There are many cruise lines that visit Norway, while we were in various ports we saw Costa, Princess, P&O, Azamara Club, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and many other smaller ships. The prime cruise season is short, when we asked about going in early September most advised against it because of the cooler weather, shorter days and as I've found after, some of the excursions aren't offered after a certain date.
We ultimately selected Cunard's Fjord and Waterfalls cruise on the Queen Victoria because of the timing and the itinerary which included Flam and access to Norway in a Nutshell, the tour I've heard about for years. Plus it left from Southampton instead of Copenhagen, the airfares into Copenhagen were extremely high not that London fares were that much more economical.
People who cruise on Cunard expect that their fellow passengers will want to play dress up just as much as they do, if you do not care to dress formally this might not be the line for you. Every night was elegant casual, semi-formal or formal, most men wore tuxes on formal nights, women with long dresses. To eat in the dining room, men had to wear a jacket on all nights. There was a buffet style restaurant where you could eat if you didn't care to dress up but if you wanted to go to the shows or common areas, proper dress was expected. Dancing in the Queen's Room was very popular, we stayed out of their way with our minimal skills.
We got a balcony room, it was too cool to sit out there and most nights we would watch the scenery go by from the gym so I don't know that it was necessary. I'd at least go for a window though, I find inside cabins to be disorienting. There's a higher priced section called The Grills, I didn't even look into it so I don't know how much more expensive it was. We booked very late, by the time we booked they were offering great deals, Cunard was about the same price as Royal Caribbean.
Other than the fancy dress requirement, I didn't find the Queen Victoria to be much different than any Princess cruise we've been on, the ship layout is the same, the activities are similar. There's a gym and a salon, daily trivia and bingo and nightly shows, none of which we attended. There's only so much you can do with a cabin, I'm pretty sure ours was about the same size as the equivalent on Princess.
Not that it matters to me, but Americans were definitely in the minority on our cruise, I think we might have met 3 or 4 others during the week. Mostly British with a smattering of many other nationalities.
Bergen is a rainy town in southern Norway, spectacularly set on a peninsula amid 7 snow-capped mountains. The long row of austere timber buildings and cobblestone streets that line the waterfront and the fish-market bear witness to an important past; it was, in fact, one of the largest ports of the Hanseatic League of Merchants.
Fondest memory: I enjoyed strolling about town, visiting the many museums (although I am not a museum fan), and especially the seafood market by the harbour... mount floyen proved to be an interesting side-trip, too.
Above all, Bergen was my entry point and my first taste of Norway - a great place to start discovering an interesting country.
Get a free copy of Bergen Guidebook from hotel, camp site or tourist information offices (also via internet;-). Useful to maximize your Bergen stay.
Available in Norwegian, English, French or German, useful to discover many addresses and good tips. You could download online tanks to the following internet link. Official web site on Tourist Information Centre
Tel. +47 55 32 1480
The tourist information located just in the city centre in front of the fish market. You can find there also information about other locations in Norway. I found some useful information about Lapland as well as I was going there later that summer.
Favorite thing: There might be something you're wondering about when you're in Bergen. Sometimes you just don't have the VT friends at hand. Well: There's a place you can go: The tourist information accross the street from the fishmarket. It's located in an old bank, and quite pleasant. If they don't know the answer to what you're asking, they try hard to find someone who does.
Opposite the Fish Market, on Vågsallmenning Square you'll find the Bergen Tourist Office (if you position yourself facing the statue of Ludvig Holberg like on this photo, the Office would be right behind your back).
It is one of the biggest tourist offices I've ever seen, offering numerous free brochures, information on Bergen and the fjords, accommodation centre, exchange office etc. Here you can also buy Bergen Card or book your tour on the fjords.
Fondest memory: The tourist office is situated on the ground floor of a former Bergen Exchange. The big hall is known as the “Fresco Hall”. The murals were painted by Axel Revold in 1921-23, and contain three series: The North Country Wall, The Bergen Wall and The World Wall. Make sure to check them among all the brochures and info aou’ll find there.
The Fresco Hall is also a good place if you need to hide from the sudden rain shower :)
Opening hours 2003;
June, July and August: daily 8.30 am-10 pm.
May and September: daily 9 am-8 pm.
Rest of the year: Mon-Sat 9 am-4 pm.
Bergen Tourist Office
Address: Vågsallmenningen 1, Bergen.
Telephone: +47 55 55 20 00.
Fax: +47 55 32 14 64.
The tourist office is a smart place to visit for the traveller. Here you get all the info you need about places to see and all the practical things.
There is also another good reason to visit this place. It is an old bank building with a spectacular decoration of wall frescos (I think that is what they call it). Even if you don’t need any travel info, take a trip inside and feel the atmosphere.
Fondest memory: I lived in Bergen for many years before I discovered this pearl.
Favorite thing: Go to the tourist information centre, across from the fish market. They are very friendly and helpful. Having stepped off a ferry on a holiday evening with no plans, I quickly found a reasonably-priced room, exchanged money, and purchased a tourist card with their help.
The Bergen Tourist Information Office is very well organized.
The office is situated in a beautiful building by the Fishmarket and the consultants speak several languages and can help you with anything from accomondations to tours.
Be aware of that you migth have to wait a while, but there are a lot of brochures to take away without standing in line for a consultant.
Visit their web site on: Bergen Tourist Information
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