Hey Team, My mother (65) would like to take a cruise to see the land of her fore fathers. Norway and the fjords must be on the docket, but would be great to see Sweden and/or Finland. Maybe Denmark if time allows. I am NOT a cruiser. In fact, I prefer anything but, but this is a good bet for my mom and her activity level and that sort of thing. And the woman loves boats. So, that said, I'm clueless. Could anyone recommend a good company or a cruise package? The other bummer: I probably have a 7 day max on said cruise, given the time it will take to get anywhere. Less would be almost more ideal but I hate the idea of going all the way out there for anything less than that! Feedback is much appreciated! Cheers, Liz
Check out Holland America routes. Seven days is generally a min with ten and 12 days more common.
Given your limited travel time, I would suggest you consult with a cruise specialist travel agency. There are many options for Norway or Scandinavian cruises, however, this is one based in Norway you might consider:
A resident of Bergen recommended May and June as the best months weather-wise to tour the fjords.
To really see Norway from a ship, not a typical cruise ship but a very nice experience ( we won’t go on cruise ships) book on Hurtigruten. Sail north from Bergen to above the Arctic Circle. Delicious food, beautiful scenery, 100% Norwegian. We loved the ship Trollfjord.
Many travelers take the Norway in a Nutshell trip that is a package deal. We took the train from Oslo west, picked up the Flam Railroad down into the fjords and a high speed ferry over to Bergen. It was an all day trip, and well worth time. And we just loved Bergen as a city, and the beautiful, sweet people.
Sorry you are not up to a cruise, as the cruises out of Copenhagen are something special in Summer. Ground travel in the region is just deadly expensive, and the cruises.are very bargain priced.
Seven days max is a significant constraint. I would spend more of that time on land rather than seeing the land from a boat, but that's me. Your challenge will be how to ration your 7 days.
It would be easy to spend all of your 7 days in Norway. But if seeing more than Norway is important, consider flying a three leg route to Copenhagen (CPH). SAS hubs with Transatlantic flight to CPH, then connections to the Nordic countries. You could fly to CPH, spend two or three nights in Copenhagen, then flying to Oslo (OSL). Several days in Oslo, then several days on the Norway in a Nutshell route to Bergen. Depart from Bergen, returning home.
Oslo to Bergen Nutshell options:
You may be interested in the fjord optons with overnight stops:
If you are not a cruiser then I’d trust your preferences and skip that. Fjords are prettiest from above anyway, not while on the water. We were in Stockholm when 5 cruise ships were in port and it’s a circus in Gamla Stan then. The Hurtigruten mentioned is not a typical cruise so if set on a boat trip look hard at that.
Most people do the nutshell thing although Ålesund is a breathtakingly beautiful city and there are day coach tours from there to fjords. Ålesund has easy flight connections on Delta/KLM via Amsterdam.
With only a week stick to Norway especially if there are heritage reasons behind the visit. Scandinavia/Finland is very big, and getting around Norway is more time consuming than say Mexico.
As Tom_MN says, getting around Norway is often fastest by flying - much of the country is water and mountains, so trains don't work well and even roads can be indirect. The good news is that SAS and Norwegian Air, and their subsidiaries, compete on many routes, so flights can be affordable as well as frequent.
Speaking of money, Norway is very expensive. Plan for this now, or your trip will be ruined by a nonstop case of sticker shock. That said, Ricks' Scandinavia or Snapshot: Norway books have a number of good money-saving tips for this region.
With only 7 days, you can focus exclusively on Norway (Olso to Bergen is easiest, with a few nights in between in smaller towns and on the fjords), or see Copenhagen or Stockholm (not both) for 2-3 days before heading to Oslo and then Bergen. Connect Oslo and Bergen with Norway In A Nutshell, a coordinated series of trains, boats, and buses that show off Norway's scenic beauty in a single day (you leave Oslo in the morning and arrive in Bergen in the evening). If you have more time than just one day to connect Oslo and Bergen, you can break up the Nutshell route; Rick's books have lots of suggested ideas for doing this.
While in Oslo, there are lots of opportunities to get on the water as well, including sightseeing tours of the harbor and commuter boats that connect various parts of the city (handy for getting from the city center to the museum complex). Or, if you start in Copenhagen, you can then get to Oslo by overnight ship instead of by train or flight.
Does your mother know where in Norway her ancestors came from, and does she want to go there? If so, I'd start with that and build the trip around it.
checkout vacationstogo.com They have a very good selection process
Note that in Norway and Stockholm transfers to and from the airport are often $15-30 on each end so factor that into the fare.
There’s a myth floating around the cruising set that it’s far cheaper to cruise in Norway and Sweden than travel conventionally. I didn’t price out a cruise but ground transportation isn’t all expensive, for example the 5 hour train between Oslo and Stockholm starts at $21 (rising to $120 walk up) and the bus starts at $12. A small hybrid automatic goes for about $400/week in Norway if reserved 6 months in advance (without the extra insurance I always refuse). Airbnb and mostly self-catered meals is in line with other Northern European countries.
Just my experience: Copenhagen is not expensive, Stockholm is a bit expensive but less than London, Norway is expensive but planning ahead takes it way down.
...getting around Norway is often fastest by flying - much of the country is water and mountains....
Joy may be the journey, not just the destintion. Yes, much of the country is mountains but the mountains make for spectacular scenery. And while rail is absent from much of Norway, the Bergen Line from Oslo crossing the Hardangervidda to Bergen is one of the rail journeys to enjoy from ground level. And of course, the Flåm Railway descent and Aurlandsfjord cruise cannot be enjoyed from 30K plus feet above sea level.