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  • AndyF 23w

    I'm just back from a Norwegian cruise aboard Marella Discovery. The most "eventful" cruise I've done - on ships I've previously seen storms causing changes to ports of call, helicopter medevacs, burst pipes causing flooded cabins, lost baggage, deaths, but this one had all of these on the one cruise.

    Due to Storm Hector we didn't follow our planned itinerary to the North Cape; we got as far as Bodo then ran for the fjords to shelter, and continued our cruise round the fjordlands - where the weather made the waterfalls look amazing.

    As always I had a great trip. Compared to the prices ashore in Norway I think doing it by cruise ship cost us about a third of the price of doing a land-based trip to those places. That's a good saving for the inconvenience of going where the ship decides.


    Oh dear, I am sorry to hear someone died :(. I know they say it is more common then they like to admit but still it is sad. That sounds like you had a serious adventure :o At least you still enjoyed it :D That is the most important thing at the end of the day.





  • AndyLADC 35w

    We started our current cruising in 2006 and have sailed with Carnival, Princess and Norwegian in the Caribbean and Europe.


    Are you about the destinations or the shipboard experience?


    The destinations and we select cruises accordingly. A cruise was the most efficient way to visit the Baltic region, for example. We're take shore excursions to see the sights of the area. We tend to view the ship as a "floating hotel" that follows you. :)


    I have a similar approach, except I avoid shore excursions and try to do it all independently.

    It’s lovely waking up somewhere new with someone else having done the driving. All that shipboard entertainment doesn’t interest me, I'm usually to bed early and up early to get ashore.

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  • TravelingThor 35w

    I've been on 8 cruises since 1988 and I hope to continue cruising as long as I can. I just completed a 7 day Southern Caribbean cruise from San Juan to St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados. Next year I want to hit the ABC islands. I've sailed on Holland America in Alaska, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean. Haven't tried Princess or Norwegian yet.


    I have sailed on HAL, Carnival,RCCI, Princess,Celebrity and NCL. I like HAL and Princess best. The best bet for the ABC islands is a repositioning cruise - most of them go to Aruba and Curacao. In order to get Bonaire in there, you probably would want a smaller ship - we did it on the Maasdam and we also went to St Thomas, St Barths, St Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, and Curacao (but not Aruba)

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  • AndyF 38w

    I'm on a cruise in a couple of months that visits the Lofoten Islands.

    Previously I've docked in Leknes and been able to hire a car and head west down the islands for exciting scenery and hiking.

    This time we dock in Harstad, much further east. All the good stuff looks to be a long way further west and impractical to visit in the day.

    Any suggestions for what to see and do?


    When I visited Norway I only managed to get in a small portion of Eastern Lofoten. I thought the drive from Narvik was pretty spectacular. Harstad is mountainous so I can't imagine there isn't any hiking. Try this site, it should give ideas:


    Thanks for that. It’s confirmed what I had found using Google maps streetview - there are some gentle hikes nearby and nice views but it's not the jaw-dropping jagged mountain scenery like in the west.

    I think we'll hop on a bus to the outskirts and have a stroll up Gangsåstoppen. Unless we're feeling motivated to rent a car and do a few hours exploring.


  • PlanetTraveller 38w

    As an avid cruise fan, I will gladly help with my expertise to narrow down your cruise choices - be it on the ocean or rivers. Sailed on over 30 cruises.

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  • greatgrandmaR 1y

    I have finished the (very long) trip report of two cruises to Hawaii. One was a cruise with my grandson on the Pride of America in 2010. The other one was the one I just took with a group of over 30 people on the Star Princess. The lady with me on this trip was Polly - she had never been on a cruise. She has been cutting my hair for over 40 years and owns her on salon.

    There is one part of the story that is about our family on the day before I left but the main part of the story including flying to the port is here



  • greatgrandmaR 1y

    Currently on a cruise to Hawaii - internet is terribly slow so not posting much


    That is wonderful, I was in Hawaii at the beginning of the year (not cruising though, a fly and drive trip). I thought it was one of the most beautiful and fascinating destinations I have ever visited. Big Island was by far my favourite, since it has all those volcanoes I'm fascinated by =D. When you get internet I would love to know what islands you are visiting. I assume Oahu is definitely in the itinerary. That island has some stunning scenery.


    We are visiting Hilo (Big Island), Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui. I've been to Hawaii before -part cruise and part not


  • aussirose 1y

    Been on 2 cruises so far. 2016 from Sydney to islands of Noumea. 2006 from Singapore to Koh Samui and Ho Chi Minh.

