We decided that one of the places we wanted to go but have never gone was to the Norwegian Fjords.
I have been to Oslo but Jamie hadn’t been to Norway at all and wanted to go so she could cross of the Nordic countries (Norway was the last of them that she hadn’t been to).
We figured the best way to do this was on a cruise. It didn’t disappoint either.
The only one we could find was leaving from Southampton. It was with Norwegian Cruise Lines (never used or know anybody that has used them) so this was an adventure in more ways than one.
The researching of the cruise line began in earnest. So did the need to book car parking and boarding for Sugar – the latter taking the longest. We didn’t want to board him with just anybody – and in true Sugar fashion, it was a boarder out of the way of where we live and where we needed to go (worth it though as she was really good with him).
The cruise line itself looked pretty good. Nightly shows, lots of places to eat, a drinks package included (invaluable addition).
The parking was booked and about 2 months before departure they contacted me to say they couldn’t offer the parking any more. Grrr. Parking searching began in earnest again.
We managed to find something within walking distance to the terminal. Invaluable when you have luggage!
The day finally arrived for us to head to the port. We decided we would get there around 2. We had to be there before 4. The ship was due to leave at 5.
It was a bit of a faff once we got there. Queue for security, queue for check in, queue for ages waiting to get on the ship. This was compounded as there were people doing a back to back cruise from Florida.
It was good once we finally got on board and could get to the cabin and chill.
We did have a few days of trouble on the ship – thankfully resolved with some persistence from me.
The first and last day were sea days and I am not a fan of those. I like to be out doing something. There is only so much you can do on a ship and I didn’t find myself fully entertained the whole day at sea. The last day I spent just sitting watching the sea go by.
Name: Norwegian Jade
Passenger Count: 2, 402
Crew Count: 1, 037
Cruising speed: 25kts (28.8 mph)
The ship was previously The Pride of Hawaii
The map below shows where we stopped.
You can click on the icons to see the port and day number
This was our first port of call. Today turned out to be the only day we had rain too. The weather showed that we were going to have rain in all of the ports we were in.
It turned out there was only about 30 minutes where the rain was really heavy. We still walked around the port in it. I don’t care about the rain (unless it is getting in my shoes and making my feet wet)
We took a city sightseeing bus and they crammed us in there. They said they only operate on port days and you’d think with a ship of 2500 people they would have extra buses. Sadly not!
We did our usual route and then got off where the Cathedral was. What we didn’t realise is that the Cathedral was just a couple minutes more walk from the bus stop we got on.
The inside of it was quite ornate. They had a pulpit that was carved and had what looked like gargoyles on it. I tried to get a macro pic of one of them but it was just too scary looking. Haha.
We had a wander around the port area and in to the shopping centre. We wandered in to a supermarket and got some food and drinks.
We then headed out to wander around more. We headed towards the opposite side of the port as we saw a building that looked like a church and we headed for that. It turns out it was not so easy to get to. We had to wind and turn the streets and some of them were pretty steep. Jamie did the steps in the middle and I just walked wherever.
The building we headed for was the Valberg Tower. We didn’t go in, just wandered around and then headed away from it.
We walked down a couple of cobbled streets to where the map said the sightseeing bus picked up. This bit was super confusing (I know, it doesn’t take much). We finally found a guide who told us where the bus picked up (right where we had been standing too).
The Breidablikk house is now a museum and takes you into the world of art, architecture and interior decor. It was the house that belonged to a leading merchant and ship owner in Stavanger called Lars Berentsen.
Just across the road from Breidablikk is Ledaal. Ledaal was built by the merchant and court agent Gabriel Schanche Kielland. This museum gives an insight into upper class Stavanger in the first half of the 1800’s.
The house today serves as a royal residence and also hosts official municipal functions.
Below are some of the pictures from our day in Stavanger and heading out of Stavanger.
View all of my Stavanger pics here.
Our second day of the cruise took us to Skjolden.
Our visit here was on Constitution Day. Constitution Day is on May 17th.
It was great once we arrived in port. The town had put on a welcome band for us. I’m guessing what they played for us was the national anthem. They were also dressed up in traditional dress.
The men and women were in Bunad. I thought it was a nice gesture that they welcomed us to the town.
As today was a public holiday, there were no sightseeing buses so we took a tour provided by the ship.
The tour took us up a mountain in what seemed the middle of nowhere.
As with the rest of the Fjords, it was really scenic and picturesque. The view of the valley from part way up the mountain was pretty damn good.
We got as high up the mountain as the road and the weather would allow. It was cool to see some proper snow.
On our way back down towards the ship, we stopped in the valley town of Fortun and we stopped by the church. The people who greeted us at the ship, had made their way to the church.
They were very friendly and allowed us to approach and chat and take pictures.
A little further down the road, we stopped to take pictures of the waterfall. It was a pretty impressive waterfall too.
The bus then dropped us off at the ship and Jamie and I decided to head into the town to see what was there. It was roughly a mile in to the centre. The weather was really nice for it too.
We got there and I forgot it was a public holiday and the local store was shut. We really wanted ice cream too. We were there for maybe half an hour and then headed back to the ship.
There was a bridge that crossed the river into the bay and Jamie was across it faster than anything whilst I stayed on it and took some pictures. Jamie doesn’t do bridges.
Below are some pictures from Skjolden.
View the rest of my Skjolden pics here
Åleseund was our next stop.
