My sister and I chose this itinerary to get a feel for my ancestors' lives. My Grandma left a tiny island for Alaska when she was 16 to work in a mining camp. The similarities are remarkable, except the scenery is Alaska on steroids! And the ports, ah, the ports have been forgotten by the Diamond vendors, and chotchke shops of the Caribbean that have taken over the Alaskan ports. Norway is still run by charming Norwegians, who value tourists and care for your tourist dollars (and the VAT you leave there), which helps support their charming lifestyle.
I had sailed the Konigsdam in her first season in the Mediterranean, and what an improvement! Tender lines were short, if any. Never a walk off line, and the ship was full. The only time it felt crowded was just before the Lido closed for lunch about 2:00pm, folks rushing back from shore to eat, get back a bit earlier, or plan to order room service, avoid the crush.
On this 7 day, we never ate in the MDR once. It was something we planned to try. The ship has many lovely dining venues. Pinnacle Grill, as always, great. Canaletto, delicious Italian, and best value of all. Culinary Arts Center surprised us, a Tapas Menu (previously it was farm to table) and the new menu was awesome! Harry, our waiter, chose several items for us from the tapas menu, then had paella, delicious meal to share. We would have gone back again, but didn't discover it until late in the cruise. The deLibrje (?) Pop Up in Pinnacle is a once per cruise extravaganza, and should not be missed if you are a foodie. Rudi's in Sel de Mer was quite special because Rudi Sudimon was on board this cruise and it was a night to remember. He and his staff put together a 9 course meal we won't soon forget. Tamarind is so calming and peaceful, the menu is Pan Asian and the food is delicious. My mushroom allergies left many wonderful dishes out of reach, but we had a memorable meal here too. Many don't know that if it's lobster night in the MDR, it's also the same in the Lido. There was a World Cup Match on the big screen by the Lido pool, so we grabbed our lobster and watched the match with our swimsuits on! Also a memorable night.
The Music is especially wonderful on the ship.Lincoln (Kennedy?) Center Stage the classical music stage plays music you know during their "recital programs." Beatles, Elton John, Radiohead (ask the grandkids).The BB King Queens Lounge is next, though most nights we run between the dueling piano bar next door to sing and there to dance. They play fun songs you know, like Earth, Wing & Fire, Bruno Mars, Pharell William's, doesn't matter if you know how to dance, everyone is out there having fun. Best BBKing band I've seen on 6 ships. John & Jordan on the Pianos are hugely talented, one sounds just like Billy Joel, the other does really high & low notes, they too pack them in every night. At least on out Norway cruise they did. The bar crew didn't mind us ordering waters or bringing drinks from next door. They were great!
They have America's Test Kitchen in the Culinary Arts Center, also very well set up so all can see. There are 2 every sea day. There is a wine barrel mixing, but since I don't drink wine, and Chateau St. Michelle is 6 miles from me it never interested me. There is a very lively Scotch tasting bar, big with the Europeans, right next to the Piano Bar.
I did mostly HAL excursions, which I felt were reasonable for the price, considering the price of gas, food and time involved in each. Our guides spoke English perfectly, we were given plenty of time for toilet and lunch breaks, and were never on the
Our stateroom, 7089, was just off the elevator, great location, right next to the suites hallway. The cabin was well laid out for two people, not sure I'd put a 3rd in there, but the brochure shows you could. Lots of under bed storage, an umbrella and binoculars, mini-fridge, shower only. One side of closet had half hanging area and shelves, the other side had full length hanging and shelf at the bottom. Several drawers in various places around the room, now in one bank. I suggest using packing cubes, then putting on the shelves, acting as drawers, to make it easier to organize those areas. Keep shoes to a minimum, there's just not a lot of extra space for tings you won't be using, except in your suitcase, under the bed.
I enjoyed my shore excursion "Waterfalls and Waffles," through HAL. We visited a dam constructed of huge rocks, no mortar, and engineering marvel. The surrounding mountains and lake were stunning. There was time for some hiking around. Another stop was at a gorgeous waterfall for photographs, near a hotel where Ibsen and Greig wrote their famous opera. A very enjoyable day for me. My sister enjoyed just hiking around the town and enjoying the people, seeing the Nature Center.
We both took a long day shore excursion from HAL called "Molde and the Troll Path" here. It was a long day, but didn't seem like it at all.The bus hopped on a ferry first thing,and drove first to a beautiful coastal road, stopping for a break on a stunning lake. The commentary continued about the history of the area and cultures who had inhabited the area previously, it's importance during WW2. Our stop for lunch was at a lovely very Norwegian place, Jordbaerstova, in the middle of strawberry country, and guess what was in season, yes, strawberries! On our way to the Troll Road, where we hiked a little above, took beautiful photos of the waterfalls, then DROVE the road, with it's switchbacks, then applauded our driver. The road and ferry back was very docile compared to the rest of the day, we were all pretty tired. Arrived back to town with about an hour to spare before sailing.
Bus trip to the Herdal Mountain Goat Farm. We were shown a demonstration of how the goat cheese is made there on the farm. Sadly the herd was out grazing, but the farm itself with the buildings, waterfall, out buildings, and cheese sampling was picturesque, interesting and yummy. I purchased a cheese slicer only available in Norway, my only souvenir of the trip.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Excellent Tour to Edvard Greig's Home including a piano concert at the hall erected there for that purpose. Bergen's most famous son, you know his music, you just don't know you know it. The grounds are gorgeous, and the home is NOT Norwegian, but very interesting. The Fantof Church is all wood, hidden in the woods, and was moved here from another location. there is a lot of walking over uneven ground, and people who can't walk SHOULD NOT ATTEMPT this. A woman on our bus apparently didn't get the memo, and didn't see either of the venues. There are not carts or wheelchairs accessible.View All undefined undefined Reviews