Seven friends and I took a week long cruise to Scandinavia, with stops at: Oslo, Norway; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Helsingborg, Sweden; and Copenhagen, Denmark. The trip was unbelievable, full of historic sights, beautiful landmarks, memorable architecture, and all around fun. Our boat, the Sea Princess, was an older boat, so it was not all sparkling and beautiful, but it had everything we needed. I love that Princess ships are all laid out with a basic deck plan that is the same on all their boats, which makes it is easy to find your way around.
Our inside stateroom was $1199 per person and includes lodging, entertainment, and meals. It was located at the front of the ship and there was a deck outside our room where we could sunbathe in private as well as get great pictures coming into the ports. Hardly anyone ever came out to the deck but us, which was nice. Our staterooms were basic but met all our needs and our room steward provided perfect service.
I loved the canal cruise in Amsterdam, Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo, Rosenberg Castle in Copenhagen, and Sofiero Gardens in Helsingborg. Tivoli Gardens, in Copenhagen, was the most overrated sight, as admission was $26 to get in the park and all rides and restaurants are additional and expensive prices. The excursion fee for our tour to Tivoli was $119. Princess offered dozens of options for tours at each location so it takes some effort to narrow down your selections. We were in port several hours at each place so we were able to do day and nighttime excursions, which was a big plus.
Traveling with Europeans is great; they love Americans and think we are quite entertaining. They loved how we asked for two desserts if we wanted, or how we ordered steak AND lobster, unaware they could ask for more than one choice. We met some great friends and have kept in contact with them. One trivia player we hooked up with cruises almost all year-round and had been onboard for 220 days in the last year. I would gladly trade places with him!
Scandinavia is not offered frequently with Princess so grab it while you can. It is definitely a great bang for the buck. I would gladly go back to Denmark and Netherlands again on a land trip. The other places were too expensive for my liking but I am glad to have visited them.
Tip: Do not buy cruise ship only excursions. Tours offered off the boat, or by outside carriers, are sometimes a fourth the cost of the ship’s tours. Try Viator for some great options or check cruise critic for suggestions.
Tip: If you have free time from your disembarkation until your flight, if traveling outside London, schedule a tour. We had a driver pick us up at Southampton, the ship port, and drive us to Winchester, England, for a few hours of sightseeing and shopping. It was about $30 more per person than just a straight ride to the airport and much more enjoyable.
Tip: Take a journal and write at the end of each evening. You will see so many wonderful things and they will all run together after day two so take a few minutes and “type up your term paper” as my friends call my way of journaling.
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