1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Norwegian Fjords Cruises
  4. Norwegian Fjords Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: August 2019
I have lucky to have cruised quite a bit over the last 15 years, on a number of different ships and different cruise lines. With PO I have experienced Azura, Britannia and Oceana but I am sad to say that over the years I have seen a ... Read More
I have lucky to have cruised quite a bit over the last 15 years, on a number of different ships and different cruise lines. With PO I have experienced Azura, Britannia and Oceana but I am sad to say that over the years I have seen a steady decline in the cruising experience offered by PO. I was able to experiance the Azura in its ingrual year and a quite a few times since. Although it clearly is ready for a re-fit, this is not the main reason review. I have tried to be as fair as possibe and give merit when derserved and not so good service where experianced. Embarkation; As expected at Southampton, CPS was bit bit slow nd it took around an hour queing in a car line to wait to be able to check in luggge. Luggage porters were in short supply so be prepared to load your cases into the loading bays yourself. We did not see any Ship staff in the Embarkation area on this cruise, but not a big issue. Check in and security ok, did not take for ever this time! As we have been in this ship a number of times, did not stop for photos but they seemed to be more organised this time and there was not pressured sale rotuine - There were a lot of first time cruisers this time and a definate lack of ship staff greet them and help with finding cabins etc. First time we have experianced this on any cruise ship, maybe this is due to cutbacks. Cabin; Looking a bit tired but OK. We had a balcony on C deck, which was nice only issue was the balcony furiture was very old and mismatched and we only had one footstall! We noticed that other cabins had much nicer and newer furniture, maybe ours was the last cabin on their list. Cabin Steward, excellant,greeted ius on arrival, knew our names and delivered ice as requiested without fail. Kept our cabin really clean, tempted to say that they were the best we have experianced on any ship for a long time. Luggage arrived promptly, and we were able to unpack before depature. Dinning: Big improvement on this ship, did not have one bad meal. Service staff efficent, and friently - well done PO! Entertaimnent and activities: In general the entertament was not good. Starting with Headliners only 2 shows in 7 days and both were not great. After being on another cruise where the show were really good and entaining, the cast members interated with the passangers, the number of productions they did were professional and far in excess of PO limp offering. To put in context these show were the worst I have seen in 15 years of cruising. PO have a band called pulse on most of there ships, on the Britannia they were great, young and fun and played great music and good singers, On other cruises on Azura they were also good, but this time the singer lacked personalilty and voice. The other acts were also not great, to many commedians. Other activities: Not a lot of offer other than Spa talks, occasional quiz and sales pitches, what happened to lectures, hosted art and crafts etc etc, very poor on this ship have experienced much better. One good point though, great new sunbeds!c Service:There seem to be a large cutback in staff in the lounges and very oftern we had to order our drinks from the bar then wait 30 minutes for them to arrive at our table. On a few occassions we have to retrive our cruise card and cancel drinks due to time restraints. 30 minutes is too long to wait, 10 minutes acceptable. Port and Shore Exursions: We did not use PO exursions and arranged our own, Norway is beautiful and a lot to do. But be aware it is expensive. The big question is would I go again; I would serioulsy have to think about Cruising with PO again. We tend to pick cruises for their ports of call. I have been with PO on quite a few occassions but this could be our last cruise with them. As a first cruise experience its ok, but I feel there is much better available. Although their drinks/bar prices and cheaper than their counterparts, their cruises are not always better value, the rest of the cruise service/experience they offer is not as good and I feel you get much more for you hard earned money on other cruise ships. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage (Bergen>Kirkenes>Bergen) 30 July – 10 August MS Midnatsol Overall a very good but also memorable trip – however, it was memorable for the wrong reason. Malfunction/break down of ... Read More
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage (Bergen>Kirkenes>Bergen) 30 July – 10 August MS Midnatsol Overall a very good but also memorable trip – however, it was memorable for the wrong reason. Malfunction/break down of machinery/equipment on ships impacts adversely, to a greater or lesser extent, on passengers. The ship operating company, in this case, Hurtigruten, can be judged by how they deal with such situations. The voyage of MS Midnatsol was due to arrive in Bergen on 10 August. On the penultimate evening there was an electricity failure affecting the cabins and air conditioning which, we were told an hour or so later, had been repaired. On the morning of the final day we found we were docked at Alesund and were informed that the onward cruise to Bergen (our final destination) was cancelled. One would have thought Hurtigruten, as a long and very experienced operator, would handle the situation quickly and efficiently. In reality, it was a nightmare. There was a complete lack of information as to how passengers would be taken to Bergen. We were repeatedly told by the staff that they were waiting for Hurtigruten HQ to inform them of solutions. If there was a leader handling the case on the ship, it was not evident. The Captain was neither seen nor heard at any time. The staff were evasive, disorganized and, sometimes, offhand in handling passenger queries. It was not until the late afternoon of the final day we were informed that coaches, departing at different times, would take us to Bergen. A meeting was convened with all passengers concerned to give details of this. The meeting descended into chaos, as the staff responsible created confusion and even panic situations as they disseminated the information on the coach departures. Throughout the day, the staff repeatedly said they worked very hard to get passengers to Bergen – I have no reason to doubt that – but it was the amateurish way the whole matter was dealt with by Hurtigruten and their staff that made a bad situation worse. We are not aware of an official apology being made for the inconvenience caused. Eventually, more by luck and persistence on our part rather than by good management on the part of Hurtigruten, we boarded a coach which departed at 17.45 for the journey from Alesund to Bergen with each passenger given a bag containing a sandwich, an apple and a bottle of water. After dropping passengers off at a number of hotels in central Bergen we eventually reached the airport at approx. 03.30, too late to check into the airport hotel we had booked, as we had to check in for our early morning flight at 04.00. A great pity that what was otherwise a very good holiday was soured by this traumatic experience on the final day. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Best way to see the Norwegian coast. Very sedate and wonderful tours in ports, exceptionally well organized, the chef is simply superb. No pool and not a lot of flashy entertainment. Not for people expecting exciting entertainment. The ... Read More
Best way to see the Norwegian coast. Very sedate and wonderful tours in ports, exceptionally well organized, the chef is simply superb. No pool and not a lot of flashy entertainment. Not for people expecting exciting entertainment. The highlights are learning slowly about Norway and the coast. The tours are wonderful. It is exceptionally organized and the conditions are immaculate. There is a library, places to lounge and watch the fabulous scenery. The staff are very accommodating. The views are incomparable, the prices are high to very high but this is Norway. The ship delivers material to ports and is an integral part of the Norwegian economy. The term Hurtigruten means Fast Route. You meet largely an older crowd of mostly Europeans. There are not too many singles that travel. There is not much entertainment but that is not the purpose of the voyage. You have to take this with the right expectations - a leisurely amd sedate passage through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We are a young couple having just been on Marella's inaugural 'Land of Fire & Ice' cruise. Everything about this sailing was fantastic. The itinerary (Kirkwall, one day at sea, Akureyri, Isafjordur & ... Read More
