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Excursions from cruise--Western Fjords

Hi Team, I'm back.
Ok, cruise w/ mom nailed down! 8 night Norwegian fjords, 9/1-9/9 '18 aboard the Celebrity Silhoutte. We stop for a whole, grand 10 hours or so in each of these ports: Bergen, Alesund, Stavanger, Geiranger, Flam. I think we're planning on the ship excursions for Flam (train ride + guided hike) and Stavanger (Pulpit Rock hike). Bergen seems pretty cosmo--not too worried about figuring that one out on my own. But would definitely welcome ideas for Geiranger and Alesund. Anyone know of good bike or kayak rental places (again, September)? Should we do a fjord cruise or boat ride, even though we're on a cruise? (That is, can little ships go where our massive cruise boat can't?). I've heard of a Birksdal Glacier that could be cool (but saw some disappointing reviews)? To be safe, I'm thinking anything we do on our own, we should probably account for a max of 4-6 hours, so we have plenty of time to debark, get where we need to go, and embark once again. Interests are all over the map--love the great outdoors, but can get lost in any museum and love me some history and shopping as well. I'll also be a solid 5 months pregnant, but whatever. Make no mistake, I will pound pavement every single hour off that boat. Cruisers feedback especially welcome--this is my first one! Many, many thanks! Cheers, Liz

Posted by
246 posts

When you pull into Geiranger you will very likely be offered a bus tour up to the top of Mt Dalsnibba which is south of town several miles. If weather cooperates (no thick low-hanging clouds), I strongly suggest that you take this tour. I don't know how much they may charge, but it is a really spectacular view on a clear day. The trip goes up to 4800 feet elevation where you are on about the same level as the surrounding peaks. And you can see all the way down to Geiranger at sea level. Its the best view we saw in Norway . Better than some viewpoints that have much more publicity. Plus you have the thrill of going up & down through some very tight hairpin turns, which are sure to get your attention. Other than shoreside scenery trips, IMO there's very little to do in Geiranger unless you love spending time shopping for troll dolls. Just as a point of interest about the Geiranger fjord, you might look up "Åkerneset" on the web before you go, and maybe even get the Norwegian movie Bolgen, with subtitles. Coastal Norway is spectacular, have fun.

Posted by
11271 posts

In addition to any replies you get here, you should look at Cruise Critic. However, the site is very difficult to navigate.

Here's their Roll Calls for the Celebrity Silhouette. You can meet others on your sailing, and organize private excursions with them, thus cutting the cost while still having a more customized experience than the ships's tours. https://www.cruisecritic.com/rollcalls/?cruise_line_id=9&ship_id=594

Here is their Northern Europe and Baltic Sea Ports forum, where you can get specific information on your destinations and what other cruisers have done: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=192

Posted by
1624 posts

Hi Liz, we are currently on a cruise and stopped at Geiranger a few days ago. It’s a small port with several souvenir shops and a couple of restaurants. We did the included bus tour that stopped at a few viewpoints. We also took a jet boat ride (RIB) that was fun. We arranged the jet boat through the cruise line but you could easily make arrangements on your own. Just walk up to the place and buy a ticket. They also rent kayaks and bikes. It’s to the right of the pier.

This was our first cruise so we booked the excursions through the ship. Geiranger is a nice little port. It was foggy the day we were there, hope you get clear weather!

Do sign up with Cruise Critic. They had a nice cocktail party for the “members” one night on our cruise.

Posted by
3 posts

Hi Liz,

For your first cruise I think you’ve picked a great itinerary there. I’m looking to book my third Fjords cruise this year which visits many of these destinations.

Bergen is a decent sized city with interesting districts, so if you’re anything like me you will be happily be able to fill your time just walking around and exploring. The Funicular is worth looking at however as the views are impressive and there are beautiful walks that you can do from the top. I would say this is non-essential however, given how many great vista’s you will experience on your trip.

Geirangerfjord is a must visit when you’re in Geiranger, and there will certainly be options to take this excursion from your ship. The Fjord Farms here were a highlight for me and I would expect one of these abandoned farms to be part of a tour.

Ålesund is also a destination you’ll be pleased you visited. Small but very pretty, you will certainly want to kill a few hours just walking around. Unsurprisingly it’s a great place also to go out for seafood! You might also want to visit the aquarium whilst you’re here http://atlanterhavsparken.no/en

Happy to give more advice on these locations if you need :)

Posted by
1834 posts

We just left Flam a few days ago and are still in Norway. The best thing we have done so far, take the Flamsbana train from Flam up the mountain to Myrdal. Rent bikes at the top and bike down through some of the most jaw-dropping, spectacular scenery on this earth. There are some hairpin, steep turns at the top, but since we have our kids with us, we walked the bikes down that part and then rode. This is an adventure activity, not sure how old your mom is or her level of comfort with adventure, but it was not physically challenging at all since it is all downhill. Total time is 1 hr train ride, 2 hours biking. I highly recommend this!!!!!

Posted by
1624 posts

Hi Liz, plan to wear layers. We’re in Lofoten today. It’s beautiful, sunny and 71 degrees but the wind makes it feel much cooler. Excursions on the water also bring the temp down. Bring sun glasses, a hat and gloves. Have fun!

Posted by
24 posts

You all the are the BEST. Thank you! These replies are so very helpful! Quick follow-up--when the cruise says, we dock at X and depart at Y (e.g., we arrive in Bergen at 11am and depart at 8pm), what does that REALLY mean? My mom did splurge to get the "concierge" level, for early embark and debarkation, but wasn't sure if that referred to the very first and last day of the cruise or each time we land in a port. Trying to gauge exactly how much time I'll really have in each place (see: pounding pavement in original post)...
Our last outstanding one--Alesund. Not thrilled with the cruise's excursion offerings here. Could we just book a trip off the boat there pretty easily? Rent bikes or something? Think that would be easily accessible off the ship? Or find a self-guided walking tour of some kind? I have only found something here and there online...

Thanks so much all! Cheers, Liz