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  • greatgrandmaR 1y

    Disembarking - the port where you get on the ship is not always the port where you get off. I find that a repositioning cruise (which are usually in the fall and spring - the ships go from their winter cruising grounds to the summer area or from the Caribbean to Europe) is a lot cheaper than most other cruises. On the east coast of the US, a repositioning cruise means visiting Curacao and usually also Aruba.

    I've gotten off a cruise ship in New York (1950), Baltimore, Norfolk, Port Canaveral, Ft Lauderdale, Miami, Tampa, Seattle, Honolulu, Le Havre (1950), Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Sydney. [I've also gotten off a ship in Venice but it was not the end of the cruise - I just didn't have time to do the whole cruise all the way to the last port.]

    Tampa was a disaster, but they weren't very organized at the time so maybe it is better now. Norfolk was also horrible which is too bad because I really like the Norfolk harbor area and that area in general. We lived there for a couple of years and have often gone on our boat and stayed in marinas in that area.


    Miami is also pretty bad. Customs there is pretty hard-nosed


    When you say Norfolk which country do you mean? Because when I hear Norfolk I think Norfolk Island but I don't think that is the one you are referring to.


    I mean Norfolk Virginia - I put all the US ports first in the list, and then the European ones and then Sydney.

    I thought about whether people would know which Norfolk- there are quite a lot of place names that transfer between countries, but I thought they would think of Norfolk in England - I've not heard of many of the big cruise ships that go to Norfolk, England and none that have cruises that start or end there.

    I didn't think of Norfolk Island. But it doesn't look to me like the kind of place that has cruises that start or end there either.


    There are small ships that dock at Norfolk Island some Pacific and New Zealand cruises stop there and while they don't usually start there some let passangers embark from there. But like I said I was pretty sure you weren't referring to the island. I did think maybe England after a Google but I figured to be sure I'd just ask =D. Your association with the name Norfolk would depend where you come from, being Aussie Norfolk Island is what comes to mind first for me :-)


    Norfolk Virginia is a big maritime area - there is a very big Navy base (where my husband was stationed for three years) and it is generally considered the start of the main section of the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway. Portsmouth Virginia across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk has the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (called the NNSY to distinguish it from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire) and Portsmouth VA is also where the ARC Caribbean 1500 leaves from. This is a big sailboat rally which goes from here down to Tortola. The cruise ship terminal here is a minor part of things. The bigger cruise ship terminals are sometimes better laid out and organized

  • greatgrandmaR 1y

    Embarkation Ports

    I have gotten onto a cruise ship in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk, Port Canaveral, Ft Lauderdale, Miami, Seattle, Honolulu, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Perth, and a LONG time ago (1950), New York City and Southampton. This is commercial cruise ships.

    I don't remember much about the 1950 experiences - I was only 12.

    My favorite port of embarkation (as I said) is Baltimore. It is uncrowded and organized. Seattle and Amsterdam were also good.

    My least favorite is Perth and also Honolulu. Both places were completely disorganized. The next worst being Norfolk as it is now - there's no space at the port for dropping off or picking people up. Also in some kind of misguided effort to reduce plastic in the ocean, they took an empty plastic water bottle away from me even though there are plastic water bottles all over the ship and the plastic water bottle in my suitcase went through without comment.

    I'm getting on a cruise next week from San Pedro - a first for me.

    I have not taken a cruise from Charleston and I hear bad things about that port, nor have I gone from San Juan. I don't think I'd like San Juan - if I'm going to fly someplace to get a cruise it has to be someplace other than the Caribbean.

    I have also done a narrowboat cruise (where we chartered the boat and operated it ourselves-bareboat) from Dunhampstead in England. It was a lovely cruise - I wish we had more time and could have gone to Wales. And we twice chartered a sailboat (with a crew - not bareboat) in the Virgin Islands. Leaving from and returning to Red Hook.


    Tried to post this twice and it would not post. Cut two paragraphs and it went through. Is there a limit on the length???


