be exact the same - no advantage of a small ship.

 

10 hours ago, ollienbertsmum said:

 Do the folk here think that this itinerary will go ahead?

Depends on the cruise ship companies - only electrical propulsion will be allowed from 2026 - so only hybrid ships will be able to sail - so far only Hurtigruten and Havila Kystruten will have hybrid ships - for the Norwegian national coastal route hybrid/LNG is a requirement already by 2021 while 2026 for other ships - but more strict regulation for emission already by now - however many cruise ships today will be able to meet those requirements through 2025.

 

Most important is the Itinerary - personally I think Geiranger, Olden and Bergen are great ports. For Stotfjord and Geiranger Fjord you must be at the deck very early.

below a sailing Geiranger Fjord video - by a large ship.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Eli_6 said:

Olliebertsmum,

I don't know about the Fjords, but we have been in an aft facing cabin before and LOVED it. We actually had a corner after balcony on a caribean cruise.

Thank you for the reassurance, that is why I think I will go for it whatever, unless there was a seriously changed itinerary.  

 

I need to do some Hurtigruten research.  What I see available now does look a bit expensive.  I think this is a question to put to my TA.  

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