It has been on my cruise bucket list for a long time: Norway. Also referred to as the Alaska of Europe, Norway bursts with breathtaking Nature, astonishing Wildlife and a rich history full of Myths, Legends and Fables. The name “Norway” springs from the Old Norse term norðrvegr (“Northern Way” or “Way to the North”) which was used by the Geats and the Danes at early time of history. It is proofed that the first settlements date back to 10,000 BC, yet Norway is particularly popular for the reign of the Vikings.
In June 2015, I decided spontaneously to cross Norway from my cruise bucket list and set sail for a week of my personal Norwegian adventure on the, at that time, freshly refurbished Norwegian Star out of Copenhagen, Denmark.
I had already visited the same ship a year before in the Port of Copenhagen to make interior shots at that time and I remember it being very easy to get to the cruise terminal from Copenhagen Airport, but since a lot of construction works had happened between 2014 and 2015, my individual transfer turned out as more difficult as I had remembered.
Norwegian Star was scheduled to depart from the new cruise terminal Ocean Quay which lies in the northernmost part of the harbour, Nordhavn. Therefor, the easiest way to get to the ship from the airport is by train. Get off at Copenhagen Østerport Station (main station) and then continue with Bus 27 until Oceankaj.
I still had the previous berth Frihavnen in mind (which lies in walking distance from the homonymous train station), so I ended up completely soaked after a strenuous 45 minutes walk all the way to Ocean Quay, where Norwegian Star was moored and ready for us excited cruise adventurers to board the ship and sail on the “Traces of the Vikings“.
It was great to be back aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line vessel and the warm welcome of the cheerful and most friendly crew made me forget the previous stress instantly. With a capacity of roughly 2,400 passengers and many open decks, Norwegian Star is a great ship for scenic cruising (and Nature photography) while enjoying all the amenities of a right-sized Freestyle Resort without the suppressed feeling of mass cruising that some of the bigger ships emit.
So after moving into my comfortable interior stateroom on Deck 8 Aft it was time for a little stroll through the ship´s facilities and public spaces before the Safety Drill was conducted.
Completely exhausted from the day, I decided to check out the newly installed Sugarcane Mojito Bar up on Deck 13 for a Jalapeno Cucumber Mojito sundowner before I grabbed a little dinner at the newly decorated O´Sheehan´s Neighbourhood Grill after the ship had left port. This bar was introduced with the Norwegian Breakaway back in 2013 and is one of my favourite Norwegian Cruise Line bars so far.
So no surprise that while the sun began to set on this exciting first day and Norwegian Star plowed through the waves northbound, my mind slowly geared down into “Vacation mode” eventually and I became very, very tired.
The next morning rang in a full day at sea. “Freestyle Cruising“at its best! After a good night´s sleep and a quick workout at the gym, time to grab some yoghurt and fruits in the Market Café up on Deck 12 and then studying the daily bulletin on one of the loungers down on the outdoor promenade. This is a great place if you want to feel close to the Ocean and enjoy a little privacy away from the hustle and bustle of the ship´s atrium or pool deck.
As always, the entertainment options were infinite. Art classes, trivia, contests, readings, etc. Whatever you were looking for, you´d find it.
After a few hours in the fresh air, I actually decided to participated in a lecture about famous artists. Having majored in Art during my final years at High School, I learned on this day at sea again, that it is never too late to learn something new about a subject that you thought you knew at least a little about already. For instance, that Marc Chagall was originally Russian and that Pablo Picasso has produced quite a selection of ceramics in his life. Picasso´s very famous “Blue Period” came as a result of grief over a close friend´s suicide. Shame on me if I was ought to know this, but come one, it´s been over two decades 🙂 … .
After my newly acquainted knowledge about famous painters, it was actually already time for an aperitif (Gosh, time really flies when you´re having fun). As the newly installed 5 o´clock Somehwere Bar on Deck 7 was not really able to convince me as my cocktail home base, I happened to settle in at Gatsby´s Champagne Bar for a Dirty Martini this time. And even while not being the biggest fan of trivia, the one I happened to accidentally eye-witness while slurping my Martini this time did teach me three interesting facts that everyone can easily include in his/her next small talk adventure to loosen up any party atmosphere:
- Felix the Cat is the first cartoon character that made it into New York´s world-famous balloon parade
- Mexico is the only country in the world that had three presidents in one single day
- and the Pigeon is the fastest creature to be raced.
One thing I simply love about the Freestyle concept onboard the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet is the independence in time and place. Particularly as a single cruiser or when you travel in a larger group, being sovereign of fixed dinner tables at a certain restaurant is modern luxury at highest level, at any time of day.
Tonight´s dinner I spent in the intimacy of the Aqua Main Dining Room. Being a single traveler onboard and unattached to a schedule does not only make you your own “Captain of Time”, it also promotes meeting your co-travelers if you are keen on doing so. So while enjoying the friendly service and a round of good laughs, it was time to head to my personal refuge up on Deck 8.
Alesund, the first stop on this voyage, was coming up the next morning. And I wanted to be ready for it!
That´s it for now, peeps. Stay tuned for the Norwegian Adventure to continue and discover Alesund, the northernmost Art Nouveau capital. Soon on http://www.HideousJourneys.com!
Safe travels, folks!