August 19th 2019
John had the opportunity to take part in a 5 night educational cruise to the Norweigian Fjords with Fred Olsen Cruises on-board their ship, Balmoral.
John spent the first 24 hours of his trip at sea, traveling from Newcastle to Norway. Newcastle is a great starting point for cruises to Norway with its rail links to a number of Scottish cities and large passenger lounges. John took the opportunity the free time provided to explore the ship and all of its amenities.
On day 2 John had his first full day at sea which saw him reach the Norweigian coast and sail up the picturesque Lysefjord. Created by a glacier approximately 10,000 years ago, the fjord is lined with majestic mountains and dramatic cliff faces. John was able to take in the amazing views from the observation deck on the ship, while gliding through crystal clear and glassy waters. The pictures don't do it justice!
John spent day 3 exploring Eidfjord at the first port of call on Balmoral's Norwegian Fjords itinerary. This gorgeous little village is set within the picturesque Hardangerfjord or the ‘Queen of the Fjords’ and is a meandering cluster of wood-slat homes in pastel hues. John highly recommended booking the Rib experience which allows you to get even closer to the Fjords. With the remaining free time visit the two quaint churches or take the Troll train up to the mountains experiencing amazing views and the largest known Iron Age Viking burial site.
Day 4 had the Balmoral in the port of Bergen for a full day. Home to a number of attractions including the 900 year old UNESCO- listed Bryggen Wharf, Bergen is a popular stop on Norwegian itineraries. John started exploring by first taking the funicular train to the top of Mount Fløyen with its breathtaking views of Bergen. Framed by seven hills and fjords Bergen is steeped in maritime heritage, which John immersed himself in by taking a walking tour of Bergen and the fish markets with a final stop at the ice bar. Bergens a fantastic place to visit and they were so lucky with the weather
John’s last day on board the Balmoral was spent at sea returning to Newcastle. On the journey he got to meet the captain on the bridge and then had afternoon tea in the observatory lounge. The whole cruise was a fantastic experience for John and he highly recommends Fred Olsen and Norway.