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Northern Europe & Baltics Aarhus, Bergen, Copenhagen, Gdansk, Greenland, Helsinki, Oslo, Riga, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Tallinn

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  #1  
Old April 9th, 2007, 10:37 PM
RobC1116 RobC1116 is offline
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Default Help with Norway excursions

We are traveling on the Celebrity Century, 12-night cruise leaving July 9 from Amsterdam up the west coast of Norway to the Arctic Circle on their "North Cape" cruise. We are excited about the beautiful scenery and love to hike. However, many if not most of the ship's shore excursions seem relatively bland: long bus trips with lengthy stops for lunches and snacks; the ship calls "strenuous" an excursion that involves ".5 miles of walking on rough surfaces." Has anyone had any experience in this part of the world? Does anyone know where we can find information about more challenging day hiking and boating trips that we can do on our own in ports such as Bergen, Alesund, Alta, Tromso, Molde, Honningsvag, and Olden, or about companies offering such day trips that we could contact? Thanks for any input or ideas.
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  #2  
Old April 19th, 2007, 06:13 PM
suron suron is offline
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Default Suron

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobC1116 View Post
We are traveling on the Celebrity Century, 12-night cruise leaving July 9 from Amsterdam up the west coast of Norway to the Arctic Circle on their "North Cape" cruise. We are excited about the beautiful scenery and love to hike. However, many if not most of the ship's shore excursions seem relatively bland: long bus trips with lengthy stops for lunches and snacks; the ship calls "strenuous" an excursion that involves ".5 miles of walking on rough surfaces." Has anyone had any experience in this part of the world? Does anyone know where we can find information about more challenging day hiking and boating trips that we can do on our own in ports such as Bergen, Alesund, Alta, Tromso, Molde, Honningsvag, and Olden, or about companies offering such day trips that we could contact? Thanks for any input or ideas.
We will be on Grand Princess departing on 16th July for Norwegian Fjords and North Cape itinerary. You might like to try the following links for information on various ports of call

www.fjordnorwaycom - you can apply for a copy of their very useful 2007 Travel Guide on line and it covers lots of the ports of call

For trondheim try www.trondheim.no or e-mail elisabeth@visit-trondheim.comguidese...-trondheim.com. Again they will post you details of all the attractions and things to do.

For Honningsvag you can try www.northcape.no or e-mail info@northcape.no - they sent us a very nice little information map.
We did enquire about taking an independent trip to the North Cape as opposed to the Princess organised trip. However when taking into account the toll fees (around NOK140 per car and NOK46 per person EACH way), entrance fees to the North Cape Museum etc it was far less hassle to go with the ship's tour which worked out about the same price.

In Bergen the recommendation from these boards is to purchase the Bergen card which gives you transportation around the city and discounts on entrance fees to various museums and attractions.

Our other ports of call include Stavanger where we plan to visit Pulpit Rock, Geiranger- one of our Roll Call is organising with a private taxi firm for an 11/16 seater mini bus (depends on how many more from the Roll Call join this trip)to take us to Mt. Dalsnibba and Flydalsjuvet and possibly the Fjord Centre. In Flaam we are doing the short train journey but there is one trip which takes the train and then has the option for people to hike back down. In Tromso we will take an organised tour to include the Cable Car to Mt Storsteinen - don't know if there are any hiking areas around there but you could try www.tromso.no and see what comes up.

Is there a Roll Call for your sailing? If not why don't you start one - it's a great way to get to know you fellow travellers and everyone is so willing to share information. By all means check out our Roll Call on the Princess Grand board (16th July sailing) - you might find some helpful hints there not just on excursions but travel tips in general.

Hope this is a help and good luck with your plans.

Suron in Bristol, England
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  #3  
Old June 10th, 2007, 12:01 AM
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TourDeCruise TourDeCruise is offline
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RobC1116,

We just returned from a B2B on Celebrity Century with Scotland/Ireland and the Norwegian Fjords cruise a week ago, and while on board booked the Arctic Circle cruise for 2008. We are also interested in hiking while on the Arctic Circle cruise and like a lot of exercise.

