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Norway/Ffjords without planned excursions


JudyConno
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Would you consider not pre booking any excursions for a week long cruise to Norway and the fjjords in June.  It will be our first cruise and although I'm normally someone who likes to plan I'm thinking maybe we should just enjoy the cruise and exploring the ports on our own.

  We are active and think nothing of walking/hiking distances.  Also I don't want to book tours like the Flaam train if the weather is rainy on the day. I'm thinking if we wanted to do it on the day and then it was booked up we'd just do something else. We like kayaking too, but again not in wet weather. Thinking we could just take a chance on the day

I know if have to accept that if things are booked up that we would need a back up plan.  It's not the school holidays as far as I'm aware so maybe activities won't get bòoked quickly 

 Sorry for the waffle. Any opinions please.

Edited by JudyConno
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It depends  what you wish to do and which ports you visit but we want last year and didn't book anything except the Flam train which we booked independently.  Also we were the only ship at all our ports, you can check this on Cruisemapper. Which ports will you visit?

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If you are active then taking the train in Flam and then renting Mountain bikes at the top to cycle down again. We booked this independently and it was the highlight of our cruise. If you are scared of wet weather then maybe Norway is not the best cruise for you as there is a good chance that at least some of the days will be wet - just take the right clothing and enjoy the experience 🙂

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Looks like only our ship in Flam on that day, two in Olden, three in Stavanger and four in Bergen on our dates.  We are on Britannia,  the port arrival and departure times are showing yet. Hopefully they will soon. 

I'm expecting a fair chance of wet weather,  and will go prepared. I've hiked in Wales in the rain after all 😁

 Was just thinking there isn't as much of a view out of the train window in the rain.

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39 minutes ago, aljo66 said:

If you are active then taking the train in Flam and then renting Mountain bikes at the top to cycle down again. We booked this independently and it was the highlight of our cruise. If you are scared of wet weather then maybe Norway is not the best cruise for you as there is a good chance that at least some of the days will be wet - just take the right clothing and enjoy the experience 🙂

Did you have to pre book the bikes or just hire them when you got there.

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If you like walking there is a lovely 5-6 kilometre walk in Olden; the signpost is directly opposite where the ship docks. It's uphill, up a lane first, then a rougher track, to emerge at a little lake with wonderful views above a forest. Easy to do in any weather except perhaps driving rain. Or you can book a trip to the Briksdal Glacier from the dock; they know the sailing times and will get you back in good time to Olden. Stavanger and Bergen are easy to wander round on your own and there are various museums and shopping streets to explore. There is not much in Flam apart from the railway, a small museum which is worth a look, and a little road train to take you further down the fjord if you want.

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2 hours ago, JudyConno said:

Did you have to pre book the bikes or just hire them when you got there.

We pre-booked them with the cafe - http://caferallaren.no/en/ you then just leave them at the train station at the bottom. We also pre-booked the train as it does get very busy and can easily be sold out. This we did directly via the Norwegian Railways site. You have fantastic views and half way is a goat farm where you can get a drink and some limited food. The first section is very steep which many people walk but after it gets much easier. 

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4 hours ago, JudyConno said:

Looks like only our ship in Flam on that day, two in Olden, three in Stavanger and four in Bergen on our dates.  We are on Britannia,  the port arrival and departure times are showing yet. Hopefully they will soon. 

I'm expecting a fair chance of wet weather,  and will go prepared. I've hiked in Wales in the rain after all 😁

 Was just thinking there isn't as much of a view out of the train window in the rain.

You are right, if the weather isn't good you won't see much from the train.  However, if you want views I can recommend the Loen Skylift near Olden. You can buy tickets from vendors on the dock or the tourist info for the bus which stops near the ship. It takes about 10 minutes to Loen and the bus drops you at the skylift. Only  takes a couple of minutes to the top but you have fantastic views! There are walks at the top of varying length and there is a cafe where you can admire the views. In my opinion mich better views than the Flam train. Make sure you are on deck for the sail away from Olden, the people come out to wave you off and it's a lovely end to your day. 

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We did this cruise on Britannia last year without booking any excursions and had a fantastic time.

Road trains and hop on/hop off buses are readily available and there is plenty to do around the ports.

We absolutely loved it, and I am sure you will too.

