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Norway Fjord Cruise Planning Q&A - Vol. 2


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We'll be in Flam July 1 next year on Celebrity Silhouette. We want to book the Flamsbana train on our own since it's cheaper. We know that the cruise lines often book up the spots in the middle of the day for excursions. Right now it's showing a 9:45 time available to pre book - our itinerary shows us docking  at 9. My questions are: 

1. We should be able to make the 9:45 train, since it's right by the dock, correct? (as long as there are no docking delays, etc).

2. Does anyone know the cancellation policy for the Flamsbana?

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16 minutes ago, chechya said:

We'll be in Flam July 1 next year on Celebrity Silhouette. We want to book the Flamsbana train on our own since it's cheaper. We know that the cruise lines often book up the spots in the middle of the day for excursions. Right now it's showing a 9:45 time available to pre book - our itinerary shows us docking  at 9. My questions are: 

1. We should be able to make the 9:45 train, since it's right by the dock, correct? (as long as there are no docking delays, etc).

2. Does anyone know the cancellation policy for the Flamsbana?

 

Follow up question - 

Does anyone know how long the walk is back down if you take the Flamsbana up and then do the hike back down? Looks like the round trip is sold out already! (Missed it by just a few weeks ago apparently).

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4 hours ago, chechya said:

We should be able to make the 9:45 train, since it's right by the dock, correct? (as long as there are no docking delays, etc).

Yes, only 5 minutes from Dock to train - just make sure you’re docked and not tendered.

 

4 hours ago, chechya said:

Does anyone know the cancellation policy for the Flamsbana?

Full refund if cancelled more than 30 days in advance.

 

4 hours ago, chechya said:

Does anyone know how long the walk is back down

Probably 4 to 5 hours - a good option might be rental of bike in Myrdal  - 1h 30m by bike from Myrdal to Flåm, but when 9:45 is sold out, it is both from Flåm to Myrdal and back - most people does buy a return - few does rent a bike in Myrdal. Absolutely nothing to see or do in Myrdal

 

An option might to book the ticket at Vy.no but only available 90 days in advance.

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1 hour ago, hallasm said:

Yes, only 5 minutes from Dock to train - just make sure you’re docked and not tendered.

 

Full refund if cancelled more than 30 days in advance.

 

Probably 4 to 5 hours - a good option might be rental of bike in Myrdal  - 1h 30m by bike from Myrdal to Flåm, but when 9:45 is sold out, it is both from Flåm to Myrdal and back - most people does buy a return - few does rent a bike in Myrdal. Absolutely nothing to see or do in Myrdal

 

An option might to book the ticket at Vy.no but only available 90 days in advance.

Thanks, hallasm!

Have heard the hike down is amazing but that is a long time and apparently quite the distance. We're young and reasonably fit but don't want to get ourselves into a situation that we regret. We are also looking at just going to Vatnahalsen and hiking from there (since that appears to be what the excursions do) but that doesn't seem to cut off that much distance. 

Thank you for the alternate option - we will keep looking.

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Hello everyone,

 

My wife and I (39 and 35) are planning a 10-day ish cruise in the Norwegian Fjords in May. We found 2 itineraries that are of interest on 9 days, the other 10 days, both a in the same price range and dates.... late may/early june. The ports of call are quite different and we would like which of the 2 offer the best place to visit. Please feel free to provide advice on why we should pick one over the other!!!

 

We are in pretty good shape and like to walk, hike, or bike. We enjoy physical activities. I am leaning toward itinerary 1 as it goes up to the polar circle (Honningsvag) and I guess going there is a "one time thing" that I would never do again. However, looking at the port of calls, itinerary 2 seems to have more popular/known stops... but I'm no where near knowledgable about Norway!. Here they are...

 

Itinerary 1 MSC

 

Depart Kiel

 

alesund

 

Honningsvag

 

Tromso

 

Modle

 

Nordfjordeid

 

Itinerary 2 Costa

 

Depart Amsterdam

 

Nordfjordeid

 

Flam

 

Andalsnes

 

Olden

 

Bergen

 

Bremerhaven

 

Thank you for the advice

 

Tuker


 

 
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Hello everyone,
 
My wife and I (39 and 35) are planning a 10-day ish cruise in the Norwegian Fjords in May. We found 2 itineraries that are of interest on 9 days, the other 10 days, both a in the same price range and dates.... late may/early june. The ports of call are quite different and we would like which of the 2 offer the best place to visit. Please feel free to provide advice on why we should pick one over the other!!!
 
