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Norway In A Nutshell & Baltic Cruise

In May, my husband and I will fly to Oslo and stay there 1 night or 2 nights. Then we will do Norway in a Nutshell and go to Bergen for 3 nights. One thing on my bucket list is hang gliding in Bergen or nearby. Next we will fly to Copenhagen for 2 nights and then will do a 11 night trip on the Regal Princess to Scandinavia and Russia returning to Copenhagen for 1 night. Part of the trip will be somewhat redundant as we will go to Oslo for a day.

I have read several places that you should not try to combine both but it is likely this will be our last opportunity to visit Europe. Thoughts? Suggestions? Hotel recommendations needed
– we like clean, safe and unusual....and not too over $225/night.

Posted by
745 posts

The Grand Terminus Hotel in Bergen is directly across a little cobblestone road from the Bergen rail station. It is safe, clean and not at all unusual, but it is absurdly convenient. It's an old railway hotel. Breakfast is served with you room costs, and staying there is a bit of a throwback to an earlier age. There are many hotels in Bergen, but it's the only one I've visited. The Grand Terminus is within your price point - keep in mind, Norway is expensive. An included breakfast saves you about $20 per person in travel costs.
Hang gliding? Sorry, I don't know anything, there.
I have stayed at one of the many Thon hotels in Oslo. The one I know is the Thon Munch, located near the National Gallery but not near the Oslo train station - about a 1 kilometer walk or an overpriced taxi ride. Nothing remarkable at all, but it is safe, clean and also in your price range. I would stay there, again, although it has no charm or character.....sorta like me.

With the exception of the obvious scenic beauty, I think Rick downplays Norway a bit. Maybe it's Norwegian modesty, but he seems to write and speak somewhat condescendingly about the country of his relatives. I love it - Oslo, Bergen, the fjords, other than the expense of visiting, it's a perfect place to go - especially if you like ethnic food. When it comes to the culinary arts, Scandinavia is not France.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you so much, Blue439, for the helpful information. I will definitely take safe, clean, and convenient over unusual. I am really looking forward to this trip since learning about Norway In A Nutshell.

One last thing- there is no way you lack charm, character or a sense of humor.

Posted by
5786 posts

My hotel choice in Oslo is the Thon Hotel Astoria, one of a number of Thon properties in Oslo. The Astoria is two or three short blocks from the Oslo S Central Train Station and a half block from Karl Johans gate. Thon has a range of properties with Astoria falling more into the "budget" class relative to Norwegian pricing.

Posted by
1665 posts

I've stayed at First Hotel Marin in Bergen - convenient to the historic waterfront. Comfort Hotel Børsparken in Oslo was a few blocks from the train station - hipster decor, but clean and good breakfast. Both had good rates (for Norway) on booking.com.

If you can, I would suggest breaking up your NIN trip and stay overnight half way at Flam. The train ride from Oslo to Myrdal is very long and boring, and though not much to do in Flam, it's nice to have a breather and also miss some of the crowds the next day. The Flam Marina Apartments are comfortable and have a spectacular view. Also, if possible sit on the left side of the train going down from Myrdal to Flam - the best views are on that side.

Posted by
5786 posts

The train ride from Oslo to Myrdal is very long and boring....

I take exception to the "boring" in that the section between Geilo and Myrdal crossing the Hardangervidda is a scenic journey. above tree line.

Check out the video link in this webpage for "For a taste of what the journey is like, watch this 10-minute NSB video condensing footage from the entire seven-hour journey between Oslo and Bergen":
http://realscandinavia.com/hardangervidda-high-crossing-norways-vast-mountain-plateau-on-the-bergen-railway/

The Youtube line:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql2qXpNVTjw&feature=youtu.be

I will agree with CL that it is a "long" ride.

Posted by
1665 posts

Fair point to Edgar regarding my "boring" comment. I agree the scenery was pretty in several parts, but my journey was masked by torrential rains and fog, making it monotonous and less than scenic the bulk of the way. It's a high speed train, so it's not really a photo-op trip (unless you like blurry). My intended point was that it's a six hour train ride, which will take up a good chunk of the day no matter what you see outside the windows.

