The garden at the back of our house was the main reason why we stayed there four times already. It was a charming place on the slope of the cliff going all the way down to the fjord.
The fjord and the whole village of Geiranger lay in the valley before us. We could see ferries and smaller boats come and go and, in later years, one or two anchored on the fjord for the night lit up like a Christmas tree for a night party. Looking to the right, we could see coaches and cars climbing or descending the winding road, but we could hardly hear them. By late afternoon they were all gone and only a waterfall rumbling nearby disturbed the silence of the mountains.
Looking up, you could see a few houses and huts scattered on the mountainside and some pastures here and there amidst the forest. Our landlady kept some sheep permanently in one of them in the summer. There was no shepherd to mind them but they were in no danger of dispersing. The cliff was so steep that they needed help to get down.
Our garden was tiny but there were some flower pots and benches and an enormous mast with the Norwegian flag as is the custom in many houses in Norway. In late August you could still see a few strawberries and the luscious grass showed no sign of autumn coming.
An even better view could have been had from the back porch just above the garden but we liked it down there and hope to be back some day.
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.
Favorite thing: Norway is one of the largest petrol producing nations on earth, one would assume that petrol is relativley cheap. Think again - a litre of petrol set you back over US$ 3 or EUR 2.60 - take this in to consideration when planning a road trip, since fuel is almost double to other countries on earth!
A trip up the Mountain to Dalsnibba is a must do, that is, unless you get travel sickness!
The road to the top has many switchbacks. The Bus goes quite slow as it is a steep climb, so I was able to get quite a few decent photo's through the Bus windows.
I was the only one taking photo's, why, I don't know, but the scenery is fabulous and changes all the time to the top of the Mountain. It is very worthwhile to have the camera out and working on the way to the top as well as when you are there, and of course, on the way back down for more different photo's!
Favorite thing: I can't say I saw much bird life at all in Norway. While I was walking along Geiranger Fjord, I did manage to see these two Pied Oyster Catchers on the shore. I was rather surprised, as we have them at home in a much warmer climate.
There's not a huge amount of information on Geiranger as a cruise stop, Cruise Critic didn't even have a page on it although you can search the forum boards for some information. If you don't want to prearrange a trip through the ship or other means, you can stop by the Geiranger Fjord Service office just a minute away from where the boats tender passengers in.
If you want to see what other cruise ships are in town on the day you are visiting, check Cruise timetables
There were two cruise ships docked on the day we were there, both ships were anchored and had to use tenders to get in. People make a big deal about not doing independent excursions in ports where you have to tender but we had no trouble getting off the ship in time to get to our excursion at 9:40am. We had to sit in a lounge and collect a ticket but if we had walked to the gangway, they would have let us off without one as they weren't really paying attention to it. I guess they are just used to people following instructions.
Favorite thing: We didn't spend any money in Geiranger besides the tour to Mt. Dalsnibba which we prebooked with credit card. If you are going to use cash, I'd recommend using Norwegian over other currencies, when we asked about kayaking the rate they quoted us in USD was about $10 more than what the exchange rate was.
Favorite thing: When we stopped by the Geirangerfjord Services office to pick up our tickets for the bus trip, we saw a couple of computer terminals that were free to use for wifi so we could check our email quickly. Be courteous and let the next person use the computer if someone else is waiting, I think there was a sign asking you to limit to 10 minutes but even if there wasn't, you should.
Norway, and the currency is DANISH KRONER and not the Euro.
No worries at Geiranger getting the correct money, for just a short walk to the right when setting foot on land, will take you to Joker Geiranger, a Grocery store in the center of Geiranger.
This store sells EVERYTHING, including groceries, toys, office necessities, hardware, fishing supplies, it is also a pharmacy, a Cafe and a post office!
I think it was the first time I have been to a shop that is all of these!
Located on the outside wall before entering the shop, is the Post Box and the ATM Machine.
We came here first before the rest of the Ship, so there we no queues at the ATM, and then went and had a look at the shops. Shops accept credit cards, but we preferred to use cash.
Another ATM machine is located inside Hotel Geiranger Stranda at Skansekaia, Geiranger.
The shop is by the water front to the right in my photo..
I could look down at the fjords all day. I even had my painting equipment with me.
Fondest memory: Some people from the cruise ship actually waved when they saw us up there. Maybe they thought we were native geiranger people and long time residents ?
waking up the sounds of fjords and seeing the cruise ships passing by and knowing we were pretty isolated up there.
Fondest memory: one day we saw some seals passing and some months before a white whale was seen passing the fjords
the green ocean, looking at the cruise ships. living almost like they did a hundred years ago.
Fondest memory: the total peace. Listening to the sounds of the fjords all day. Waking up to a wonderful sight every morning.