Norway 2008



What's covered?

A cruise along the Norwegian coast.

Thoughts of a holiday in New England in the fall changed when we were told that a third grandchild is expected in September so we would be needed on Sophie duty. The idea of a cruise appealed to Gill as you get to see different places without having to keep unpacking and packing again. So on Sunday 13th July we set sail from Southampton on the Grand Princess to arrive in Stavanger on Monday 15th July.


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Stavanger 15 July 2008

As we walked around the old town, the heavens opened and we got soaked. Before boarding the boat taking us to Lysefjord we had to return to the ship to change our clothes.

The trip along Lysefjord started OK but then the heavens opened again so not too much photography. The sun did eventually come out, just as we returned to the ship!

The old town



The Sardine Museum, formerly the processing factory


The Grand Princess

Stavanger Cathedral

Some names just don't translate too well.

We enter Lysefjord


We return to Stavanger



Geiranger to Hellesylt 16 July 2008

Approaching Geiranger



The Grand Princess in Geiranger

We head off on our overland journey to Hellesylt


An Austin Healey 3000 in superb condition at Dalsnibba

The Trolls





Note the turf roof


Our ship awaits us at Hellesylt


Trondheim 17 July 2008

The day Gill decided not to take her camera and I forgot mine. Fortunately I remembered the mobile phone had a camera built in!

From the ship in harbour


Around Trondheim (using the mobile phone camera)


Underneath the building are the submarine bays built by the Nazis in the second world war.

Kristiansten Festning (Castle). The wall against which Norwegian resistance fighters were shot.


Trondheim Cathedral

Leif Ericsson

Back to a real camera

Trondheim has its own Alcatraz!


At sea 18 July 2008

On most of the "at sea" days, the cameras have been left in the cabin, or stateroom as Princess Lines prefer to call it. However today Gill took some artistic shots as well as photographing the chef and the Princess Lines Corporate Executive Chef who is responsible for all the catering on the Princess Lines cruisers. On the basis you should never trust a thin chef, this guy was OK!


Alfredo Marzi, Princess Cruises Corporate Executive Chef

The Grand Princess Head Chef and the Maitre d'Hotel

Our room, to give you some idea of the accomodation if you haven't been on a cruise.


Honningsvag 19 July 2008

Honningsvag is the nearest port to the North Cape that a ship of this size can get into. The North Cape is the most northerly port in Europe and within the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle is 66 degrees north and Honningsvag is 71 degrees north.

At this time of the year the sun does not drop below the horizon even at midnight. Unfortunately cloud can and did hide it as we journeyed towards Honningsvag. However, at Honningsvag we were able to see and photograph it.

Today's excursion was a tour of Mageroy Island.

We approach Honningsvag

The Adobe Technical Communication Suite reaches within the Arctic Circle


Between Kamoyvaer and Skarsvag




North Cape


Sami shop on Honningsvag quayside



Back on the ship prior to departure


The last tender returns

The pilot arrives

Nearly time for the midnight sun



The midnight sun (the picture time is 23.00 as the cameras were on BST)

Midnight sun with the other camera. We think the different colour is because this one has tighter zoom.

Tromso 20 July 2008


The Arctic Church

Arctic Poppies


We leave Tromso. These pictures don't do the trip justice. With some good music on the iPod, it was a lovely evening and we ended up dining late.

Flaam 22 July 2008

The worst possible day of the holiday to go down with a cold. I just hope the person who brought it on board suffered more than I did!

Today's excursion was a railway trip from Flaam to Voss and then returning to Flaam by coach. Both wonderful journeys in their own right.

Mooring at Flaam


The train leaves Flaam


The scrum to photograph the waterfall





A waterfall on the coach journey back

Views from the Park Hotel on our way back



A Nazi bunker in the hotel grounds


Back at Flaam

Bergen 23 July 2008

The entrance to the street in the next shot



The next three shots were taken though tinted glass.


What did we like?

Overall we thought Princess Cruises did a very good job. The staff without exception were friendly and helpful, never failing to greet you. The cabin was as expected and comfortable.

The dining options every night were Formal Dining or Anytime Dining with smart casual dress on most nights, just formal on two. We opted for the latter, which is unique to Princess Cruises and thought it worked well. We had waiter service of a high standard. You could choose to dine alone or go to "sharing tables" with up to six other people, which is what we did most nights and we met some very pleasant people. Only one night was there a couple who we and the rest of the table didn't take to. With this arrangement it is different people every night so that was not really a problem. With the Formal Dining you have the same people every night, like them or not. The only problem with the food was that there was too much of it and now we have to pay the price! The food is included in the price of the cruise and only drinks were extra and these were reasonably priced.

The evening entertainment was mostly very good and no cruise is going to have the right entertainment for everyone every night. The shows we picked were excellent and we particularly enjoyed Kyle Esplin (man can that guy play a piano!), John Martin (Liverpudlian comedian) and The Counterfit BeeGees (I know it should be Counterfeit, they're American!).

What didn't we like?

Time ashore could have been better. Being a very large ship, in many ports tenders were required and with 2,600 passengers, you can imagine the logistics of that. In Bergen tenders were not required but the port authority insisted on buses from the port and the last bus back to the ship was 1pm. Bergen in four hours doesn't quite work.

The daytime activities on the ship were not as good as in the evenings. Nearly all quizes and geared to the American market, even though the majority of the passengers were from the UK. Someone told us that on other cruises the daytime lectures had been very good and that would have been more interesting. There were some good afternoon films though.


As ever we will take the advice of other travellers and our travel agents but Princess Cruises will start at the top of the list. The things we didn't like are probably the same on other cruise lines while the Anytime Dining that we did like is unique to them. Other cruise lines are formal or buffet with no option to dine informally with waiter service, or so we understand.

The Ship


Grand Princess



Gross Tonnage


Nett Tonnage



951 feet


118 feet

Passenger Capacity




Cruising Speed

22.5 knots