Posted by
5786 posts

To paraphrase a US Great Basin National Park ranger, the Hardangervidda may be boring, but it is a significant boring. The Hardangervidda is similar to the North American Great Basin in that it's significance is its vastness. While one kilometer may seem similar to another, the total journey across the vast high plateau is significant.

I would note that the joy of train travel is not so much the destination as the journey. And I would think that the train journey across the Hardangervidda is less "boring" than cruising across the Baltic on a big ship.

BTW the way to take scenic photos from a moving train is to set your digital camera to the predictive focus "sports" mode and shoot at a "wide angle". https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-use-sports-mode/

Sports Mode is a quick setting to adapt the camera with these typical
settings:

Increase ISO variably to higher setting

Reduce f/stop for a shallower depth of field

Increase shutter speed to help stop fast action

Increase frame advance to highest setting (measured in frames per
second or fps)

Adjust auto focus mode to adaptive or artificial servo

Lastly, the auto focus mode is changed to a predictive setting
(named differently on different cameras). This setting will often use
a complex system to anticipate direction, speed and closeness of the
main subject in order to calculate the precise focus at the time of
shutter activation.

Posted by
11289 posts

"I have read several places that you should not try to combine both but it is likely this will be our last opportunity to visit Europe. Thoughts?"

I'm not sure where you read that you shouldn't combine NIN and a Baltic cruise, but they are very different experiences, so I think they combine just fine!

Do get Rick Steves Northern European Cruise Ports, as this book will have information about most (although possibly not all) of your cruise destinations. You may also want to borrow Rick Steves Scandinavia from the library, for more information about hotels and sights in Bergen and Oslo (the cruise book has some info on hotels in Copenhagen).

I stayed at Thon Hotels back in 2003, when they have a different name (Golden Tulip Rainbow Hotels). I used the Bristol in Bergen and the Rosenkrantz in Oslo, and these were fine. They're certainly safe and clean, but then, so is most of Scandinavia. I'm not sure what you are looking for when you say "unusual," but Rick also lists some B&B's and homestays, which would probably be more suitable if you want something more individual than a chain hotel.

Posted by
5 posts

I appreciate all the feedback. CL, I like your idea about staying overnight in Flam, and I am seriously considering doing that. Harold, several people on various travel forums have discouraged combining a trip to Scandinavia and Baltic Cruise. It’s encouraging to know that not everyone feels the same. The best way I can describe my desire for an “unusual” hotel is one that will impress my grandchildren. I really enjoy sharing my adventures with them....and anyone else who will listen. 😀

Posted by
5786 posts

...an “unusual” hotel is one that will impress my grandchildren....

We overnighted in Voss at the Fleischers Hotel. The hotel's breakfast dining area was as visually impressive as was the breakfast buffet.
https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/fleischers-hotel/3762/

Since the tourist industry started in the late nineteenth century, the
hotel has been a favourite haunt of royalty and nobility as well as
the ordinary tourist and traveller.

http://www.historichotelsworldwide.com/hotels-resorts/fleischers-hotel/history.php

At the turn of the century, Kings, Kaisers, Emperors, and other
prominent guests from all corners of the world frequented the
guestrooms of Fleischer’s Hotel proving the success and popularity of
the hotel. Today, the hotel corridors are adorned with documentation
of the aristocratic visits with displays that include an original
guestbook, ornate diplomas, King Leopold of Belgium’s gold tiepin
decorated with diamonds, and the private toilet of Emperor Willhelm II
of Germany.

The hotel is next to the Voss rail station. Norwegian electric trains do not make a lot of noise and I don't remember being disturbed by train traffic.

Posted by
5 posts

Edgar, What a fascinating history the Fleischers Hotel has! It’s likely that we will add another day or two to this trip. Thank you.