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minka34

Live from Star Into the Midnight Sun, June 30th -July 14th

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Just starting this thread hoping that others will help tell about our journey. We are on the pre-cruise Oslo extension. Note: I am challenged with a non-keyboard device so we'll see if I can keep this going.

Sorry to say I was a little disappointed with the start of this extension ... upon arrival, after a day of travel with little sleep, our host tells us that we have to put our suitcases out by 8pm as our luggage will go to Bergen ahead of us. Our walking tour starts at 8:30am and ends at the train station, so only carry a small bag. I wasn't mentally ready to deal with this. Not the relaxing start to my trip that I had hoped for, but trying to just "go with the flow" the best I can!

Basic walking and sight seeing yesterday around Oslo - City Hall, Royal Palace and park, National Museum... hope to post more as we go. I hope others will join in!

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Good day so far today... sleep helps. :D The tour today was a bus and walk tour. We first drove to the Holmenkollveien National Ski Arena where the Olympic ski jump is located. Quite impressive! The next stop was Vigeland Park (sculpture garden), which was better than my expectations. We spent about 45 minutes there, but I think that I could spend hours. The statues depict different stages of life and many emotions. I loved it. Last stop of the tour was the Viking Ship Museum, which also surpassed my expectations. Wood ships with intricately carved trim, perfectly preserved as they had been buried in clay. There were also items from Viking everyday life. Fascinating. Now on board the train from Oslo to Bergen. Viking reserves whole cars for us as opposed to seats. Our car is full. Wifi enabled. Viking gave us vouchers for a meal. Seven scenic hours to Bergen. See ya there!

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Minka34 will be following your post on this trip as my husband and I are going on the same cruise starting on July 21, 2018.

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Thank you for taking the time to post. Someday when kids are out of school we we'll be taking a Northern European cruise. For now I will enjoy reading about your experiences.

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The train ride was fun because of getting to know our fellow cruisers a bit, and the scenery was beautiful. Tips: 1. left side probably a better view overall, but right side is also great, and 2. I would reccomend bringing a snack as the food line is long and slow; good to have something to tide you over if you have to wait. Arrived in Bergen to a wonderful, warm, sunny evening - superb. :cool:Tomorrow a tour of Bergen, and then we board the Star! :D

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hint

 

next time skip the Viking plan and do on your own as "Norway in a Nutshell"

 

then go Oslo to Myrdal, then the Flam railway to Flam and ferry to Bergen ….. recommend staying overnight in Flam

 

just sayin ….

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Watching you on the Geiranger Web cam and hoping that we get the same lovely sunshine when we follow you next year!

Have a fantastic time, we look forward to reading about your experiences.

 

 

Sent from my GT-I9195I using Forums mobile app

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The wifi is pretty slow in the fiords... will update when i can. Cc meet n greet was last night. It was really nice with drinks and appetizers. So fun to meet Cc members in person! Yes, the weather has been our friend so far. Beautiful day in Geiranger!

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(back to Bergen) A pleasant included tour in Bergen for the end of our pre-extension. Started at Gamile, a village of old Bergen - like a living museum with actors playing characters from the period. Lots of preserved houses/businesses with artifacts of a whole town. Then a trip to the fortress ( sorry name escapes me) to tour and to hear about an explosion that happened in Bergen. Learned a bunch about Bergen life, culture, and history. We boarded the Star about 1:30 and it was fast and easy. No waiting to board, no waiting for our room, and no waiting for our luggage. Checked out the room and went to the World Cafe for lunch. Good, no complaints.

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(back to Bergen) A pleasant included tour in Bergen for the end of our pre-extension. Started at Gamile, a village of old Bergen - like a living museum with actors playing characters from the period. Lots of preserved houses/businesses with artifacts of a whole town. Then a trip to the fortress ( sorry name escapes me) to tour and to hear about an explosion that happened in Bergen. Learned a bunch about Bergen life, culture, and history. We boarded the Star about 1:30 and it was fast and easy. No waiting to board, no waiting for our room, and no waiting for our luggage. Checked out the room and went to the World Cafe for lunch. Good, no complaints.

