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About kaisatsu

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    Oslo, Norway
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    Travel, Literature, Food, Wine, Craft Beer
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  1. Even most of the low-luxury ships have en-suite bathrooms. G Adventures’ MS Expedition is generally considered “medium” level, and she has all en-suite outside cabins and seated dinners. The luxury level is more about the rest of the ship, as there’s not a huge difference in the basic cabins unless you look at some of the new all-suite ships. I think you’d probably be fine on just about any expedition ship and can probably choose more based on price and schedule than anything else. The 200-passenger ships are often less expensive and more likely to have last-minute availability (versus early booking discounts, which means booking 1.5 to 2 years in advance). GAdventures and Oceanwide Expeditions have some less expensive options under 150 passengers. If you’re okay with just one shore landing per day, one of the larger 300-400 passenger ships would still suffice. I’d take a look at Quark, G Adventures, Hurtigruten, Oceanwide Expeditions, and maaaaaybe One Ocean. I hesitate on the last one, because One Ocean just had an issues with the ships it charters, and I’m concerned that they’ve not been great and handling the situation.
  2. There are new emissions rules for ships sailing to Flåm and Geiranger, and any ships that do not meet the current standards will not be allowed to sail through these fjords. The rules will become more and more strict over the next few years.
  3. Indeed, nearly the majority of organized activities on an expedition ship are lectures and educational programs. If these kinds of activities don't particularly interest you, it might help guide advice if you could explain a bit about what you're hoping to get out of the trip. Are you primarily interested in photography? Outdoor activities? Watching the scenery? Checking off the last continent?It would also be good to understand what the minimum level of comfort and luxury you're looking for is. For example, if you're more interested in outdoor activities than wildlife information, the Oceanwide "basecamp" trips might be a good fit. If you want to set foot on land but aren't necessarily keen to spend a lot of time out there, some of the larger luxury ships could be a good choice. If you're not already aware, only up to 100 passengers (and sometimes fewer) can be ashore at once, so larger ships mean less time on shore. Many people feel that even with rotated landings, they have enough time to enjoy themselves, but if you're keen to spend a lot of time on land, this is important to keep in mind.
  4. I'm guessing you're on IcelandAir? Passport control is quite streamlined for KEF connections, and I've known several people who made the connection in under an hour, so I wouldn't be worried at all about 1h30. In Oslo, you'll exit the secure area of the terminal through the Duty Free shop (practically a supermarket, where most locals buy a lot of their wine and other alcohol) into baggage claim. As mentioned, customs clearance simply means walking through the green exit if you have nothing to declare.
  5. Is this part of a Baltic Sea cruise or a Norwegian fjords cruise? If it’s the Baltics, you might consider the Norway in a Nutshell trip as a chance to get over to Flåm and see the iconic fjord scenery. Depending on the season, this can be done as a long daytrip or with an overnight in the fjords. Otherwise, I’d spend the two days in Oslo. It’s a good amount of time to see many of the highlights without having to rush or to pick and choose too much.
  6. I generally recommend visiting the Falklands en route to the Antarctic peninsula. The wildlife is fantastic, but after Antarctica, some people are a little underwhelmed or too tired to appreciate it. However, if you’re not landing in Antarctica, that advice may not apply as much.
  7. I would do this at a supermarket. There a number in the center of Bergen, and they will be open at that time. They tend to deal with more cash on hand than many other kinds of shops and should have enough to break a 1000 note without too much annoyance. Find a nearby supermarket, buy a few snacks, and get change. In some ways, supermarkets have take. Over a bit of the cash operations since the reduction/elimination of cash at physical bank branches. Getting cash back along with debit card purchases at the supermarket is a common local practice, and some local online-only banks actually prefer it to ATMs, since the fees and surcharges are lower.
  8. The original post did clearly mentioned that it was an Azamara cruise. It kind of goes without saying that it’s going to cost a bit. (Unless you’re a regular on Ponant or Silverseas!)