We are a young couple having just been on Marella's inaugural 'Land of Fire & Ice' cruise. Everything about this sailing was fantastic. The itinerary (Kirkwall, one day at sea, Akureyri, Isafjordur & Reykjavik, two days at sea, Flam, Bergen, Eidfjord, Haugesund & Kristiansand, one day at sea) was obviously well thought through and every port of call was like a picture postcard, rain or shine. Our inside stateroom cabin on Deck 4 was very peaceful, allowing for plenty of sleep. The room was also kept spick and span by cabin steward Majol who like many other cabin staff on board was also an expert at creating animals/roses out of towels. The excursions we took all had informative guides and were great value for money. We ate in The Market Place buffet most nights, switching to The Mediterranean Italian restaurant (included in the price of the cruise) for two others. The food in both was tasty, of good quality and varied. The variety of all inclusive alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks was also impressive with a range of beers, wines, spirits, cocktails and mocktails. Having been on two previous cruises (with Celebrity and another Marella ship) the nightly shows on this ship were by far the best. The production of each one was of a professional standard and some of the singers (especially leading lady Rianna) wouldn't have sounded out of place in the West End. The guest entertainers (Bryan Adams UK tribute & stand up comic Josh Adams) were also worthy additions to the line up. Other entertainment on board included regular films on the pool deck or indoor cinema, quizzes and gameshows in the Squid n Anchor pub, lectures in the theatre, a decent gym, Playstation gaming and a range of small sports facilities. For £50 per person per week (£200 overall for me and the wife) we also bought a cruise pass for the onboard Champneys Spa. With all things considered (including 2x saunas, 2x steam rooms, foot spa, heated bench, hot & cold showers, a blue relaxation room, thermal garden and relaxation lounge complete with double beds looking out the front of the ship) this was unbelievable value, especially if used most days. The spa also offers a range of consultations (including food intolerance tests and beauty treatments) at reasonable prices. Special shout outs go to Sophie, Michelle and James in the Bike Tour team. Having ridden with Sophie on last years cruise in Skiathos, we rode again in Kirkwall and Kristiansand this time around. Sophie's routes ensure you get a comprehensive tour of the place you're in. These rides cater for a range of abilities and ages with the team ensuring no one gets left behind with plenty of encouragement given. Just expect a few hills and distances between 12 to 25 miles with regular drink and photo stops on the way. We would recommend these tours to anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and met some lovely people (Allan and Leslie if they read this) from these tours. Overall, it was a holiday of a lifetime and incredible value to boot . With the cost of everything in Iceland and Norway (where a standard pint of beer costs around £10 to £12 in each place to use a typical British financial comparison) if we went everywhere the cruise took us on our own steam, we would have paid thousands and thousands of pounds more. In fact the only gripe we had at all was with some other guests on board, especially those of a certain advanced age. Complaint after complaint after complaint, none of which were warranted. The kind of people who try and get a chef sacked if the consistency of the mashed potato isn't exactly to their liking or wake up every morning itching to find anything to moan about. As Marella seem to be doing this itinerary again in 2020, just go for it. During our two Marella cruises we have wanted for nothing on board and cannot fathom how anyone can gripe about anything. 100% recommended to all ages! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I wanted to explore the coast and fjords of Norway. This cruise accomplishes this to the highest degree. This is both a working ship and smaller ship cruise with 500 passengers on average. The ship's course both north and south avoids ... Read More
I wanted to explore the coast and fjords of Norway. This cruise accomplishes this to the highest degree. This is both a working ship and smaller ship cruise with 500 passengers on average. The ship's course both north and south avoids open ocean travel and follows the fjords and sounds through an intricate complicated shoreline; a coast that was not accurately mapped until the 20th Century. The ship's tone is casual with no formal dining or events. Food, staff, excursions and service were top-notch. Dining was relaxed and the cuisine inspired by the local fisheries and farms of coastal Norway. Service staff were super attentive, but not intrusive. Deserts were among the best ever experienced. Excursions by foot, bike, bus or boat were well-organized. On-board lectures about the history, people, landscapes and future of the Norwegian coast were well-presented by knowledgeable and enthusiastic expedition staff. For the most part, getting on-board and off-board was a fairly quick endeavor albeit the dock-level Deck 3 disembarkation area was too small for the number of people trying to exit the boat at popular ports. The main embarkation port was Bergen. Passenger boarding was by a skyway to deck five. There was plenty of room and the boat's passengers easily boarded and left the ship efficiently. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We have cruised many times with various companies and found the Marina is still a fabulous ship showing no signs of age despite a visit to dry dock being scheduled. We had a veranda cabin which had a full bath and separate shower and ... Read More
We have cruised many times with various companies and found the Marina is still a fabulous ship showing no signs of age despite a visit to dry dock being scheduled. We had a veranda cabin which had a full bath and separate shower and the cabin was the size of some penthouse cabins on other ships. The mattress and bedding were superb. Dining was excellent in all locations throughout the ship. Entertaining was excellent and varied. Service outstanding and friendly throughout the ship. The ports were all docked with no tendering despite the brochure showing there would be tendering at three ports. The internet was slow but one can easily use mobile data and a hotspot from your iPhone when in dock. We are aged in our 60’s and we’re middle of the age range. We didn’t take any ships tours and instead arranged our own. The local tourist offices provided a representative on board at each port and a courtesy bus to town if more than a short walk. The scenery was magnificent and best viewed from the ship while cruising through the Fiords. Oceania have a winning recipe with their O class ships We would definitely go again without hesitation. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We had never cruised out of Tilbury, it was a great chance to take our granddaughter . Embarkation was excellent, we know the local area very well so went straight to the port.This is an old ship but staff kept it very clean there is ... Read More
We had never cruised out of Tilbury, it was a great chance to take our granddaughter . Embarkation was excellent, we know the local area very well so went straight to the port.This is an old ship but staff kept it very clean there is always some issues with toilets or lifts but this was seen to very quickly. Our cabin was kept lovely by Nanathn in cabin 6140, he made us and our granddaughter very welcome.We only went to waterfront resturant once it was very slow and our dining time very early. The bistro on a whole was good breakfast and lunch were great but dinner was a bit hit and miss some times even running out of food and not replacing at 8.10 pm we did bring this to the attention of management , on a whole all staff were very nice and polite entertainment for the children and adults very good some of the best we had seen in more than 35cruises. The ports were great in Bergan did the ice museum I would recommend this to any body, went on the little trains in Eidfjord and flam this was enough for our granddaughter , but I think the best for her was the cruise director Iain he met her in the terminal and with his magic shows and circus tricks and always remembering her name made her her 1st cruise very special. Disembarkation went very well and was well organised off in very dood time and port staff very polite and helpful , will cruise again given the chance .. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We booked on this cruise long before the news of Oriana's sale broke, because Svalbard was on the destination list. The cruise itself was blessed with good weather for nearly all of the port days and even some sea days, and the ... Read More
We booked on this cruise long before the news of Oriana's sale broke, because Svalbard was on the destination list. The cruise itself was blessed with good weather for nearly all of the port days and even some sea days, and the sea was calm throughout. We had some foggy days which kept the ship's siren busy, but otherwise the cruise went very well. The Oriana offers large amounts of deck space and it was very sad to disembark her at Southampton for the final time on the 9th August. We did have one medical emergency during the cruise requiring a helicopter evacuation, which was handled very professionally by the captain Sarah Breton, but it did not disrupt our itinerary. The cruise to the glaciers in Svalbard was made in calm and clear weather, which gave us stunning views and a lifetime's worth of fantastic memories. At some ports we partook of the ship's excursions, whilst at others we did our own thing. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Some general information about DH & I for reference: we are in our mid to late 50’s, reside in Louisiana, are avid travelers who have visited more than 80 countries, on all 7 continents, and have taken 30+ cruises, including ... Read More