On our Fjords cruise we went to Flam, did the train up to Myrdal and then hiked down around 21 kilometers back to Flam. It was fabulous with gorgeous scenery, and it was the biggest highlight of both cruises. We did have to hike through snow for the first kilometer. Gore-Tex hiking shoes were very helpful! Celebrity had the Flam-Myrdal train excursion with a 7 mile hike and then rejoined the train back to Flam, but we did it independently on our own as we wanted the flexibility to hike the 13+ miles back. Unfortunately, Flam is not on your itinerary.

But Bergen is on your itinerary and it offers hiking opportunities that you can easily do on your own. From the ship, walk to the funicular and take the funicular to the top -- Mt. Floyen. At the top, there are hiking trails and you can also hike down the mountain back to the ship. There is a very nice path. I believe there are trail maps at the top -- or ask at the funicular booth to see if they have them. We just did some of the trails without the map, and then did the walk down the mountain back to the ship. It takes around 30 minutes to hike down and around another 15 minutes walking via the winding maze of streets to get back to the ship, longer if taking pictures or pausing to take in the lovely views -- or if you get lost in the maze of streets in town. You could hike up too, but it may be difficult to find the path going up since you have to go through the maze of streets in town to find it. Bergen is also a lovely town to walk around and enjoy.

In Alesund, we did the full-day Geiranger fjords excursion, but next time when on the Arctic Circle cruise, we plan to hike up the 418 steps to Mt. Aksla and then back down again and walk around town.

I look forward to reading what others say about hiking opportunities on the Arctic Circle cruise, as that is what we are interested in too.

Suron: Thanks for your information. You'll enjoy the Pulpit Rock. We did the fjords cruise that included going to the Pulpit Rock.

Kathy

Last edited by TourDeCruise; June 10th, 2007 at 12:20 AM.
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  #4  
Old June 10th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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Ine Ine is offline
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We sailed Century in May with visits to Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, Alesund and Flamm. (Kathy was on that sailing too. Hi Kathy, hope your B2B2B worked out o.k.?).

My husband cannot walk long distances, but we booked the full day trip to Geirangen from Alesund. It was easy to do for him, although it said it would be strenghtenous. The bus sailed on 3 ferrys, one of them was a 1hr. trip through Geirangerfjord - beautiful! -.
The same with the fullday trip from Flamm to Voss by bus and train.
The distances mentioned were not that long and easy to do.

Bergen is easy to do by yourself. Either take a citybus near the dock or walk for about 15 minutes to the Floybahn, for a great vies over the city.http://www.floibanen.com/default.asp
Near fishmarket is a touristic tram, leaving every hour, that drives through town for 1 hr. Kr. 120.- p.p. http://www.norway.com/directories/d_company.asp?id=5294
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Last edited by Ine; June 10th, 2007 at 07:30 AM.
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  #5  
Old June 10th, 2007, 12:55 PM
luvnorway luvnorway is offline
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Default Hiking in Norway

Glad to hear someone else is planning to do a lot of walking in Norway - that's always the highlight of our cruises there. You're very right about the "active" shorexes being bland - when you go on one of their so-called hikes, you're stuck walking at the speed of the slowest member of the group and, despite clear cautions in the shorex descriptions, there's always someone who thinks walking half a km in half an hour is a strenuous undertaking!

Honningsvag
We always hike when we are here (weather permitting - and occasionally it's even been warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt in July - though not usually).
The most convenient hike is right up the back of town - just look up and to the left of the cruise pier behind the last street of houses and you'll see the start of the trail. It goes about 13km to a lighthouse on the NE tip of Mageroya (= the island on which Honningsvag and North Cape are located). If you want to do one of the other hikes on the island, just go into the tourist office located right at the cruise pier and ask for advice and buy a good map. Local buses run to North Cape and other towns on the island, though their schedule is somewhat limited.

Bergen
As a previous poster mentioned, there are lots of hiking trails at the top of the funicular on Mt Floyen. The are shown on a downloadable map on Floibanen website included in the previous post.
Another option is to take the cable car up to Mt. Ulriken (higher than Mt. Floyen) and hike from there to Mt Floyen and then return down to the city of Bergen via the trail from the top of the funicular. The trails on Mt Floyen are colour coded and well marked - haven't done the Mt Ulriken to Mt Floyen route

Tromso
Take the cable car up and hike from there
http://www.fjellheisen.no/main.asp?2;2;0;0


This is the website of the DNT = Norwegian Hiking Assoc. They have stores in the major cities (eg. Bergen) and sell the detailed maps you need for serious hiking in Norway.
http://www.turistforeningen.no/english/

These may also help
http://www.traildatabase.org/countries/norway.html
http://www.carwalks.com/English/Carwalks.htm
http://www.bugeurope.com/destinations/norway.html

Good luck - Sorry I can't help with your other ports. All three of the places I've mentioned have very helpful tourist information offices with websites containing a lot of info. I'm sure they will be very helpful if you contact them either before your trip, or when you arrive.
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  #6  
Old June 24th, 2007, 12:14 AM
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TourDeCruise TourDeCruise is offline
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Default Great thread!

Your replies in this thread have provided such valuable information. We'll certainly be looking into and using the information provided.

Ine: Our B2B was fantastic! The Scotland & Ireland cruise was wonderful and then to have it followed by the Norwegian Fjords made it even more so.

We felt so much at home in Norway. Cycling, cross-country skiing, and hiking/walking are our favorite activities, and this is sure the place to do them although we only had the opportunity for hiking & walking.

luvnorway: I can see why you have the Cruise Critic name you have! I love Norway too. I have a question for you. The 13km in Honningsvag -- was that one way or roundtrip? That will help us with our planning.

My Lonely Planet tour book indicates the Mt. Ulriken to Mt. Floyen hike takes 3 hours and then it is around 40 minutes to walk down from Mt. Floyen back to Flam.

We watched our Flam video tonight. I took around an hour of video and numerous still pictures on the hike down. It was nice to re-live our hike again.

Thanks to all for the valuable information you provided. I plan to explore the websites provided and also copy & paste information, such as the Honningvag hike info, into a document for further reference and to take on the Arctic Circle cruise next year.

Thanks! Kathy
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  #7  
Old June 24th, 2007, 11:57 AM
luvnorway luvnorway is offline
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Default Hike in Honningsvag

13km one way to lighthouse - just a caution though, it's not a smooth trail - allow more time than you might think you'd need
- the path starts as what appears to be a Nordic ski trail in the winter - you'll see the line of lighting poles up the hillside behind town
- haven't made it as far as the lighthouse yet - partly because my husband isn't as keen on my "forced marches" as I am, and also because you have to be very lucky to get good walking weather up on the tundra plateau above town
- we have had some glorious days there, but if it's windy, it can be cool
- even if you don't go all the way to the lighthouse, it's a great area for walking - we've seen reindeer and there's lots of beautiful tundra wildflowers, little ponds and streams and, if you up the ridge on the right once you get up there, you overlook Nordvagen, the next little village along the road from Honningsvag - and, of course, an incredible view over Honningsvag and the channel to the mainland.

Enjoy!
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  #8  
Old June 26th, 2007, 11:12 PM
WilliamOne WilliamOne is offline
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I have a question for Bergen. It was mentioned to walk to the funicular and ride to the top and hike down, my question is we will not have local currency, is there a way to use a CC to ride to the top? We have not been to Europe before and are not clear on currencies.

Thank you
Bill
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  #9  
Old June 27th, 2007, 03:31 AM
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As far as I remember only N.Kroner were taken. Either change on board or go to an ATM machine.
http://www.floibanen.com/default.asp
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1963 DH sailed Chandris Lines (Bretagne) from Australia to Europe.
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  #10  
Old July 1st, 2007, 08:18 AM
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Bill,

You might be able to pay by credit card for the funicular. I'm not positive though. If I read something about whether or not you can use credit cards, I will post here.

Your choices are, the way I understand it and based on our funicular/hike experience:
  1. Take the cable car up to Mt. Ulriken and take the cable car back down again -- or hike to Mt. Floyen (approx. 3 hours hike). From Mt. Floyen you could take take the funicular down or hike back to Bergen (approx. 40 min. hike). I don't know what there is to do on top, since we didn't go there.
  2. Take the funicular up to Mt. Floyen. Once there you can look out over Bergen, walk around, and/or hike on the trails. There is a souvenir shop there and a "troll" (statue) with whom you can take pictures. More statues near the hiking trails. Then you can take the funicular back down or hike back to Bergen.
Kathy
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