I hope you had a chance to read about my Cruise Tips! If not, you can check it out here. Hopefully a look at our wonderful experience will show you that a cruise with kids is not stressful and a great experience for the whole family!
As I mentioned in a previous post, last summer we were able to take a Norwegian Fjord cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse. This 14-day cruise took us to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Norway. We had such a great time that I want to share it with you!
We were in Reykjavik for two days. The first day we went to the Blue Lagoon for a swim. On our way there we could see how the volcanic ash affected the landscape. On one side you would see blue water and vegetation growing and on the other side it looked like we were on the moon!
Driving up to the Blue Lagoon you can see pools of frosty blue water. It was beautiful and warm! The water is at a temperature between 98°-102°F. This geothermal seawater is known for its healing powers and the minerals in the water makes mud silica that you can put on your face that make it so soft and smooth when you wash it off!
The next day we took a shuttle into town. We walked around and found The Church of Hallgrimur. The architecture was amazing! You can even climb to the top of the church.
We walked around and did some shopping. We came across this cool store with a slide to go down to the floor below that also had a pond and a playroom for kids! A very family friendly store!
Fun fact: Volcanic activity in Iceland provides Reykjavik with geothermal heating systems for the residents and businesses. This large pipe that runs through the city contains the geothermal heat. It reminded me of the oil pipe line in Alaska.
Our next port was Akureyri. The views were much different than Reykjavik. Our excursion tour took us to the Botanical Gardens and then to the Godafoss Falls. The Godafoss Falls were amazing! There was absolutely no fencing to keep you away from these raging falls! You could walk up right to the edge of the cliffs!
We were lucky to see a whole herd of Icelandic horses run across the bridge and herded into a fenced enclosure. They remind me of rock stars with their crazy manes.
Fun Fact: In Iceland, the only breed of horse is the Icelandic Horse. Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported. Once a horse is exported, it is not allowed to return to Iceland.
Klaksvik, Faroe Islands
Klaksvik had the most amazing views! We took a hike up Mount Klakkur where we could see all around us! It was peaceful and worth the hike uphill! Gavin did pretty well. He hitched a ride on his Daddy’s shoulders halfway up, but ran downhill on the way back to the bus. Good thing he was holding onto Matt’s hand because he kept falling over from running so fast!
Fun Fact: There are more sheep and cattle than residents that live on the Faroe Islands!
It was a foggy morning when we arrived into Geiranger. We saw many waterfalls while cruising through the fjord. One of the more famous waterfalls we passed were the Seven Sisters – seven waterfalls cascading down, side by side. The fog lifted from the village as the hours passed. You can see in the picture below that there is a waterfall that runs right through the village! Beautiful!
We didn’t book an excursion for this port until the morning we arrived. We were lucky that we were able to book one last minute and it turned out to be a great time. Our excursion took us on a bus drive on this crazy, curvy road with over 36 bends. We passed some amazing views, like Lake Djupvatn. This lake seemed to appear out of nowhere!
We finally reached our destination, putting us above the clouds. On a clear day the tour guide said the views were amazing, but I was not disappointed at all! We couldn’t see below the clouds, but the weather was warm and the view was still amazing! This is a picture of my little guy and me at Mount Dalsnibba.
Stories of trolls are very popular in Norway. We were told that trolls are very naïve and curious, only coming out of their hiding places after sunset. If they were unfortunate to be caught in the sun, they would turn into a rock. Throughout Norway we saw large rock formations and were told that the folktales said that those were once trolls!
Here is a view from one of the stops we made on the way back of our cruise ship docked in the fjord.
Fun Fact: There are about 250 permanent residents that live in Geiranger. Tourism is the main source of income for the area from May through September and bumps up the population to thousands in a single day with the arrival of just one cruise ship!
I would have to say that Olden was one of my favorite ports. I loved the village with their colorful houses against the green landscape. At this port we took a quick stop at a lake for a photo op.
Then we were headed out to hike to the Briksdalsbreen glacier (Also known as Briksdal glacier). Hiking this trail reminded me of Alaska. Gavin loved the crossing bridge and getting sprayed by the huge waterfall!
We made it to the glacier! Here is a family picture with the glacier behind us. Along the trail there were signs showing where the glacier once was. It has definitely receded over time!
Below is a picture of the beautiful landscape that we saw from our ship. I couldn’t get enough of all the colors!
Fun fact: The colors of the houses in Norway hold a special meaning. Historically, the color that homeowners chose to paint their houses depended on their financial situation. Red paint was the cheapest to produce using the blood and oil from fish and other animals. Yellow paint was a little more expensive, using ochre (a type of clay) and oil. White was the most expensive to produce, requiring zinc. If you had a white house, you were showing your neighbors that you had money. I personally liked the yellow and red houses! They were just more colorful and showed more character!
Flam was another port where we booked our excursion while on the cruise. It was a very small port and all the excursions were sold out quickly! We didn’t get the excursion I was hoping for, but did end up with one of the best tour guides we have ever had! So it ended up being a win! Our tour guide talked nonstop during the bus ride portions of our trip and was filled with a lot of very interesting information about the area. We took a trip to see the Stalheim Valley Hotel and headed down a very steep and narrow road with 13 hairpin turns!
Our next stop was to the Tvindefossen Waterfalls (or Tvinde Waterfalls). It is known for its rejuvenating water. Matt tasted the water and said that it did taste good!
The weather was amazing! We had some time after our excursion for Gavin to run around in this great park by the tourist shops, get some shopping done, and enjoy our lunch by the grill on the top deck of the ship!
Fun fact: Women in Norway have the right to 44 weeks of fully paid maternity leave and men 6 weeks of fully paid paternity leave! Also, education is free, even college and university education!
Bergen was the largest city we visited during our cruise. Unfortunately, we spent the least amount of time there. We still made the most of our stay with a walk through Bryggen, the oldest section in town. They had a great farmers market there with several stalls. We boarded the funicular and rode to the top to hike up Mount Floein. The views from the top were amazing!
Gavin hiked most of the 5 miles! Of course, if it weren’t for the new friend he made that day I am sure we would have had a few meltdowns! Gavin did not want to leave his side! It was cute and his new friend was absolutely patient and sweet with my little guy!
Fun Fact: Bergen was nicknamed the City of Rain. Their average annual precipitation is 88 inches a year! Rain fell every day between October 29, 2006 and January 21, 2007, 85 consecutive days!
I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip! It was truly amazing and we had such a great time. I can’t wait until our next cruise!
If you had a chance to go on a cruise this year, where would you go?
– That’s IT Mom, Sharon
*Sharon did not receive any compensation or product for this post. She’s sharing her experience with our readers.