Zuiderdam - The Ship
Older ship, but renovated in 2017. Maintenance is never ending for ships. Each port day we observed, scraping, painting and power washing. And, yet, there still are areas of rust and wear. But, overall, the ship was well maintained. Deck crew worked hard, long days.
A few of the public rooms were too small for their intended purpose. For example: BB King lounge – The lounge was crowded every night. Arrive early to get a seat. Some of the BB King lounges on other HAL ships occupy an upper and lower level. The lounge on the Zuiderdam occupies one level.
The ship is docked outside of town. Don’t consider a taxi; it’s too expensive. Either take a Stromma HOHO bus, (the red busses all look identical, but they’re different companies), or the public bus and train. Stromma stops at the dock (OceanKaj) and visits all the major sites. During the summer, there are 3 different bus tours, Classic, Urban Green, and Colorful Copenhagen. All 3 tours costs 33 Euros. HOHO’s run every 30 minutes. However, be prepared to wait longer when traffic is heavy. Jump off at the Stroget to shop, eat and people watch. Don’t forget to visit the “Little Mermaid”. There’s always a crowd here, especially if the weather is nice. If you’ve never experienced “Tivoli Gardens” make a point to visit. You won’t be disappointed. There are amusements, beautiful gardens, and, of course, restaurants.
Strolled into town from the ship. Rode the Funicular up to Mt. Florian. Wonderful views. For the more adventurous, walks, hikes and guided tours are offered. Recommend purchasing tickets on-line to avoid long lines. Although busy with tourists, we walked through the reconstructed old town buildings and outdoor markets.
With the ship docked in town, everything in town is close. And, the first place to visit is the Tourist Cinema located inside a corner souvenir shop, at Lorkenesgata 1. It’s literally across the street from the cruise port. The film takes the visitor on a journey of history, and provides a bird’s eye view of the spectacular fjords. The show lasts 17 minutes. Also recommended is the HOHO bus, which travels to all the major attractions both in and out of the City. The entire tour takes about 80 minutes. The Aksla viewpoint, as well as the aquarium, are worth a Hop-Off. It is recommended that visitors use their credit card for the HOHO bus. Not only is it the best exchange rate, there’s a 10% discount on the price of the tour.
With a short walk into town, be certain to visit “Into the Arctic” located at Strandgata 53. This exhibit provides excellent insight to life in the north. Akureyrarkirka Church – by Eyrarlandsveg is worth a visit. It was the grandest church in Iceland when it was built in 1940. Definitely the best ice cream in Iceland, visit Brynjuis Ice Cream – Adalstraeti 3. Lake Myvatin is worth a visit, located an hour from Akureyri.
The ship tenders to shore. Despite this being a very small town, a few good museums are located here. Visit the Hevrsdagssafn – Museum of Everyday Life, located at Hafnarstraeti 5. It provides an inside look of life in Iceland.
The HoHo bus stops at the cruise terminal. It stops at all major sights in town. Don’t miss: “The Whales of Iceland” exhibition, located at Fiskislod 23-25, in the old harbor area. Best whale museum I’ve seen. Visit the Volcano House. View 2 documentary films about the most powerful volcanic eruptions over the last 40 years in Iceland, located at Tryggvagata 11.
For an absolutely stunning view of the City, take an elevator to the top of the church tower of Hallgrimkirkja, located at Hallgrimstorg 1. A must is the Golden Circle Tour offered by Snaeland Travel. A private car and driver will meet you at the Cruise Ship Center. The following was visited on this tour: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Hot Springs, the magnificent Gullfoss, Faxi waterfalls, including the fish ladder and the geothermal ovens at Laugavata Fontana to witness bread being baked.
Ship tenders to the small town. Hired Shetland Taxi Company to provide us with a private car and Gordon, our guide, to showcase the island. Gordon, took us northwest to Wormadale Hill and as far south as Sumburgh Head Light House. We stopped at the Croft House Museum. Gordon proudly showed off the amazing hills and coastline of Shetland Island. If your interests lie in archeological sites, there are historic sites all over the island. But, the best, in my opinion, is Clickimin Broch, dating between 1,000 BC to 500 AD. Do not miss seeing the Shetland ponies or the puffins!
We decided to visit the area on our own, and hired Robert, owner and operator, of ness-tours.co.uk. Robert helped us create a 5-hour personal itinerary, visiting Loch Ness, Inverness, Beauly, Black Isle and the surrounding countryside. Robert is a natural, confident, tour guide and great fun.