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Rotterdam Fjords and North Cape


tbay27

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Just back from the June 20-July 2 Norwegian Fjords and North Cape Cruise on the Rotterdam. Second best cruise of the 22 I have taken, and second only to 2003 Antarctica on the Ryndam. Scenery is spectacular, even on not perfect weather.

 

Met at Gatwick and transferred in a 90 minutes busride to dock in Dover. Had to wait 1 hr and 25 minutes for HAL to load up the bus at Gatwick but checkin dockside was a breeze.

 

Rotterdam is even more spectacular after her SOE enhancements. I and those travelling with me loved the total renovation of the Library, Card Room, Internet Center, etc. The Queen's Dining Room is now the card room and everything else from there to the Hudson Room has been opened up beautifully. Very comfortable chairs to lounge and read in and the coffee bar is attractively done. The new Wine Celler where the Java Cafe once was does not make sense and I did not see many people using it.

 

Food was the best yet. John Mulvaney on board for seven weeks as a training assistant to the resident Executive Chef but everything was superb. Pinnacle Grill was also terrific and not at all hard to access with last minute reservations.

 

Sognefjord (Vlk and Flam) was magnificant and the railway is worth the time and effort. Tickets purchased dockside were fifty per cent of the tour cost on the ship. Train leaves right from the dock. Geiranger Fjord is more beautiful that described and although the day was alternately cloudy and overcast with some misty rain, it was still spectacular. Arranged a good deal with the local taxi operator to drive us to the top of the mountain and around for some wonderful sightseeing which included driving through recently plowed (snow) roads. Crew would not raise one of the lifeboats at the end of the day due to motor burned out on one of the lift winches. Delayed our departure from 500pm until 1215am. Still made it to Tromso right on time and day and a half later by cruising at a higher speed. Tromso OK but the ship docks 3.5km from the town and they charge five dollars each way for a bus transfer of ten minutes. North Cape was clear, at times sunny, windy and cold but an experience worth taking the time and paying the money to travel that far north to see. Ship gets $109 each for a forty minute transfer from the ship to the North Cape but their buses are the only game in town. Trondheim was rainy and quite cold but Bergen and Stavanger were bright, sunny, warm and wonderful. Entrances to and from both ports are spectacular and the ship literally docks in the city center. There was an Internation Beach Volleyball tournament being help in Stavanger and we could watch it from the upper decks of the ship looking down into the temporary arena built on the pier. Skagen, Denmark, was a nice stop but not as memorable as the others.

 

Rotterdam totally full for this cruise but left Copenhagen on the 2nd with at least two suites and some other cabins empty. Captain was Jan Smit. The entire crew were terrific in every way. Sadly HAL is not offering this cruise in 2006 but if you ever get a chance and want to see some spectacular scenery while underway and cruising, this is the ticket. There is not a lot to do in any of the ports except enjoy the wonderful life of the Norwegians and then just allow the scenery in port and underway to beguile you. I loved every aspect of this cruise and would recommend it without hesitation.

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I agree with you wholeheartedly! We took the transatlantic last summer (2004), and stopped at Tromso, Honningsvaag, Trondheim, and Stavanger.

The North Cape was spectacular from the ship and on shore. We also really enjoyed the Pulpit Rock fjords shorex tour in Stavanger as well as sailing around it on the Rotterdam.

 

I am so glad to hear that our favorite ship is now even better.

 

Not many people get to see these sights. We consider ourselves truly blessed to have been able to go.

I'm also glad that you had such a good time.

GN

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This is a cruise I'd love to take. It sounds so beautiful. And I'd guess that you were the only boat in these ports.

 

Maybe they'll put it back in 2007.

 

Thank you so much for posting this review.

 

jan

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We did not cruise by Pulpit Rock or cruise Lysefjord as advertised and there was no reason given why this published and advertised aspect of the call in Stavanger was quietly ignored. However, I took a local sightseeing boat into the Fjord and up about as far as Pulpit Rock. Saw about a dozen seals sunning themselves on the shore as we traveled the Fjord. How, on this particular cruise, one can easily overdose on fjords one does see and visit.

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This is a cruise I'd love to take. It sounds so beautiful. And I'd guess that you were the only boat in these ports.

 

Nope! In fact we were on the local news since there were SEVEN cruise ships docked in Bergen the day we were there (a record). There was a Costa vessel tracking us throughout most of the cruise, and lots of local ships from companies I'd never heard of. But the Rotterdam was the biggest and most elegant, that's for sure.

 

As for the OP stating the ship sailed full, I don't think that was the case. After a few days of walking around a ship that didn't seem all that busy to me, I asked the concierge in the Neptune Lounge and she told me that there were lots and lots of empty cabins in the lower categories.

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