We are in pretty good shape and like to walk, hike, or bike. We enjoy physical activities. I am leaning toward itinerary 1 as it goes up to the polar circle (Honningsvag) and I guess going there is a "one time thing" that I would never do again. However, looking at the port of calls, itinerary 2 seems to have more popular/known stops... but I'm no where near knowledgable about Norway!. Here they are...
 
Itinerary 1 MSC
 
Depart Kiel
 
alesund
 
Honningsvag
 
Tromso
 
Modle
 
Nordfjordeid
 
Itinerary 2 Costa
 
Depart Amsterdam
 
Nordfjordeid
 
Flam
 
Andalsnes
 
Olden
 
Bergen
 
Bremerhaven
 
Thank you for the advice
 
Tuker

 
 


Option 1 gets you to Tromsø and Nordkapp up above the Arctic Circle for Midnight Sun action, which is a really unique experience (unless you live there).

Option 2 gets you to Flåm, which provides a good fjord cruise and opportunity to ride the Flåmsbana train, and Bergen, which is a really great city to visit, but it's got so many things to do that one day in port really isn't enough.

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13 minutes ago, just_dont said:


 

 


Option 1 gets you to Tromsø and Nordkapp up above the Arctic Circle for Midnight Sun action, which is a really unique experience (unless you live there).

Option 2 gets you to Flåm, which provides a good fjord cruise and opportunity to ride the Flåmsbana train, and Bergen, which is a really great city to visit, but it's got so many things to do that one day in port really isn't enough.

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So...what you are telling me is that both are great option and cant go wrong!  That doesnt help me choose 🙂

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So...what you are telling me is that both are great option and cant go wrong!  That doesnt help me choose [emoji846]
I haven't been to all of the ports on both of those cruises, and I wouldn't presume to make the decision for you.
Just pointing out that one cruise appears to be a Midnight Sun cruise, where reaching the highest latitudes is the main point of the cruise. The other cruise doesn't go above the Arctic Circle, but visits some more scenic destinations in western Norway, though unfortunately not Geiranger.
I'll have to let others like@hallasm, who are more familiar with those other ports provide opinions on them.


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21 hours ago, just_dont said:

Itinerary 1 MSC
Depart Kiel
alesund
Honningsvag
Tromso
Modle
Nordfjordeid
 
Itinerary 2 Costa
Depart Amsterdam
Nordfjordeid
Flam
Andalsnes
Olden
Bergen
Bremerhaven

I find it surprising that the first itinerary doesn’t even include Bergen. It’s such a staple of Norwegian coastal cruises that I’ve rarely seen a trip without it!

 

As for which one to choose, it depends on what you’re looking for. A taste of the fjords and a look at the Arctic? Itinerary 1. Iconic Norwegian coastal scenery and fjords? Itinerary 2.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So we have our cruise booked in June on the Iona.  I am a bit nervous about being on such a big ship, when I first thought about booking a Norway cruise I really thought that a small ship would be best, then this deal came up and here we go!

 

So we have several ‘cruise by’ sections on the itinerary (my spellchecker rejects them all!) 

 

Invikfjorden, 

Nordfjord,

Hellesylt

Sunnyivsfjorden

Storfjorden

 

Ports - and my first thoughts about plans.  Given that we do like to DIY most of the time, I would welcome comments from those who have already been. 

 

Stavanger (9 am - 5 pm

 

It sounds as if this is a port that we can explore easily by foot.  

 

I am also tempted by a Lysefjord cruise, it seems like there are companies running these that can be booked on the day.   I have two thoughts:  will we even need to do another cruise of a fjord given that we are seeing so many?  Is there a limited capacity of these boats so I really should be booking ahead.  

 

Olden 9 am - 6 pm 

 

My first thought was to hire a kayak.  The first company that came up when Googled is sold out on every Tuesday - no doubt booked by the ship!  I have asked around. 

 

We would also love to do some hiking.  Looking at a map, we could consider walking to Loen.  The nice long port stop gives us plenty of time.     The Loen Skylift seems a good idea, we could walk there, get the skylift and get back.  Now it seems like tickets for the Skylift could be an issue.  I could book ahead (assume that the chances of cruise not docking in the middle of summer are slim).  Does anyone know how this works because the tickets are not timed.  

 

Geiranger 9.00 am - 5 pm

 

Again hiking seems like the best option for us.  Not sure about the traffic on the roads out of Geiranger though.  

 

My first option would be to head to Westeras farm and take a hike from there.  Depends on the weather and what time we have left the ship.  Getting higher up for the views seems sensible.  

