So Much To See On A Cruise Through The Nordic Countries
Our cruise through the Nordic countries was a dream trip on our travel wish list for a long time. We got the opportunity to join two Oceania Cruises trips that went to both the Norway fjords and up to Iceland and Greenland. It was an opportunity we did not want to miss.
The weather was ideal as we cruised north along the Norway fjords. After we changed ships in Southampton, we cruised to the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. But we also explored Edinburgh and got a taste test of the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The few ports we visited in Ireland left us wanting more. Oh what a wonderful set of cruise ports.
Leaving From Toronto
Usually when we headed off from Toronto we escaped the cold. But on this trip in the middle of the summer, we escaped a brutal heat wave.
We were delighted when we found out that our business class tickets got us access to the Air Canada Signature Lounge. With a full dining room and a quiet ambiance, it was the perfect way to start our 40 day vacation to cruise through the Nordic countries. Since we stopped in Ireland on this trip, David started properly with a cold Guinness.
There were no direct flights to Oslo, Noway. So we had a few hours stopover in Copenhagen. As usual we left late in the evening so managed a little sleep on the plane. Bleary-eyed we found the Scandinavian Airlines lounge to relax. The last leg was a flight for a few hours to Oslo. A very long travel day!
We Started In Oslo
The airport in Oslo was well out of the city. So we took the fast train from the airport and our hotel was a short walk from the train station. We stayed at the Radisson Blu Plaza, the tallest hotel in the city.
We visited Oslo when we cruised through the Baltic. Our first visit was grey. But we still managed to see much of the town by tram. Our return visit for 3 days before our cruise was again grey and rainy. After we recovered a bit from jet lag, we wandered to see the University Botanical Garden. Not as extensive a garden as the city Botanical Garden. But still a green oasis.
On our first visit to Oslo, we were delighted to find a colourful variety of street art. We were not disappointed on our return. Quirky pieces of statuary and murals decorated many spots.
As we packed to head to the cruise ship, the skies cleared. With our zoom lens, we saw the Oceania Cruises Marina in port. As we left Oslo we waved goodbye and started our cruise through the Nordic countries.
A Quick Stop In Skagen
The first leg of our cruise through the Nordic countries started with a slight detour to Skagen in Denmark. We saw many of the local sights on our first visit to Skagen. But it was great to return to this sea port in the bright sunshine. We wandered in town. And climbed the water town for a panoramic view.
It was interesting to be back in Skagen in the summer. Skagen was a popular tourist spot and we were definitely not alone as we enjoyed this small community.
Amazing Natural Beauty In The Fjords Of Norway
We started our Norway fjord views with a stunning waterfall when we visited Haugesund, Norway and saw the Akrafjorden Langfoss waterfall. Then on our visit to Flam, we boarded the Flam Railway for a trip up the mountains. The views along the way and the thundering Kjosfossen waterfall kept us entranced.
An overland trip between Hellesylt and Geiranger gave us a view of the glaciers and glacier lakes. And the perfect panoramic view of the Geiranger fjord from above.
The ship headed north and crossed the Arctic Circle. The landscape became more rugged and we saw some snowy mountain tops above green meadows.
There was so much natural beauty as we cruised through the Norway fjords.
Cities In The Norway Fjords Offered Another View
We enjoyed cruising into and wandering through the small scenic coastal towns. The ship was docked right in town in Alesund, Kristiansund, Bodo and Harstad. So it was easy to walk through the port and town.
The high viewpoint in Bergen provided us with a view from a different perspective. When we finished our funicular ride up the Mount Foyen, the sun came out and the city sparkled below us.
We enjoyed the smaller towns and cities when we visited the fjords of Norway on our cruise through the Nordic countries.
A Day In Edinburgh, Scotland
We had one day in Edinburgh. The ship was docked in Leith and a shuttle bus took us into downtown Edinburgh. We wandered along and enjoyed the views of the city architecture.
Edinburgh Castle sat high above the city. We walked around the outside and took in the views from the ramparts. From there we strolled down the Royal Mile. Everywhere we looked there was something interesting to see.
After a long walking day in Edinburgh, we grabbed the shuttle back to the ship. On our cruise through the Nordic countries, we got just a small taste of why we need to return to Scotland.
Exploring The Orkney Islands
We were not done with Scotland yet! Our next stop was the Orkney Islands. The ship docked in Kirkwall on the Mainland Island. This was the largest of about 70 that make up the Orkney Islands.
We took a tour around the countryside and learned much about these small islands. All around us we saw rolling green hills in the mist. We made several stops along the way. The fishing villages were colourful. Old ruins stood in the fields.
This stop gave us our first view of the interesting geology we found on our cruise through the Nordic countries. The Standing Stones of Stenness were a small stone circle. It was a preview of what we found in Stonehenge later in the trip.
The Orkney Islands were an interesting stop as we headed into the North Sea.
