Celebrating 35 years of marriage requires a special trip. Gathering our adult children and their spouses – between work, graduate school, and personal schedules – was no easy task. We ultimately landed on a 14-day window when everyone was available. Excited, we began our search and eventually decided on a Celebrity Cruise to Norway. I know what you’re thinking: Who decides to pack rain gear and sweaters for vacation in May? Nonetheless that is where and how we wanted to celebrate this milestone. We picked the Celebrity Eclipse because of the itinerary. We have cruised on Celebrity prior (about 30 times!) and always had great experiences so we knew we’d be in a for a nice treat.
Food onboard the ship was delicious. In addition to the dining room and burgers by the pool, our favorite specialty restaurants were Q-sine and Tuscan Grill. Service everywhere onboard was exceptional. There are so many activities onboard that everyone can choose to do as little or as much as you desire. Sleeping on the solstice deck, wine tasting, or glass blowing just to mention a few favorite activities!
While time spent on the ship is nice, the reason we went on the cruise was to experience the Norwegian fjords. If you’re not familiar, fjords are a body of water between cliffs. In other words, incredibly immense mountain-sides next to glass-like water creating spectacular views.
In Bergen, we hiked to the top of Mt. Floen. It is a steep hike, but worth the sweat. The views are breathtaking. We walked the fish market after the hike and had the opportunity to taste the many varieties of salmon and caviar.
In Skjolden (pronounced shoulden) we took a rigid inflatable boat, more commonly known as a RIB boat. We were given thermal wet gear, goggles, and a hat as we floated across the glassy water to experience the grandiosity of the cliffs. While our RIB boat driver played beautiful music, we whisked across the cold water to get a closer view of the fjord and many waterfalls as the serenity of nature swept over us.
Our next port was Geirangerfjord. We kayaked to the Seven Sisters Waterfall. For two hours we kayaked around the fjord to see this beautiful waterfall. As a surprise to my husband – happy anniversary! – I booked the 7 of us to see Geirangerfjord via a helicopter ride! We flew above and between the mountains. It felt as if we were flying on top of the world. This was exhilarating and an experience none of us will forget.
Alesund, is a beautiful town. Filled with restaurants, bars, and a few museums. We began our day by climbing 418 steps to see the entire panoramic view of this city surrounded by water and mountains. How does one describe the exhilaration of making it up 418 steep steps and then to see all the natural beauty that you are surrounded by? Spectacular. Pensive. Breathtaking.
Our next port of call was Shetland Scotland, where the “famous” Shetland ponies come from. Although the tour to the Shetland ponies was brief and not as exciting as our other excursions this week it was interesting to see the beautiful landscapes of this area. The Shetland museum gave us the history of the area. The highlight of Shetland was the most delicious fish and chips that we just sat on a bench and enjoyed our lunch in the sunshine in a charming fishing town seemingly stuck in time.
This was a special cruise for our family. Celebrating our 35th anniversary and our eldest son’s 2nd wedding anniversary. Playing games late into the night on board, trying new wines, dining together, and laughing through our adventures was truly priceless. Norway may not be toward the top of your “Must-travel” list, but I’d recommend it as a way to experience the beauty and serenity of nature that will capture the heart of any adventurer.