 

Bergen 7.30 am - 2.30 pm

 

Looks like there is enough to keep us busy just in Bergen, given that we will be getting back on board at lunchtime.  

 

So as I said, I would love to hear from those who have already been to these ports for their opinions.  

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Bergen: Definitely DIY. book tickets online ahead for the Floibanen funicular so you can skip the first (ticket) line. Lots of views and hiking up top, and you can hike back down if you want. You'll want to figure out where your ship will dock as there are two very different port areas. If you're not docking by the Bryggen, that's where you'll want to get to.

Geiranger: Kayaking here could be an option. Hiking definitely. May want to consider renting a Twizy (small electric car) with built in audio guide to expedite the ability to get up to the overlooks for the postcard views. Book any activities ahead of time here, as they will sell out.

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49 minutes ago, just_dont said:

Bergen: Definitely DIY. book tickets online ahead for the Floibanen funicular so you can skip the first (ticket) line. Lots of views and hiking up top, and you can hike back down if you want. You'll want to figure out where your ship will dock as there are two very different port areas. If you're not docking by the Bryggen, that's where you'll want to get to.

Geiranger: Kayaking here could be an option. Hiking definitely. May want to consider renting a Twizy (small electric car) with built in audio guide to expedite the ability to get up to the overlooks for the postcard views. Book any activities ahead of time here, as they will sell out.

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That is helpful.  I have looked at the electric cars.  I really would love to rent one but I would like to see the road first.   I am fine walking but getting unreasonably scared driving along narrow heights.    DH does not drive.  

 

I have added buying a ticket to  the funicular in Bergen to my ‘to do’ list.  It looks like we will have plenty there to keep us occupied.  

 

This cruise is still 6 months away, but I wanted to do my planning over Christmas when I am off work.  I am starting to get excited.  I want to pack my suitcase now.  

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On my cruise in June this year when in Stavanger I went on a Lysefjord cruise to see Pulpit Rock with Rodne. I waited until the day as I didn't want to prebook and then have it rain. The Rodne booth was a two minute walk from where we docked and cost NOK550 each for the 9.00am cruise. We had a lovely cruise and on our return to Stavanger spent our time walking around the town visiting Ovre Holmegate (colourful street), the Valberg Tower, Domkirken, Breivatnet Lake and Gamle Stavanger (very pretty old white wood buildings). All these were a short distance from the ship. 

 

In Geiranger we prebooked the Panorama Exclusive Bus in a 16 seat mini bus for a tour to Flydalsjuvet, Mt Dalsnibba and Eagle Bend Lookout. The views were spectacular and we also stopped at Djupvatnet Lake which was frozen. Geiranger was my favourite port of the cruise. The tour cost NOK495 each. 

geirangerfjord.no/panorama-exclusive-bus

 

In Bergen we walked around by ourselves enjoying this lovely city. 

 

I did a review of my cruise in case you are interested.

 

Edited by PurpleTraveller
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The review was helpful, thank you very much. 

 

We will leave booking the Lysefjord cruise until the day, watching the weather.  I am conscious that I am on a very big ship.  I have not researched how many ships are in port with us at each of the stops.  I hope that we will try to be off early to maximize the opportunities of doing things.  

 

I am going to look at the Panorama Exclusive Bus, but hiking is also on the ‘perhaps’ list.  

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2 hours ago, ollienbertsmum said:

The review was helpful, thank you very much. 

 

We will leave booking the Lysefjord cruise until the day, watching the weather.  I am conscious that I am on a very big ship.  I have not researched how many ships are in port with us at each of the stops.  I hope that we will try to be off early to maximize the opportunities of doing things.  

 

I am going to look at the Panorama Exclusive Bus, but hiking is also on the ‘perhaps’ list.  

 

Glad the review was helpful.

 

In Stavanger and Bergen there were a number of ships in port with us and the cities seemed to cope well. Geiranger is very small so if you want to go on a tour it would probably be best to book ahead. geirangerfjord.no have a number of different bus tours and other options. Whether you go on a tour or go hiking Geiranger is beautiful. 

 

Hope you have a great cruise! 

 

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Good advice for Stavanger to wait and check the weather. If there’s especially low visibility, it’s probably not worth it.  There are two side-side cruise piers in the city center, so you’ll almost certainly be close to the ferry pier (slightly better if you’re on the east side). 
 

If you end up in town, it’s worth a wander around the cobblestone streets and white wooden houses of Gamle Stavanger (west of the harbor). And the oil museum is surprisingly interesting with exhibits detailing the technical challenges of drilling in the North Sea. There’s also a rig escape simulation that’s amusing if you have the inclination and mobility for it!

