Age: 21 to 35
Occupation:Public Relations Work
Number of Cruises: 6 t
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Sailing Date: June 19th, 1999
Itinerary: Norwegian Highlights
As you can see, Sundal was added as a second port of call at the beautiful
Hardangerfjord. In addition we stayed in Bergen much longer than expected and had no chance to visit
Ayr in Scotland. This was due to a leak in the ship. Yes, that's correct: a leak in the ship. But
this sounds more dramatic than it actually was. During drydock at Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven (Germany)
in May, the two propeller shafts had been removed, maintained, and installed again. For some reason
either the seal around the portside shaft had been of bad quality, or the shipyard had done a bad
work installing it. For one of these reasons water got into the ship between the hull and the
portside shaft. Experts from Lloyd Werft had to be flown in, but they arrived very late due to bad
weather conditions at Amsterdam airport where they should have boarded a plane to Bergen.
Of course we had been looking forward to visiting Ayr, but these things happen! Here are a few pieces of information about the ports of call we actually visited:
Amsterdam: Since we had been to Amsterdam many times before, we stayed on board end enjoyed the shipboard life. The "CostaAllegra" was in port with us that day.
Oslo: Norway's capital is a beautiful city, and especially the view from Holmenkollen ski jump is breathtaking. We took a city tour ("Scenic Oslo") and had some additional time to walk into town afterwards. Sadly, everything is very expensive in Norway, so we kept shopping to a minimum. The P&O cruise ship "Victoria" was in port with us that day.
Stavanger: I've read a review of this cruise by a fellow traveler who didn't like it. He stated Stavanger as one of the main reasons for his dissatisfaction. Not that Stavanger is a bad place to be. It is in fact very nice, but the ship encountered some difficulties there. We arrived on time but it took the captain and two tug boats more than an hour to turn the ship in the small harbor. Therefore we docked about an hour late. For some reason we did not dock directly at the pier, but at large pontoons that were situated alongside the pier. Because of this the ship's gangways and the Biscayne Deck doors could not be used. Instead, a gangway that had been brought by the port authorities had to be used with the Norway Deck midship door. Sadly this gangway was very, very steep (approximately 40 - 45°), and many elderly people refused to use it (which I see as being nothing but correct). In addition the gangway was not only steep, but also very slippery. It was decided to put crew members on the gangway (every 1.5 meters or so) to assist people using the gangway. But this turned out to be a terribly slow matter! By three o'clock in the afternoon the majority of shore excursion groups was still onboard and the line in front of the gangway reached over four decks! We wanted to go ashore independently, but realized that it would take us several hours to get off the ship. By that time it was announced that the ship's starboard tender would be made ready and we immediately proceeded to the forward tender station on Biscayne Deck. The staff captain appeared and apologized for the inconveniences, but said he had already suggested to use the tender more than a hour before, but had been voted down. So we took the tender ashore, what was really funny because we drove around the "Norway‘s" bow and were put ashore right on the other side. Not only the crowd on the pier but also the passengers aboard our sister ship, the M/S "Norwegian Dream" that was docked alongside, enjoyed this special "show" very much. The whole gangway trouble caused huge delays in the schedule. The last shore excursions had been expected back at about 5:30 P.M., but the last one arrived at 10:30 P.M. (!). A "very late seating" had to be added to the Dining room schedule and we finally headed for Rosendal after the last bus had arrived.
Rosendal and Sundal: These are two small villages at the Hardangerfjord. They only have a handful of inhabitants. Since we had not purchased a shore excursion we stayed onboard. Some nice waterfalls and the world's largest manufacturer of lifeboats can be found at the Hardangerfjord.
Flam: This small village is located at the Sognefjord, the longest fjord in the world. A new cruise terminal had been inaugurated a few weeks earlier, and the "Norway" was the largest ship to use it so far. Flam station is the starting point of the magnificent Flam Railway, which takes you thru a countryside of incredible beauty. We took the "Train to Vatnahalsen" tour and enjoyed it very much - although I usually don't like traveling by train. At Vatnahalsen Hotel, coffee and waffles were served.
Geiranger : Geirangerfjord is one of the most beautiful Norwegian fjords. There are numerous waterfalls and the view from the 1,500 meter-high Mount Dalsnibba is breathtaking. But be prepared for a bus journey that is already breathtaking itself. Traveling from sea level to an altitude of 1,500 meters within an hour and on a road where you look at of the window and only look down a precipice of sometimes 800 meters is nothing for anybody who suffers from fear of heights! There are often several cruise ships in Geiranger each day. We were there together with Page & Moy Cruises' "Ocean Majesty" and Leisure Cruises' "Switzerland".
Trondheim: A beautiful city at the Trondheimfjord. We took a long town walk (more than five miles) and enjoyed the city's different sights, including the harbor, the famous cathedral, the shopping areas etc. The cathedral is beautiful, and I would have loved to listen to a choir in there. We also walked to the secondary cruise terminal (the "Norway" occupied the whole new terminal), to have a look at Hapag-Lloyd Seetouristik's "Europa" on her last cruise and just two days before her retirement. She still looked great and you wouldn't believe she's 17 years old.
Andalsnes and Molde : We stayed on board in Molde because it was very hot that day. We tried the sundeck and loved it! :-) The "CostaAllegra" was in port with us, again.
Bergen: I already reported about the problems that occurred with the ship's portside propeller shaft, so I will concentrate on the beautiful city of Bergen. Since the "Norway" is too long for the cruise terminal, we were docked at a cargo terminal on the outskirts. We took the shuttle bus into town and had a walk of town there. The fish market is incredible - I hadn't seen anything like it so far. The old houses of Bryggen are also amazing, as is the "Hakonshallen" - this is one of the most picturesque cities I've seen - sadly it's also the rainiest city in Norway and the two days we spent there were partially rainy. A number of cruise ships were in port with us: the "CostaAllegra" (once more) and the "Funchal" on the first day, and P&O's "Arcadia", Festival's / First European's "Flamenco" and the Dutch ship "Club I" on the second day.
The report card...
Ship (general maintenance, facilities etc.): B+
Cabin (furnishings, "level of luxury" etc.): C
Service (cabin steward): D+
Service (dinner waiter): A+
Service (dinner busboy): B
Service (open seatings): C+
Dining Room Food (quality, taste): B+
Buffet Food (quality, taste): C+
Overall score: A- to B+
Please note that the overall score is not the average of the single evaluations, since I believe some of those are more important than others! The average of the single evaluations would be "B" - but this is definitely less than we would rate this cruise!
If there are any additional questions, please fell free to contact me.