Andy

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We have cruised Norwegian fjords with a few different cruise lines including P&O.   We did a few paid excursions on the first cruise, but did our own thing on subsequent visits.

We preferred to go on walks in the ports, there are some wonderful ones.  Flam is one of my favourite ports, there are different walks signposted in the port for distance/time and difficulty. Flam also has a small playpark right next to the port- great if you have pre-schoolers

We found booking a taxi and going to local museum, funicular etc was quicker and cheaper than the ships excursions.  This was really easy in Stavanger  and Bergen.  We prefer to hike around the local area or stroll around the old town.

 

Obviously taking an official cruise excursion means that if there are any delays then the ship will wait for the tour group or arrange for the group to meet the ship in the next port.

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I would agree Flam is very good for walking. Kayaking is available in Flam and Olden and there seems to be good availability so I think you could risk waiting to see how the weather was. Bergen and Stavanger both have loads to do.

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I've booked kayaking at Olden now direct through P&O.  I did look at booking independently and it seemed a similar price.   At least I have the security of a P&O excursion.  I think I'll leave it at just that booked, and DIY anything else we want to do.

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If you get the funicular up Mt Floyen in Bergen, there are some fabulous views and lovely walking trails in the parkland on top.  

https://www.globeguide.ca/mount-floyen-bergen-norway/

 

This link describes different walking routes of varying length

https://www.floyen.no/en/activities/walks-hikes-floyen/

 

And there are activity areas for children too

https://www.floyen.no/en/activities/activities-for-kids-and-families/

 

We have taken the funicular up, walked to the lake in the parkland then walked down, zig-zagging through a residential area to get back to the Bryggen.  But if this is your first visit to Bergen I would suggest you ride both up and down to save time as it's a nice walk from the top - but nothing of great interest and you'd be better spending your time on top of Mt Floyen, then come down to look around Bergen itself imo.

Also, I'd suggest you head off fairly early for the funicular as queues do develop.  You can buy tickets online and jump the queue but if the weather is bad, you don't get the views and you may decide on something else.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your first cruise - it's a spectacular part of the world.  

Edited by kruzseeka
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Hi

We did not do any ships tours when on a similar cruise to .we did book the Flam train independently and even though it was a rainy day did enjoy it.

We took the local tour for the Briksdal glacier and in Bergen took the funicular both ways to Mt. Floyen.

Enjoy your first cruise.

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Not wishing to hijack this thread but also not wanting to start a new one.  We are  going to the Fjords on Arcadia in June but to some different ports. Haugesand, Skjokden, Alesund, Trondheim, Heitleslyt and Gerainger. Same question, can we do these on our own?

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1 hour ago, Jennizor said:

Not wishing to hijack this thread but also not wanting to start a new one.  We are  going to the Fjords on Arcadia in June but to some different ports. Haugesand, Skjokden, Alesund, Trondheim, Heitleslyt and Gerainger. Same question, can we do these on our own?

Yes we are on this cruise too. Just read the really interesting and informative posts and like you would love any advice re these ports. We would like to do things on our own if possible but not having visited the Fjords before welcome any tips. We love walking so happy with anything that involves some of that is fine. We are also happy to do a P and O excursion if that's the best advice but have found on recent cruises elsewhere independant trips are quite easy to find.

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Jennizor & mary

We're  doing a similar itinerary on Aurora in July.  We've done it before and loved it.  We haven't done Skjolden but the others are good DiY ports.

It's a shuttle into Haugesund.  We picked up a town map which had a circular walk up to the monument and back.  There are some nice cafes along the watergront.  We enjoyed it.

Alesund - if you're happy to climb, there are steps 400+(?) from the park to the top of  Mr Aksla with lovely views on top.  There is also a tourist bus if you prefer.  It's an attractive town with a Harbour and you walk straight off the ship into town.  

Trondheim is another shuttle to the centre - think they dropped us near the Cathedral.  It has a fortress and some places of interest - a wharf- style waterfront, an old town bridge and a very unusual bicycle lift (you have to see it to appreciate how it works!).  We once went on a Sunday and it was very quiet but it's quite a busy town with a shopping centre.

If your itinerary is like ours, you arrive early evening in Hellesylt.  We had our evening meal and strolled off.  There is a picturesque waterfall and a few bars/cafes plus tourist shop which stay open on account of the ship being there.  It's another walk-off.  It's a very small place but we enjoyed being able to get off the ship for a couple of hours in the evening. (If this is an evening arrival, you will have spent the day sailing down the fjords - not to be missed!!)