 

In Bergen, I think it’s also worth trying to visit the Fløibanen first thing, before the ship tours start showing up. We went on our own with multiple ships in port, and there was almost no wait first thing in the morning. Around mid-day the queue was stretching down the street!

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We have an overnight this summer in Bergen (arrive 8 am one day and leave 8 pm the next) and were thinking we would use one day to do a "Norway in a Nutshell" roundtrip to Flam (since the ship won't go to Flam), but I'd appreciate some advice whether it's a crazy idea (and if it is, whether we should give up on visiting Flam, or find some other option (?))

 

There is a train leaving Bergen at 8:39 am, which gets to Flam at 1:40, and then if we leave Flam at 4 pm we get back to Bergen at 8 pm.  This seems like the best option (assuming we want to spend the day this way), but I would appreciate advice on how realistic it is to expect to make that train (we are on a small/medium sized ship of about 700 pax and it seems there are multiple docks in Bergen but even from the closest one that might be cutting it a bit close?)

 

There is an 11 am train from Bergen, but that would involve lunch and a 2 hour layover (lunch?) in Voss, and only 40 minutes or so in Flam before turning around and getting back to Bergen at 10 pm, so I am not sure we'd want to do that.

 

Or, we could take the 8:39 am train on our second day, arrive Flam 1:40 and then leave Flam at 2:50 arrive back to Bergen at 6:00 pm, in time (hopefully) to be on board for an 8 pm departure.  Slightly better than option 2, but although Bergen is at the end of the itinerary I would still probably spend too much time thinking about what if we didn't get back in time, so any advice on how much faith to place in the summer train timetables would be appreciated. 

 

At least with option 1 if it doesn't work out we know right away and can cut our losses, but the  roundtrip tickets aren't cheap so I am wondering if the smarter thing is to take that money now and put it towards a different plan.

 

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We have an overnight this summer in Bergen (arrive 8 am one day and leave 8 pm the next) and were thinking we would use one day to do a "Norway in a Nutshell" roundtrip to Flam (since the ship won't go to Flam), but I'd appreciate some advice whether it's a crazy idea (and if it is, whether we should give up on visiting Flam, or find some other option (?))

 

 

Tough question. The NiaN trip is great, as is Flåm and the fjord cruise to Gudvangen, but I'm not sure the times work for your stop in Bergen.

IF you were able to get off the ship right at 8:00, you MIGHT be able to get a taxi to the train station just in time to make an 8:39 train. Assuming your ship actually arrives and docks earlier than 8:00 such that pax can begin disembarking at 8.

I'm not sure I'd try the day 2 option, as it would leave you just an hour in Flåm, and if anything goes wrong on the way back to Bergen, you're done.

The 2-day version, where you spend the night in Flåm, could be an option. You would take the noon train from Bergen, and arrive via Myrdal in Flåm at 3:40 pm. Then leaving Flåm the next morning on the 9:00 ferry would get you back to the Bergen train station around 3 pm. (I've stated before, Flåm is amazing in the evening) But then you'd mostly miss Bergen (just 4 hours the first morning and 5 the second afternoon), so I don't think I'd recommend it unless you've been to Bergen before and would be ok missing it.

 

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4 hours ago, Doh15 said:

am wondering if the smarter thing is to take that money now and put it towards a different plan.

I do agree with @just_dont - if you haven’t been I Bergen before you might want to spend the time in Bergen and a short excursion from Bergen depending on you interests.

Flåm might Also depend other ports og Call In Norway.

Flåm area is great - for Flåm I’ll recommend a round trip from Vossevangen by bus to Gudvangen and boat trip from Gudvangen to Flåm and train back to Bergen.

Option might Be  Bus from  from Bergen to Gudvangen. An overnight stay in either Gudevangen, Flåm or Myrdal might also be an option.

 

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On 12/31/2019 at 6:11 AM, Doh15 said:

We have an overnight this summer in Bergen (arrive 8 am one day and leave 8 pm the next) and were thinking we would use one day to do a "Norway in a Nutshell" roundtrip to Flam (since the ship won't go to Flam), but I'd appreciate some advice whether it's a crazy idea (and if it is, whether we should give up on visiting Flam, or find some other option (?))

 

There is a train leaving Bergen at 8:39 am, which gets to Flam at 1:40, and then if we leave Flam at 4 pm we get back to Bergen at 8 pm.  This seems like the best option (assuming we want to spend the day this way), but I would appreciate advice on how realistic it is to expect to make that train (we are on a small/medium sized ship of about 700 pax and it seems there are multiple docks in Bergen but even from the closest one that might be cutting it a bit close?)

