Cruise and Maritime Voyages to the Norwegian Fjords
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Norway, home to trolls, elves and over a thousand
waterfalls; we were looking forward to our cruise to the Fjords on board Cruise
& Maritime’s adult-friendly flagship Magellan.
Initially Carnival Holiday and sporting Carnival’s winged
funnel, Magellan was launched in 1985, but has a modern feel. Our cabin was
spacious with adequate storage space and well planned bathroom. The generous
size of the shower area meant that the plastic shower curtain avoided its usual
habit of wrapping itself around us and the shower head was detachable, handy
for those not wanting to get wet hair. The two single beds were in an L shaped
format, as they were in other cabins, although cabin stewards are happy to
re-arrange them into a double bed.
There are two main dining rooms, both offering two
sittings at dinner, and no speciality restaurants. Throughout our cruise the
food was of a good standard and the service excellent. The main dining rooms
were popular at breakfast time but proved a haven of peace and tranquillity for
lunch. There is also a buffet which is sensibly laid out in stations rather
than one long line, which avoids queuing.
Magellan has all the usual facilities including a show
lounge, the Captain’s Club, a music and dance venue, lounge, disco, casino, and
the Jade Spa.
Our first day was spent at sea as Magellan headed north
towards Norway from her home port of Tilbury. The following morning we made a
short stop at Ulvik, a small village on Hardangerfjord, so passengers could
take an overland trip to Eidfjord, our first port of call. Like most villages
in the Fjords, Eidfjord is quiet, peaceful and set against the stunning scenery
of towering mountains and deep waterways. We visited a nature centre and drove
up the mountains to the Fossli hotel which opened in 1891 and overlooks the
spectacular Voringsfoss waterfall. The hotel, now run by the third generation
of the family that built it, has attracted royalty and the composer Edward
Grieg. Its postbox is guarded by one of Norway’s famous trolls.
On our return we visited the Nils Bergslien Gallery where
the Mayor was on hand to introduce us to this famous Norwegian artist. We
admired his work to the accompaniment of some of Grieg’s better known compositions
played by a local concert pianist – a memorable end to our day ashore.
Next morning saw us in Flam, another small village with a
population of around 400. Its main attraction is the Flam Railway, the main
attraction for over 400,000 people who visit Flam each year. With an incline of
1 in 18 it’s the steepest railways that doesn’t use some form of special
traction. The railway connects Flam to Myrdal station, some eight miles away
and 2,850ft above sea level, where passengers can connect to the main Bergen to
Oslo line. The journey offers some spectacular views and there is a short stop
to admire and photograph one of Norway’s many waterfalls. We returned to Flam on
the train but many visitors cycle back down so they can take more time to admire
the view, and of course very little pedalling is involved. Flam is also home to
a small brewery near the port but take care, a pint in here will set you back!
Later that evening we were invited to an amazing midnight
buffet. Beautifully decorated food, vegetables and ice carvings adorned buffet
and it seemed a shame to eat them. However, once started, the guests clearly
thought the food tasted as good as it looked.
Our final port of call was Bergen. A town of a quarter of
a million people, home to the world’s oldest Philharmonic orchestra, and the
Hanseatic Wharf of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Bergen as a
harbour dates back to the eleventh century and in 1360, merchants of the
Hanseatic League opened an office there. The buildings facing the port have
been rebuilt but in the original style; venturing behind them takes visitors
back to a bygone age. The harbour is also home to a small but famous fish
Known as the City of the Seven Mountains, Bergen is
dominated by Mount Floyen. We took the funicular railway which runs from close
by Bryggen to the top of the mountain, 1,000ft above sea level. From there we
had a stunning view of Bergen and the surrounding area. We also enjoyed a tour
of the City in a hop-on hop-off bus with open sides that made photography easy,
especially as the driver stopped at various photo opportunities so we could get
the best shots.
Back on board we found an invitation to meet other guests
at the pool bar on deck 10. Once assembled, we were led to the bridge where the
captain was on hand to greet us. Champagne and canapes had been arranged and we
stood on the bridge as the captain ordered our lines to be let go and the pilot
steered us away from the dock and through harbour towards the open sea and home
to Tilbury; without doubt the most memorable sail-away party we have had.
More informationFor more information on this and other cruises go to www.cruiseandmaritime.com or
call 0844 998 3788.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Cruise & Maritime Voyages
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