Homelands Viking Cruise Excursions Norway
Enjoy my Homelands Viking Cruise Excursions Norway review, with experiences in the colorful cities of Stavanger, Eidfjord, Bergen (rainiest city in Europe)!
My husband and I were recently hosted by Viking Cruises on a Viking Homelands Cruise. The Viking Star originally set sail in Stockholm, a 15 day Viking Homelands journey, visiting eight countries: Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, and Norway.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Homelands Viking Cruise Denmark Excursions, I’m sharing the last country we visited while aboard the Viking Star.
To beautiful, colorful Norway!
Taking a Viking Cruise
If you’ve ever considered taking a cruise, the Viking cruise line is definitely one to consider. You can read all about the Viking Homelands Ocean Cruise and the Homelands Viking Cruise Denmark Excursions for more information.
You can read some of my “booking excursions” tips, here.
Viking Ocean provides great value, an all-inclusive experience – something that seems to have fallen by the wayside with other cruise experiences. There’s no upselling on this ship, and that made our time relaxing and fun.
Besides the fantastic food and beverages the ship offers (soft drinks, beer and wine complimentary at meals, and specialty restaurants that don’t require an additional charge), were the fabulous excursions.
In this post: Homelands Viking Cruise Excursions Norway
- Stavanger, Norway
- Eidfjord, Norway
- Bergen, Norway
We had just visited Alborg, a quaint, warm (as in happy, friendly people) university town, with a distinctive culture, where it was wonderful meeting locals and getting to know more about Danish food, culture, and beer.
Having heard so much about Copenhagen, we were just walking the streets and shopping and eating, and take in the brightly painted housed along Nyhavn.
But for this post, we woke up at Stavanger, Norway, docked right in the heart of the Old Town city!
Breakfast first, then we hit the town!
We walked through neighborhoods of nearly 250 wooden houses, that date between the 18th and early 20th centuries.
We also loved the cobblestone streets, shops, art galleries, and a delicious cup of hot chili cocoa.
You can also visit the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. Offshore oil drilling is an important industry for the local economy. You can learn about the history of gas exploration in the area, and what’s being done to balance economics and protect the environment.
Really such a quaint town!
We decided for the tour that we wanted to try cruises along the Lysefjord to see the famous Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, one of Norway’s most famous natural attractions.
Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is a local sightseeing boat excursion right next to where our ship was docked, at the Stavanger archipelago.
We jumped on the giant cruise boat, admiring the Stavanger vacation homes on the small islets as we entered Lysefjord. Its name (“light fjord”) comes from the lightly colored granite rock rising from the waters.
As you cruise, you gaze up nearly 2,000 feet through the beautiful waterfall to the famous Pulpit Rock. I guess this is a popular place for hikers.
The incredible rock formation juts out above the fjord. It’s truly breathtaking!
The cruise takes you directly underneath and past some towering waterfalls.
Oh, and on the boat, we were served the tastiest waffles, best eaten with cream and sweet jams.
After a day in Stavanger, we strolled back to the Viking Star!
Oh, and did I mention that you can eat on the ship anytime? Read all about the ship and restaurants, here, but this day, we headed to the World Cafe and I made my own charcuterie plate to bring up to our room for lunch! How fun is this?
Awh, now for my favorite part of the trip. Paddling through breathtaking fjords, we were captivated by the amazing wildlife and views that surrounded us.
You’ve probably heard about how beautiful Norway is, and about Europe’s largest mountain plateau, Hardangervidda.
Whether you take a kayak trip or a rib boat to explore, I say that if you’re in Eidjord, outdoor activities are a must if you’re the outdoor kind. [Gearing up for our adventure!]
It’s true, even in the rain, it was spectacular!
We started out in the rain, and then the most glorious sun came out!
We saw the cutest little billy goats along the shore. What a great way to get close to wildlife! We were literally this close!
Kayaking for seven miles, what a dream for Paul and me. Seven miles in God’s glorious handiwork!
