Jump to content
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips

Comparing Norway and Alaska?


kaisatsu

Recommended Posts

I thought I might get a different perspective on this question from the Baltic cruisers. We're doing an Alaska cruise this June, and we're trying to figure out what to expect in terms of comparing it to the things we've seen/done here in Norway. From friends who've cruised Alaska and then visited us here, they said that the scenery looked a lot like Alaska, which disappoints me a little. I was hoping for a bigger difference.

 

So for those of you who've done both, how would you compare them? Since Norway has its fair share of glaciers, fjords, etc. what things should we do in Alaska that we can't do closer to home? (Besides eat out a lot and buy plenty of alcohol and other merchandise to bring home with us!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I might get a different perspective on this question from the Baltic cruisers. We're doing an Alaska cruise this June, and we're trying to figure out what to expect in terms of comparing it to the things we've seen/done here in Norway. From friends who've cruised Alaska and then visited us here, they said that the scenery looked a lot like Alaska, which disappoints me a little. I was hoping for a bigger difference.

 

So for those of you who've done both, how would you compare them? Since Norway has its fair share of glaciers, fjords, etc. what things should we do in Alaska that we can't do closer to home? (Besides eat out a lot and buy plenty of alcohol and other merchandise to bring home with us!)

 

We've done both. Alaska is the "Last Frontier" --- vast, rugged beautiful country. It's history would be the native indians, totem poles and villages. Norway, however, has roots back to the Viking era, which was a completely different experience for us when we visited Oslo and the Viking Ship, Fram and Kon-Tiki along with the Folk Museum.

 

In Alaska, we enjoyed the great wilderness, taking a dome train to Denali (Mt McKinley) and stayed at the lodge on our Princess Cruise. In Fairbanks, the River Paddle Wheel boat was very interesting. Be sure you include a land tour when visiting Alaska to really experience it. If your cruise includes Skagway, you might enjoy the White Pass train tour (where the gold rush began).

 

Perhaps the terrain looks similiar --- I am not quite sure. The towns definitely look different. Norway has its' European look, while Alaska has a wilderness look. We have been to Alaska twice and would love to go again. We have been to Norway only once and hope to return and cruise the fiords to Bergen and see more of the beautiful landscapes and Norwegian history. Perhaps, the only thing that is the same for both Alaska and Norway is the climate.

 

Enjoy your cruise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I might get a different perspective on this question from the Baltic cruisers. We're doing an Alaska cruise this June, and we're trying to figure out what to expect in terms of comparing it to the things we've seen/done here in Norway. From friends who've cruised Alaska and then visited us here, they said that the scenery looked a lot like Alaska, which disappoints me a little. I was hoping for a bigger difference.

 

So for those of you who've done both, how would you compare them? Since Norway has its fair share of glaciers, fjords, etc. what things should we do in Alaska that we can't do closer to home? (Besides eat out a lot and buy plenty of alcohol and other merchandise to bring home with us!)

 

We did a Globus Norway tour in 2006 and an Alaskan cruise in 2003. Would I return to Norway: yes. Alaska: no. Both were wonderful experiences, but Alaska seemed more touristy, though I feel that everyone should experience the beauty and nature it affords. The wildlife was amazing! You see and get close to whales, eagles, bears, dahl porpoises, sea lions, etc. The Norwegian fjords were on a much grander scale and very spiritual to me. I am so priviledged to have experienced both.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So for those of you who've done both, how would you compare them?
I think that it's important to remember that there are at least two types of "Alaska".

 

The panhandle, where most of the cruises go (between Vancouver and Glacier Bay), is not particularly scenic as such even though it is steeped in history. I thought that the brochures oversold this bit. They promise majestic and grand natural landscapes. Instead, what you generally get is rather urbanised territory with bits of nature dotted about. Glacier Bay is perhaps the preeminent exception to this general description.

 

However, if you go north from Anchorage on the tours, I understand that Alaska then more nearly lives up to the marketing, because you are going out into areas that are more wild and undeveloped.

 

So your experience may well depend on where you're actually going on your trip. If you are only cruising the panhandle, it won't be that different from Norway, other than the presence of tidewater glaciers; indeed, there are parts of the Norwegian coast that were IMHO more spectacular - eg the trip from the ocean to Geiranger.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I stayed with a friend in Norway and sailed on a small boat through the fjords and spent time in Trondheim and further up north. I've also spent a week in Ketchikan, Alaska and took a cruise to Alaska. To me it's Norway hands down - its majestic beauty is unsurpassed in my opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought I might get a different perspective on this question from the Baltic cruisers. We're doing an Alaska cruise this June, and we're trying to figure out what to expect in terms of comparing it to the things we've seen/done here in Norway. From friends who've cruised Alaska and then visited us here, they said that the scenery looked a lot like Alaska, which disappoints me a little. I was hoping for a bigger difference.

