We’re off on our Disney Cruise of Norway! Along the way we’ll be stopping at some of the spectacular scenery of Norway’s western fjords. Of course, since this is a Disney Cruise of Norway, there will be some “Disney Magic” thrown in such as FROZEN’s Queen Elsa and Princess Anna’s very first appearance in the country that inspired the film. This post will contain live tweets and updates direct from the ship during this inaugural Disney Cruise to the most impressive landscape on the planet.
We arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark after a long 20 hour day of travel and stayed overnight at the Tivoli Hotel and Congress Center, within walking distance of Tivoli Gardens, the amusement park that served as Walt Disney’s inspiration for Disneyland. On the way to the port we made a quick stop at “The Little Mermaid” sculpture. The bronze statue inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s original “Little Mermaid” fairy tale is over 100 years old. She bids travelers welcome and adieu from Copenhagen harbor.
You can find our complete cruise itinerary in the map below.
The first full day of our cruise was quiet and restful as we sailed to Norway. Retired Professor Marvin Slind lectured on Norwegian history and culture, and gave some background and context to the country and ports we would visit.
Pete Matthews, a world-record holding juggler and comedian from England, entertained guests with a thrilling show that included knives, axes, and juggling on an 8 foot tall unicycle. The juggling and balancing task certainly made that much more difficult given the rise and fall of the North Sea.
Afterwards, the family split up to do their own thing including the Vibe teen club, catching a movie in the Buena Vista Theater (CINDERELLA), exercising, or just resting in the room. We got back together for the evening show in the Walt Disney Theater followed by dinner.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Disney if there wasn’t a selection of merchandise to commemorate this inaugural Norwegian Fjords sailing. You can find a bounty of t-shirts, mugs, hats, pins, and other items emblazoned with Anna, Elsa, FROZEN, and the Disney Cruise Line logo.
The Disney Magic arrived in Stavanger, the hub of the oil industry in Norway – although, the scene before us certainly did not evoke an industrial town.
In the afternoon, we headed into the Norwegian countryside towards Lysefjord passing fields of sheep, cows, and rocks. The images passing the window evoked memories Vermont, where our youngest daughter was born.
We arrived at a 90+ year old farm named Bakernes Paradis (Baker’s Paradise), a vacation enclave of the bakers guild from Stavanger surrounded by scenic vistas of the mountains and fjord.
They greeted us with a traditional Norwegian treat of waffles topped with sour cream and homemade jam.
Afterwards we boarded a boat for a guided tour through Lysefjord. Lyse is the Norwegian word for light, and the granite rock plunging towards the water are said to emit an ethereal glow.
We passed Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), one of the most visited rock formations in Norway – similar to New Hampshire’s “Old Man in the Mountain.”
As we approached the Hengjane waterfall, our boat captain steered the vessel as close as he could to the wall so we could feel the spray from the cascade.
The crew reached out to fill buckets, and we all enjoyed a taste of the cold, crystal clear, mountain water.
Our tour guide pointed out geological features as we sailed back to port…
Lovers and newlyweds sit on a bench under this heart shaped formation,
and a “Viking Bathtub.”
The sun shone bright on this day as we all enjoyed the natural beauty of the region as we sailed back to port.
For the first time in… well, you know the song. On Tuesday, June 9th, Anna, Elsa and Kristoff from Disney’s FROZEN made their very first appearance in Norway – the land that served as the inspiration for the animated film.
Turns out the Norwegians are just as crazy about Princess Anna and Queen Elsa as any American waiting in line for hours at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom or Disneyland. This special royal appearance only happened at Disney Cruise Line’s stop in the historic Art Nouveau city of Ålesund, Norway.
We booked the Ålesund shore excursion to the Sunnmøre Open Air Museum (an additional $359/person on top of the price of the cruise) strolled through the living history village where local children performed traditional dances, played music, and shared Norwegian dishes including lefse (a buttery sweetbread), svele (a pancake topped with sugar), and waffles [yes, no carbs on this cruise].
The Norwegian summer celebration culminated with the arrival of Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, her special friend Kristoff, and even a reindeer joined in for the occasion (although he was a little spooked by the hordes of people speaking a strange language. The Frozen sisters and Kristoff greeted cruise guests while Norwegian music and dance continued in the picturesque, woodsy setting above the fjord.
And what did the Norwegians think of this FROZEN frenzy? As previously mentioned, they have the fever as much as we Americans. Tour guide and Sunnmøre Museum volunteer Sidsel Aurdal said, “we love the movie, and all the Norwegian girls want to be Anna and Elsa.” Need proof? Just look at the line of braided Scandinavians waiting to meet their new folk heroes.
The Frozen characters looked at ease in their home country with their people (errr, subjects?), and one can easily see how the Disney animators were influenced by the inspiring vistas surrounding towns like Ålesund. Whatever you may think of Disney’s Frozen, the joy that Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff brought to the families on Disney’s inaugural Norwegian Fjord cruise was evident.
On Day 5 we visited our first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Geiranger. The entire Geirangerfjord is designated a heritage site due to its spectacular vista, rock walls and cascading waterfalls everywhere you look.
We took a RIB boat tour; RIB standing for “Rigid Inflatable Boat,” geared up in our marshmallow suits, and enjoyed a guided tour of the sights.
It’s incredibly difficult to capture the majestic scenery that surrounded us in this port, but below are a few pictures to attempt to describe the scene.
Trolls in Norway are the essence of the mountains, woods, and wilderness. They embody and care for nature, and are mystical creatures of legend.
In the port of Bergen, Norway, we took a bus tour of the city that dates back to the 12th century to the Fløibanen funicular station that took us 1,000 feet up to the top of Mount Fløien. There we enjoyed spectacular views of Bergen including the sun shining down on the Disney Magic in port.
Next, we explored the cobblestone streets and alleyways of the historic harbor front of Bryggen where traders have dealt their wares since the 1300’s. The wooden buildings were rebuilt after the fire of 1702, and are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The crooked streets and leaning buildings reminded me of something out of a Harry Potter novel, like “Diagon Alley.”
Back on the ship, the Disney characters were dressed in Norwegian folk costumes – oh, I so regret not being able to get a picture of Goofy in full Viking attire. The Disney characters joined us for traditional dances and games such as the May Pole.
Once the ship left port in Bergen, we would say good-bye to Norway, but not before things turned to all things FROZEN with a Norwegian inspired dinner and “Freezing the Night Away” deck party. Note, this party began at 10:15pm at night, and notice how light it is outside. It felt like the middle of the afternoon.
We stayed at sea during the final day of the Norwegian Fjord sailing en route to our departure port of Copenhagen. Animator’s Palate restaurant was transformed into the North Mountain for a meet and greet with Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, and Olaf.
Evie and I “Became Iron Man” during the Oceaneer Club Open House…
And learned how to bake a chocolate lava cake – actually, we did more eating of a chocolate lava cake than baking.
Before we knew it, it was already time for our final dinner with our fantastic serving team of Sammy and Ortega.
Now’s the time to say good-bye to all our family. See ya’ real soon Disney Cruise Line! Thank you for a remarkable family adventure in Norway. And thanks to all the readers who followed along with our trip.
DISCLOSURE: Adventures by Daddy was offered a media rate in order to experience this Disney Cruise to Norway. However, all opinions expressed are those of the author. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.