 

Hi Minka,

Thanks for your posts. As we'll be following in your footsteps (Into the M S London, July 7th) any hints that you have will be very welcomed.

Enjoy your time on the Star !

Cheers !

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We had dinner the first night at The Chef's Table. The menu was Erling's Scandinavian Bistro. It was excellent and we enjoyed the house wine pairings. That evening there was a local Bergen violinist, Tor Jaran Apold, with a simple piano accompaniment. It was so beautiful. He played songs from Ole Bull and Edvard Grieg. He made the violin sing, so full of emotion. It was a warm, sunny Bergen evening, overnight in port, so many folks stayed out late on shore, and the theater wasn't very full. Sorry for those that missed out on the concert, it was wonderful.

The included tour the next day was very similar to our pre-cruise Bergen tour. Still, we learned a bit more, and enjoyed seeing a few additional areas of Bergen. It was more of a "riding around" tour than the first one. At the end, several of us asked to be dropped off near the Mount Floyen funicular. DH and I saw the crowd of people in line from blocks away, and from reading Cc, I knew it was the ticket line. I quickly jumped online with my cell phone and purchased tickets. We walked right up and got in the car that was loading - no line or wait (thanks Cc members!). It was a spectacular view of Bergen and the fiords from the top. At the information booth, we got a hiking map and a recommendation for a short hike where we could see a lake, get a decent hike in, and come down the mountain close to the cruise port (all within our rather short 3.5 hour time limit). There were so many great hikes. I'd like to go back. Our hike was great with some gravel trails, plus more rugged dirt and stone paths. The lakes were small but all great scenery, and once we were off the gravel trail, the crowds of families who were all over enjoying a day in the Bergen sun disappeared, and we hardly saw another soul. Very peaceful. The hardest part of our "excursion" was finding our way to the ship once we hit the city streets. We could see the Star straight ahead... thinking "if we could only fly..." Well, eventually we found our way back on board, with plenty of time to get settled back in, shower, and get a glass of sparkling wine for a sail away toast on our veranda.:D:champagne-toast:

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Was the luggage picked up outside your hotel room at 8 PM, or, 8AM. Eight PM seems very early, so I would like to be prepared it that is the case. Thanks.

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In Oslo, the luggage was picked up at 8PM(!) :eek: the evening we arrived. So, had to shower before that and pack everything up, or carry what we used after that. I wish I had known in advance since i was exhausted at that point and not thinking straight. Hadn't thought about what to wear the next day yet, and didn't really want too! Like I said, we managed, but I wasn't the happiest camper that evening. I did see at least one couple that had a small roller stashed in the bus luggage compartment. They were able to leave it there until we got dropped for the train. There was a small hike to the train, but not too far and over relatively even pavement. There was a small bank of stairs, they managed ok, without help (even though several folks offered to help - this is a very considerate passenger group, no doubt). We were told hy the Viking host that it was a walking tour. Ah, nope. We wished we had known it was a bus and walk - imagined dragging a roller for 3 hours around Oslo, some of which is under construction like right by the Bristol Hotel where we stayed. Thought we had no choice but to carry just a small backpack.

 

Speaking of even pavement, you will not find much in Oslo or Bergen. Old historic sidewalks. I kept thinking "trip hazard"... watch your step!

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(Geiranger) We got up for sail in to Geiranger Fiord and it did not disappoint... spectacular. Finally got to try the famous Mamsens waffles with brown cheese. The waffles were very sweet so the rich cheese really was a great accompaniment. I was pleasantly surprised. We did the inclided bus tour which drove up the hairpin switchback roads up to a beautiful mountain lake, and the down town and up again to a different viewpoint of the fiord and town. I'm glad that we did it. If i had known that our weather would be so calm and bright, I would've tried kayaking; the morning fiord water was like glass (WOW). After a round trip back on the tender for lunch, we explored more on foot. There is a stairway that follows a long waterfall from town up to a museum. We wandered up a different route and then took the stairway down. Nice day. Sail away was different as the sky had become overcast. The fiord has different looks with the weather and lighting so more nice photo ops!

