Netherlands and Norway Fjords Cruise onboard the Explorer of the Seas

Norway Fjords Cruise

Every year we try and spend a quality week with our Dad’s, Bo and John and go on a cruise. We joined the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Explorer of the Seas ship in Southampton for an 8 night Netherlands and Norway Fjords Cruise. We booked a balcony cabin on the 12th deck and were not disappointed!

Norway Fjords Cruise

John, Bo, Carole and Paul

After a day at sea, our first port of call on our Netherlands and Norway Fjords Cruise was Rotterdam, a city in south Holland, the Netherlands. We sailed directly from the North Sea to the cruise Terminal Rotterdam at Holland Amerika quay in the city centre which took about 2 hours. We really enjoyed the sail in we had a great spot sat in the Viking Crown Lounge with is on deck 14 and has panoramic views over the pool area towards the front of the ship.

Norway Fjords Cruise

Sailing into Rotterdam

The terminal is situated within the so called ‘Manhattan on the Maas’ right in the City Centre, right by the Erasmus Bridge which is one of Holland’s most famous bridges.  The bridge is 800 meters long and has a 139 meter high pylon which is fastened by 32 stays. The bridge is also known as ‘The Swan’ and is spectacular to see.

Getting off the ship was easy, there was a covered walkway into the terminal where there were a selection of stalls with local produce including the traditional wooden clogs.

Norway Fjords Cruise

Wooden clogs

Always make sure you have your sea pass on you as this is your identification and proof that you are a passenger on the ship, you can learn more about your sea pass here.  The terminal has free wifi available throughout which was a great bonus as wifi on the ship is very expensive. Rotterdam is within walking distance of the cruise terminal, and for more information visit here.

Our next port of call on our Netherlands and Norway Fjords Cruise was Olden, a village that has been voted as one of the best ports in Norway. Olden is located at the inner end of the Nordfjord and is characterized by varied and dramatic scenery, peaceful valleys lie in contrast to gleaming glaciers, foaming waterfalls and towering mountains. Olden is the gateway to the Jostedal Glacier, the largest glacier on the European mainland.

Norway Fjords Cruise

Explorer of the Seas docked in Olden

It was fascinating watching the pilot and captain navigate this huge ship, down this fjord. We all nervously watched as we passed hanging overhead electric cables, the ship needing to go so close to the edges, so it could pass safely.

Norway Fjords Cruise

Sailing in to Olden

Straight in front of the docking area is a bar/restaurant and a line of tourist shops, but if you turn right and walk for approximately 15 minutes you come to the village, which is lovely to walk around and so picturesque with the background of the snowcapped mountains.

Norway Fjords Cruise

Sailing out of Olden

Leaving the port was also entertaining as the ship reversed and then turned 180 degrees, amazing feat in such a small space! The village of Olden is beautiful, should you choose a cruise to Norway make sure it is on your itinerary.

Norway Fjords Cruise

Sailing into Flam

Our next port of call on our Netherlands and Norway Fjords cruise was Flam. This is situated at the end of the 126 mile long Sognefjord which is the 2nd longest fjord in Norway. We got up at 0530 to watch the sail in, unfortunately, the weather wasn’t in our favour with very low clouds and rain, but it was still pretty spectacular.

Flam is the start of the famous Flamsbana Line, one of the steepest train lines in the world, where almost 80% of the journey has a gradient of 5.5%.

Norway Fjords Cruise

Flam train station

The train takes you from the ocean level, to the mountaintop at Myrdal mountain station on Hardangervidda, 863 meters over the ocean. We talked to passengers who had completed the journey, and they all said it was amazing, so it should be on your to do list if you are planning a visit and not got a problem with heights! Due to the weather the Dad’s stayed on the ship, we had a wander around the small village, mainly full of souvenir shops and met a lovely friendly troll.

Norway Fjords Cruise

Shopping and a troll!

The rain unfortunately didn’t stop so we headed back to the ship to find the Dads. This didn’t prove difficult as they were sat in their normal position outside the Crown and Kettle pub on the promenade!

Norway Fjords Cruise

Alesund Town with the steps up to the view point

The next day on our Norway Fjords Cruise we docked in Alesund, a town that sits at the entrance of the famous Geirangerfjord. Destroyed in a catastrophic fire in 1904 the town was completely rebuilt in the Art Nouveau design with towers and turrets and had quite a medieval feel to it. We spent a couple of hours walking round the town and found a hotel that sold coffee and wifi for less than £2 which is a rarity in Norway! There are 418 steps up to the famous viewpoint, however with my fear of heights we decided to stay safely at sea level! Alesund is within easy walking distance of the cruise terminal and great port to spend the day.