We arrived early morning and hopped on the second sightseeing bus of the day. The weather looked a little bit rough so we skipped our usual full route and then come back to where we liked and got off at the Aksla view point.
The view point was pretty damn amazing. You got an amazing view out into the Fjords and across the town. We were supposed to be here for 30 mins, but it ended up being about an hour (dumb bus taking its time).
We wandered around the view point and checked to see what was there.
There were some old caverns and lookouts from WWII. The Germans built a lookout at the top of the mountain and they were so well constructed that parts of them are still there. Jamie was a bit more adventurous than I was in seeing what was there.
Once the bus had arrived we hopped back on (not before being pushed out the way by some crazy old person) and headed in to town.
We got off by the waterfront and decided to look for somewhere to eat. We didn’t find anywhere that we both decided on and instead we waited for the bus and got off at the church. Sadly the church was closed so we couldn’t go inside.
We then walked back down to the town centre and found a shopping centre with a cafe and got some food and drink.
After we were done, we headed along one of the shopping streets to find some souvenirs. We managed to find a magnet and a couple of other souvenirs for friends back here.
Once we were done, Jamie and I had a slight disagreement about how best to get back to the centre (I still maintain I was right. Sorry Jamie). Once there, we headed to the store to buy some Norwegian food goodies.
Once done, we headed back on to the ship to head to our next port.
Below are some pics from our stop here.
View of all my Ålesund pics here.
This stop was one of the ones I was looking forward to. I saw a pic from someone who had been there and it looked amazing. This is also one of the Fjords used whenever you see pictures of the Fjords.
We didn’t have a huge amount of time here. We also weren’t sure if this was one of the ports that the city sightseeing buses served.
We booked a tour with the ship and it was a pretty good tour. The roads in this port were really windy and somewhat scary going up and down the winding mountain roads on a bus. It was all in a good cause of seeing the scenery though.
The scenery was very distinct at each point up the mountain. Very green nearer the water and started to get brown further in and then white up in the mountains from the snow.
As we got right up to Djupvatnet lake, the snow was roughly 10+ feet high. We got out to take some pics of by the lake and the clouds and fog quickly rolled in.
Jamie and I (well, me mostly) were a little bad footed in the snow. Haha. Surprised we didn’t fall over.
We both took pictures against a backdrop of snow and the driver lined the bus up against the snow so we could see how deep it actually was.
We were supposed to go right up to the peak of Dalsnibba mountain, but the snow took care of that. The alternative was a trip to Eagle Lake (nothing impressive really).
On our way back down the mountain, we stopped at a view point over Geirangerfjord. What an amazing view. I can’t describe the beauty of it. It is something you have to see in person to truly appreciate it.
We then headed to the other side of the town and headed up some more windy roads top Eagle lake. On the way to the lake, we stopped at Ørnesvingen look out. Ørnesvingen is the name of the 11 hair pin bends of the road that leads up to the look out. It’s another look out where you can’t really describe the beauty of what you are seeing.
The look out has its own waterfall and you can look out and see the entirety of Geirangerfjord and the steep mountains that envelop the town. You also get to see the Seven Sisters waterfall and the mountain hamlet of Knivsflå. You do have to see it in person to really appreciate it.
We did a couple of souvenir shops and bought some Reindeer meat. It was ok, not something I would try again. We then headed back to the ship. We had to cross a floating jetty to get back on.
I did note that one of the other ships in port was the Marco Polo – a ship we went on when we took our Baltic Cities cruise.
We decided once back on the ship, we would head for the back as it was sunny and the view was awesome – everyone else had the same idea. We had to lurk to find a table. Jamie found us one. Somebody then left a table by the ledge and I was right on it. I stayed on it until we had passed the Seven Sisters waterfall. I wasn’t giving up this view for anything!
View some of my pics from Geiranger below
View all of my Geiranger pics here
Our final stop was Bergen.
I can’t really say a whole lot of good about this stop.
The city sightseeing bus seemed to be ages from the ship. It was a city that is geared up for tourists – hardly surprising since they get roughly 300 ships a year stop by.
We seemed to wait on the bus for ages. It seemed like they didn’t want to leave until we were packed in like sardines. It made for a very uncomfortable and unenjoyable trip.
We took the route all the way round and then got off by the harbour.
We decided to wander around the stalls there and see what they had on offer. We found some Cloudberry jam. You can read about Cloudberry here.
We got some strawberries and decided to find somewhere to sit and eat them. Of course, the smokers managed to find us and sit by us. We decided to head for the bus and go round again.
We got back on and managed to get some panorama pics from the harbour up the mountain. Back on the bus and we headed back to the harbour to get off and head to the souvenir shops.
What a nightmare this was. Some of the people in the shop were really loud and rude. Thank goodness when they left. Volume went right down.
We finished our strawberries and went to find some fresh fish. Jamie said she always wanted to try some fresh Norwegian fish. Be ready to hand over all of your money for some fish. It is expensive. The exchange rate was roughly 10 NOK to £1. The cod was priced at 200 NOK. Yep, £20 for a tiny bit of cod. I know, you can tell this was a tourist trap and they were milking it for all they can and fleecing the tourists.
We then got back on the bus and went to the church. It was then time to head to the ship to head home. I was glad to get away from Bergen. It is not somewhere I would go back to.
View some of my Bergen pics below
View all of my Bergen pics here
All in all, it was a great trip and one that I would do again.
I would love to be able to drive the route we took.
The exception being Bergen – no thanks.