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We had dinner at The Restaurant. We like the World Cafe buffet very much but decided to try something different. Everything was good, and it was nice to have servers instead of doing buffet style. Even though we sat at a table for 2, we were able to chat with couples on either side of us... so much so that we were late to the evening show which was "The Fabba Four". You might guess that it was a mix of Beatles songs and Abba songs. I was looking forward to it because I love the Beatles and like Abba, but this was a miss for me. I am somewhat of a performance snob though so take my opinion in that light. The Beatles song that we saw was off key and having a woman as part of the fab 4 didn't work for me. I know that the entertainment (as in production shows) is not a focus on Viking, so I wasn't expecting a lot, but still I was a little disappointed. I think I was spoiled by the high quality violinist we saw on the first night.

Next up, Molde.

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Minka34, thank you so much for the great reviews. We are getting very excited for our July 14th sailing.

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Thanks Minka34, I am loving your post. We sail the same route on July 21 on the Viking Sky and I am so excited I have already started packing. Your post are giving me such good information and tips.

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(Molde) We did only the included tour again in Molde. We were told to bring the quiet vox, but we didn't use them as all of the narration was over the bus PA. Our first stop was a church in the heart of downtown Molde. Nice photo op. There was a model ship hanging from the ceiling, which I thought was odd. Our next stop was a museum similar to Old Bergen with houses and businesses from historic Molde. We had a traditional dance show from some local children, which was cute. Then we had some free time to explore the museum buildings on our own including the bakery where we could sample traditional bread - lefse, with fresh homemade butter... oh yum. Maybe the butter was best? Anyway very tasty, and it smelled wonderful in and around the tiny house where she was cooking. In the chapel, surprise! Another model ship hanging from the ceiling. OK, this must be a thing so I had to ask about it. One of the teen guides explained the meaning to me. I hesitate to explain it here so I leave you something to investigate when you get here! The last stop of the tour was an overlook high over the city and port. Need clear sky to see all of the surrounding mountains. We had partial cloud cover, so somewhat limited in the photo ops, but still impressive. After the tour, we went back to the Star for lunch, and then back on shore to wander around town. However, I think that we saw the most interesting parts of Molde on the tour. I hope that others on this cruise that took optional tours will comment. I see that "Elisabeth55" started another thread, so check that out.

After getting back to the Star, we tried the fitness center. Being a port day, it was pretty quiet except for the blaring music. I'm going to ask them if they will turn it down. I could still hear it with my headphones turned up very high - not good for the ears. DH used the equipment and said it was quite a good range of cardio and weights. I did zumba (cardio dance) by myself. There's a small amount of floor space for yoga or stretching (or zumba!) so it could be too crowded easily if there are many floor users at once. Today (a sea day) I ran into this problem, but someone left soon after I arrived and I was able to do my tabata bootcamp in a 3x6 ft space. They have 3 doors to the workout space and you have to keep a 3ft wide path clear to the door in the far room. If they closed off that door (just post it as an emergency exit) that would free up more floor space. I'm going to suggest it. By the way, the music was a more reasonable volume today. :D

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One thing I keep forgetting to mention. There seems to be plenty of bathrooms on the included tours... something that I always appreciate! However, some of them involve a little walking or stairs. I don't have mobility issues, but if you do, it could be more difficult. All of the buses but one had a tiny WC on the bus. I haven't had to use it as I have on other trips, but it's nice to have it there just in case. OK, off THAT topic! :rolleyes:

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Speaking of a "sea day", today we crossed into the arctic circle! As I have read about on other Cc posts, we had the Blue Nose Ceremony. Anyone that wanted to participate, got into their swimming gear and waited in line around the pool. Many of us were just gawkers or cheering squad. The folks particating jumped into the hot tub, which had been converted into a cold tub with buckets and buckets of ice cubes. Upon exiting the tub, they would get a towel wrap and then kiss a large (dead) fish, and get a shot of Aquavit (a Scandinavian liquor). It was a fun, silly, ritual. I commend the brave souls that took the challenge in front of the live audience (plus it was also projected on the jumbo tron so the folks in the back could see). Bravo to the newest Blue Nose Society members! Tromso tomorrow.

