Over the last decade we’ve been super blessed to be able to go to Europe many times to experience Ocean Cruises in the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea & the British Isles and as well we’ve done River Cruises on all the major European Rivers.
BUT… there’s one Cruise we’d been wanting to do for years as we heard it was spectaculator so when we finally had the chance to experience a Cruise in Norway a couple of months ago we were VERY EXCITED! 🙂
Was it all we had hoped for?
Check out our review below to find out.
By the way, before we get into the details about this Wonderful destination you’re probably wondering who we Cruised to Norway with?
We were fortunate to have sailed there on one of the highest rated Cruiselines in the World… Crystal Cruises!!
This blog post is about what we saw & experienced in Norway but if you want to know more about our experience on Crystal Cruises, we captured lots of great pictures, videos & information for you, so Visit Our “Crystal Serenity” Norway Cruise Pictures & Videos Album and read the captions under the pictures & videos for more details about Crystal’s Fabulous onboard experience!
One last thing… even though “Crystal Ocean Cruises” have been around for 25 years now, just a few years ago they launched a River Cruise division… right after this Norway Cruise we actually hopped on a Crystal River Cruise for a week to see what their quality was like… if you want to hear about that experience, visit our Crystal River Cruise review.
Destination: The Gateway to the Fjords of Norway!
We both thought how grateful we were to step onboard the Crystal Serenity… to unpack “just once” and get such an in-depth, up close and personal view of this Northern gem… Norway!
We didn’t understand how special it really was to be on the ship until one day in a port we met a sweet couple from the US who flew to Norway, rented a car & drove around for 2 weeks for their “Vacation”. They were describing their experience and we felt bad for them because they were exhausted from keeping their eyes on the road during their long driving days and not experiencing much… they didn’t make it near as in depth into the Country as we did and they certainly were not enjoying their trip as we were… after we told them about our Cruise they both reacted with “Why didn’t we do that??”
Norway is synonymous with Fjords, so from a ship you CANNOT find a better way to fully experience this destination and get unlimited views!!
Just have a look at these pictures we took from the ship…
Next, we have to show you…
SOME “UNIQUE” THNGS YOU GET TO SEE IN NORWAY…
YOU ALSO GET TO SEE LOTS OF JAW DROPPING WATERFALLS, LIKE THESE…
A FEW NOTES ABOUT NORWAY:
#1. Soooo, we have to admit that we weren’t overly excited to see fjords during our Cruise as we’d seen them in other parts of the World and assumed they were all the same… but of course as we heard they were fabulous in this area we thought they sounded interesting and like something you’d want to check out… right! 🙂
But it wasn’t till we came here to view them in person that we understood what the big deal was… Norway REALLY is a special place to visit in your lifetime & their Fjords are pretty dramatic!!
And you may be wondering, what is a Fjord anyways?
A Fjord is a waterway created by receding Glaciers that carved deep troughs that were then compacted under the massive weight of the retreating ice.
Google says: “a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs, as in Norway and Iceland, typically formed by submergence of a glaciated valley.”
Either way you read it, one thing is for sure…
Norwegian Fjords are one of nature’s most impressive and breathtaking accomplishments, truly!
2. Another thing we didn’t expect was the warm weather thanks to the Gulf Stream… and the waters were very calm! The waters may be very different in the winter months but we were sailing in the month of July and the waters were glassy calm AND the daytime temperatures were unexpectedly warm… most days 20-25 degrees Celsius or 70-80 Fahrenheit, warranting shorts and t-shirts many days of the cruise.
We brought hats and gloves but they never made it out of our Suitcase!
TIP: We were told the weather can change fast there so pack the above items and layers just in case but have warm weather clothes too— better to be with then without. 🙂
This entire two week cruise was focused around ONE destination, Norway. We got to dive in and explore this beautiful part of the world and below is a summary of the ports we visited:
1. Bergen, Norway
This is one of the largest cities in Norway. It is known for its fresh air, outdoor Fish Market along the Medieval Wharf and a funicular ride that takes you up Mount Floyen to get the most incredible views of the city.
TIP: If you are planning to take the funicular, the lines get really long, so get off the ship and go early. We hiked 45 minutes up to the top of Mount Floyen instead and really enjoyed it— it’s another way to the top if you prefer. Afterwards, take a nice walk about and do some sightseeing and/or shopping 🙂
Here are a few pictures from our time in Bergen…
2. Flam, Norway
A tiny village that you can walk the entirety in 5 minutes but don’t be fooled, it has one of the most popular excursions in the area- a 2 hour round trip train ride winding through the fjords and tunnels. Don’t miss it!! You’ll see powerful waterfalls and i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e scenery.
