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PurpleTraveller

Norway - Land of the Midnight Sun on Sapphire Princess June 15, 2019

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I was on this cruise, too!  What a great review and I look forward to reading the rest.  It's fun to relive the memories of only a few weeks ago and to compare what you did to our experiences.  We took a Blue Puffin tour in Honningsvag as well, but must have been on the second bus, as we did both fishing villages before going to the visitor's center.  I was impressed you got a photo of the globe without anyone else in it!  It was crowded by the time we got there.  And I loved the closeup photos of the reindeer you got.  I wasn't able to get a clear one.  I'm about to post my own review of the cruise and it's making me want to book this cruise again!

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On 7/16/2019 at 10:09 AM, MicCanberra said:

No worries, safe travels and congrats for your son. Have a great time at the ceremony.

 

Thanks. We had a great time and are two very proud parents! 

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On 7/17/2019 at 7:10 AM, aprilsp88 said:

Thanks for the review. One of our favorite! Following...

 

Thank you for following along. We loved this itinerary and cruise! 

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On 7/17/2019 at 7:17 AM, J-D said:

Thanks for the interesting review and excellent photos.  Brings back good memories of our time on the Emerald Princess's similar "North Cape & Summer Solstice" cruise in June 2016.   Looking forward to your account of the last part of your cruise.  Hope your half-day in Bergen was a little less wet than ours...

 

John

 

Thank you. I'm pleased the review is bringing back good memories. I'll be getting back to the review shortly and spoiler alert - we had a good day in Bergen! 

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On 7/17/2019 at 7:19 AM, aprilsp88 said:

Our favorite view point of our favorite trip!

 

I remember we arrived in the morning. Is the ship delayed?

 

It really is a beautiful viewpoint!

 

We were delayed getting into Gravdal by four hours due to not having the correct pilot and having to sail north from Tromso before heading south to the Lofoten Islands. Our departure time was extended and due to the long days were still able to sight see in the evening. 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/17/2019 at 9:36 AM, Coral said:

Just catching up! Want to say congrats on your son!

 

Thanks! He looked so handsome in his uniform and I am a very proud mother!

 

Edited by PurpleTraveller

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On 7/17/2019 at 10:48 AM, Lido deck main said:

I just got caught up.  Wow, stunning photos, love your written review.  

 

Thank you very much! I hope you enjoy the remainder of the review. 

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On 7/17/2019 at 11:38 AM, ~*Lou*~ said:

When you get home, can you please tell me, aside from the Promenade deck, is there other good outside viewing on Sapphire? Front? Aft?  We will have an inside cabin so outdoor viewing options are important to me. Many thanks in advance.

 

I personally really like viewing from the Promenade deck as sometimes I like to be closer to the water and having a cabin on deck eight it was really quick and easy to get to the Promenade deck, particularly if something was on the other side of the ship to our cabin. It also doesn't seem to get as crowded as the upper viewing areas and is under cover if it rains. 

 

Probably the best outside viewing is from above the bridge accessed from the Sun deck but it can get very windy and also crowded. There is also good outside viewing from the Sun deck and from the rear of the Lido deck. 

 

If you want to be inside then one of the best places for outside viewing is Skywalkers at the rear top of the ship with windows looking forward, sideways and rearward. 

 

Hope this helps. 

 

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13 hours ago, JaniceB said:

I found your review searching for Stavanger on the site.  What fantastic review!  Congratulations to your son and I am looking forward to more when you return.

 

Thank you! I hope the review has been of some help and that you enjoy the rest. 

 

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7 hours ago, United_11 said:

I was on this cruise, too!  What a great review and I look forward to reading the rest.  It's fun to relive the memories of only a few weeks ago and to compare what you did to our experiences.  We took a Blue Puffin tour in Honningsvag as well, but must have been on the second bus, as we did both fishing villages before going to the visitor's center.  I was impressed you got a photo of the globe without anyone else in it!  It was crowded by the time we got there.  And I loved the closeup photos of the reindeer you got.  I wasn't able to get a clear one.  I'm about to post my own review of the cruise and it's making me want to book this cruise again!

 

Thank you! We loved this cruise and I am enjoying being able to relive it by writing the review. It is always very interesting to see the different things other people did on the same cruise, particularly on a cruise like this when there are so many options. 

 

I laughed at your comment about the photo of the globe without anyone else in it! My poor husband had to wait for me for ages in that blustery wind, while I waited for that perfect moment! 😀

 

I will look for your review!

 

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Thank you all for your patience. I will now get back to the review and I had left off at the Aksla viewpoint in Alesund.

 

After enjoying the view over the city and chatting to some new friends that we had made on the ship, we decided to make our way down the stairs.