  • greatgrandmaR 1y

    1950- two HAL (Nieuw Amsterdam) transatlantic, and tour Europe and the UK

    2000-01, 2001-02 and 2003-4 Winters Cruises on S/V RosalieAnn (our boat) Intercoastal Waterway Chesapeake Bay to the Keys and the Bahamas
    2004-NCL Crown to Bermuda
    2005-NCL Crown repositioning and then winter road trip, Fort Walton Beach, Talladega, Santo Domingo, Frisco TX, Hot Springs, Branson,and Louisville KY.
    2006-HAL Maasdam back to back, Caribbean and repositioning and driving back to MD
    2007 - Grandeur of the Seas repositioning Baltimore to Tampa
    2007 - NCL Pearl - Then trip to Ireland with 2nd oldest grandson
    2008 March- NCL Jade from Barcelona cruise with 3rd grandson
    2008 - HAL Statendam - Inca Discovery through the Panama Canal
    2009 June - HAL Rotterdam - with 2nd oldest granddaughter Scandinavia and Russia
    2010 Jan Celebrity Mercury - Caribbean
    2010 June -NCL Pride of America - Hawaii - with 5th (youngest) grandson
    2011 Jan - Enchantment of the Seas B2B- Bahamas & Caribbean
    2011 May - HAL Amsterdam - Alaska
    2011 Nov - Carnival Pride B2B - Bermuda & Bahamas
    2012 July - Dawn Princess - Australia with 3rd granddaughter
    2013 Jan - HAL Maasdam - Caribbean
    2013 Jun - Disney Fantasy B2B - Caribbean with 4th granddaughter
    2013 Nov - Bermuda - Grandeur of the Seas
    2016 April - AmaViola - River Tulip Cruise - Netherlands & Belgium
    2016 October - Carnival Sunshine

    I'm going to try this again without the extra typing - it is VERY irritating to click on POST and have the whole thing disappear


    Sorry about the posts gone missing. I had the same thing happened to me. I'll have a look into what's going on there.


    I fixed it up so this problem shouldn't really happen any more.



  • greatgrandmaR 1y

    My favorite port is Bermuda. I would prefer to dock in either St. George or Hamilton, but even Kings Wharf is OK. I just love traveling to Bermuda, but Bermuda is so expensive that it is much cheaper to go there on a cruise ship and the cruises to Bermuda usually stay there three or even four days.

    I've been to most of the places in the Caribbean by cruise ship and I'd really rather stay for a day or two now. There are places I'd like to go but haven't managed to get to yet (like I haven't done a New England/Canada cruise) and I really liked the Netherlands River cruise and I'd like to do the Rhine one day.

    My favorite cruise lines are Amawaterway and Holland American.
    My favorite port of embarkation in the US is Baltimore. Unfortunately not that many ships go out of Baltimore.

  • greatgrandmaR 1y

    I have twice written long post and each time it disappeared.


    I notice this happens sometimes. Before I post anything I always highlight and copy my text so if it disappears I can just paste it.


    Because it happens only rarely, I forget inbetween times


    It easy to forget, I found I had to make it into a habit. Now I do it anywhere I post a comment no matter the website =)


    My family did Christmas letters back when my children were little. My mother, my sister and I combined into one letter of one page (two sides). We were to submit our text to my mother in about October. And my mother always managed to lose the original so we had to write it again. (This was in the 70s before the internet and we just had typewriters.) I found that the second time I wrote it, it was better.

    So I don't copy everything. I figure if I lose it, it was just a hint to me that I could do better. However, twice is too many times.

  • AndyF 1y

    I've done a few cruises in each of the Caribbean and the Med, as well as a Pacific one ex Sydney, but the ones I've loved have been Northern Europe. I'd be hard pressed to choose between Norway, Iceland, and the Baltic.

    The Baltic generally has the highlight of a couple of days in St Petersburg, and is a collection of minibreaks in great cities - Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Riga, Tallinn, Gothenburg.

    Iceland is great in itself, cruising there gives lovely perspectives on places like Isafjordur as you sail away.

    And Norway... Best seen from the water. Lovely sailaways from places like Flåm. The drama of the Lofoten Islands rising out of the sea. ...And eating and sleeping shipboard means cruising there is perhaps half the cost of spending time in Norway the traditional way.


    I didn't count ferries, such as Hammerfest to Svolvaer to Fauske; Helsinki to Tallinn; Dakar to Ziguinchor; and ferries between islands in Greece and Indonesia.


    I started out my travels on ferries. Trips to Bergen, Stavanger, and Esbjerg, mostly cheap and low season. Not luxurious, but some brilliant places.


    I would have to disagree about Norway but then I really enjoyed driving the small winding roads around the fjords and mountains =) Plus I think Norway's interior is frequently underrated.


    I fancy a trip driving the North Sea Road up Norway's coast. Cruises are limiting in terms of time ashore, it's true. I once got the best of both worlds and hired a car for a day in port at Lofoten - we docked in Leknes and drove down the coast to Å. We got lucky with the weather and had a clear bright day, the scenery was jaw-dropping and we got chance to stop whenever we wanted.