TIP: If you are comfortable doing your own booking, book this ticket in advance from the train’s site to get a much cheaper rate. It’s the “exact” same trip as Crystal/other lines offer except you don’t go to the local hotel for waffles and a beverage… but not a lot to give up to pay less then 1/2 price… and Don’t forget your camera!!!!
TIP: Looking to be more active in Flam? Rent a bike at the train station, take it with you on the train and ride it approximately 2 hours down a good trail with switch backs into Flam, we wish we had done it as it looked super fun!
TIP: Be on deck in Flam for the sail in/sail away as the fjords are spectacular!!
See our pictures below:
3. Geiranger, Norway
The highlight to sailing to the tiny village of Geiranger was the landscape of hovering Fjords all around us as we sailed in and out of this 10 mile channel. And then the 1hr hike we took to look-out points above the town was exhilarating too! Check out a few of our pictures and you’ll know what we mean, it was truly breathtaking:
4. Gravdal, Norway
Now above the Arctic Circle, the skyline of Gravdal, a small fishing village, is impressive because it sits in the center of an “Archipelago” of Islands that this area is famous for. Not to mention its surrounding mountains and mists of snow at the very tops.
TIP: The village offers a short walk about. Be sure to take the complimentary shuttle to the village as it is the only area to walk about. It is small and not much there so it would be better to take a ship excursion to see all the surrounding or if you want a day to relax, then this would be the day to sleep in and enjoy the ship’s amenities.
5. Tromso, Norway
We stopped today in Tromso, the Capital of Northern Norway and the third largest urban area north of the Arctic Circle. We took the complimentary 15 minute shuttle ride to town where we then walked all over Tromso, a unique Norwegian place and found all kinds of gems.
It was Sunday when we visited and it reminded us of when we were young and Sundays were a REAL day off where all grocery stores, malls and gas stations were closed all day. It was so quiet that it was refreshing from the hustle and bustle we are used to today.
We took MANY pictures of Tromso but you only get TWO as you have to come visit for yourself. LOL 😉
6. Honningsvag, Norway— The North Cape!!
Arriving in the little fishing town of Honningsvag, the northernmost city in Norway, we took a tour (it was a short scenic & painless bus ride) to it’s famous Globe symbolizing we are at the “Top of Europe” or North Cape… but to the Norwegians it’s called “NordKapp”. We made it official but getting our picture taken right at the Coastline…
In the pictures to follow you can see how rugged, unspoiled and special the landscapes really are here and how the cute reindeer make it come to life…
7. Olden, Norway
A stop here in this tiny town is a gateway to many wonderful sights. Hikers come here from all over the world for the spectacular views. Luckily for us, being on a cruise ship, it gives us unobstructed landscapes and incredible “less travelled” sweeping views.
In Olden, we took a tour called “Kjenndal Glacier Wonder & Loen Lake Cruise” and would highly recommend it.
The pictures don’t do it any justice because the scenery is jaw dropping, but have a peek to decide for yourself…
8. Stavanger, Norway
The Old Town oozes barrels of history and is spotted with well preserved homes giving you a sense of what it was like living here many, many years ago. Stavanger is a great city to walk about for shopping and picture taking.
A Few more Tips:
1. Take a set of eyeshades as once you leave home, you will not see darkness for a while and it helped us sleep well when it was midnight and the sun was still out… they don’t call Norway in the Summer “The Land of the Midnight Sun” for no reason! LOL
2. Onboard Crystal had binoculars for each stateroom. Take them with you on Tours! They will come in handy when looking for reindeer, birds, mammals, etc.
3. People always ask us about money/currency. In Norway most stores take credit card so you really don’t need local currency unless you plan to shop lots in small markets, which there are certainly plenty of. We are not big shoppers so we carry $500-$1,000 USD for emergencies & leave it in our safe and always have a credit card or 2 for souvenirs. FYI, we did not purchase any Norwegian Krone and we rarely buy local currencies as you usually pay a higher foreign exchange fee to change cash then you do to use your credit card.
Well, there you go, that was a look at our wonderful 14 Night Crystal Cruise to Norway!
Want to see a lot more pictures & videos and also to see what Crystal was like? Then check out Our Norway Cruise Pictures & Videos Album
And again, if you want to see what Crystal’s River Cruises are all about Check Out Our Crystal River Cruise Review here.
Have more questions or want to book a Cruse like this too? Can’t blame you! 🙂
As always, any questions get a hold of Shawn & he’ll be happy to share more of our experiences to help you decide the best option for you & from there he’ll help you get your next exciting Cruise Vacation booked!!
We Appreciate You!
Nancy & Shawn
Your Trusted Cruise Experts!