  9. I will add that you should also decide if you are interested purely in the fjords or if you would also like to visit the Arctic areas as well. Many longer sailings also travel up to places like Tromsø and Honningsvåg or the beautiful Lofoten Islands (Gravdal, Leknes, or Svolvær). A very few even sail all the way to Svalbard (Longyearbyen). You can visit the fjord areas on a shorter trip, since it requires less distance from the typical embarkation ports. As mentioned, the heritage fjords of Geiranger and Flåm are among the favorites, but we’ve already started to see some itinerary changes from cruise lines that won’t be ready/willing to meet the new standards. This has also created an uptick in alternative fjord ports that are less well known. The easiest way to see which are fjord ports is to pull up the town on Google Maps and see how far inland they are. The farther from open seas, the more scenic cruising you have on the way in and out. And the narrower the waterway, the more dramatic the scenery tends to be.
  10. You must have a lower comfort zone than me! While Oslo isn’t on the Baltic (since we’re splitting geographical hairs in this thread), it’s often added to Baltic cruises. I’ve been wearing sweaters under my jacket all week here! On Wednesday I wore a fleece jacket under my GoreTex trench coat to watch the World Cup match outside, and we still ended up moving inside before the end of the game! And for the Baltic proper, I just checked, and it’s 11°C in Stockholm right now with an 8 m/s breeze and light rain. I would definitely need more than a light raincoat for that! 💨 🥶 🌧 (That said, it was over 25°C in both places last weekend! ☀️ 🏖)
  11. It’s not hard to visit Flåm on a day trip from Bergen. Take a look at the Norway in a Nutshell package, which includes the Flåm railway, Nærøyfjord cruise, and part of the Oslo-Bergen rail line. I think it looks like an interesting itinerary. Svalbard is fascinating, and the Lofoten Islands (Svolvær) are beautiful. You’ll also have a bit of fjord cruising on the way in and out of Olden.
  12. I would skip the Rotterdam, because the itinerary is very underwhelming. The others are all fine, itinerary-wise. Compared to P&O, Carnival adds Molde and Ålesund, which are nice but not top stars (i.e. Bergen and Geiranger). The Nieuw Statendam trades Stavanger and Olden for Eidfjord and Ålesund. I would say Olden is slightly better fjord cruising than Eidfjord, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of those three itineraries. Bergen is a top pick for its Hanseático trading history, charming town center, and many cultural attractions. Geiranger is some of the most spectacular fjord cruising. Olden and Eidfjord are small towns that also require a fjord sail-in/sail-out. Olden used to be more of a highlight for the nearby glacier, but it has receded significantly in the last decade. Ålesund and Molde are both small and picturesque Norwegian coastal towns, which means they’re nestled in amongst coastal islands and waterways. Ålesund is also known for its stone buildings and Art Deco influences. Stavanger is best known for its proximity to Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, and boat trips on the Lysefjord are a popular independent excursion. Stavanger is also the center of the Norwegian oil industry, and along with a few historic buildings, the town center is also home to a surprisingly interesting petroleum museum. As for the ship, I would normally recommend a smaller ship since the Norwegian ports tend to be smaller towns that are easily overrun by cruise crowds. However, as mentioned above, there are new environmental rules in place for the heritage fjords, including Geiranger. We’ve already seen changes to itineraries from companies that won’t meet the new standards in time (or ever?), so I would be inclined to choose a very new ship or one that has been in for extensive modernization very recently.
  13. PS - If you bring a light jumper and a light windproof rain jacket, layering the two together will be quite warm if you do happen upon unusually cold weather. And a windproof rain jacket is pretty much a necessity anyway, given the probability of rain.
  14. Depends on your personal comfort range. The high temperature predicted for Oslo for the next few days is 17°C/62°F. If there’s any kind of breeze, that’s sweater or light jacket weather for me. However, layering is important, because it was 27°C/80°F the day before yesterday, so short sleeves were a necessity. If you pack for 15-35°C, you should be okay. It can occasionally go above or below that, but that’s the norm across most of the Baltic region. And as mentioned above, the temperature can vary quite a bit throughout the day, so be ready to adjust. I often carry a light jacket even on hot sunny days, because the temperature can drop significantly when the sun briefly goes behind a cloud.
  15. kaisatsu


    I see. Since you quoted PP’s post and addressed her Australian origin specifically, it sounded as if you were disagreeing with her comment that tipping in these places was unnecessary.
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