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Cruise ship itinerary in Norway

We are planning for a cruise next summer to the southern Norway fjord region. My wide and I have cruised in different areas with Princess, Celebrity, Holland, Royal Car, and Carnival. We use VacationsToGo for searches and for good discounts.

However, for the Norway itinerary the terminology has me a bit puzzled. For example, sailing from Bergen to Asleund to Gairanger, some lines simply say you arrive at 8 am and leave at 6 pm. Kinda the normal way. Other, like HAL, will say Scenic Cruising between one of the ports, and P&O has Scenic Cruising reference different times.

Understanding the fjords are long and narrow I'm curious about why it's Scenic Cruising on one ship and not on another.
Maybe special lectures, ranger talks, stopping to spin the ship around like in Alaska's Glacier Bay?

Or is it just marketing and copywriting hype? Any thoughts from you all. Of course, when I contact the cruise line they all say they have much scenic cruising. Thanks. Ted

Posted by
21666 posts

Our experience is that scenic cruising is simply day time cruising (at sea on an ocean cruise) sometimes with additional comment. Second, it is mostly terminology or perhaps a little marketing hype. I would not expect all cruise line to use the same terminology. Not sure why the concern for how it is described. Or do you think some ships will take a more scenic route.

Posted by
1489 posts

Most important for Norway is to differentiate between regular cruises and the "maritime bus line" Hurtigruten which you can use like hop-on-hop-off. Furthermore Hurtigruten ships are approximately 50% of size, so more private and they can get into fjords, sounds and ports larger cruise ships have to avoid, e.g. Trollfjord and Raftsund. No cruise ship can get into there and turn on the plate.

Tip to partly answer your queston: have a look at the sailing lists of the ports. Normally you will find a time indication when ships plan to arrive and leave. Example: ship arrivals 2020 of Flam port.

I saw the cruise ships from different lines (e. g. P&O, Costa or Viking Sky before heavy trouble in Norwegian Sea) in the fjords were just driving "normal" in the same speed and way. As fjords have only one open end, all ships have to turn around - difference to sounds. On Hurtigruten you will get some short information via loudspeakers and by cruise directors about special attractions of the day. Do not know what regular cruise lines do there to make it "scenic".

Posted by
7497 posts

On Hurtigruten we went all the way into the fjord, a beautiful experience. Viking lets you off and you can take a smaller boat into the fjord, not the same experience. Make sure you book a ship that actually sails all the way in.

Posted by
263 posts

Markk, Thank you for the cruise schedule. It's comforting to know that when we're in Flam the big boats won't be.

Posted by
5336 posts

We have done 20 ocean cruises and favor Celebrity, but wanted to do a cruise in Norway that went to the North Cape. NCL and Royal Caribbean had the best deals for this type of cruise. WE did Royal Caribbean and it was wonderful.
Here is my review of our cruise.

Celebrity didn't have a North Cape/Arctic Circle cruise.

The use of scenic cruising is more sales talk than anything.

Going up the Geiranger Fjord is was in mid-June and days were long, some it was daylight, but before most people were awake. On departing the city, we saw the fjord quite well and out cruise ship did a 360 right in front of the famous waterfall, it was amazing.

Posted by
7497 posts

I highly recommend Hurtigruten for a more Norwegian experience. Most passengers were Scandinavian or from other countries in Northern Europe, a nice mix. Few from US. The food was terrific.

Posted by
5336 posts

Hurtigruten has smaller ships and is goes to more ports, that is an advantage, however, it only stays a very short time in most ports.
The excursions it offers are only good for about 3-4 ports.

Also, on Hurtigruten you don't get a balcony and it costs more than the main line cruises.

Further, it is more expensive than the main cruise lines.

Also, alcoholic drinks are expensive on Hurtigruten. If you are a regular cruiser on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity, you get free alcoholic drinks during happy hour. ON Royal the happy hour is from 5-8:30PM.