Norwegian´s Norway | In Seven Days through Europe´s Alaska onboard Norwegian Star – Bergen

I am awfully sorry that it took me so long to follow-up with the next and final blog post about my cruise to the Norwegian Fjords onboard Norwegian Star, but these last weeks have been so filled up with work and leisure trips, that I have had actually a hard time finding a moment in between to not breathe with increased heart rhythm and a pulse of 180, lol. But I promise to do better in the future. I am planning to keep my future posts shorter without leaving out the most relevant information in order to be able to post closer to my travels. And this one shall be the first of the kind!

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After being more than lucky with the weather during the preceding days of the cruise, our last stop in Bergen was literally soaked with rain. So there was no chance of enjoying the panoramic view onto town from Mt. Fløyen viewing point, nor taking my camera with me without risking it to get a rash action by the enormous amounts of water falling down from the sky.

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But thank goodness to the mostly reliable weather forecasts these days, I had been aware of this the day before our arrival and therefore had plenty of time to research how to stay entertained even on a rainy day in this beautiful city. And since an umbrella and a well insulated windbreaker should belong to everyone´s packing list when considering a trip to Norway at all times of the year, rain would not hold me on the ship and miss out on all the highlights that Bergen has to offer:

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Like a stroll through the historic walls of Bryggen. The cruise terminal lies only a short walk from downtown Bergen with the World Heritage Site just being a stone´s throw away. While most of the buildings have actually been reconstructed during the 1950´s after the massive fire in 1702 and World War II, Bryggen remains highly fascinating! I got goosebumps walking the narrow streets in the rain. The reconstruction is so realistic, that Bryggen will take you on a journey back in time. Amazing!

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But also the rest of Bergen, which ranks these days second largest city in Norway behind the capital Oslo, surprises with lots of historic buildings and architecture. Some houses date back to the 12th Century! It is a lot of fun to sneak through the back streets and discover neighbourhoods with picturesque cafés, lively bars and highly romantic little public parks. With every step you´ll take through in this area, you´d expect a Viking behind every corner that you pass. A great and unique atmosphere.

Another thing that some of you might not expect to find here is a vibrant art scene with lots and lots of independent artists´ studios and galleries to showcase their works. Particularly spray art, or graffiti, is the most popular contemporary style which is also showcased on a lot of houses or walls within the city. These two articles (Art scene in Bergen & Best Galleries in Bergen) give you a good overview on what Bergen has to offer in terms of local art and craftsmanship. There are also tons of little antique stores where I am sure that you will find your perfect souvenir for home.

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Since I had known a day before our arrival into Bergen that the weather would be proverbially crap, I had checked the internet for possible alternatives to do. This is how I learned about the predominant role of art in the city and the fantastic KODE art gallery. The museum consists of four buildings. Each of them displaying a different theme of art and artists. I found particularly interesting the Golden Age in Scandinavian art displayed in KODE 3 (you will see works by Edvard Munch, J.C. Dahl, Backer, Werenskiold or Munthe). The exhibited works of art are presented in authentically restored Scandinavian interiors! Simply beautiful. And don´t miss out on poking around the Museum´s shop.

Downtown Bergen is just around the corner from here. If you love the sleek and elegant Scandinavian design for your home, you MUST stop by the Illums Bolighus branch close to the port. I could spend hours and hours inside this Danish design store. But careful, there is so much visual inspiration inside, keep your credit cards deep down in your bag :).

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Next stop is the famous Fish Market. You can sit down inside the highly modern construction to feast on fresh King Crab, Norwegian Salmon or other freshly caught delicacies. Or are you keen on trying grilled Whale meat on a bun from one of the food stands outside? The choice is yours.

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Of course, there is definitely more to do in Bergen, but for my part, it´s been adventure enough for today. In order to leave the rest of the city for you to explore (and  please tell me about your personal discoveries), I am heading back to Norwegian Star to warm up inside the sauna of the onboard spa.

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Skies are still grey and the low hanging clouds empty themselves over us as the ship passes the impressive Askøy Bridge and begins the last segment back to Copenhagen as we leave port in the early evening. Ahead of us lies a last day at sea. A last day of Freestyle Cruising and a last day of the warm hospitality that I was able to enjoy during the entire week.

And even though there lies a little sorrow in the air because this wonderful journey is unavoidably coming  to an end, this last day at sea trumps with the most beautiful weather, even sea and a surprise visit to the ship´s bridge. Made possible by the amazing concierge Hanno. This day is also perfect for trying out new routines again. Like taking lunch in the main dining room Versailles at a set table with table linen and cloth napkins. Such a difference to the hustle and bustle of the buffet restaurant upstairs. You should try this sometimes, too! Food tastes just so much better in the right environment.

