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Cruise or land trip

Hi all,
I've never been to Norway or Sweden and was just wondering if cruising is the best choice versus land/ferry/car.

Posted by
5819 posts

Rick Steve's backdoor philosophy is "to travel close to the ground, meeting and communicating with the people." Do you want to be on a boat filled with other tourist or do you want to travel with feet on the ground?

Posted by
1496 posts

In my opinion a mix is the best option, car round trip and using Hurtigruten as hop-on-hop-off.

On a ship you will not see some places you can only reach by car (e. g. scenic routes) - vice versa (e. g. narrow Trollfjord, also not reachable by large cruise ships, Hurtigruten only).

Crowd topic was raised already but hits you also as tourist by car if you reach places close to cruise ports. Btw. Hurtigruten ship are much smaller than regular cruise ships but they do not stop a whole day in a destination - sometimes only 15-30 minutes.

Posted by
859 posts

Hi, we will be spending 3 weeks in Norway in May/June 2020. We will only be using public transit (no cars as it is extremely expensive to hire a car in Norway). We looked at Hurtigruten but the times in each port were too short for the end-to-end cruise and we couldn't book port-to-port for when we wanted to travel. So now we plan to:

Arrive Oslo from Riga then
Fly Oslo to Bergen - 4 nights (this will include a full day bus trip to Hardangerfjord - all on public buses)
Fly Bergen to Oslo then on to Lillehammer same day by train - 1 night
Train and bus to Alesund - 4 nights (have booked a full day Geirangerfjord cruise with a tour company US$130 each for 8 hour trip))
Bus to Molde - 2 nights (including half day bus trip on Atlantic Road)
Bus Molde to Kristiansund then same day AtB 'commuter' ferry that follows the same route as Hurtigruten and takes about 4 hours to Trondheim - 2 nights
Train (via Roros) to Oslo - 6 nights
Overnight ferry Oslo to Copenhagen

You haven't said how old you are but Norway mostly gives 50% discount on public transit (buses and trains) for seniors over 67 years. We will be making use of this to keep travel costs down.

Posted by
1496 posts

Aussie, would recommend to do one Oslo - Bergen by train, very nice route also intermedienate stop at Flam and Voss.

Why back to Oslo? From Bergen you can just get by Hurtigruten (port-to-port) to Alesund, also in June 1 day into Geirangerfjord and exiting in Molde.

Posted by
859 posts

Hi MarkK, Hurtigruten is unfortunately booked out for our travel dates for trip to Alesund and we leave Norway at start of June. Flying back to Oslo is because we want to do the train via Dombas to Andalsnes which we have been told is also very scenic and because a return flight in and out of Bergen worked out better than a flight-train combo.

Posted by
269 posts

Hi Lynn
We're going in June and looking at the land/ferry/car route in Norway, though my friend, Gail, also going at the same time, is doing the ferry. We'll be back in July and can report then. Are you planning a trip there in 2020?

Posted by
39 posts

All great suggestions, guys! We will be 68 in June, so glad to hear of those discounts. I usually travel with rental cars, trains, but just wasn't sure about access to many places if use cruise. We will be going this June, but would love to hear of any adventures if we postpone until 2021. Much appreciated!

Posted by
6677 posts

We looked into Hurtigruten and compared it to cruises by NCL and Royal Caribbean.
Hurtiguten has some advantages and disadvantages compared to main stream cruise lines.

Hurtiguten is more expensive. Comparing Hurtiguten cabin with NO balcony is more expensive than a cruise ship with NCL or Royal with a balcony.
Hurtiguten visits way more ports, but many ports the ship only stay a few minutes, so you don't have much time to tour. They offer excursions for a few ports, but not as many as the main cruise lines.

There is a lot of great entertainment on the main cruise ships, little on H.
There are many more options for dining with the main cruise ships than on H.

Also, I am not totally sure on this, but alcohol on H is very expensive. You can get a beverage package on the main lines, or a low cost wine package if you drink wine.

Posted by
4656 posts

As others have said, why not both? In my opinion the best way to plan a trip is to first decide where you want to go and what you want to see, then you start looking at the best way to get there.

Posted by
5819 posts

Depends on the weather.

We were on the Hurtigruta Nord Norge boarding at Meham at the end of our ski tour for an overnight journey to Kirkenes a number of years ago. Great breakfast. We had a smooth voyage but heard that the group trailing us had to do a long road trip back to Finland because their boat was canceled because of severe weather. Must have been conditions like this:
Hurtigruta MS Nord Norge Bodø 21.01.20

During the severe storm that struck northern Norway last week, high
winds drove the Hurtigruten cruise ferry Nordnorge hard against a pier
at the port of Bodø, Nordland during berthing.

The Nordnorge approached the dock with the wind on her starboard beam,
heeling visibly to port. As she drifted beam-on towards the pier she
deployed her starboard side anchor.

Posted by
9637 posts

You can’t compare Hurtigruten to the big cruise ships as their ships are not cruise ships! That is what we liked best about them.