Some general information about DH & I for reference: we are in our mid to late 50’s, reside in Louisiana, are avid travelers who have visited more than 80 countries, on all 7 continents, and have taken 30+ cruises, including expedition type cruises. This was our first sailing with Hurtigruten. This was a new ship, and was on it’s third sailing. I will give bullet points first, then a daily overview farther below, and will try to be as detailed as possible. Ship – the ship is lovely with clean lines and Norwegian furniture, simple and elegant. There are water bottle filling stations on every floor. The rooms are understated and come across beautifully. Almost half of Deck 6 is dedicated to the Science Center which is very underused space. The ship is kept very warm, and being in the Arctic we saw many passengers walking around in shorts and tshirts. The cabin temperature cannot be fully controlled, but only controlled to a few degrees cooler or warmer than the overall ship temperature, resulting in our cabin being too hot for us for the duration of the voyage. Cabin – the cabin décor is beautiful. We had an XT Arctic Superior, outside cabin with balcony, which was perfect for us. Colors are pale woods and putty colors accented with charcoal. The bed was extremely comfortable, but the double comforters are far too hot for the temperature the ship keeps. There are 4 pillows. The trash can has 3 recycle bins, and there is another bin in the bathroom. The storage is a thin coat & shoe/boot closet with metal pegs and a shoe dryer system. The closet has 6 hangers and 2 shelves on the left side, and additional hanging space on right (no hangers though) and 2 shelves, plus shelf with safe that will hold a small lap top. Then there is a shelving system with 2 upper cabinets with a coffee pot in the left one; below there are 4 drawers on the left (1 contains a large blow dryer which I removed and placed elsewhere), then there is 1 drawer on the right that contains coffee and tea setups, and a lower cabinet holding the fridge with minibar (charge applies). There is a shelf here, and 2 thin shelves in the center, and space for 3 wine bottles. We were given gifts of some chocolate pieces, and 2 refillable Hurtigruten water bottles. Full length mirror on wall, and 2 bath robes provided for use plus slippers. In the main part of the room was a small desk and chair with mirror over, and phone on the wall, and 2 thin shelves on wall. There are 2 thin nightstands with drawer. There are 6 wall plugs of the 2 round pin style. 4 wall pegs for hanging garments. 2 reading lights. 2 sitting chairs, 1 with footstool, table between, lamp, wall mount large TV with thin shelf below. The bathroom was small but functional, with a decent size glass shower, a shelf under the sink, 2 hanging pegs, shelf beside the sink, and then 2 thin shelves attached to the wall. The products are by Arctic Pure and feature Handwash and Moisturizer next to sink, and Hair/Body Gel and Conditioner in shower; there is no bar soap. Our balcony was rather deep, and had 2 adjustable mesh chairs and a small table. Food – this area was a huge fail for us. Every single meal, breakfast, lunch & dinner, every single day was served buffet style in the Aune Main Dining Room. We are not fans of buffet style, but can accept it at breakfast and lunch when necessary. Several guests complained and were told that there were many Chinese on board and they preferred buffet. The food was good in taste, although often could use some salt and pepper or lacked seasoning, but was heavy on Asian offerings (dumplings, congi, etc). As the Chinese guests would often sit in your seat if you left the table, one person on your party had to stay to “protect the table” while the other person went for food at the buffet; this resulted in us never sharing a meal together as one person would be up getting food and one sitting down. A huge disappointment. Although dinner was served buffet the entire cruise, dining times were assigned to 6pm and 8pm, and they stuck to this. There are 2 other dining rooms, but both involve a charge to dine there, unless you are in a suite. Internet – the internet onboard worked from boarding on Sunday afternoon to late on Monday night, and then was out for the rest of the cruise. It was included at no additional charge. Announcements – were made in English, German, French and Chinese. The Chinese announcements were often made multiple times, with one announcement being given 7 times from 7:15pm to 7:50pm on Tuesday evening. Daily Program – delivered every evening after 12 midnight for following day, so we only saw it when we woke up the day of. Excursions – were not well organized, information not provided during excursion, were very boring in content. Possibly because ship is new. Passenger makeup – of the 520 passengers, 177 were Chinese, 38 American, 46 UK, 18 Swiss, 56 German, 13 Japanese, and the rest “a bit of everything”. Overall – the itinerary was pretty with shores of upper Norway and Svalbard being attractive, but hardly any time off of ship and not much to see. For the most part a very slow and dull itinerary. While there were several bird sightings, the only other wildlife was 1 arctic fox, 2 reindeer and a group of walrus. The lectures were not provided early in the sailing when we had much down time, but were provided late in the sailing when guests were busy. There is no other entertainment, so you’ll want to prepare with books to read, although the TV offered a good movie selection. On Friday, July 19, 2019, we flew from the US, arriving in Tromso, Norway on Saturday mid-day, on Lufthansa, with no travel issues along the way. We stayed 1 night in the Clarion Collection Hotel With in Tromso, the room was of good size and clean, and included a decent dinner, and breakfast the next morning. Tromso is a charming city, with an active harbor front area. We walked from town across the bridge and over to the Arctic Cathedral. On Sunday, July 21, around 1:30pm, we took a cab to the MS Roald Amundsen, docked about 15 minutes ride from town, and boarded immediately with no delay and no lines. We were told the room was not ready, but could leave our luggage and tour the ship. Most passengers were on the pre-cruise tour that was scheduled to arrive at the pier around 3pm. We toured the ship, took some photos and had a coffee and light snack in the lounge. We were surprised to see many dirty cups and glasses sitting in the seating areas near the pool, and the Explorer Lounge (main lounge). Our room was ready at 2:35pm, and we gathered our luggage and took it to the room, unpacked and settled in. Our room was an Arctic Superior XT, outside cabin with balcony, on Deck 7 and was very nice. The weather was 75 degrees (all temps in Fahrenheit) and sunny. We collected our red expedition jackets in the Science Center on Deck 6. We liked the style, and they are more like light weight jackets, wind and water repellant, which we were happy with. We checked out the Science Center while there, and it is very large and appears to be well stocked, but didn’t connect with the staff. We noted that each time we entered the Science Center during the cruise, we were asked “Can I help you?” by someone working there, but as we didn’t really have a specific question, we would reply “just looking around” and the conversation would end. The expedition staff seemed to be on computers and laptops, or moving around or talking with other expedition members. There was an open seating buffet dinner, and then a Mandatory Safety Drill, which was scheduled to start at 8:30pm, but began at 9:15pm, and ended at 9:50pm. Many of the passengers were quite tired by then from travel. Monday, July 22, We woke up to find our Daily Program outside our door, which was delivered after 11pm the night before. Boat Group Patches and Rubber Boots for landings were to be distributed, beginning at 8:30am, as your group number was called. This required you to first go to Science Center on Deck 6 and locate your group number on the postings, ours was Group 5. Our group was called around 9:30am, and then we went to Deck 5 to try on boots, and receive our Patches, and then to Deck 3 to collect our boots. We arrived in Honningsvag at 10am, and were able to disembark at 10:30am. Weather was 74 degrees and sunny. Most passengers went on a ship excursion to the North Cape. DH and I went on a walk through town, and then a hike up the mountain overlooking the town, shopped a bit and back on board. We were excited to see 2 reindeer strolling through town. This town is small, with 1 main street, and an attractive church, and is cute. Lunch was served from 12:30-1:30pm, buffet style. All On Board was 3:45pm. There was a Captain’s Welcome for English & German guests at 5:30pm, where the staff was introduced and a glass of champagne was provided, it lasted about 30 minutes. No lectures from the Expedition Staff were scheduled today. The internet on the ship went out late on Monday night, and stayed out for the duration of the sailing. Tuesday, July 23, this was a sea day, with 1 scenic cruising by expedition boat trip. 64 degrees and partly cloudy. At 9:30am there was a Mandatory Expedition Boat safety briefing, which lasted until 10:15am, where we were given instruction on RIB boats, shore regulations, and so on involving an expedition cruise. We arrived in the harbor at Bjornoya at 11:30am. At 2pm our group had a 1 hour “expedition boat trip” which amounted to a scenic cruise in the inflatable boat to view birds perched on the sides of rocks, and a ship wreck on the beach (no landing). Our boat did not contain any expedition staff, only the boat driver, and no information was given during our outing. This was the only activity of the day. No lectures from the Expedition Staff were scheduled today. Wednesday, July 24. 40 degrees and overcast. At 10am there was an informational briefing about the landing and outings scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. We arrived in the harbor at Burgerbukta at 12 noon. Our group was scheduled for a 3:30p 1 hour Landing, and a 4:30pm 1 hour Scenic Cruising. Our landing occurred at 4:10pm, and consisted of a walk down a sandy beach and up to a point to view a glacier. The scenic cruising took place directly afterwards, and consisted of sailing near the glacier and some larger pieces of floating ice; again, no expedition staff on boat, only driver, and no information given. These 2 activities, which did not begin for our group until after 4pm, were the only activities scheduled for the day. 1 lecture from Expedition Staff on “Arctic Seabirds” scheduled for 6:30pm, but we were not able to attend as we did not get back on board until 6:45pm, and then had to get ready and go to dinner. Thursday, July 25. 