2023 HAL World Cruise
Saturday to Wednesday, April 22 to 26, 2023
If you were to google “Norway,” this is the result you would get: “Norway is a Scandinavian country encompassing mountains, glaciers and deep coastal fjords. Oslo, the capital, is a city of green spaces and museums. Preserved 9th-century Viking ships are displayed at Oslo’s Viking Ship Museum. Bergen, with colorful wooden houses, is the starting point for cruises to the dramatic Sognefjord. Norway is also known for fishing, hiking, and skiing, notably at Lillehammer’s Olympic resort.”
We were happy to see Holland America Lines presented an in-depth Norwegian experience by starting in Oslo with all its history and culture and ending in Bergen, known as the “Gateway to the Fjords.” Kristiansand, Haugesund, and Eidfjord offered us a progression from small city to fishing village to narrow fjord town, all with gorgeous waterfalls!!!
Let’s start with photos of Oslo:
The sail-in to Oslo is enchanting…..
….it is a lovely city …..
…..the charm is evident, everywhere!!!
Just look at where we are docked!!! Now how great is this!!!
As you know, Oslo is the site where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded.
…..This is also the home of Edvard Munch’s gallery in the new National Museum (opened June, 2022. The museum is the largest in the Nordics.
This is where one may view “The Scream,” one of Munch’s best known works. There are 4 different works in existence: 2 paintings (1893 & 1910); and 2 pastels (1893 & 1895); along with several lithographs. They are all rotated on a regular basis to preserve the 4 different iterations of this work.
Because we had been here before, we decided to meet friends for lunch at the Amundsen Bryggeri og Spiseri. We knew the food and beer were very good!!!
And the atmosphere is pleasant.
And the company was good, also!!!
We enjoyed a delicious lunch!!!
At the end of the day we headed back to the ship…..
…..and departed to our next port-of-call, Kristiansand.
And then Kristiansand:
Now isn’t this an attractive sail-in to Kristiansand?!?
And the walk from dock to town is quite nice, also.
Charming restaurants pop up everywhere!!!
Town itself is quite nice with interesting architecture.
Within walking distance of the the dock is Christiansholm Fortress. It is now a well attended park for locals and tourists alike. Interestingly, it was built on an offshore island in 1862. the channel between the two was filled-in in the 19th century.
Remnants of the original defense armaments are still there. In 1669, there were 62 cannons in the fortress. Today, only 8 remain.
The fortress is now home to a small boat harbor (and you can see our ship, the MS Zuiderdam in the background!)
But our favorite display in the park is the statue of local hero, Bernt Balchen, who had an amazing aviation career.
From the park, we walked over to the main square where the Kristiansand Cathedral is located.
Saw this stone in the square; but there was no descriptive plaque to explain what it is. This is just an interesting and mysterious find.
Moving on, we hunted for a place to stop and have lunch.
We found Victoria. a quaint local pub with pizza and beer.
The beer was local, on tap, and quite good.
The wine was satisfying, also.
And the pizza? Well, we ate it all!!!
After the fulfilling lunch, we headed back to the ship, stopping for a photo op on the way!!!
And before too long, we set out for our next Norwegian port-of-call, Haugesund.
Followed by Haugesund:
The Haugesund sail-In. Isn’t this lovely!!!
We liked what we saw of the small city from the dock. That is the Haugesund Vår Frelsers Church in the center of town.
It was an easy walk from the dock into town.
The statue of the Fiskerne (The Fishermen), marks our arrival on the pedestrian street where we intend to do some shopping!!!
It’s called Haraldsgata (Haralds St) and the shopping was very good!!!
As we continued up the street, we came to Carlos’ Bistro. Doesn’t look like much in this photo, but wait ’til you see the interior!!!
It was charming!!!
With this much attention to detail, you jus know the meal will be delicious!!!
And our compliments to the chef!!! The meal was terrific.
Both Roger and Sandy had the tomato and cheese sandwich.
Sandy enjoyed the Pieropan Sosave GLA, while Roger preferred the Dagens Pils from the Salamander Brewery.
Walking back to the dock, we admired the architecture.
And then, we found this statue of Marilyn Monroe!!! It was installed under the belief her grandfather had been born in Haugesund. Later, it was shown to be untrue. But she remains a beloved symbol of filmdom.
After all the wining and dining and shopping and walking around, a little nap sounded pretty good!!!
And then, we sailed away to our next port, Eidfjord.
The sail-in to Eidfjord is always amazing.
There are many waterfalls along the way.
There seems to be snow in the mountains all the time; but that may just be our impression!!! None-the-less, it is lovely to see!!!
Once we cross the Hardanger Bridge, we are almost in Eidfjord!! At 4528 feet, this is one of the world’s longest single span bridges.
Cruise ships dock right in town!!!
The town of Eidfjord is small but very charming.
This building, directly across from the dock, is the Voringfoss Hotel. This is where we went for our afternoon libation.
We enjoyed the local beers and wine.
We walked thru town and enjoyed our day in Eidfjord!!!
And then we set sail for our last Norwegian port, Bergen.
Ending with Bergen:
Arriving in Bergen, we were dismayed to find the weather would be cold and rainy.
But even more disappointing is the fact we are, once again, in a cargo port rather than the cruise port in the town center!!!
The cruise port and town center are over a mile away!!!
And there are no shuttles, taxies, or tour buses in sight!!!!
since we have been her before and knew the joys of this charming city, we decided to stay on board for the day and await the sail-away. Our next stop is Scotland!!!
This world cruise is rapidly coming to an end. We have only 6 more ports before starting the 6-day transit back to Ft. Lauderdale and home. There will be 3 more posts describing this wonderful journey: 2 cities in Scotland (Portree and Oban); 2 in Ireland (Dun Laoghaire and Cobh); and 2 in the Azores (Ponta Delgada and Praia da Vitoria).
Next, we will visit Scotland—Portree on the Isle of Skye and then Oban.
The adventure continues.