    I didn't end up driving the North Sea Road, we actually went to Oslo via one of those underrated interiors the Telemark region. The mountain roads were stunning, with some spectacular rock formations along the way. Not to mention the cute mountain villages with their unique stave churches. Norway really is more than just fjords ;-D


    I would love to go to Iceland. I don't know if I will get there now. I tried to visit around 2010-2011 and couldn't figure out how to fly there without going to Europe first. It's possible now, but it wasn't then.


    One time I went to Oslo we flew over Telemark in winter, very clear weather and the frozen landscape was laid out beneath us. We were on an almost empty small jet so had a window each at both sides to admire the view.


    Iceland is amazing, if you ever get the chance take it =D. I know there are cruise ships that visit Akureyri. My time there coincided with a docked ship. We bumped into a group when we visited the botanic garden. My travel companion needed to use the toilet and we had to wait behind a long line of cruise ship passengers (it seems nobody thought to use their cabin toilet before disembarking :-/) since they only had two toilets, oddly they were also quite desperate to get their hands on a cup of coffee from the cafe. Maybe their cruise ship had bad coffee? I have flown over the Blue Mountains a few times and I flew over the Montenegrian mountains on the way to Podgorica, I can imagine the Telemark from the air must have been stunning.


    It was - you could follow the valleys filled with snow, and the frozen lakes, like looking over a geography lesson on glaciation. Great fun. :-)

    I second the Iceland recommendation! Most cruises seem to spend a couple of days in Reykjavik (which is just right - a day for the city and a day for a Golden Circle tour), and perhaps a day each in Akureyri and Isafjord. As a town Akureyri has a bit more going on, but the landscape around Isafjordur is brilliant - looks like volcanoes erupted under the ice sheet and the lava was restricted so flowed outwards, creating hand-like shapes of basalt on a huge scale - each finger is now a mountain ridge. From Akureyri I took a trip out to Myvatn Nature Baths - like the Blue Lagoon but without all the people.


    We did the drive around the West Fjords,(not a drive for the faint heart but the rewards are very good =D) visited Latrabjarg cliffs and usually I have the worst luck with animal spotting but we hit the jackpot with Puffins everywhere, they are cuter than their pictures and they would sit right next to you. And I agree Isafjord is beautiful and fascinating. They did build a tunnel from Reykjavik gets you there quicker than our route (it also stays open through the winter) but the long way is more interesting, but you better confident driver :-\


    I don't know why the passengers would have to use the facilities or need coffee unless they were on an extended expedition and started really early.

    I've been looking at cruises to Iceland. There are small ships that just circle the country and don't go anywhere else (about $4,100@ for 9 days), and then there are the luxury ships which the discounted cost is $27,000.00 ($53K for two) for 10 days on ships like Silversea Silver Cloud. There are also round the world cruises and repositioning cruises which pass by Iceland on their way to somewhere else. The cheaper option would be a 24 day cruise on a HAL ship for about $4K (based on double occupancy - so it would be $8K for two people) One day each in Seydisfjordur, Akureyri, and Isafjordur, and two days in Reykjavik, It also goes to Norway, Denmark and Scotland.


    If you want a cheaper option look at Thomson Cruises, sailing ex Newcastle, from about £1300 so under $2000 for a 14 night cruise.


    Or Icelandair now fly direct from many north American cities and offer various holidays - or for flights between north America and Europe free stopovers on your ticket up to 7 days.


    We were in Akureyri near midday when the bus arrived at the botanic garden, I don't even know what company they were sailing so who knows what their circumstances were. If those prices are for Iceland it seems to me it would be more economical to fly there and book local tours. There is a lot of places you can reach just from Reykjavik. If you are willing to spend some nights in Akureyri there are local tours that will take you round the northern sights.


    A 24 day cruise for 4k@ is $166.00 per day for all room, board and transportation. That doesn't seem expensive to me. It is true that there were only five of those days in Iceland.


    I was was referring to the Iceland only cruises when comparing flying to Iceland. If that is what is available they seem expensive. If you want to visit Iceland in conjunction with other places then the HAL ship sounds fine but in saying that you could use the cost of the cruise (actually you could spend a lot less) fly to Iceland and concentrate on exploring Iceland. I don't know what optional excursions are usually offered but I would be surprised if the did any F road excurisons and I certainly recommend doing at least one if visiting Iceland, the interior has some amazing sights. At the end of the day it comes down to what you want to get out of your trip. I am a little bias Iceland ranks as one my favourite places I visited so I could easily skip those other countries and spend 24 days in Iceland alone =P


    Of course I would rather go to Iceland and spend some time there. But I can't travel by myself very easily anymore, and once I get to a ship, it is easier for me not to have to arrange transport and decide where to eat and pack and unpack. I'm running out of people to travel with - I might actually be able to manage a cruise on my own.

