Cruise Through The Nordic Countries

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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.

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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.

Toronto Air Canada Signature Lounge.jpg

Toronto Air Canada Signature Lounge.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

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Oslo Street Art.jpg

Oslo Street Art.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

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Norway Fjords Flam Vatnahhalsen View Kjosfossen Waterfall.jpg

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.

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Norway Fjords Geiranger Flvdalsjuvet View - Cruise Through The Nordic Countries.jpg

The ship headed north and crossed the Arctic Circle. The landscape became more rugged and we saw some snowy mountain tops above green meadows.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Iceland Namafjall Geothermal Field - Cruise Through The Nordic Countries.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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On our second day we explored the Giant’s Causeway. Yet one more of the fascinating geological sights we found on this cruise.

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Northern Ireland Giants Causeway.jpg

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Oceania Cruises Nautica North Seas Sunset - Cruise Through The Nordic Countries.jpg

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.

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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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About TravelAtWill 579 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

52 Comments

  1. What a stunning trip! Your photos are all breathtaking, especially of the Geiranger fjord. Iceland is on the top of my travel bucket list. I visited for one day and remember thinking it looked like another planet when flying in. Your pictures depict just that, and thank you for the detailed list of landmarks to visit all across the Nordic countries!

    • Chloe, It would be hard to pick a favourite spot on this trip. Every place offered so many great sights. I hope you get to Iceland. We loved all our stops but want to go back and see more. Linda

  2. This was a very extensive cruise that included so many beautiful destinations. We are not great fans of cruising because you spend way more time on board than on land. However, it seems this particular cruise is really worth doing. Many of these countries are on our list too, so I’ll have to see if I can convince my husband to go, hahaha! The Giant’s Causeway is a very interesting rock formation, very similar to the Devils Postpile National Monument near Mammoth Mountain in California. Have you guys visited that one too?

    • Anda, A cruise was the perfect way to get a taste test of such a broad range of countries. But it was only a teaser and many we wish to return to. We have visited many spots in California but keep missing Mammoth Mountain. Need to put that on the list for our next visit. Linda

  3. What am amazing trip this must have been!!! So many stunning destinations and even though you guys had less time in Greenland, I am sure the extra days in Iceland totally made it up! I always thought of going on a road trip to the scandinavian countries, but guess cruise is a really good option to see the best of the nordic countries! Hopefully cruises like this one continue after the pandemic is dealt with 🙂

    • Vaisakhi, A cruise was a great way to get an introduction to so many different spots. Unfortunately we loved so many of the places that we now have a long list of places we need to re-visit. One day we will cruise again. Linda

  4. I’ve always wanted to visit this part of the world, especially Faroe Island and Iceland because they sound so mysterious and magical to me. I actually had plans to visit Iceland this year, but of course, Covid happened. So now, I’m just feeding my fantasy by reading other people’s journeys. Thank you for sharing yours. What a beautiful trip!

    • Ummi, I am glad that our journey through the Nordic Countries continued to fuel your fantasies. We all need a little escape these days! Hope you get to Iceland when things open back up. Linda

  5. Such a cruise is my dream because it is not easy to get on a Greenland. I’ve been to Iceland, Norway, Scotland, but Greenland is still on my top list. You had an amazing adventure. It’s such a wonderful cruise. I have to choose a cruise for myself and try this adventure finally.

  6. I can see you had an amazing experience with beautiful sceneries. Personally I think Cruising is one of the best ways to relax, enjoy amazing food, on-board entertainment and looking forward to what the next day brings. I would love to cruise through the Nordic Countries.

    • Mimmie, We are definitely missing cruising these days. And you are right, this is the perfect destination for cruising. And enjoying the time on board. Especially since we had such amazing weather! Linda

  7. Wow! What an amazing trip! I have always wanted to cruise the fjords of Norway and to visit Iceland. Both of them are on my bucket list but so many places so little time. Thanks for a great article.

  8. Wow, what an amazing trip. I love cruising but so far have only done the Caribbean. Think I need to try some in Europe next, hopefully it will be safe to do so soon.

  9. Wow! this is indeed an epic cruise, the stuff that dreams are made of. The Nordic countries have such a surreal aura around them. Was totally riveted to your post and the vibrant pictures brought alive the cruise. From Oslo’s street art to the natural beauty of the Fjords of Norway, it must have been a breathtaking experience.

    • Sandy, I am glad this blog post brought our journey through Nordic Countries alive. We saw so many beautiful spots on this trip. And so much variety. Definitely a bucket list trip. Linda

  10. Wow what a wonderful trip. Having just seen a bit of Norway I think the Nordic countries are probably the best part of Europe. Seeing this entire trip I am now really convinced that cruising would be the best way to explore next time.The Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland would be great to visit.

