If you’ve ever wanted to see Northern Europe, there’s no one better to show you the way than Holland America Line, whose roots here go back more than 140 years. Born in the Netherlands, they know the region’s glittering capitals, hidden gems and the most wonderful things to see and do in each fascinating port of call.
Many cruises can be paired to form back-to-back Collector’s Voyages in Northern Europe or combined with Mediterranean cruises. They also include more overnights at the beginning and end of itineraries, so you can spend an extra day exploring and use the ship as your hotel.
Following is what you can expect, along with some personal highlights from our host Tom Mullen.
Discover beautiful Oslo on a brief city tour with your guide pointing out such memorable highlights as the Royal Palace, Town Hall, the National Theatre and the city’s modern center of shops and office blocks.
Take a 45- to 60-minute walk at Vigeland Park to view the world’s largest collection of sculptures executed by one single artist—Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943).
Your next destination is the Viking Ship Museum, whose spectacular exhibits will draw you back into a glorious chapter in Norwegian maritime history. Centuries-old wooden vessels, discovered by archaeologists, have been carefully restored.
Then it’s on to the Kon Tiki Museum. “Having been 10 years ago, you might think this was just a repeat. But it wasn’t! You need a ton of time to truly experience everything that’s available.” Tom Mullen
The museum is based on the true Norwegian adventure of Thor Heyerdahl. He embarked with his crew on the Kon Tiki Reef boats to French Polynesian island. This museum is made for those with an adventurous spirit.
This was a new port of call for our intrepid host!
Off the Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the larger Sognefjorden in southern Norway, Flåm—and its surrounding area—is a place to stop, gaze and linger. There are no traffic lights; instead the village has an easy pastoral rhythm. Explore the steep-sided fjords, sweeping valleys and meadows, home to grazing sheep, frozen-in-time churches and architecture and traditional farms where geitost or brown goat’s-milk cheese is made.
There is a fantastic train journey to the top of the fjord, which takes just a few hours for some wonderful views. The train museum is small, but interesting as well.
You can also hop in a smaller boat which will take you closer to the fjords for some truly spectacular scenery. Or if you prefer to do the work yourself, on a sunny day grab a kayak.
Back on land you can warm up with some Norwegian style clothing or a good meal at a cafe.
A little more behind the scenes of this great ship from our host, Tom Mullen:
Although it was my first time on a very large ship with over 2,700 passengers on board, it did not seem large as there were so many venues around and everything flows seamlessly together.
If I had to pick 5 favorite spots:
Sel De Mar Restaurant
Chef’s often go ashore to find the catch of the day and the entire setting will make you feel you’ve stepped right in to a French brasserie.
Lincoln Center Stage
“Classical music has been one of the many hallmarks of a Holland America Line cruise, and to partner with an organization as esteemed as Lincoln Center takes our program to an entirely new level,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to bringing the best of this musical genre to our guests.”
Guests embark on a tasting journey through the award winning vineyards of Washington State. Then, with the help of the ship’s wine expert, they create their very own red blend from five Chateau Ste. Michelle single-vineyard red wine barrels.
Grand Dutch Cafe
Decorated in the Dutch blue and white colors of Delftware, a traditional pottery of the Netherlands from the 16th century. In this classy, yet relaxed atmosphere you can enjoy a pale ale, a richly brewed coffee, a stroopwaffle or apple tart.
It’s not quite a dueling piano bar, but it doesn’t contain two piano’s and multiple musicians who take turns performing dynamic shows centered around the interesting facts and figures of the music industry as chronicled by Billboard. Between the nightly sets and songs, guests can sing and play along with trivia questions presented on screens throughout the room.
Ready for cruising Northern Europe to create your own memories?
Our Cruise Specialists team is here to help you find the right ship, the right location and the best experience!