We got such an intimate view of Norway’s majestic fjords; what a thrilling time for us! We passed small farms and incredible scenic landscapes!
The sun came out … with a beautiful rainbow.
Our guide was exceptional. He gave so much history about the towering cliffs that were created more than 8,000 years ago, when the ice-age glaciers receded and the lower parts of the valley were filled with seawater.
As I mentioned you can also take a thrilling cruise in a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIB). Your guide skims along the steely waters at high speed, through the soaring slopes of Eidfjorden.
Thank you, Eidfjord, for the fjords, mountains and waterfalls, mountain lakes, and glaciers.
And then, back to the ship for dinner!
The last stop on our itinerary was Bergen, touring through the streets of Norway’s second-largest city. A very colorful city! They also say Bergen is the rainiest city in Europe!
When we arrived in Bergen, the ship was encircled by majestic mountains, fjords and glaciers. How majestic! The Viking Star was berthed next to Bryggen wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we strolled along its waterfront.
We went through the famous, bustling fish market, enjoyed beer and fish and chips at a local pub, and ended our time at the Magic Ice Bar!
Magic Ice Bar
Have you ever been to an ice bar? An ice bar (serving drinks) is primarily made of ice. The bars usually contain ice sculptures and yes, we wore these very warm cape/coats and managed to stay for 1 drink, for about 20 minutes. The walls and seating are also usually made of ice. Brrr … but fun!
Even though there were good optional tours we could have taken in Bergen, this was our last day in Norway before returning home.
We preferred a slower pace, walking and shopping, and getting back to the ship for our last “tea” and fabulous dinner, for our last night on the ship.
Panoramic Bergen Tour
You can take a tour by deluxe motor coach, to learn more about the city. It’s easy to hop on and off the bus, which we did.
Founded in 1070 AD, Bergen features many historic sites, including the medieval King Haakon’s Hall, the Rosenkrantz Tower, the picturesque wooden buildings at Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Nordnes Peninsula, with its 19th-century white-painted wooden houses.
Everyone was snapping pics of Bergen Harbor, which was pretty, but again, very rainy.
Once the capital city of Norway, Norwegian kings resided here, and many historic events took place in the port. Bergen owed its wealth and prominence to the fish export trade, which has been at the heart of the town since the Middle Ages.
We heard such interesting stories from our guide about Bergen’s colorful past, as we toured the streets of Norway’s second-largest city.
Why take a cruise?
Because all this is included with Viking Ocean Cruises, you not only visit countries and ports you’ve never been to, but add in these benefits:
- Your room has its own private veranda
- Each port of call offers a guided excursion
- Enjoy Culture Curriculum®: Viking Resident Historian, Guest Lecturers, Destination
- Performances, TED Talks, Met Under the Stars, Munch Moments, classical music performances
- All onboard meals featuring regional specialties and American classics
- Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with onboard dinner and lunch, including daily afternoon tea
- Coffee & tea anytime on board
- Enjoy al fresco dining at sea
- Unlimited Wi-Fi
- Alternative restaurant dining experiences
Even the towns offer a little bit of familarity … people standing in line for McDonald’s!
The 50’s crowd
As mentioned above, my husband and I are in our 50’s, and we really enjoyed the entertainment on the ship. We loved the Viking Band in the Viking Bar/Lounge, where there was dancing and just a lot of fun visiting with friends.
The last day at Bergen, after our excursions, and tea with RecipeGirl.
And then dinner at our favorite restaurant to celebrate our last night on the ship!
Thank you Viking Cruises for such a classy experience with the best gourmet food, outdoor adventures, beauty, culture, new friends, classical music (which I loved), the feel of family from staff and guests. Not to mention, we got to enjoy the most beautiful ship with spacious rooms and our own private balcony!
We’ll be back!
Catch up on all my Homelands Viking Cruise posts, here:
MORE CRUISE INFORMATION:
- Visit Viking Ocean Cruises to check out their ships and itineraries.
- Tour The Viking Star (and watch the virtual tour) to learn more about the ship we were on!
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