Norway Fjords Cruise

Stavanger

After a very windy night and lots of rain we arrived in our last port of call on our Netherlands and Norway Fjords Cruise, Stavanger and the sun came out. The old town and the shopping area were all within easy walking distance of the ship, we really enjoyed wandering the narrow streets of the Old Town in particular. Tiny streets with the white houses gives you a glimpse of norwegian life.

Norway Fjords Cruise

Old Town of Stavanger

Great surprise when we docked in Stavanger, Norway, docked next door was one of the cruise ship’s I had worked on in the early 90’s, Horizon, formally owned by Celebrity Cruises. Now operating under a Royal Caribbean company, CDF Croisières de France. Bought back some superb memories of a special time in my life!

Norway Fjords Cruise

Carole with the Explorer and the Horizon behind in Stavanger

Stavanger is a great port to visit, easy to navigate and plenty of restaurants and bars to visit. If it’s souvenirs you’re after then you will be able to pick up a troll or two!

Norway Fjords Cruise

Trolls

We had one day at sea before we returned to the starting point of Southampton. We had a fabulous time on our Norway fjords cruise and the itinerary was excellent.  Norway is a beautiful country and I know we will be returning at some point in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Here are some interesting facts about the Explorer of the Seas cruise ship.

Have you been on the Explorer of the Seas or on a cruise to Norway, or would like any more information? Please comment below.

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Here are some travel accessories that we recommend for your cruise – our EC Technology travel bank to keep your camera’s and phones charged so you can take lots of photos, all our photos were taken on my Samsung Note 4, and packing cubes for your luggage. Click through to Amazon to buy for your next trip.

Do visit our Travel Accessories Page to see our other recommendations.

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Norway Fjords Cruise

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9 things you need to know about your sea pass

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Quality family time on our 2 day Ventura cruise

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Carole and the Explorer of the Seas

Carole and the Explorer of the Seas

Norway Fjord Cruise

 

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About paulandcarole

A travelling, cruising, housesitting couple who hope to inspire others along the way!
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46 Responses to Netherlands and Norway Fjords Cruise onboard the Explorer of the Seas

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  5. LisaLDN says:

    I’m SO GLAD you enjoyed your Norwegian cruise, and even happier that you liked visiting Flåm! It’s where I was born and raised, and I LOVE reading people’s impressions and experiences from visiting 🙂 The Flåm Railway truly is stunning, and I’m sorry you were unlucky with the weather.. The village is stunning on a good day, so you’ll have to come back! 🙂

    • You certainly are from a beautiful part of the world! We have cruised a lot and Norway by far is one of the best itineraries, breathtaking scenery and the long sail in’s via the Fjords are a delight. I am sure we will return one day, and hopefully the sun will be shining! Thanks for your comment and visiting our blog.

  6. Ashley says:

    Looks like it was a lot of fun! I did a Northern European cruise a few years ago with my family. We went to different ports, but Alesund was one of our stops as well and we just loved it there!

    • Hi Ashley,
      It was great fun, and I am sure we will return to Norway at some point as it such a stunning place. Our next cruise is only a few weeks away, we are off to the Adriatic Coast including Croatia, Slovenia, Albania and Italy so looking forward to that! Thanks for taking the time to comment it is really appreciated.
      Carole.

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  10. How fun…you always seem to go on the best cruises and this one does not disappoint. Great ports of entry with information on each port and wonderful photos. My favorite are the trolls. lol. I really need to cruise you both make this look like so much fun. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Anna says:

    Each little town is more picturesque than the previous! I love the look of Flam, with the green mountains in the back and that amazing train line. Wow, I’d love to take that to the top of the mountain. This cruise sounds so fun and a cabin on the 12th deck sounds amazing!

  12. We have visited Flam (we took the boat from Gudvangen) and took the train to Myrdal on the Flam railway. It is a nice trip (though I would say some in Switzerland are more spectacular) but the boat trip from Gudvangen to Flam was without doubt for me the most awe inspiring jaw dropping scenery I have seen anywhere (there are some posts on my site about my time in Norway – my husband had a nursing placement in a small village!)