  • berner256 1y

    March 2, 2018 from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula, then crossing the Antarctic Circle to circumnavigate Adelaide Island, with onshore stops along the way. Before the cruise, hiking in Patagonia.

    First cruise in 1973 from New York to Naples on SS Michelangelo via Lisbon, Algeciras and Palma de Mallorca. Part of 'round-the-world trip that took 18 months.

    Second cruise in 2016 from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires on the Norwegian Sun via Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco, Chilean fjords, Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas, Beagle Channel, Ushuaia, Cape Horn, Port Stanley, Puerto Madryn and Montevideo. After the cruise, flew from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, Argentina, for two weeks hiking in Patagonia. Flew from Punta Arenas to Santiago for flight home.

    Third cruise in 2017 from Guadeloupe to Savona, Italy, on the Costa Favolosa via St. Kitts, Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, St. John's, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, the Canary Islands, Gibraltar and Marseille. After cruise, traveled in Italy, Austria, Poland, Ukraine, France, UK and Iceland before heading home.

  • AndyF 1y

    Any other lovers of cruises out there?

    I've just booked my 13th cruise - a trip through the Norwegian fjords and up to the north cape in June 2018. I've always used cruise ships as a convenient way of getting to a load of new places with someone else doing the driving, so for me it's all about the destinations rather than on-board luxury. Norway in particular gives the opportunity to get my boots on and go hiking straight from the ship.

    Where are you cruising to next, and what are your favourite ports of call?


    I'm actually going on my first cruise next year around French Polynesia. I guess we'll see which ports I end up enjoying =D


    Sounds exciting. A couple of years ago I did a trip with P&O Australia, the ports were all in Vanuatu and New Caledonia, which felt similar to the Caribbean but less commercial. There wasn't much wow factor but they were nice to see - French Polynesia sounds more interesting.


    I'm surprised to hear Vanuatu didn't have a wow factor. It is a place I actually want to visit one day because on paper it always sounded so fascinating with its caves, azure swimming holes, abundance of waterfalls, jungle, active volcanoes (I am fascinated by volcanoes =P) and a whole secondary currency based on pig tusks, I never would have thought Vanuatu could be dissapointing =(


    We were there in the aftermath of a big storm so the place looked a bit trashed. And the usual problem with cruises - you get maybe 9am - 5pm somewhere and it's not enough to delve deeply into a place. Did a bit of swimming in pools beneath waterfalls but my girlfriend at the time wouldn't play.

    I like volcanoes too, along with glaciers. :-)


    My parents bought a VW and drove up through Norway from fjord to fjord, hopping on and off the ferries. I've always wanted to do something similar. I did do a Baltic cruise with my granddaughter in 2009 and it was a good way to see St. Petersburg without the hassle of getting a visa, but we didn't see much of the fjords. Another granddaughter and I went around Australia on a cruise which also stopped at Lombok, but I have never had the Pacific on my list of places to go except that I'd love to go to New Zealand.


    Maybe the storm did take the shine of Vanuatu :-/ The country is still on my to go list, fingers crossed my expectations aren't too lofty =D. Volcanoes and glaciers are awesome =) it is one of the reasons I loved Iceland, you have both and there is little travel distance between the two. Speaking of Norwy I just noticed Andy that you are visiting Nord Kapp. Mageroya Island was one of my favourite places to drive. I thought it was such a stunning island I really hope you enjoy it :-)


    I was in Honningsvag a couple of years ago too, didn't fancy the overpriced excursion to the north cape so went walking at the back of town, and met a herd of reindeer in the street. A fun experience!


    The entry fee to Nord Kapp is steep, I know things are expensive in Norway but even that entry fee seemed a bit rich especially when it even isn't the true most Northerly point. If you can bicycle there you can get a cheaper ticket =P Too be honest I do think Nord Kapp itself is overrated, I just found driving around the island to be amazing, that is why I still recommend visiting the island even if you don't go through Nord Kapp's gate. I have been told the hike to the most Northerly point is beautiful. Unfortunately we didn't have time as it is a pretty long walk. Those reindeer were probably the same we met :-) there seems to be a permanent herd in Honningsvag. At one point they were just standing in the middle of the road. I beeped the horn but they just couldn't care less. They did eventually move on... up the road and we trailled behind till there was a gap we could sqeeze through =D

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