45 degrees and mostly sunny. At 9am we arrived into the tiny research town of Ny Alesund, and were able to get off the ship at 9:30am, with all aboard being 3:15pm. We walked through the town, visited the museum, visited the shop, took some photos. The ship offered a guided walk through town for our group at 11:15am, which I took, lasting for about 45 minutes, and which I would rate as average and slow. I took several laps around the town to stretch my legs from so much time spent on the ship. There were 2 lectures scheduled for today, 9:30am “Spitsbergen, postcards through time, geology of Spitsbergen”, and 5:30pm “Polar Bear”. At 9:30pm there was a talk on “information about tomorrow” given, which was actually information on turning in boots, collecting passports, and disembarkation proceedings. Friday, July 26. This was a rather weird day in it’s schedule, as you’ll see later. At 9am we approached a walrus haul and were able to watch walrus from the ship with binoculars or high powered camera equipment, there was also an Arctic Fox in this location. At 10:30am was a lecture on “MS Roald Amundsen Engine and Technical Features”. From 11am-3pm, guests needed to return their boots and their boat group patches, and pick up their passports. At 3:30pm, lecture “Walruses and Seals”, at 4:30pm lecture “Ocean Giants: whales of Svalbard”; although we needed to nap during this time to prepare to be up all night. We also needed to pack this day, as we had to be out of our rooms by 6pm, and our accounts were closed at 8pm. We packed up and were out of our rooms by 5:45pm, turned in our luggage, and went to dinner. We arrived in Longyearbyen, and were able to be off the ship beginning at 8:30pm. There was a shuttle to the Svalbard Museum, but we chose to take the 20 minute walk to stretch our legs. Everything else in town was closed, so afterwards we went to the Svalbar, for a couple of local beers, and returned to the ship on the last shuttle at 11:15pm. We were directed to make ourselves comfortable in the crowded Explorer Lounge, where all the passengers awaited their shuttles to the airport, ours was scheduled for 2:50am. We spent the next few hours passing time, or trying unsuccessfully to nap. Our shuttle to the airport was at 2:50am on Saturday, with our included flight to Oslo scheduled for 4:10am, which departed at 4:45am and arrived in Oslo about 7:30am. This sailing included flights from Longyearbyen to Oslo, and the ship had scheduled 4 flights for passengers, at 2:25am, 3:25am, 4:05am, and 4:10am. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We have done 4 previous cruises, all with Celebrity (Equinox, Silhouette twice and Reflection) but when looking for a fjords cruise it was this one on Britannia that appealed based purely on itinerary. The price was not a major factor at ... Read More
We have done 4 previous cruises, all with Celebrity (Equinox, Silhouette twice and Reflection) but when looking for a fjords cruise it was this one on Britannia that appealed based purely on itinerary. The price was not a major factor at the time but was certainly welcome as less expensive than Celebrity, plus our first non-fly cruise, which not only saves more money but is a lot easier and gives flexibility for luggage - great for when you have to pack suits for formal nights and a fair bit of clothing knowing we could have any kind of weather. This review is not written purely as a comparative exercise, but given our only previous points of reference have been on Celebrity it was a natural thing to do, so I will draw out the main differences we noted and which we preferred. Some things are really the 'little extras' that add to a more luxury experience, that come with Celebrity, but we also acknowledge they come with a price tag. So drawing attention to them is not necessarily a criticism, simply an observation of what you may not get with P&O but which you pay for to get on Celebrity. Once booked we did have some apprehension as it seemed most people who'd sailed both lines came down clearly in favour of Celebrity, and a couple of forums online seemed to attract some horribly snobby people. We don't mind dressing up for a formal night but do object to people who seem to think that cruising is only about dressing up and when conversations turned to the newly introduced drinks packages 'attracting the wrong sort of people' we wondered what we were letting ourselves in for! Luckily I found some other groups with more normal people and while we appreciated there would be more formality than Celebrity have, we were prepared to embrace it. In advance I had looked into what we'd do on each of our port days and one thing I did notice was how much more affordable the ship's own excursions were compared to Celebrity. We prefer to do our own thing, or go with a small private group, but for various reasons found that harder to sort this time on 2 days so opted (initally reluctantly) to book with P&O and were pleasantly surprised at the cost. The only other reservation I had which we could do nothing about, was the amount of children on board, as this was our first cruise in school holidays. Having got 4 kid between us, all now grown up, we do enjoy being able to avoid other 'little darlings' on our holidays but due to a number of factors had booked this knowing it would be holiday time, but hoping that the fjords would be less of a family attraction than a Med cruise. On the day we embarked we had stayed a couple of hours from Southampton and had opted for inclusive car parking with CPS. Their directions, along with sat nav, were nice and clear and we found our way to the correct gate easily. We'd been given an arrival time of 3pm and had heard mixed stories about whether we'd be able to get on early or would have to wait. As it worked out, we arrived at the dock gate around 1.30pm. CPS staff directed us efficiently and advised we would have to wait in a queue for a little while, We saw some people who knew the score taking cases out onto trollies but we just waited for only 10-15 mins before being asked to drive forward. Another CPS person then told us we should unload our cases and take a trolley as there were very few porters now. There was no feeling of being rushed, she was polite and helpful and it was a nice calm experience. We handed over the key and headed off to a loading area just across the road where our trollies went onto a conveyor belt and we went to the departure area. We were able to pack my husband's suits into a proper suit carrier and put that through as checked luggage which made things much easier, especially as we had in our hand luggage one small wheeled case containing bottles of drink :) Yes, we were allowed to take a litre each of wine or spirits, plus whatever soft drinks we wanted, for drinking in our cabin, so we took advantage to save us a bit of spending money. More helpful staff inside checked our tickets and then gave us a card with a letter on it, telling us to go wait in the lounge until called, saying we would have enough time to get a drink if we wanted; this was around 2pm. There was plenty of seating and a small but well stocked cafe. We were duly called into the line for check in around 2.45 and this moved along nicely so no standing waiting too much, and so we met our 3pm time in the end! We made our way onto the ship and the first thing we noticed was that we were greeted with a smile but no glass of bubbly! We were directed to some lifts where we noticed there were also stairs - these aren't always open on 'normal' days and the lifts did have quite a wait on them but we weren't lugging the drinks up the stairs! Once out the lift we made our way to the cabin and were delighted to find our cases were already there waiting for us. Full cabin review is provided below We'd taken a look at the Horizon daily leaflet telling us what was going on and when. There was quite a lot on but we're not really into doing a lot other than maybe a quiz. Similarly, we were not majorly fussed on the theatre shows unless something had seemed exceptional. We were pretty sure in advance we'd be fairly low key on this week, so this review doesn't cover entertainment to any extent. We didn't go to the Headliners theatre which is where the main shows are, generally twice nightly, and also used for other events during the day. Although we chose not to go to any shows on board, I did like the fact they had late sessions so one could comfortably eat at say 8pm and then go to the late show after. On Celebrity we often found ourselves having to get ready early to get to the first show and then eat, as we rarely enjoy eating dinner earlier. We did make it into the studio, another small theatre style venue, but that was only for muster! We decided to take a wander around the ship before things got busy and get an idea of what was where, and give an idea of where we'd want to be spending our time over the next week. The first thing we had found out was the lift and stair locations. There are fore, mid and aft lifts, but staircases only fully available for and aft. In mid the stairs only go to deck 7. This caught us out a few times as we often lost track of where we were and decided to walk stairs only to find there weren't any! There are also some areas where it's not possible to walk through so you need to be at the right level. More than one occasion we went down to deck 6, arrived at the Oriental restaurant and could go nowhere else without going back up to deck 7 and across. My Fitbit did well during the week! The ship is big and very long and this is most obvious when finding your way round. The little map we were given on embarkation was invaluable along with