 

So for those of you who've done both, how would you compare them? Since Norway has its fair share of glaciers, fjords, etc. what things should we do in Alaska that we can't do closer to home? (Besides eat out a lot and buy plenty of alcohol and other merchandise to bring home with us!)

 

 

Just a couple of biggies for me, were going to Sitka Alaska, and seeing where the Russian Baranoff (Sp?) had his palace, and realize you are standing where the first U.S. flag was raised after we purchased Alaska from Russia. Seeing all the Russian history/followed by the US History (maybe not such a biggie if you aren't US). And can't forget the native Alaskan history with their totem poles and dances and rituals. The Raptor Center in the rainforest (seeing the Balde Eagle, Golden Eagle, Owls, birds of raptor) was really interesting. I never realized they were scavengers the same as vultures.

 

Then there is Denali National Park. Mt. McKinley (or Denali, the great one) at 20,320 ft (6,194m) is the tallest mountain in North America and usually a big attraction to visitors to Alaska. Now being from Norway, you may be used to seeing big mountains, so it might be just another mountain to you, but to us it's a biggie. And the scenery surrounding it, you are in the pine trees, wilderness, it is magical to city dwellers. The wildlife at Denali (grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves, moose, and eagles) are again something most city dwellers don't see.

 

Tracy Arm Fjord is what I imagine the fjords in Norway to be like, and there are two tidewater glaciers at the end of the fjord. Glacier Bay is another National Park not to be missed, it is huge with like 17 tidewater glaciers. And on your cruise you may be lucky enough to spy some whales.

 

I think Alaska is an outdoor nature lover's paradise.

 

I tried to post some of my photos, to no avail. Go to your library, they should have books showing you what to expect of Alaska.

 

I was blown away when we flew into Anchorage in May and saw nothing for miles and miles but white mountains down below. I thought, no wonder they call this the last frontier of America. I'd sure hate to have to survive in that!

 

Now all that said, I haven't visited Norway yet, but I have read many World War II books about the resistance efforts that went on in Norway and how friendly all the people were to assist those that were fighting the Germans, knowing the costs if they were caught, and about the fjords and glaciers, so the actual landscape may be very similar to what you are used to. Try not to be too disappointed, and enjoy seeing a part of the United States not everyone gets to see.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

agabbymama,

 

Thanks for all the details! I'm actually American (ex-pat living in Norway, and our cruise is partly to see my sister who lives in Anchorage), so the US history does appeal to me! ;)

 

However, one thing that jumps out at me from your post is that the Alaskan fjords have tidewater glaciers at the end. That's a big difference from the Norwegian fjords, which have villages at the end. I'm an amateur geology nut, so I think I might really enjoy seeing that and comparing it to Norway, because it's looking at snapshots of two different times in geological history. There's something exciting to me about seeing the earth forming and shaping itself (you can imagine how much a trip to Hawaii was a highlight)!

 

Now if only some of those fjord excursions weren't so expensive! (And that's coming from someone who lives in the most expensive country in the world!) :o

 

-Meg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

agabbymama,

 

Thanks for all the details! I'm actually American (ex-pat living in Norway, and our cruise is partly to see my sister who lives in Anchorage), so the US history does appeal to me! ;)

 

However, one thing that jumps out at me from your post is that the Alaskan fjords have tidewater glaciers at the end. That's a big difference from the Norwegian fjords, which have villages at the end. I'm an amateur geology nut, so I think I might really enjoy seeing that and comparing it to Norway, because it's looking at snapshots of two different times in geological history. There's something exciting to me about seeing the earth forming and shaping itself (you can imagine how much a trip to Hawaii was a highlight)!