Next day you will arrive in Geiranger.  It might be a tender port or you might use the Sea Walk depending on how many ship's are in.  But the village is right there.  There's a good HoHo service to a view point and then you can drop off at the visitor centre which we thought was good.  Rather than get the HoHo back into the village from there, we like to walk down the walkway down the side of the tumbling river back to sea level.  It's quite spectacular.  Buy the tickets on shore though.  They offer them for sale on the ship but they're more expensive.  Again, the sail in and out is like an excursion in its own right so don't miss it.

So yes, I'd say they're all ports where you can DiY.  Hope you enjoy the Fjords.  I'm sure you will.

Edited by kruzseeka
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Kruzseeka, thank you for excellent description of how to get around the Fjord cruise destinations. Your comments are just what we were looking for to help us get the mosr out of our cruise.  We are going to the Baltics next year, I hope we get equally brilliant advice. Thanks again.

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6 minutes ago, Jennizor said:

Kruzseeka, thank you for excellent description of how to get around the Fjord cruise destinations. Your comments are just what we were looking for to help us get the mosr out of our cruise.  We are going to the Baltics next year, I hope we get equally brilliant advice. Thanks again.

 

Glad to help. 

're the Baltics, we're going next year too!  Another A* itinerary.  We've done that several times so can help with the destinations nearer the time.  We find with the exception of St P all ports are good for DiY so no need to book excursions unless you really want to.  Enjoy!

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We have 'done' the fjords several times. The weather can be very changeable, so layers are usually the best bet. A light-weight waterproof top that can be popped into a bag, or pocket, ready for use if needed is a good idea (I have a light kag that folds very small). Don't forget the sunnies and skin protection, just in case you are lucky with the weather (say she who got sunburned in Copenhagen one September!).

 

We are going to the Baltics again next year, on Arcadia, and are looking forward to it very much 🙂 

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I agree with Slugsta - Norway is a country where you need to think in terms of layers.  We have been in June and had lovely warm weather but we always have a light fleece - in case.  And, yes, a waterproof is always a good idea - you must have heard about the statistics for rain in Bergen!! 😁

We;re going to the Baltics again next year too Slugsta - on Arcadia!  😊

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On 4/4/2019 at 8:25 PM, kruzseeka said:

Jennizor & mary

We're  doing a similar itinerary on Aurora in July.  We've done it before and loved it.  We haven't done Skjolden but the others are good DiY ports.

It's a shuttle into Haugesund.  We picked up a town map which had a circular walk up to the monument and back.  There are some nice cafes along the watergront.  We enjoyed it.

Alesund - if you're happy to climb, there are steps 400+(?) from the park to the top of  Mr Aksla with lovely views on top.  There is also a tourist bus if you prefer.  It's an attractive town with a Harbour and you walk straight off the ship into town.  

Trondheim is another shuttle to the centre - think they dropped us near the Cathedral.  It has a fortress and some places of interest - a wharf- style waterfront, an old town bridge and a very unusual bicycle lift (you have to see it to appreciate how it works!).  We once went on a Sunday and it was very quiet but it's quite a busy town with a shopping centre.

If your itinerary is like ours, you arrive early evening in Hellesylt.  We had our evening meal and strolled off.  There is a picturesque waterfall and a few bars/cafes plus tourist shop which stay open on account of the ship being there.  It's another walk-off.  It's a very small place but we enjoyed being able to get off the ship for a couple of hours in the evening. (If this is an evening arrival, you will have spent the day sailing down the fjords - not to be missed!!)

Next day you will arrive in Geiranger.  It might be a tender port or you might use the Sea Walk depending on how many ship's are in.  But the village is right there.  There's a good HoHo service to a view point and then you can drop off at the visitor centre which we thought was good.  Rather than get the HoHo back into the village from there, we like to walk down the walkway down the side of the tumbling river back to sea level.  It's quite spectacular.  Buy the tickets on shore though.  They offer them for sale on the ship but they're more expensive.  Again, the sail in and out is like an excursion in its own right so don't miss it.

So yes, I'd say they're all ports where you can DiY.  Hope you enjoy the Fjords.  I'm sure you will.

Thank you for this brilliant information. Ive got notes of all you say and really looking forward now !

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