Vision of the Seas Cruise Review by Love the Ocean: We loved it!
Overall Member Rating
We loved it!
Destination: Baltic Sea
This was a wonderful way to see some of Norway. On a previous trip we'd lugged our suitcases and tried to find reasonably priced restaurants but the cruise made it easy - no lugging and always a great dinner! We'd learned a little Norwegian and I think it helped us get a very friendly reception from local people.
Kristiansand, our first stop, had a beautiful harbor area. We walked through it with the crowd from the boat and then left the crowd and found a bakery/restaurant that was open downtown (many stores were closed). We had the best egg salad/salmon sandwich we've ever had in a charming place with mostly locals. Our Norwegian neighbor back home had recommended the Arkivet - a museum that is very popular with Norwegians. It's a museum in the old Gestapo headquarters in town. It wasn't in the guidebooks because everything was in Norwegian, but a guide takes you through the museum and combines his personal history with the museum exhibits. His English was not perfect but it More was a fascinating experience.
In Stavanger we walked through a beautiful charming old neighborhood of homes of fishermen and trades people from an earlier era. A local recommended Godt Brod, a wonderful bakery/restaurant where we had great sandwiches and wonderful help from a waiter who patiently helped us get internet access. Then we walked to the oil museum - very interesting and shows the Norwegians' ambivalence about providing more oil (fossil fuel) to our warming climate. I enjoyed the ambience, some beautiful stores, the church from the 1100's.
In Alesund we walked up the steep hill to the Alesund Museum - the tour buses don't go there because it's not large but it had a very interesting section on World War II and some local exhibits. They provided books with English translations. Loved the egg exhibit - a local had engineered this egg shaped lifeboat and crossed the Atlantic 1904 with 4 others in this unusual craft. We'd had a snack in the bakery near the boat - I tried the Norwegian "waffle with brown cheese" and really liked it - must be part of my Norwegian heritage! Very unusual, beautiful city - a fire in 1904 meant that most of the town had been rebuilt in Art Deco style. Drizzling and we were tired so we didn't walk as much as we wanted.
Geiranger - a World Heritage site - spectacular. We walked around town, tried the shops, had a great lunch at a little cafe, and then took a ferry tour of the fjord (at a price of $30 something compared with RC's much more expensive tour). However it looked like RC had some very interesting trips here. The cruise leaves about 5 pm so you have a lovely trip out of the fjords - sunset was later there - maybe 8:30. I would have liked more fjord scenery on the tripl.
Bergen - we'd been here before and seen the very interesting Hanseatic Museum. This time we did the small Bryggens Museum - the archeological excavations of Old Bergen - interesting but small. We walked around, did some shopping and of course had to eat at the wonderful, authentic fish market - loved my fish cake (had never had one before). It was easy to get off the tourist route and see some of the shopping areas the locals use.
Beautiful sun for the afternoon of our last day - a day at sea. I sat in a deck chair on 10 and soaked up the sun and the sea. We hated to leave - we'd gotten to know some of the staff and had wonderful interesting tablemates from Singapore. Really a wonderful, easy way to see some of Norway's interesting cities! Less
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