 

There is an 11 am train from Bergen, but that would involve lunch and a 2 hour layover (lunch?) in Voss, and only 40 minutes or so in Flam before turning around and getting back to Bergen at 10 pm, so I am not sure we'd want to do that.

 

Or, we could take the 8:39 am train on our second day, arrive Flam 1:40 and then leave Flam at 2:50 arrive back to Bergen at 6:00 pm, in time (hopefully) to be on board for an 8 pm departure.  Slightly better than option 2, but although Bergen is at the end of the itinerary I would still probably spend too much time thinking about what if we didn't get back in time, so any advice on how much faith to place in the summer train timetables would be appreciated. 

 

At least with option 1 if it doesn't work out we know right away and can cut our losses, but the  roundtrip tickets aren't cheap so I am wondering if the smarter thing is to take that money now and put it towards a different plan.

 

If you arrive at 8am, 40 minutes should be plenty to get to the station, especially if you’re willing to pay for a taxi.

 

I agree that the overnight in Flåm works well for avoiding schedule risks, but also that if you haven’t been to Bergen, it’s worth some of your time.

 

Personally, while I adore the scenery in the area, I don’t love spending time in Flåm itself. I find that it’s pretty touristy and the few restaurants tend to be underwhelming and overpriced. I was happy with just a short stop when I did the NiN roundtrip from Bergen in May. It was enough time to wander through the museum, and there wasn’t much we would have done with more time.

 

Last year we spent a night In Flåm after doing the Rallarvegen cycle trip from Finse, and it was pretty quiet. I did enjoy having a few pints at the Ægir brewpub, since I’m a fan of their beer (the kitschy stave-church architecture were mildly amusing, but mostly I liked the chance to try some of their smaller production stouts). Otherwise, there wasn’t much to do that evening.

 

Several years ago we booked a NiN-route trip on our own from Oslo to Bergen and ended up with a few hours in Flåm. We went for a short walk through town to one of the waterfalls, but it wasn’t really enough time to go anywhere out of town (e.g. Stegastein).

 

The draw of the NiN trip isn’t any of the places; it’s the scenery in between.

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On 12/31/2019 at 1:06 AM, just_dont said:

 

Tough question. The NiaN trip is great, as is Flåm and the fjord cruise to Gudvangen, but I'm not sure the times work for your stop in Bergen.

IF you were able to get off the ship right at 8:00, you MIGHT be able to get a taxi to the train station just in time to make an 8:39 train. Assuming your ship actually arrives and docks earlier than 8:00 such that pax can begin disembarking at 8.

 

On 12/31/2019 at 4:31 AM, hallasm said:

I do agree with @just_dont - if you haven’t been I Bergen before you might want to spend the time in Bergen and a short excursion from Bergen depending on you interests.

Option might Be  Bus from  from Bergen to Gudvangen. An overnight stay in either Gudevangen, Flåm or Myrdal might also be an option.

 

 

53 minutes ago, kaisatsu said:

If you arrive at 8am, 40 minutes should be plenty to get to the station, especially if you’re willing to pay for a taxi.

 

I agree that the overnight in Flåm works well for avoiding schedule risks, but also that if you haven’t been to Bergen, it’s worth some of your time.

 

The draw of the NiN trip isn’t any of the places; it’s the scenery in between.

 

Thanks for the replies and advice!

 

I appreciate that the scenery is more the point than the destination, so we are now thinking about maybe renting a car (gain flexibility, lose the Flamsbana railway and driver's ability to gawk at the scenery).  Will also consider overnighting in the area.

 

Have not been to Norway before, other stops in the south are Olden and Alesund (but doubt we will be in Alesund long enough to get to Geirangerfjord). 

 

Will do more research but suggestions on how to spend a long day (or even two) around Bergen also welcome.

 

Happy new year!

 

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PS (one more question for now)— if we do decide to overnight in Flam, any thoughts about whether it’s better to rent a car for that or take the train/boat/bus?  
Car would be cheaper, but train/train/boat/bus/train would provide MUCH better scenery and relaxation. By car you'll probably be in a bunch of tunnels, which while interesting, aren't nearly as scenic.

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On 11/27/2019 at 1:58 PM, hallasm said:

 

Nieuw Statendam Is scheduled for Flåm June 30, 2020 - she is build in 2017 and should be able to sail the fjords through 2025. But likely not in 2026. 

This is so odd to me as the Nieuw Statendam departing on 14 night 6/3/20 & 7/5/20 cancelled Flam and substituted Skjolden...I wonder why?

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