the wall plaque diagrams by the lifts. Took us a little while find those as they are not very obvious as signage goes. The lifts were definitely one of the less impressive things. In any lift area there seemed to be a couple that we never saw in action. Lifts were slow to arrive, and sometimes seemed to skip floors out altogether. On one occasion in a lift it announced deck 11 but was still at previous deck 10, the lift floor indicator was flashing between 10 and 11 and then we stopped at 12. We got out saying we'd get the stairs back down a floor only to realise we were mid ship and no stairs. The lift/stair thing never ceased to be something of an irritant! The overall feel of the ship was one of size but well used. I've described the different areas in more detail below, but our overall impression was of space and simplicity. Decor was uncluttered and unfussy with an immediate contrast with the vast range of art on Celebrity ships, which is found pretty much everywhere, in any corridor, any wall space and on all stairwells. I generally preferred this more simply style on Britannia, although in some areas a little more colour wouldn’t have gone amiss. Where we did appreciate space was in the atrium where it was given over to seating for the bars/cafes downstairs. It was also used as a space for showcasing the restaurants and activities, and worked well for that purpose; it manages this as the guest services area is kept away from the central space. What I did feel the ship lacked was a central focal point for activities in evenings as there is a different focus in different areas at different times. If you like Celebrity with the cafe on 5, Martini Bar on 4 and then music from 3 with people generally all involved from each deck, you will miss this on Britannia. That's not to say we didn't find a nice 'home' in the evenings but it is a very different feel, more low key. When we had done our last cruise on Celebrity Reflection we had felt a bit disappointed in a number of areas where we felt that the basic provision in terms of bar space was same as on the smaller ships in the class, pretty much same layout, but catering for an extra deck of passengers. To us it felt busy and harder to get service, and we were concerned about how things would feel on the even busier Britannia but the increased ship size of this P&O flagship meant it did not feel overly crowded. Another vote in favour of P&O so far, things were looking up a lot more than we'd expected Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My husband and I have just returned from a lovely, memorable holiday on Britannia visiting Norway and the fiords. We went with our two daughters, husband of one daughter and four children. Britannia is a really great ship and the ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from a lovely, memorable holiday on Britannia visiting Norway and the fiords. We went with our two daughters, husband of one daughter and four children. Britannia is a really great ship and the cruise exceeded all expectations. Our cabins were spotlessly clean, very well fitted and serviced by a a very nice steward. We liked to sleep with the balcony doors locked open and listen to the sea at night. Watching the sunset from our balcony at 10.30 at night was a joy. We were very lucky with the weather and on both at sea days the sun shone and we spent our day on deck enjoying the warmth and views. I was surprised how easy it was to find a sun lounger available either in the sun or shade. Around the pool it could become busy but go up to the deck overlooking the pool and there was usually plenty of space. We all used one or other of the pools (there is an adult only pool and sunbathing area). The children ( 9, two 12 year olds and a15 year old) preferred to play in the pools or do their own thing rather than go to the kids clubs. They were never ever bored! Norway is stunning. We had some lovely excursions not all booked through P&O and easy to source online. The longest zip wire in Scandinavia, the rib ride, hiking up a mountain to visit a goat farm, Flåm railway and walking up to Brikstal glacier were highlights. All the food we had either in thie buffet or the restaurants was excellent. We had an exceptional meal in the Epicurean restaurant that I feel was well worth the supplement. Yes there were little niggles but nothing I feel I have to highlight. You will mix with people from all walks of life on a cruise, young and old, but our experience was very positive. We thoroughly enjoyed it and would do it all again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Starting in Kirkenes on the lovely MS Lofoten. Wonderfull euthentic ship! Beautifull cabin and friendly (hard working) staff. Breakfast, lunch and diner where also good and tasty. I did the excursions: breakfast at the Artic ... Read More
Starting in Kirkenes on the lovely MS Lofoten. Wonderfull euthentic ship! Beautifull cabin and friendly (hard working) staff. Breakfast, lunch and diner where also good and tasty. I did the excursions: breakfast at the Artic Circle, horseriding at the Lofoten and the RIB boat with the midnightson :-) Very nice!!! Also I was very lucky with the wether. 6 days, beautiful, most of the time blue sky. I definitely come back again and do this trip in winter. It's such a shame that this boat is only sailing for 1,5 year......... Most of the passengers selected this euthentic ship, the same for me! And.... I was a single traveler => I met so many other people (different ages). And have wonderfull evenings with them! So book this trip when it's possible. I'm very happy I make this trip and want to do it again. ps. I have more photo's if you want :-) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our second ocean cruise on Viking Sea and we wanted to see more of Norway as well as Shetland and Orkney. We flew into Bergen and were met at the airport as usual by Viking representatives and once at the port, soon had our ... Read More
This was our second ocean cruise on Viking Sea and we wanted to see more of Norway as well as Shetland and Orkney. We flew into Bergen and were met at the airport as usual by Viking representatives and once at the port, soon had our identity cards processed. We book the basic stateroom which has everything you need including a fantastic shower, a balcony, an extremely comfortable bed and free wifi (no tea and coffee in your room though). The ship is very clean and the crew are really lovely. They greet you all the time and seem genuinely happy to work for Viking. We enjoy Viking as they never try to sell you anything, you are just left to enjoy your cruise. There is so much room on board, lots of quiet places, always an included tour, free tea and coffee all the time as well as cakes and biscuits. Dinner and lunch come with free wine and beer and they are very generous with this. There is not much in the way of organised entertainment other than lectures, and some low key shows, but this suits us. On this occasion, I had booked all our tours after lunch. This worked well as we did not need to rush getting up, and had time to go into town on our own and just look round before returning for lunch and an afternoon tour. The scenery, particularly with the midnight sun, was stunning throughout Norway. We went through the Arctic Circle and stopped at Honningsvag before sailing south to Shetland. Shetland was more than we expected and again, wonderful scenery. However, we were VERY blessed with the weather and calm seas all through (apart from drizzle in Edinburgh) and missed the exceptionally hot weather in England. We always enjoy our food on board and tend to use the World Café self-service for breakfast and lunch, and the Restaurant for evening dinner. There is no need to dress up at any time - smart casual is the order of the day. The Restaurant does not accept shorts or jeans - men tend to wear short sleeved shirts and trousers - rarely a jacket. You will be allocated a table each time you go and can chose to sit on your own or with company. Viking sells mostly to the USA - probably about 80%, with others mostly coming from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Everyone is very friendly on board and we find that the Americans are all very well travelled and interested in World events. We had lots of conversations about Trump, Brexit and Boris! Viking do not take children and the age range is mostly retired and upwards although there did seem to be more of a younger element this time. People say to me that Viking is expensive, but really, we find that we don't spend any money on holiday other than some additional bar bills. They constantly hand out cold water bottles, are generous with beer and wine at meals, wifi is free, the gym is free, they often greet you with hot towels when returning from an excursion, the tours are very well organised and you almost never queue for anything. We are already booked with Viking for Alaska next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
First, I had an amazing Hurtigruten travel specialist assist me in my booking named Ms Linn WIlson who was outstanding in helping ensure I had a starboard Arctic Superior cabin and seamless transition from 1st cruise to the 2nd. I departed ... Read More