 

As an aside there is a restaurant/cafe with a large balcony right at the top of the stairs. They charge NOK30 to go onto the balcony but if you walk just a little further up the road from the stairs the viewpoint at the very top of the hill is free. 

 

As we made our way down the stairs it was quite crowded with people on their way up. Many of them looked very puffed and exhausted. A few I was worried that they were going to have a heart attack! Take my advice and if you want to have an easier way up, go up the streets to the parkland, only 91 steps and the path up the hill! 

 

At the bottom of the stairs is the City Park and a statue of Rollo, a Viking leader and 3 x great-grandfather of William the Conqueror who conquered England in 1066.

 

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We then walked around the city centre admiring the many art nouveau buildings. In 1904 there was a huge fire in Alesund that destroyed much of the city. The city was rebuilt in art nouveau Jugendstil style. 

 

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We also took some time to look in the shops in the shopping area. A short walk away was the harbour with its little lighthouse and a few wooden buildings. It was a lot cooler by the water than it had been at the Aksla viewpoint.

 

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We made our way around the waterfront and along the canals admiring the buildings. 

 

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We passed the Jugendstil Senteret which is a former pharmacy and the first listed Jugenstil monument in Alesund. It is now a museum. 

 

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We walked up the hill past the Alesund church built of stone in 1909. 

 

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As we walked around we saw a number of these old stoves being used as planters. 

 

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On the way back to the ship we saw the monument to Joachim Ronneberg a Norwegian hero of WW2. Debbie Shields had spoken about him and Operation Gunnerside during her destination presentation on Alesund. Another movie I have to watch is "Heroes of Telemark" about Operation Gunnerside. 

 

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We were back on the ship for a late lunch at the International Cafe.

 

By the time of sailaway the sun had come out and we were farewelled by a tugboat and its water cannon. 

 

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We had dinner at the Pacific Moon Dining Room and then went to the 8.00pm show in the theatre. It was Tracey Shields who had done a previous show as Celine Dion but sang different songs as herself and Phillip Browne who sang songs from the Lion King and Beauty and the Beast amongst others. It was a very enjoyable show. 

 

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A question for Purple Traveller: Which ports would you say as the "must see" on a cruise to Norway? I am looking at a couple of itineraries. We haven't cruised to Norway, but have travelled independently on land. Many of your photos brought back memories. Once again, thanks for the review. You have put a lot of work into it and many people reading this forum have appreciated your efforts.

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, Aus Traveller said:

A question for Purple Traveller: Which ports would you say as the "must see" on a cruise to Norway? I am looking at a couple of itineraries. We haven't cruised to Norway, but have travelled independently on land. Many of your photos brought back memories. Once again, thanks for the review. You have put a lot of work into it and many people reading this forum have appreciated your efforts.

 

That is a really difficult question to answer as everywhere we went was wonderful as well as beautiful!

 

I think my favourite place was Geiranger. The sail in and out through the fjord was very beautiful and the view from Mt Dalsnibba is spectacular. 

 

The sail in and out of Flam was also very beautiful and there are many great choices of what to do there. I loved our hike to the Brekkefossen waterfall but we could have also gone on the Flam train, to the Stegastein Lookout or on a fjord cruise.

 

I also loved going to North Cape from Honningsvag. There is just something really special and different standing at the top of Europe and the scenery was beautiful and interesting. Also being able to see the Midnight Sun was amazing!

 

The Lofoten Islands are also very beautiful and I would love to go back if it could be a sunny day. 😀

 

I think most places in Norway would be beautiful but I would try for a cruise that had either Geiranger or Flam on the itinerary for the fjord cruising. I would also try for Honningsvag or the Lofoten Islands for different but equally beautiful scenery. 

 

Hope this helps a little but in my opinion any cruise to Norway would be wonderful. 

 

Thanks for the lovely comments!

 

Edited by PurpleTraveller

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Very nice review.

We have done the 7 day Norway cruise and have the 14 day on our bucket list.

We really appreciate your efforts in "taking us along" on your cruise!

Thanks!

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Oh thank you for the wonderful review.  Have previously done a 7 day to Norway, but didn’t get to the far north like you did, and am now keen to go again and for longer.

I board Sapphire next week, so I am happy to hear you enjoyed your time on the ship.  Any tips for newbies who haven’t sailed on Sapphire previously.

congrats also to your son, my SIL graduated last year from Wagga, so know how excited you must have been, the March out is certainly a wonderful event, we were made very welcome by all at Wagga on the day.  I am sure he will enjoy defence life.

cheers V

 

 

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On 7/12/2019 at 2:40 AM, PurpleTraveller said:

We carried on all the way down the mountain, through Geiranger, out the other side and to Eagle Road. Eagle Road zigzags up the mountain and our final stop was at the lookout near the top. We were able to see Geiranger from the opposite side to that which we had seen previously and the Seven Sisters Waterfall. 

