You may know that one of us gets hired to give film talks on cruise ships. Having enjoyed five such experiences, and considering the hot temps during our pet- and housesitting in France, we pounced on a last-minute deal for a week-long cruise that was bound for several ports in Norway. No working gig, this: It was a carefree pleasure voyage, all the way.
Except for hoping that
- our no-sea-sickness meds would work (very well!)
- our fellow shipmates took care to avoid transmitting any norovirus infections (nailed it!).
Anyway, here’s the view from our Rotterdam hotel room that pretty, late-August morning:
Underway by late afternoon on the ms Rotterdam, it took a further couple of hours’ cruising down the river Maas ’til we were out of the massive harbor. The whole way, there’re people on board and on shore waving to each other — arms, pom-poms, scarves — as the ship moved past apartment buildings, parks, and other attractions. Talk about infectious; we waved to anybody and everybody.
First night/next full day=at-sea day. To us this meant finding a book or two to read from the ship’s library, using the gym, and trying to STAY AWAKE despite soporific effects of the aforementioned no-sea-sickness meds and the motion of the sea.
Port day: 680 nautical miles from Rotterdam, we woke to Flåm. This teeny town sits at the end of one of the arms of the Sognefjord, the longest fjord in Norway. We were almost at the town when we got on deck to watch the pre-dawn approach.
Once ashore, we opted for a hike out of town and into a river valley – and then uphill again after a few kilometers. First, a Spanish tourist took our picture.
Two examples of green roofs:
A recent flood had washed out part of the road here. But the old church and its graveyard were intact.
The day on land was just the beginning. After supper, we roamed the deck for more than two hours, gawking at the spectacular scenery. If you’ve heard anything about the fjords, be advised that everything you’ve heard is true.
Next port, Ulvik, 268 nautical miles from Flåm. This tiny town is in the Hardangerfjord, the fourth-longest fjord in the world. For this stop, lifeboats carried passengers from the ship to Ulvik’s modest pier.
The rain really began to come down just as we got up above town and neared a trailhead. So there were some interesting looks at wet trails and apple orchards and the fjord below. Very wet.
Our dinner seating was at the window at the very back of the ship. This made for an eye-filling dining experience.
And more deck-pacing as we walked off the meal. Countless streams cascading down hillsides, countless views as we rounded each new fjord-turn.
We had a couple of stops left on this cruise. Would there be cinnamon buns? You must know the answer to that by now.