First, I had an amazing Hurtigruten travel specialist assist me in my booking named Ms Linn WIlson who was outstanding in helping ensure I had a starboard Arctic Superior cabin and seamless transition from 1st cruise to the 2nd. I departed Hamburg, sailed up the Norwegian coast and fjords, then connected to a second cruise on the same ship in Tromso. Linn ensured that my worries about moving my luggage from one cabin to another, and still enjoying Tromsø were eliminated. Secondly, the staff on board the ship gave the highest customer service, especially Jannah, Jelai and Kristian the Reception Manager who helped me find and regain special glasses I left on the ship. The restaurant servers also gave exemplary customer service, always remembering my name, that I liked hot chocolate with breakfast, and always gave me a warm welcome, as did the maitre d. While this was only the 2nd sailing of the new ship, the staff was very quick to problem solve and respond to any suggestions for improvement, and were extremely professional. Food was excellent, especially the freshly baked breads and pastries. Thirdly, the cruises were very educational. The expedition team presentations, especially by Laura on whales, was exceptional, with multiple teaching strategies including embedded videos, delivered in a passionate manner. Zodiac cruising and landings were well done. The cruise to Svarlbard was very humbling as the glacier melting was evident, and hearing of the deaths of hundreds of reindeer due to global warming was painful. The Global Seed Vault in Longyearben is in jeopardy as well. Hurtigruten has a gorgeous ship with highly competent crew committed to outstanding customer service. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because it included all the most beautiful fjords and port stops that I had seen recommended on various websites. Stops included Eidfjord, Flåm, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Andalsnes and Olden. Twelve nights obviously ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it included all the most beautiful fjords and port stops that I had seen recommended on various websites. Stops included Eidfjord, Flåm, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Andalsnes and Olden. Twelve nights obviously gives you a broader experience than just seven. Not for you if you want to go further north in Norway or combine fjords with other countries. I had very high expectations for the scenery, and it definitely did not disappoint — just incredible! The best shore excursion was from Olden, taking a boat ride on a lake called Lovatnet (get seats on open-air upper level to take photos). We handled our time ashore differently depending on the port — sometimes just on our own, sometimes with an excursion offered by P&O, and sometimes with an excursion we booked ourselves. It was our first time on P&O and we liked it a lot. No complaints at all. Nice to have no children on this cruise. Food was excellent, everything was very well-run, inside cabin worked very nicely for us, and we enjoyed several of the entertainers. Almost all the cruise passengers were British, and since we are Americans this added a very interesting and pleasant aspect to our experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Love Norway good memories of deceased partner. The food left a lot to be desired often only warm, uninspired boring. Had one meai in beach club excellent as was the service, 2 meals in self service very nice. Was put on a singles table ... Read More
Love Norway good memories of deceased partner. The food left a lot to be desired often only warm, uninspired boring. Had one meai in beach club excellent as was the service, 2 meals in self service very nice. Was put on a singles table disaster I was a man paired with 5 women ranging between 65ish to mid nineties could not gat a dcent conversation disaster. I am a very outgoing person and have made good friends on other cruises not on this one.Most staff friendly an d helpful. Excursions way over price [I booked direct[ Worse of alll I got Noro again thanks P&O again I got a bad cold sore throat and head ace Despite using my own sanitizer plush ships own The port days were enjoyable so it wasnt an entire disaster. The young lady who helped me disembark was a treasure. The valet parking was efficient and easy but all in all disapointing Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
The parts of the Norwegian Hurtigruten adventure consept function well together: Beautiful nature, local culture and food, lot of points of interest along the Norwegian coastline, interesting lectures and expeditions, solid service with a ... Read More
The parts of the Norwegian Hurtigruten adventure consept function well together: Beautiful nature, local culture and food, lot of points of interest along the Norwegian coastline, interesting lectures and expeditions, solid service with a smile, thorough cleaning and safe hygiene. Our expectations were more than met. The cruise of the Norwegian Hurtigruten along the Norwegian coastline from the historic city Bergen on the West Coast to the city of Kirkenes at the Russian border is unique in reality and variety: The well known Norwegian long, deep, narrow fjords with steep mountains and waterfalls, historic places with traces several thousand years back. The Coastal Cruiseline Hurtigruten makes the best possible use of the unique local nature and culture: Great variety of local dishes made from food delivered from chosen producers along the long coastline, a lot of culture and nature expeditions in by foot, rib boat, cayak and bus - in partnership with local entrepreneurs, interesting lectures on relevant topics. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We decided to travel with the Hurtigruten because we have heard how the coastal journey was an amazing experience, and it definitely exceeded our expectations! From amazing service to beautiful scenery, this is the perfect way to enjoy the ... Read More
We decided to travel with the Hurtigruten because we have heard how the coastal journey was an amazing experience, and it definitely exceeded our expectations! From amazing service to beautiful scenery, this is the perfect way to enjoy the beauty of Norway. I’ve travelled Norway by railway before, but sailing really allows you to see so much more! Highly recommended for those looking to rest and unwind and admire the beautiful scenery. The food spread was good too, and the seafood were relatively fresh. Excursions were pricey, but would recommend going for the Geirangerfjord tour during summer, and the North Cape as well. I thoroughly enjoyed the excursions, and appreciated how there was also lectures onboard the cruise. I chose a Polar Inside cabin, which was small but clean and cosy. Do note that when you travel during summer, the weather can get really cold, so it’s importang to have a windbreaker! Definitely traveling with the Hurtigruten on my next cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
As first time cruisers we wanted a short trip on a smaller ship as we were travelling with young children, ages 7 and 11, and were not sure how they would be. They totally loved it and have already asked when we can go back. We had a ... Read More
As first time cruisers we wanted a short trip on a smaller ship as we were travelling with young children, ages 7 and 11, and were not sure how they would be. They totally loved it and have already asked when we can go back. We had a great experience departing from Liverpool. Easy to get to, drop the luggage, park the car and get on board. We arrived 1 hour before we were due on board but this was no problem and we got straight onto the ship. The ship is lovely and to a good standard. Small and very welcoming. We have a porthole cabin on deck 4 with 4 bunks and was fine for us. Very clean and the house keeper was amazing. She even knitted my daughter an outfit for her bear. Staff at the restaurants were all really good and made us feel really welcome. They got to know us so well that they always had 2 glasses of apple juice ready for our daughter and new to bring her loads of ketchup for her dinner! All the staff in general were great and very friendly. Entertainment was good and we went to the show after dinner every night and during the day there was a full itinerary of what was on offer. We stopped at Flåm, Olden and Bergen in Norway and Lerwick in Scotland. We had great weather at all the stops so we were lucky. Our favourite was olden as it’s such a lovely place. At Flåm you would really need to do an excursion as there is not a great deal to do there. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
The main reason was sailing from Liverpool and a return visit to the Fjords. From our arrival at Pier Head all went smoothly. Our Balcony Suite was perfect, spacious, clean plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, met our needs and I ... Read More
The main reason was sailing from Liverpool and a return visit to the Fjords. From our arrival at Pier Head all went smoothly. Our Balcony Suite was perfect, spacious, clean plenty of wardrobe and drawer space, met our needs and I don't travel light. My husband had also requested a table for two and this was met. The Glentanar was a lovely, light, spacious Dining room, the breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent as was the waiter service dinner with excellent menu. We had lovely waiters but there were one or two who were not the friendliest. For our Anniversary Dinner we dined in the Black Watch Restaurant which again of high standard, my husband declared his steak one of the best ever. The ship was spotlessly clean in all areas, the Neptune Lounge especially pleasing.The Captain and Crew helped to make this a very special time for us. Flower Arrangement, bottle of Cava when we arrived and on the Day a lovely card, gift and Cava in Ice Bucket delivered to our suite along with our card from the Queen. In the evening we were presented with a lovely Happy Anniversary cake. These were all done in a very tasteful, no fuss way which we appreciated very much. My husband did have to visit the Cruise Doctor, again efficient attention.All in all this was a most memorable holiday, with wonderful scenery, off shore excursions and very relaxing on board atmosphere. Our first Fred Olsen Cruise but hopefully not our last.Thank you to everyone who helped in making this a very happy memorable occasion. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Nieuw Statendam Review, Land of the Midnight Sun, Departure on 7/7/19 For a little bit of background, we are mid-40’s cruisers that have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Disney with almost 20 ... Read More