 

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I was able to get this shot of Sapphire Princess. 

 

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We returned to Geiranger at 5.25pm after a wonderful tour. This was a highlight of our cruise and we are still amazed at the breathtaking views we saw. We were so lucky to have had a warm day with some sunshine.  

 

There was a long queue for the tender and crew members were serving cold water to those waiting. The queue moved fairly well and after 20 minutes we were on a tender. We sat on the top of the tender and were back on board at 5.55pm.

 

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Sail away was back the way we had arrived and we went past the Seven Sisters and Suitor waterfalls again. It was beautiful cruising the fjord. 

 

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I just realized we must have been at Eagle Bend at the same time because I have almost the same photo with the Rotterdam leaving Geiranger! Mine was maybe a couple minutes after yours. 🙂

 

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15 hours ago, dreaminofcruisin said:

Very nice review.

We have done the 7 day Norway cruise and have the 14 day on our bucket list.

We really appreciate your efforts in "taking us along" on your cruise!

Thanks!

 

Thank you! I would really recommend a 14 day cruise to see new places that are simply wonderful! 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Kangakid said:

Oh thank you for the wonderful review.  Have previously done a 7 day to Norway, but didn’t get to the far north like you did, and am now keen to go again and for longer.

I board Sapphire next week, so I am happy to hear you enjoyed your time on the ship.  Any tips for newbies who haven’t sailed on Sapphire previously.

congrats also to your son, my SIL graduated last year from Wagga, so know how excited you must have been, the March out is certainly a wonderful event, we were made very welcome by all at Wagga on the day.  I am sure he will enjoy defence life.

cheers V

 

 

 

Thanks. We really enjoyed Sapphire and found the crew to be great. Norway was fantastic and I would love to go back again! 

 

I would advise you to get to the theatre early - 7.15pm for a 8.00pm show in the theatre particularly on nights when there is a production show. The theatre fills up very early and each night that I was there, there were people standing along the side walls and at the rear. 

 

There is great viewing from the deck above the bridge and access is from the Sun deck. 

 

There is also a great wide Promenade deck. 

 

Sapphire has an International Cafe that we used a lot for snacks and lunches. 

 

I found it to be a little cool in the dining rooms and the theatre so you may need a jacket or wrap with you. 

 

If you like tea you can get a selection of Twinings teabags from the buffet to use in your cabin. I also got extra sugar from the buffet. Having a kettle and tea and making facilities in the cabins is great! 

 

Thanks for the congrats for my son and congratulations to your SIL. Is he in the Army or RAAF? We really enjoyed the March Out ceremony and found the RAAF March Out to be quite different from the Army March Out (my other son is in the army). Wagga really is a defence force town and welcomes all defence force members and their families!

 

Hope you have a wonderful cruise next week! 

 

Edited by PurpleTraveller

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7 hours ago, United_11 said:

I just realized we must have been at Eagle Bend at the same time because I have almost the same photo with the Rotterdam leaving Geiranger! Mine was maybe a couple minutes after yours. 🙂

 

 

We could almost have been standing next to each other! I watched the Rotterdam leave and saw it pass Sapphire. It's a small world! 😊

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7 minutes ago, Lucky TGO said:

Thanks for sharing great photos.

Tony

 

Thank you for reading! Hope you enjoy the rest if the review. 

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Thursday June 27 - Bergen

 

We arrived in Bergen at 7.00am and it was a short port day as we were leaving at 2.00pm. We were docked a short distance from the city centre but in an industrial dock so we had to use the port shuttle bus to get to the port exit. Even though the all aboard was at 1.30pm the last shuttle bus to the ship was at 1.00pm for a three minute drive! This cut an already short day even shorter.

 

We were off the ship at 7.45am and got onto a port shuttle bus, waited for a few minutes for it to fill and then it was a three minute drive to the port exit. We then walked towards the city centre. 

 

When deciding what to do during our day we had considered going up the funicular but as our day was so short we decided to explore the city as it was our first visit to Bergen. We met a number of people who did go up the funicular and they all really enjoyed it and the view from the top. 

 

On our way to the city centre we walked up a very cute narrow street with old wooden buildings. 

 

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When we got to the waterfront we went into the Torget fish market. As it was still early they were still setting up and we were the only tourists in there. We looked at the produce before moving on. 

 

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There were stalls near the fish market where they were selling different types of caviar and other goods. 

 

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We made our way to Bryggen, the old colourful timber warehouses that date from after the 1702 fire. 

 

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I am enjoying the pics, they are bringing back fond memories of our visits to Bergen. 

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