 

Now if only some of those fjord excursions weren't so expensive! (And that's coming from someone who lives in the most expensive country in the world!) :o

 

-Meg

 

Meg, I'm glad I was able to impart a little info that appealed to you. If you get to Sitka, it is just an amazing quaint little town. As you tender in, you see this huge building that looks like a hotel or apartment building. We were totally blown away to find out it was a "home" originally for homeless pioneers back in 1913, but actually still operating today. I'm amazed other states don't take a look at this, with all the homeless people we have in America. This link tells you about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitka_Pioneer_Home

 

This is another interesting link http://www.eddystoneinn.com/totem.htm

 

And of course the Raptor Center was one place I just had to go. It was mainly to see Bald Eagles up close, but I learned so much when we visited there. Then walked downhill through the rainforest back to the National Park, where we saw totems and canoes being carved and native dancers.

http://www.alaskaraptor.org/

 

And yes, Alaska is quite expensive to do flightseeing or small boats to get close to the glaciers. I haven't done those excursions myself, we just saw them from the cruiseship. That's one reason I like HAL, they have a little smaller ships and get a little closer than the behemoths can.

 

And then THE GREAT ONE is not be missed http://www.alaska.com/places/parks/dena/ and just look at the lodging available at Denali. If you like wildlife at all, it is an absolute must see. And with your sister living in Anchorage, I'm sure she will know you can just take the train there, you don't have to do an organized tour. Or she could drive you there, that would be even better to have your own transport.

 

And one final excursion, I have followed the Iditarod for a few years now, and knew I wanted to visit and meet Jeff King and his wife, Donna Gates. I was pleased that HAL offered it as one of their side tours, and told my travelling companions I was going, whether they wanted to or not, but we did all end up going. The intestinal fortitude and mind set that it takes for these guys to even live in Alaska, let alone go off on a sled for over 1100 miles in temps 20, 30, 40 degrees below zero in a race to Nome Alaska is just amazing to me. Yet to meet them, they seem like ordinary folks. And their dogs are truly amazing. My husband and I disagree on this, as he thinks it's cruel to the dogs and doesn't understand why anyone would even want to do this. But he did find the tour interesting also. http://www.huskyhomestead.com/

 

At any rate, I think you are in for a very pleasant surprise and trip to OUR LAST FRONTIER. You may even find you love it too!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've done both. Alaska is the "Last Frontier" --- vast, rugged beautiful country. It's history would be the native indians, totem poles and villages. Norway, however, has roots back to the Viking era, which was a completely different experience for us when we visited Oslo and the Viking Ship, Fram and Kon-Tiki along with the Folk Museum.

 

In Alaska, we enjoyed the great wilderness, taking a dome train to Denali (Mt McKinley) and stayed at the lodge on our Princess Cruise. In Fairbanks, the River Paddle Wheel boat was very interesting. Be sure you include a land tour when visiting Alaska to really experience it. If your cruise includes Skagway, you might enjoy the White Pass train tour (where the gold rush began).

 

Perhaps the terrain looks similiar --- I am not quite sure. The towns definitely look different. Norway has its' European look, while Alaska has a wilderness look. We have been to Alaska twice and would love to go again. We have been to Norway only once and hope to return and cruise the fiords to Bergen and see more of the beautiful landscapes and Norwegian history. Perhaps, the only thing that is the same for both Alaska and Norway is the climate.

 

Enjoy your cruise.

 

We're wondering the same thing. We were in Alaska in June and weren't able to get close to the glaciers. Perhaps if we go in August, we can see more and combine the land tour. We've been wanting to see Denali and the Northern Lights. Did you go with HAL Cruisetour? There was lodging available at Denali last time we checked if we tried to do our own combo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're wondering the same thing. We were in Alaska in June and weren't able to get close to the glaciers. Perhaps if we go in August, we can see more and combine the land tour. We've been wanting to see Denali and the Northern Lights. Did you go with HAL Cruisetour? There was lodging available at Denali last time we checked if we tried to do our own combo.

 

We saw Denali, the Pipeline and Fairbanks on our Princess Cruisetour. We traveled on the dome train. We stayed at the Princess Mt McKinley Lodge (was great) for two nights. We say the great Denali mountain both days as it was a clear and sunny day. Also, we went horseback riding here and took pictures off a bluff with Denali in the distance. We also went on a mushers homestead tour and had a sled dog training demonstration. Both tours offerred were a lot of fun.

 

I am sure HAL offers a similar cruise tour.

 

Have fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're wondering the same thing. We were in Alaska in June and weren't able to get close to the glaciers. Perhaps if we go in August, we can see more and combine the land tour. We've been wanting to see Denali and the Northern Lights.

 

Your chances of getting closer to the Glaciers are better in August than they are in June, but no guarantee. You'll be much too early (and probably too far south) for the Northern Lights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance - Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Cruise News
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...