Nieuw Statendam Review, Land of the Midnight Sun, Departure on 7/7/19 For a little bit of background, we are mid-40’s cruisers that have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Disney with almost 20 cruises under our belt. This was our first Holland America experience and we chose this cruise due to the itinerary to the Artic Circle. We left a few days early so we could have time to enjoy a little bit of Amsterdam before the cruise on Sunday. We arrived into Amsterdam early afternoon and took a cab to our hotel, the Kimpton Dewitt as we did not want to transport our luggage by public transportation. We stayed at this location due to free points, but I highly recommend it as it was a short walk to all of the major sites in the city. A colleague recommended that we take the hop on/hop off on tour. I do not recommend this as it was a big waste of time and the tour highlights were not that great. We did download the Rick Steves audio tour on my Iphone, and we did two of his free walking tours and learned a lot from this and highly recommend this way to tour the city. On the Saturday before the cruise, we took the Old Holland Tour that provides public transportation by bus for 20 euros pp and it took you to Zaanse Schans, Edam and Volendam. We had a great time and they also have a walking tour that we used walking around the windmills.  On Sunday, we headed to the port around noon and were on the ship by 12:30. We were really excited to be on this trip and to experience all that we could see on Norway. We were even more ecstatic because a couple of weeks before we decided to upgrade to a Neptune Suite. We have never stayed in a suite, but we pulled the plug because the cabin was an aft corner with the 2 balconies, and we wanted to be able to see as much as we could of all of the scenery both in the fjords and the Artic. One benefit that we truly enjoyed as a result of the suite was Club Orange. We had amazing food and service in this venue at both breakfast and dinner. I have a gluten allergy and they truly catered to me and I was able to have souffle and many other dishes that I have never been able to have on other cruise lines. Ports: Eidfjord. We scheduled an independent excursion through Go Fjord to see the Vøringfossen waterfall. On the way to the waterfalls, we stopped a nature exhibit. This was truly a waste of time, but this was the cheapest and easiest way to see the waterfall. The excursion limited the time at the waterfall, so I highly recommend going to the furthest platform viewing first and working your way back as it had the best views of the falls.  Bergen: We first got on the hop on/hop off bus and do not recommend. The city is not that big and pretty walkable. We then walked around and stopped at the Hanseatic Museum and Bryggen. I highly recommend the museum and they have regular tours for English speakers. We did not buy tickets in advance of the funicular because I was concerned about weather. However, the weather turned out beautiful so on our walk to the funicular I bought tickets on their app and was able to avoid the huge lines waiting to buy tickets. We then had a hearty traditional Norwegian lunch at Bryggeloftet & Stuene. We then headed to the Fish Market as my husband loves all kinds of dried and canned fish. I bought some sausage (later learned you can’t bring back to USA ☹). Alesund: We took the independent excursion through Norway Excursions, Alesund from Fjords to Trolls. Our tour guide Anita was amazing. I learned so much from her about the history of Norway and their culture. This was by far the best tour with amazing scenery on the Troll Road with its 11 hairpin turns. This Florida girl was glad she was not driving. The tour also allowed several stops and photo stops which was really nice. Trondheim: We found a walking tour from Frommers that we used to tour the city. This was also another very walkable city and Nidaros Cathedral was amazingly beautiful. We also walked over the Old Town Bridge with the historic wharves up to Kristiansten Fortress which provided a beautiful view of the city. Afterwards we headed to Baklandet Skydsstation for lunch which was nice little café with outside seating and very yummy food. We then finished our walking tour and headed back to the ship. The weather was again beautiful, and we had a great day in this city. North Cape/Honningsvag: We decided to rent a car. I was a little nervous about driving and renting especially when the rental company said make sure you shut your door at the cape because she had a rental last week lose the door to the wind when he left it open! However, we had no problems driving. We headed first to the North Cape and walked around and checked out all of the exhibits. Then we drove to Skarsvag and checked out the village. We wanted hike to the Arch, but I was worried about time, so we decided to skip that. Then we drove to Gjesvaer, a little fishing town. We had a great day driving around and this allowed for us to make photo stops when we wanted to. We also brought lunch for ourselves and had a little picnic at one of the pullouts overlooking the water. A gas station was right by the cruise terminal, so we had no problems filling up. Also, as a FYI, you fill the tank up first and then pay! Hellesylt: This port was a bit of a bummer because we did not cruise all the way to Geiranger. As a result, we booked the cruise excursion that provided the bus tour and then a cruise down the Geraingerfjord. There was little opportunity for independent excursions in Hellesylt and the excursion we went on was just okay. We drove by a bunch of beautiful things but did not really stop and a tour guide was decent but not amazing. Flam: Because we were in port from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., we did the Norway in a Nutshell tour on our own. This allowed us to take the Flam train up to Myrdal, then a train to Voss, then a bus to Gudvangen and then the boat down the Nærøyfjord. We would highly recommend it. We met another couple from the boat also doing this tour and was able to eat lunch with them in Voss at Tre Broer Cafe and Bar. It was really a great day. Haugesund: We decided to rent a car because there were several little things that we wanted to do and decided it was easier and cheaper to do on our own. We rented from Sixt and the representative was waiting outside for us when we arrived making it very efficient for us to get on the road. We made the following stops: Haraldshaugen (Norwegian National Monument), Steinsfjellet (panoramic viewpoint of city), Avaldsnes: Nordvegen History Centre and Viking Settlement, Skudeneshavn (fishing village) and Åkrasanden (beaches). Unfortunately, at the Viking Settlement, most of it was closed due restoration; however, the history center was really interesting. Thoughts on Holland America/Nieuw Statendam The good: The ship is new and beautiful. The food and service was amazing at Club Orange, Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind. My husband enjoyed the sushi at the buffet. We loved all of the musical acts at Lincoln Center, B.B. Kings and Rolling Stone and the themed artwork that went along with it. We enjoyed the BillBoard Bar and Ocean Bar and had really good service and drinks at those locations. We also loved the Dutch Café with its coffees and snacks. We also loved all of the free movies you could get in the room. We also attended the America’s Test Kitchen demonstrations but wished it was more interactive. We also appreciated the covered pool area especially on chilly days at sea. The so so: On sea days, the public spaces were extremely full, and it was sometimes hard to find a place to lay down and sleep or read a book especially around the pool. The EXC talks were just okay. We felt that she found the information off google and turned it into a speech. I would have preferred someone from Norway that could provide more history and culture about the areas we visited. The bad: We felt that there was a huge lack of activities on sea days or at night other than the musical acts. The ship also repeated some of the same entertainers for the nightly shows at the main stage. We also had difficulty communicating with some of the staff due to language barriers; this was not a big deal but sometimes it was hard to convey what you needed as far as drinks or food in the buffet. The drinks at the remaining bar locations other than the ones mentioned above were terrible and the service was not great. My gluten free options due to my allergy were also limited and even though I was told they have gluten free pizza crusts at New York Pizza, they said they ran out after only 2 days on the ship. We also had problems due to the lack of receipts given because we were charged for items when we had the beverage package and we wanted to have the option to provide additional gratuities for the servers in Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind. Overall Thoughts: We went on the ship for the itinerary and had an amazing time because of it. We thought the food was top notch and we loved our aft Neptune Suite. However, I don’t believe that we are the normal demographic for Holland America, and I think we would be truly bored if this had been a Caribbean sailing due to the lack of activities and interactive cruise activities that we love on other cruise lines. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our 7th Royal Caribbean cruise, and we chose this Russia and Scandinavia sailing because of both the cruise line and the itinerary. It was also our second sailing on Explorer of the Seas, so we have had prior experience with ... Read More