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Minka34 has set the bar very high with her detailed posts! Here are some other midnight sun tips.

Oslo to Bergen train. We sat on the left (south) side, which I think did have better views. But it was a perfect sunny day, and got a bit hot with the sunshine blazing through the window. I concur with advice to bring your own food. Viking provided meal vouchers (NOK 179) with which to buy lunch from the 'dining car'. It seems that most locals bring their own food on board. The cafe was totally overwhelmed with 140 pax trying to buy food with the vouchers. Viking would do better to provide box lunches than require guests to stand in a long line on a swaying train.

Bergen - we took the Rodne fjord cruise, a 3 hour tour to Mostraumen. It was a great trip, going through a very narrow passage on the way to the end of the fjord. I booked the tickets online months ago for the 10am sailing on Saturday. NOK600 pp. They had space available for to 10am trip and were selling tickets to walk-up pax. There's also a 2pm trip. Departure is right behind the Fish Market.

Geiranger - instead of taking one of Viking's excur$ions$, we booked the Geiranger "Exclusive Panoramic Tour", a 3hour tour to all three of of the main sights (Eagle Bend, Flydalsjuvet, and the very top of Mt. Dalsnibba)

https://www.geirangerfjord.no/panorama-exclusive-bus

It was a fantastic excursion, with spectacular views of the fjord below. Instead of being packed onto a 40-pax bus, we were on a brand-new Mercedes mini-bus with one other couple from the Star.

Since there were three ships in port that day, I had expected the tour would be sold out (I booked it months ago), but to my surprise it was not.

The drive up/down the twisty turny mountain road was great fun. See video here:

https://trails.io/s/iyehsh

 

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Some Viking Star tips:

In cabin categories DV and below, storage is somewhat limited. There are only three drawers in the built-in 'bureau'. Plus two drawers in the bathroom, and a single drawer in each bedside table. In total, this adds up to 7 drawers. Seven is not divisible by two. The female passenger in the cabin will invariably commandeer two of the three drawers in the bureau, before her male travelling companion even knows what's happening...

 

We've sailed on the Star before, and came prepared. We brought a cheap plastic shoe organizer that hangs on a hook on the back of the bathroom door. Great place to store all the little chargers, cables, and other doodads one needs to bring. We also brought a multi-compartment collapsible storage gadget that hangs from the closet pole. It has a dozen or so cubbyholes to hold socks, underwear, scarves, and other small articles.

 

There's lot of space in the closet, but not enough hangers. When your cabin attendent comes by to introduce him/herself, ask for more hangers. We got 12 more. More than enough to hold our cold/warm/hot weather apparel.

 

The PV cabins are a bit larger and better designed, with more drawers -- an even number if I'm not mistaken.

 

The walls of the cabins are metal. We brought a few magnetic hooks on which to hang hats, belts, etc.

 

Lunch tip - you can call room service and order a box lunch, which will be delivered the next morning. Very useful if you are planning two excursions in a day and don't have time to have lunch ashore, or to return to the ship for a midday meal.

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Since this thread seems to have a following I will join in here. So far this cruise has been wonderful. We agree completely concerning the luggage situation in Oslo. We were fine bringing our luggage up to the room but some people definitely struggled. And 8PM was a rush to get settlered and figure out what was needed the next day. The included tour in Oslo was very good and we enjoyed it. We knew to sit on the left side of the train from Oslo to Bergen and we were rewarded with beautiful scenery.

The weather has been beyond amazing and we feel so fortunate! We did the Breathtaking Fjords tour in Geiranger and it was outstanding! The troll road tour in Molde we weren’t happy about. It was very expensive and a very long drive to see the what we admit were gorgeous waterfalls but we felt the long drive was not really with it. The lunch was almost inedible and it was a really late stop. I think 3:30 or so. We had to cancel our reservation at Manfredi’s because we weren’t hungry. I wish we hadn’t eaten it.

But one hiccup hasn’t made a difference to us. This has been an amazing time so far. We are relaxing on deck, enjoying the sun and looking at the beautiful scenery here in Tromso. Who could ever want more!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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