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First cruise on the Balmoral next month (Mighty Waterfalls & Norwegian Fjords).  I have left it a bit late to book some of the excursions with Fred Olsen.  Also some of them are very expensive.  Does anyone have any experience of either booking in advance online with any tour companies or can we just buy tours on the day of arrival in port?  Thanks.

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Have a look at the' Northern European ports' forum, loads of posts about tour companies and the ports. if necessary repost your question there you ll get lots of useful advice. 

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Posted (edited)

Excursions are expensive in Norway as an incredibly expensive country, which you will find if you buy a soft drink or hot drink ashore, (I suggest you think very carefully before asking for anything alcoholic in Norway).  Having said that, it is a beautiful country and we did thoroughly enjoy our trip to the Brikstal Glacier from Olden, soon after we started cruising, so I would recommend that if you are up to the walk, which was fine for us in our late 50's, but probably not now.    I have read that there is a bus which goes to a location accessible to the start point of that (though a bit further away) and some people have reported using that.  However it is a distance from the port and if for some reason you do not get back to the ship in time, you would need to find your own onward transport and possibly hotel stays in a country with incredibly high prices high prices.  For that reason we would not go any distance from a Norwegian port if we were not on a ship's excursion.

 

That is entirely a personal decision for each to make independently though, so it is a good idea for you to ask about that.  I suggest you will get a more responses on the "Ports if Call" boards from this site and another good move would be to look at the Trip Advisor entries for each of your ports and search under the "things to do" section for each port.  They will bring up potential tours and photographs of various locations, though again you would be responsible for getting back to the ship, or home, if there is a problem getting back on time.  Good luck with your search. I think you will find Fred has a waitlist for excursions, so you could ask to be put on that if you want to do an excursion which is not available.

 

TBH you will have a lot of scenic cruising from the ship, so just going ashore and staying in the locality should also prove to be an enjoyable cruise for many passengers.  I always use Google Earth, including street view, as a research tool for new ports we are due to visit, which gives a much better idea of what to expect.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Edited by tring
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14 hours ago, Ovalblondie said:

First cruise on the Balmoral next month (Mighty Waterfalls & Norwegian Fjords).  I have left it a bit late to book some of the excursions with Fred Olsen.  Also some of them are very expensive.  Does anyone have any experience of either booking in advance online with any tour companies or can we just buy tours on the day of arrival in port?  Thanks.

 

Pop the names of your ports in the title or at least first post of a new thread so people know what you are asking about.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/13/2024 at 9:29 PM, Ovalblondie said:

First cruise on the Balmoral next month (Mighty Waterfalls & Norwegian Fjords).  I have left it a bit late to book some of the excursions with Fred Olsen.  Also some of them are very expensive.  Does anyone have any experience of either booking in advance online with any tour companies or can we just buy tours on the day of arrival in port?  Thanks.

 

The real problem that we've often found with FOCL is the uncertainty in the run-up to the cruise of when the ship is expected to arrive and leave a port. On several occasions we've had people doing their own thing as independents arrive back in the half-hour or so between the "back on board time" published the evening before and the sail time. It used to be that late passengers were fined but no idea if that's still the case.

 

One day in Greenland we were called back to the ship because, the rest of the passengers were all back on board an hour before the "given time" and the captain wanted to leave early. It was a pain! But... the captain invited up to his table a couple of days later! 

 

What we've done, once the excursions has been published, is to try and assesses the arrival and departure times from that... bearing in mind that on some occasions... excursion groups will be given priority before independents.

 

So most often we have opted for the excursions. They are expensive but many people who travel on FOCL are cruising at less than cost price and so that's why there are so many pay for extras and the excursions are, as you say, a tad expensive. However in the past we've found that the best ones are often very worth-while and saves the hassle of the DIY approach.

 

These are a few pics of a very similar cruise that we did on the Balmoral a few years ago... including the excursion to the Briksdal Glacier (The one we did was well worth the money!) There was a little shuttle, the Troll Car, from the visitor centre up to close to the ice-front... a good idea if the walk is a bit daunting... The walk is about 5k and 200m... but a good path.) The Troll-car has an additional charge and probably needs to be booked in advance... easy to find on the net.

 

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When we did a very similar cruise on the Balmoral we were so impressed that we booked on board for the following cruise and did a back-to-back. The company were so impressed we were upgraded and we had the second cruise gratis... those were the days!

 

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Very much hope that you enjoy your cruise.🤓😀

 

 

Edited by twotravellersLondon
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