This was our 7th Royal Caribbean cruise, and we chose this Russia and Scandinavia sailing because of both the cruise line and the itinerary. It was also our second sailing on Explorer of the Seas, so we have had prior experience with RCCL. Our overall impression (which we seemed to share with many fellow guests) was that standards had been allowed to drop by RCCL. Meals in the Sapphire Dining Room were disappointing. The service was fine, but the menu choices were strange and, most importantly, the quality of the food was notably lower than on our six previous cruises. Could it be that RCCL are lowering the standard of the (included) meals and ingredients to encourage guests to upgrade to “added-cost” meal selections or visit their speciality restaurants? Meat quality was poor. The windjammer restaurant seemed to have become even more overcrowded-tables were packed very close together in an attempt we assume to cope with the no of passengers, but this made it hard to get to and from tables. Entertainment. The young cruise director seemed poor, compared with those we had sailed with before. He was lacking their presence. Entertainment. The scheduling of events that were put on during the cruise disappointed us- and was something we were not alone in criticising. Perhaps linked to the cruise director inexperience? Ship’s condition. We gathered that Explorer of the Seas is going in for a refurbishment and dry docking next year. She was showing her age, with paintwork, railings and some furnishings in need of tender care or replacement. Some chairs in the Star Lounge had bare patches on the arm rests; several seats in the theatre needed fixed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Fabulous to sail away from Liverpool. Very smooth and quick to embark and disembark. Our terrace balcony cabin 7024 was really lovely with a large lounge area and separate bedroom. Our steward kept the room spotless. Food was absolutely ... Read More
Fabulous to sail away from Liverpool. Very smooth and quick to embark and disembark. Our terrace balcony cabin 7024 was really lovely with a large lounge area and separate bedroom. Our steward kept the room spotless. Food was absolutely fantastic quality with plenty of choice. The dining staff were also so attentive, friendly and professional. We requested a table for two for our evening meal and at breakfast we generally sat at a table for 2 or 4. At lunch time we sometimes were seated at a larger table and always enjoyed the company. We didn’t get involved in too many onboard activities but there are certainly plenty to choose from. I did a yoga class at the well equipped gym and had 2 treatments in the spa which were very relaxing. We attended the show each evening in the Neptune lounge and some were really good, 1 or 2 were a bit outdated. The destination lectures are well worth attending or watching on your cabin tv if you miss out. To break up the relaxing cruise we booked all active shore tours from Fred Olsen and can recommend them to anyone looking for a more active way to spend time ashore. Flåm railway with hiking was great. In Olden we took a lake cruise then got a bus to the sky lift. At the sky lift you have refreshments and free time to walk or admire the view before returning by bus to the port. We then had 2 hours left to wander around the most beautiful local area. I also paddled in the Fjord as the weather was hot. In Bergen we took a cycle tour in the morning which then allowed us the whole afternoon to visit the places we wanted to explore further. ( we walked up higher in the city and went running then visited the UNESCO area) in Lerwick we took a sea kayaking trip. We were picked up and driven to the bay and kitted out. A dad and daughter duo then helped us get comfortable with all the basics of kayaking before guiding us around the most breathtaking coastal wildlife areas for 3 hours. We were surrounded by seals, some moved away and other followed us around. Above us flew guillemots and gannets and some of us were very lucky to see a sea otter. There would just have been enough time to head to the town but we chose to go back aboard for the afternoon tea that day.. It’s worth mentioning that the scenery is fantastic along the way in Norway and with sunsets after 11pm in July there is plenty of time to enjoy and take photos. It would be very hard to fault anything on this cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
It was a good trip as we got to see parts of Norway landscape and mountains as the ship travel thru the fjords. We visited a few of small villages where we took excursions that gave us some wonderful views of the valley. The only issue ... Read More
It was a good trip as we got to see parts of Norway landscape and mountains as the ship travel thru the fjords. We visited a few of small villages where we took excursions that gave us some wonderful views of the valley. The only issue a I had was the length of stay in Bergen as it was really not enough time to see the city as there were many things to look and see in this wonderful city. The cruise itself was average as the boat did sort of showed it aged but Princess did a good job of renovating it. Dining was fine as the menu selection was close to the local food. The sea was not too rough as most of the time it was smooth sailing. The entertainment was fine but was not too exciting as I would have expected. The comedian Juggler I think was the best of all of the shows. We liked the music playing in the piazza as we sat with out latte and relax. The movies under the stars was good - except it was kindof chilly which is expected. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
For those interested in a comparison, let's look at the differences between Oceania and Princess. We were on the 18-day Dublin-Copenhagen segment. This was our first cruise with Oceania. We are elite with Princess. We chose this ... Read More
For those interested in a comparison, let's look at the differences between Oceania and Princess. We were on the 18-day Dublin-Copenhagen segment. This was our first cruise with Oceania. We are elite with Princess. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary: Norway and northern Russian ports. Oceania has considerably less merchandising pressure. There is no crew of photographers. The crew seems under less pressure to sell extras. There are no "cruise ship art" events. Speciality coffees and sparkling water are available without extra charge. Speciality restaurants are available without extra charge. On the other hand, the cheapest bottle of wine on Oceania is about $10 a bottle more than on Princess. That generally put wine above what I was willing to pay. The ship felt less crowded and there was never a problem finding outdoor seating (although the Northern itinerary may have had something to do with that). 650 passengers instead of thousands does make for a different (and pleasant) experience. Oceania does live up to its reputation for good food. The dining room food was consistently a notch better than Princess. The buffet food was also very good. However, the buffet was typically more crowded than I'm used to on Princess. Our cabin (C1 ocean view) was equivalent to what we'd expect on Princess. Surprisingly, the cabin steward was good, but not as good as is typical on Princess. There were two ship lecturers. We only went to the lectures by one, but she was outstanding (https://cruisethroughhistory.com}. I liked the smaller venue for ship shows, although the noise level (at times 90db or more) was louder than I'd like. Passenger demographics: Oceania is a bit older and fellow passengers are on average wealthier. They also have a tendency to provide lots of details on their previous exotic Oceania cruises. At first that was useful, since we've not been on Oceania before, but enough was enough.... Shore excursions are overpriced. We generally don't book ship excursions, but we took their tours to make life easier for the three Russian ports, and we booked the bird safari at North Cape (a mistake). In Lerwick we hired a cab for the day. I tried to rent a car, but waited too long. I'd recommend planning ahead and getting a car. Even if you feel a bit uncomfortable driving in the UK, traffic on Shetland Island is thin. We walked around Bergen, a lovely port. Instead of the Oceania excursion to Mt. Floyen, we booked in advance on-line (https://www.floyen.no/en). Efficient and lots less money. In Kristiansund, there is a company that takes off from the cruise dock and heads up the local fjord for a lot less than Oceania. The Russian tours were fine, although private packages would have saved money. North Cape was a good tour — but we could have done it for less than half the Oceania price on our own. My advice is to rent a car (there is a company at the pier that will rent a car for 1500 NOK). That would allow both the bird safari and a drive up to North Cape, and save a whole lot of money. Thee is also a public bus, although an expensive one, from the pier to North Cape. The tourist office at the pier has the details. Although the cruise to Flam is spectacular, I can't say I'd recommend the railroad trip — but if you do take it, don't book with Oceania. You can either book on-line in advance or buy a ticket once you get there. Flam itself is a town of about 500 that absorbs thousands of cruise ship passengers, and is entirely uninteresting on its own. Cabs in Copenhagen (Uber withdrew from the city) are readily available at the cruise terminal and will set you back less than the Oceania transfer. In sum, Oceania is about twice the price (or more). If I had a choice between them I'd take Princess assuming identical itineraries. However, Oceania's smaller ships bring one to places Princess doesn't. I wouldn't hesitate to book Oceania again — but only if the itinerary was one that Princess could not match. Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise