Norway Fjords Cruse


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#1
118 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
My wife and I are considering the late summer Norway Fjord Cruise on the QM2 and would appreciate any advice from those who have taken this voyage
Are the towns of Alesund, Flaam, Bergen and Stavanger interesting stops?
Is there enough time at these ports to enjoy the local culture?
Are there still formal nights onboard the QM2?
Is there enough daytime sailing to enjoy the beauty of the fjords?
Are there any unique aspects to this cruise that need to be considered?

Our one previous cruise was a trans-Atlantic on the QM2 last May that was nothing short of amazing.

Thanks
Harold
#2
Vale of Glamorgan
4,390 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
You might find safarigal's current blog useful, although they will have much more daylight on a June cruise than later in the summer.

https://whereissafarigal.wordpress.com
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#3
S.W. England
759 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
It is only Flam that is a true fjord port of call, and it is stunningly beautiful. The other 3 towns you mention are all certainly worth a visit, and Alesund is all very scenic.
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#4
UK
4,318 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
There's a lot to do in Bergen in particular. There's the Floibanan funicular railway up Mt Floyen where there is spectacular views. There's Bryggen which is a UNESCO world heritage site. You can get on the tourist road train round Bergen if you don't feel like walking. There's also a famous fish market which is worth a walk round. If the shuttle bus drops you off in the town centre, ask the driver for directions to Bryggen which is also near to the other toursit spots I mentioned.

The Flamsbana railway in Flam (to Myrdal at the top) is definitely worth going on for the views and for the stop halfway to see a gushing waterfall close up.

We've been to Stavanger a few times and never liked it. We found it rather boring, although I've read the Petroleum Museum is supposed to be interesting if that's your thing.
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#6
West Berkshire
95 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
I love Norway and can't recommend a cruise there too highly, having done 4 on the QM2 over the last 10 years.

I've visited Alesund twice, Flam 3 times and Bergen and Stavanger on each trip ( all the voyages seem to stop at the latter two). Each time, my partner and I have found something slightly different to do. We hardly ever do organised excursions, preferring to do things at our own pace. Last year in Stavanger we took a cruise with the Nordfjord line up the Lysefjord to Pulpit Rock, which is one of the highlights in the area. The cruise departed from the opposite side of the harbour from where QM2 had docked, at a better time for us (i.e. late morning) and was cheaper than the QM2 excursion.

In Flam we always explore the area on foot: there is a hike up to a waterfall (Brekkefossen), which also gives great views down the valley to the harbour side and the ship. Captain Wells took time out from his duties to enjoy the views when we were there last year. (He's very fit and did the ascent in a fraction of the time we managed it!). There is also the scenic train which Ray66 mentioned: you can buy tickets for this online and do it independently of Cunard. However, if considering this, you need to be aware that sometimes Flam is described as a tender port, so it may not be a good idea to book the first train of the day (though the train departs pretty close to the harbour front), since Cunard gives priority in the tenders to passengers on their organised tours.

In Alesund there are good walks to various viewpoints providing great views of where the ship will be docked. The city was rebuilt in the Art Noveau style after a catastrophic fire with the assistance of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who regularly spent his holidays there so the architecture has a different feel to Bergen and Stavanger.

Everything mentioned by Ray66 about what you can do in Bergen would more than fill a day. On the Bryggen, there is a fantastic shop called Juhls Silver Gallery where I always manage to spend some Kroner! (You can reclaim some tax when Norwegian customs officials board the ship at its last port of call - given that Norway is so expensive, getting a bit of Scandi VAT back, is very welcome!)

If you had the option to do an itinerary which called at two of Flam, Olden and Geiranger you would get more of an opportunity to experience sailing through and spending time in the fjords, however, I am sure that you would have an equally wonderful time visiting pretty much any destination in Norway. You should, though, plan for the possibility of rain, sunshine, wind, cool temperatures and heat as the weather in Norway, even at the height of summer is unpredictable and can be a little unkind (as Safarigal's blog has mentioned).
#7
Gower Peninsula, Wales
3,201 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
It was definitely wet, windy and very COLD this week, for those of us on QM2, but nevertheless a fabulous time as always.
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Gill

QM2 - March 2019
Ventura - February 2020
#8
Vale of Glamorgan
4,390 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
What a shame about the weather but it's good to hear that you had a fabulous time.
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#9
1,462 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by cruiseluvva
It was definitely wet, windy and very COLD this week, for those of us on QM2, but nevertheless a fabulous time as always.
On my cruise in June/July 2016 we were experiencing temperatures of 5-8 degrees C, and constant rain.
#11
Ireland
69 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
Originally posted by cruiseluvva
It was definitely wet, windy and very COLD this week, for those of us on QM2, but nevertheless a fabulous time as always.
It certainly was, but we had a really lovely time - our first Cunard cruise but not our last, we are now ruined for any other cruise line. Already, we are looking at the same cruise next year - after all, we have not been to Alesund as we were unable to get in there last week, and we did a full day trip in Flaam so didn't get a chance to spend time in Flaam itself.
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#12
Washington State
1,982 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Originally posted by Host Hattie
You might find safarigal's current blog useful, although they will have much more daylight on a June cruise than later in the summer.

https://whereissafarigal.wordpress.com
Thanks for posting the link, Hattie.

We disembarked yesterday, and despite missing a port due to the weather, it really was a great trip, and I recommend it to all
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#13
Vale of Glamorgan
4,390 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by safarigal
Thanks for posting the link, Hattie.

We disembarked yesterday, and despite missing a port due to the weather, it really was a great trip, and I recommend it to all
Thank you very much for blogging, it was great to follow your trip and it's good to hear that the weather didn't dampen your spirits.
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#14
Vale of Glamorgan
4,390 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by socialdancer
It certainly was, but we had a really lovely time - our first Cunard cruise but not our last, we are now ruined for any other cruise line. Already, we are looking at the same cruise next year - after all, we have not been to Alesund as we were unable to get in there last week, and we did a full day trip in Flaam so didn't get a chance to spend time in Flaam itself.
That's very good to hear, we've had a few poor reviews recently so it's nice to hear something positive.
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#15
UK
207 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by Host Hattie
That's very good to hear, we've had a few poor reviews recently so it's nice to hear something positive.
Just to add to that positive note, we were also on this cruise and also had a great time despite the weather.

Also, apart from the enjoyable cruise and the ship itself, unlike some recent posters we both felt that the food served in Britannia was the best we've ever had in eight Cunard voyages - and considerably better than during our circumnavigation of New Zealand in February. It's subjective of course, but that feeling was shared by everyone at our table, both lunch and dinner. Fish in particular has come in for criticism at times, but I had it four or five times over the course of the week (including haddock for breakfast) and found it to be wonderful every time. Perhaps we're not very fussy, but we were very pleased with every meal.

We also made a few observations regarding the new dress code, but I'll put those in a separate post on the dress code thread.
#16
3,034 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
I am just back from the Fjords- as mentioned afore- it was wet, windy, very cold- and just wonderful! Thanks to this wonderful ship- Queen Mary2. I missed out Cruise Critic Meeting in the Commodore Club due to me sleeping in- London seems to have exhausted me. I was sorry of not beeing able to meet the fellow cruises we chatted so nicely.

Even though Allesund was canceld due to the high winds- a day on Board the Mary makes more than up for it. Flam and the sailing through the Fjord was just breathtakeing- even more so as how gracefull the BIG Queen Mary moved trough these sometimes narrow passages! Wonderful experience.
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#17
3,034 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Ah yes- I agree, the food in the Britannia was really the best ever. On the other hand the Verandah experience was the worst I have ever had on any Cunarder!
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#18
Gower Peninsula, Wales
3,201 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by Germancruiser
Ah yes- I agree, the food in the Britannia was really the best ever. On the other hand the Verandah experience was the worst I have ever had on any Cunarder!
Interesting to read you say the Verandah wasn’t good. My husband went alone, using the Diamond voucher, as I was so full after the special meal Osman arranged for my birthday. He said it was extremely disappointing, bordering on unpleasant, and wished we’d gone for one of the KC speciality meals instead, as we normally do.

A mistake we shan’t make again.
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Gill

QM2 - March 2019
Ventura - February 2020
#20
NYC
1,509 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
Flam is amazing, and was one of the highlights of our Norwegian cruise. But if you are considering a cruise for this summer, please check to see if train tickets are still available since they do sometimes sell out.


The Flam railway is a five minute walk from where you dock or tender, so this can easily be undertaken as an independent excursion. We booked our tickets online at the Norwegian Railways site at https://www.nsb.no/en/?gclid=CMuvnubiitMCFYoy0wodZb8BnQ .

If that site is showing that everything is booked, other cruise critic posters have mentioned trying http://booking.visitflam.com/en/to-d...ay/showdetails , and other posters have stated that this site has access to different tickets and sometimes has availability even when the Norwegian railway site lists no availability. Also, people have reported on the forums that when the train was initially sold out, they kept checking and eventually tickets opened up due to cancellations. Another option is to check with your cruise line – it will be more expensive to purchase this excursion through the cruise line but worth it if you cannot purchase the tickets independently.

A quick online search seemed to recommend that you should sit on the right side of the train on the Flam to Myrdal journey. The view on that side was quite lovely, but might also be on the other side.

In Flam, we had a lovely afternoon visiting a goat farm, exploring the beautiful town of Undredal (the inspiration for the movie Frozen), and then eating local cheeses (including brown caramel goat cheese) and a delicious lunch that was organized by Flam Guide Service ( http://www.fjordsafari.com ). Fjord Safari's booth is located about a minute away from the Flam railway platform, so you will have no problem finding your tour. You can combine this tour with a hike and boat ride along the fjords if your group is all physically fit. It was a very pleasant and enjoyable excursion, which I would highly recommend. We traveled in May, before the goats move to their summer farms so this excursion had to be individually arranged. Flam Guide service stayed in contact with us and gave us updates as they worked to book this reservation, and they also helpfully provided car seats for our children. Our tour guide was highly knowlegdable and helpful and this tour was one of the highlights of our cruise.


The highlight of Stavanger is Pulpit Rock, and because we were traveling with a 2 and 6 year old we were unable to try this climb. There's quite a bit of discussion of this on the Baltic forum, but not every sailing is in Stavanger long enough for Pulpit Rock (the easiest way to check is to see if your cruise offers an excursion there). If not, check the Baltic forum and they'll be able to advise you if the transportation to Pulpit rock works in your favor so you'll have enough time to reach Pulpit Rock, hike and return. The actual climb itself is not rate too difficult, but I don't know anything about your level of physical fitness. If you are unable to visit Pulpit Rock, I wouldn't list Stavanger as one of my favorite destinations (it has a nice old town to walk around, but wasn't a highlight of our cruise).
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