A Taste Test of The Faroe Islands
We found a colourful port when we docked in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands. As we wandered in the small town, we were delighted when we found our first grass covered houses.
Our day trip took us out of town for a view of the countryside. We found small towns in the hills and along the waterways. The scenery was stunning. We stopped and visited a small museum in an idyllic valley location. This small taste test certainly left us wanting more.
We were so glad we had a brief look at Faroe Islands on this cruise to the Nordic countries. New hotels were coming to Torshavn and we expected that a return visit might look a little different.
Heading North To Greenland
We were so surprised we found tat the seas on our way to Greenland were calm and the sun shone bright. But we should not have been fooled! The weather shifted and our initial 3 days along the west coast of Greenland were reduced to an unplanned stop in Tasiilaq on the east coast.
We woke up early and saw the Greenland coast through the mist as we cruised into Tasiilaq. It was amusing when an iceberg went by.
We tendered into town and wandered in this charming small town. We were sure there were more passengers than locals in town! The colourful houses were everywhere we wandered. When we climbed to the high point in town, we got a great view out over the town and out to the harbour.
We were disappointed we saw so little of Greenland on our cruise though the Nordic countries. But we loved the small town we visited. The weather was always the master when we cruised! But we did get a bonus from the change in plans!
Extra Days In Iceland
Our first port in Northern Iceland was in Akureyri. We booked an exciting day trip and saw the first of the waterfalls in Iceland at Godafoss. And learned more about the volcanic and geothermal nature of Iceland as we wandered around the Skutustadagigar Pseudo Craters, Dimmuborgir Lava Fields and Namafjall Geothermal Field.
On the original itinerary, we had only one overnight stay in Reykjavik. However, the change in plans in Greenland added two more nights. So we had so much more time in Iceland to enjoy. We took advantage of the extra days and spent one day as we wandered in Reykjavik. There was so much to see in the city.
We took a one day tour around the Golden Circle Route. Stops at the Thingvellir Lava Fields, Haukadalur Geysir Geothermal Fields and Gullfoss Waterfall showed us more of the natural beauty of Iceland.
Our final tour was around the picturesque Reykjanes Peninula. We stopped at the Kleifarvatn Lake, the Eldraun Lava Fields and at the shore by the Reykjanesvíti Lighthouse. During our day we visited first the Krysuvik and then the Gunnuhver Geothermal areas and saw the bubbling mud pools and steam. Our final stop at the Blue Lagoon finally showed us hot springs that were enjoyed for swimming.
We saw so many amazing natural sights on our visit to Iceland. Definitely a highlight on our cruise through the Nordic countries.
North And South In Ireland
We started in Northern Ireland in Belfast and then went on a tour of the countryside. It was a fascinating first stop.
On our second day we explored the Giant’s Causeway. Yet one more of the fascinating geological sights we found on this cruise.
Our final day was spent in Dublin. It was great to return to this city filled with colour even on a grey day. We walked around town and saw so much. Before we finished our day with a friend for a Guinness toast.
Our taste test from the north to the south of Ireland left us wanting more. We were so glad we stopped in these ports on our cruise through the Nordic countries.
We Finished Our Adventure In London
The cruise finished back at the port in Southampton. We booked a private tour from the port that took us to Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle. Such a great variety of sights to finish this amazing journey.
We enjoyed our final days in London with a pampering stay in the Hyde Park area. This was a new part of London for us. We wandered in the tourist sights close by – Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
Did The Trip Live Up To The Expectations?
When we planned this trip, we expected the weather to be cool and rainy with large variation in the temperatures. We were surprised when we enjoyed a heat wave with beautiful blues skies and calm seas through most of our trip. We unpacked our rainy weather gear only a few times on our 40 day cruise through the Nordic countries. If anything, we did not pack enough hot weather clothes. But we sure were glad we had good luggage weight limits for the gear we packed.
Summer crowds normally kept us at home in the summer. But we were surprised that for most of our cruise, there were few crowds. In most ports, we were the only cruise ship in town. Only in the bigger cities like Edinburgh and London did we feel the tourist swells.
As we visited the “land of the Midnight Sun”, we sure experienced the very long days. But the ship blackout curtains worked well. And the one advantage of long days is that the sunsets seemed to last forever.
The cruise ports on this trip were amazing. But we still found lots of time to enjoy the time onboard the ships. The food as ever was the best cuisine at sea. Specialty afternoon teas made up all the calories we lost from walking. And cooking demonstrations kept us entertained.
Such An Amazing Cruise Through The Nordic Countries
Our cruise through the Nordic countries was everything we expected. And yet so much more! The visit to the Nordic fjords showed us amazing beauty and charming small towns. The Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland were a treat to visit. And we saw even more stunning natural sights.
We loved the chance to get a taste test of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and some time in London before we went home. But it reinforced the need to plan a longer trip to see so much more.
We were so glad we planned our summer trip to cruise through the Nordic countries.
Have you done a cruise through the Nordic countries? Did you have a favourite stop?
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