  11. I don’t even know where to begin! This looks like the most WONDERFUL trip. 40 days sounds like a dream. I’ve always wanted to see Giant’s Causeway, but everything you saw – the towns, the scenery, the water views. You’re so fortunate to have been able to travel through those countries on a cruise. Lovely!

  12. Wow! UK, Norway, Iceland & Greenland? That’s an extensive trip. When I think of Toronto I only think of cold, I didn’t know you guys also have heat-waves. Good that you escaped it with this awesome cruise. Oslo’s street-art scene looks fascinating. I need to plan a trip to Norway. Your stop at Edinburgh brought back beautiful memories of my Edinburgh trip. OMG, Faroe Islands look so so so pretty. I need to plan a trip. Good to know its a Denmark territory, so its included in my Visa now.

    • Bhusavali, Summer in Toronto does get very hot. Usually we don’t complain when we do get great weather. But our trip to the Nordic countries was a great way to escape and see some amazing things. I am glad this added some things to your travel wish list. Linda

  13. I would love to see the fjords of Norway! I have been in fjords in New Zealand and it’s quite spectacular so I imagine Norway would be so picturesque with it’s colourful houses… My husband is very fond of Scotland and visited the Orkney Islands, hopefully he’ll take me with him next time!

  14. This seems like the most incredible trip, you’ve visited here most of the parts of Europe we’ve not been able to see in this detail, we’ve been to scandinavia but mostly just to the main cities for a few days and have always wanted to come back to see the mountains and villages.

  15. Beautiful photos. The trip sounds amazing. I am more of a warm weather person so I always thought it would be nice to see cold weather countries from a climate controlled ship. Did you get to see the northern lights while there?

    • Donna, It was actually a heat wave in the Norway fjords so we were quite surprised and did not pack enough for really hot weather. Luckily in the middle of summer we were cold only a few days. A good year for sure. Unfortunately we left about 2 weeks before the first northern lights. So we will definitely plan a return trip! Linda

  16. The closest I ever came to something like a cruise was years ago on a posh ferry from Northern Germany to Oslo, hence, I’ve read your post with great curiosity – and joy! At the same time, it made me a bit sad. We all have a place we were supposed to be in 2020 – and my place would have been Oslo in April. Well…I hope I can make it to Norway soon – and will bookmark your post for future reference.

  17. It’s been nearly 10 since I last visited Norway. I spent some time in different little towns, but when I visited Norway I don’t remember seeing any murals. I wonder if those are all new?

    I also LOVE fjords. Just gorgeous! Nordic countries are truly breathtaking!!!

    • Candy, We were surprised at how much good street art we found along the Norway Fjords. Maybe that is a more recent trend and things that people look for. We loved every stop on this trip. Each so different. Linda

  18. This is a huge trip! I must admit that when I first saw that you included Edinburgh, London & Ireland on the Nordic cruise, I was confused but I understand having read your post how this makes sense. I’m not sure a cruise is for me but if I ever took one, it would be on the fjords of Norway. Seeing your photos has only reinforced that. It’s a shame you couldn’t spend more time in Greenland but really looks like you made the most of it when you arrived in Iceland. I was supposed to be there in May, so obviously I am filled with jealousy about your time there!

    • Sue, We loved this chance to mix both the Norway fjords and a trip further north on one long extended trip. A great taste test. But so many places added for longer return trips. Linda

  19. Visiting Nordic countries are still in my wish list. Definitely it’s a beautiful destinations! Not just Bergen, but also all those villages. I would like to do my own itinerary when I get to visit. 40-days cruise sounds amazing though.

  20. This definitely looked like a dream trip. I must say the Nordic countries are beautiful,they are like straight from the postcard. I would love to visit these countries at some point of time in my life. Very well laid out article.

  21. What a fascinating looking trip. These cruise destinations appeal far more to me now than say the Caribbean. We should have been in Norway this yEar ourselves but surprise, surprise that didn’t happen. You visited some incredible destinations, I’m well jealous, would love to visit Greenland, well actually all of the places you visited.

  22. I absolutely love this! I had no idea this kind of experience existed! Pinning and sending to my husband so we can do this asap!

  23. Your pictures are stunning! Nordic countries are so beautiful with their fjords and fairytale villages. We’ve actually never done a cruise but I could see how relaxed and fun it would be!

    • Shelby, The Nordic Countries were a great spot to visit by cruise ship. We got such a great variety of sights on this trip. But we loved so many spots we will definitely go back for a longer trip. Linda

      • Now that’s a trip of a lifetime! Although I have no interest in going on a cruise, you did hit up all the countries that have long been on my bucket list. The landscape is simply incredible. I would be in awe to see those fjords and remote villages. I have pinned for future reference.

        • Renee, The cruise really was a great way to see so many countries that we had wanted to see. Every spot was amazing. We will definitely go back to many places and spend more time. Linda

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