    The cruise sounds fab and you went to some places I would love to get to – I will definitely be returning to Norway (twice is not enough!)
    Tracy McConnachie Collins recently posted…Around The World in 80 Books Part 4My Profile

    • We loved our visit to Flam, Norway is a beautiful place and one we would love to go back too. Being a nurse myself that’s interesting that he had a placement in Norway was that part of a course? ~ Carole

  13. shere says:

    we were in Norway last summer, but we drove a campervan 🙂 We didn’t reach Alesund, but we visited all the other ports. For me, the most beautiful ports are Geiranger and Eidfjord.
    shere recently posted…Flying alone with a baby and a toddlerMy Profile

    • It is a beautiful country, we were due to visit Geiranger and the itinerary was changed to Rotterdam so we were disppointed about that. We love our campervan and travelling around Norway in it would be amazing. Was it easy to explore?

  14. Love the little trolls and the wooden clogs, they are so cute. A Norway cruise seems pretty sweet, we will be sure to add Olden to our itinerary when we decide to go. I love having a balcony on a high floor when we cruise, that’s the way to go! Awesome trip.
    Scarlett Begonias recently posted…Dog-friendly St. Louis, MissouriMy Profile

  15. Travel Lexx says:

    I would love to see the stunning fjords up close and looks like you guys have an amazing time! Love that you got to see the ship you worked on too, bringing back all those memories! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Kreete says:

    Seems like a fantastic cruise. Too bad the weather wasnt great on some of the days, but there isn’t much you can do about that. All this cruise talk makes me want to go on a cruise and I have been secretly looking them up. If I could only afford one haha!

    • Cruising can be expensive but we have learnt if you are willing to wait the prices do drop nearer to the sailing date so can become affordable. That is a gamble if you want specific cabins but if not it can work out well. Hope you get to go on one as it really is a great experience.

  17. Shona says:

    We became cruise converts last year after our first from Seattle to the inside passage of Alaska. This Norway Fjord cruise looks great too. Although there’s not a lot of time in each port, I do love landing in different places and not having to worry about anything but getting off and exploring. Thanks for the info, I’ll file for later!
    Shona recently posted…Queensland: Hastings Street, Noosa Heads!My Profile

    • It is such a civilised way to travel we love it. The waking up somewhere new is great and we just love being out on the ocean, so peaceful, sometimes eerie but the best sunsets and sunrises! We are busy planning our next one! Thanks for your comment.

  18. We’ve been thinking it’s about time for another cruise. This one looks awesome! Great photos – thanks for sharing!
    Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) recently posted…#Travel140: Keep Spring Break AffordableMy Profile

  19. Seems like you had a great time! Thanks for sharing a great article with great pictures! We are so glad that you loved the cruise and now you made us want to go! We loved the one the wooden clogs! So cute. Keep up the great work! Patrick and Cécile from Travel4lifeblog

  20. Olden looks so beautiful. Really picturesque. We have never been on a cruise. Hoping to go sometime this year. Will go through all your cruise posts before we make a decision.

    • Thanks for your comment, we have cruised quite a bit now so if you want any advice then do let us know. Hope you get to go on your cruise, it really is a civilised way to travel!

  21. I would love to cruise through Norway. You were wise to get a room with a balcony. I think I’d spend half my time on it gazing out at the scenery. Sounds like a fabulous itinerary with plenty of good ports.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…Spy vs. Spy at the International Spy MuseumMy Profile

  22. Lisa says:

    Looks like a great choice for a cruise. All that beautiful scenery reminds me of Alaska in so many ways. Would love to visit the places you stopped at. And yes, a room with a balcony! Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures.

  23. I love your reviews on cruises! And you’re so right, captains need to be very good at their jobs to keep the large ship from hitting anything. It’s great that it was easy to find the dads since they had their usual spot lol. It all looks like so much fun! I need to go on a cruise soon, it’s been a while.
    ThriftyTrails recently posted…Nara Photoblog: Where The Deer Roam Free in JapanMy Profile

  24. Barry says:

    Very cool. I did a mini euro road trip from the UK to the Netherlands and later Norway. I did see some cruises advertised and would like to try that option one day.

  25. Sarah says:

    Aww, what an awesome way to spent time with the parents! The Fjords look so amazing!! definitely high up on the bucket list.

  26. Alissa says:

    This seems like such a lovely experience! And all of the cities seem so charming 🙂 Thanks for sharing your photos and your experience on the Netherlands/Norway cruise!

  27. Cruising from Netherland to Norway is a beautiful experience. Rotterdam is a splendid city. I would love to buy those wooden clogs. The sailing pictures at olden look fabulous.

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