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The same applies to dinner. I am opting tonight for Ginza, the Asian specialty restaurant on Norwegian Star (À la carte prices). A spicy Seafood Ramen is just what I need to finalize the last night onboard. Later, I pay an ultimate visit to Sugarcane Mojito Bar to review and pay tribute to this marvelous week. It´s been one of my most memorable cruises so far and Norway should be on everybody´s bucket list for future travels. So why not check out these remaining itineraries on Norwegian Star for 2016. In 2017, she will not return to Copenhagen as base, but will 7 days-itineraries out of Venice, Italy.

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I myself will be returning to Norway this upcoming May 2016. This time going the classic way with Hurtigruten. I hope, you had fun reading through my blog posts and maybe I was able to spark your interest for one of the most beautiful nature scenery that Europe has to offer. And going the Freestyle way could definitely be the right way for you when considering to discover Norway for the very first time!

Find more info on itineraries, ship details and excursions on www.ncl.com!

Safe travels, folks!

2 thoughts on “Norwegian´s Norway | In Seven Days through Europe´s Alaska onboard Norwegian Star – Bergen

  1. You are an amazing writer and we are so glad we stumbled upon your site. We are sailing on Koningsdam this coming 7/9/2017 and was inthralled with your review of her. We are doing the 14 day Voyage of the Midnight Sun & Artic Circle cruise. So not only your ship review but also your Norwegian Star port discussions on Alesund, Flam, Geiranger, and Bergen were extremely helpful. You mentioned a Hurtegurten trip but I don’t see it on your website? Was hoping it might include some more info of our upcoming stops. Hope you don’t mind me asking a couple of questions? Do you think at we might still see some snow on the mountaintops in early July and do you have a guess on how the seas (calm or not) might be? I know it just all depends just like the weather but coming from FL I’m pretty sure it will still feel cold to us. Anyway, thank you so much for your wonderful reviews and fabulous pictures. I am a huge researcher of travel plus a fanatic photographer and do all the planning for our adventures and found your’s to be by far the best I have ever encountered. Thanks and continued success and magical adventures to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mary,

      first of all, let me thank you for your uplifting and kind words! It makes me very happy to hear that there are people like you out there that care for the same kind of quality as I do and for a way of exploring our beautiful planet with the same passion as I do.

      Your upcoming cruise sounds most exciting, something I surely would enjoy to do as well. Concerning the Hurtigruten trip I sadly have to inform that it never happened.

      I was booked on the company´s oldest ship, the MS Lofoten, for the 12 night Bergen -Kirkenes – Bergen round-trip in May 2016. Unfortunately, the ship suffered a severe engine failure the day before departure. So the trip was cancelled and I had to re-arrange last minute as all other vessels were already sailing at full capacity. Instead, I took a cruise to the Greek Islands. Since then I have not taken the chance for a second try yet. But Norway is sooooo beautiful, you will love it and I will return someday myself:).

      Will you be able to see snow in July? Well, my trip on the Norwegian Star was in May 2015. When it comes to higher altitudes, I am sure there will still be some left, but I am not sure if you will see snow on the adjoining Fjord mountains.

      Concerning the swell, the waters inside the fjords is normally extremely calm. Sometimes even as even as a mirror (great for nature shots!). The passages outside the fjords can be, on the other hand, a little bit more rocky. July is high season for Scandinavia and normally one of the warmer summer months. I would predict (unless there are unexpected weather changes) that there should be normal movements with normal swell. But still prepare for multi-layered clothing. Summer in Scandinavia means ups and downs withing an hour, sometimes even rain.

      You will definitely not experience the humidity that you are used to living in Fort Lauderdale, but I am sure you will enjoy gorgeous hours in the Norwegian sun:) It will be a remarkable trip, that I can assure you!

      I have a few ideas myself for the year on what I would love to do. Queen Mary 2 ranks highly on my bucket list after her refit again. Btw, if you enjoy my way of photography, please also visit my website http://www.shipm8s.com! Please also feel free to recommend HideousJourneys to your friends, family and colleagues, that would be an enormous help to increase the blog´s range! That would be awesome!

      I hope, I was able to answer you questions, Mary, if you have anything else I can help you with, please let me know!

      For the being, all the best to you and happy travels!

      Tamme

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