Viking Sky arrives in Geirangerfjord, Norway
When I returned to my stateroom last night aboard Viking Cruises’ Viking Sky, the most incredible sunset was illuminating our port side. It wasn’t noteworthy for its colours; rather, it was notable for its brilliant rays of amber light and its hugely contrasting nature.
I feel utter contentment when I am at sea, and sunsets at sea are no exception. I lingered on my balcony for 15 minutes. I put the camera down, and I just watched until the amber colour illuminating the port side of the ship went away.
Since I’m writing about this cruise, evenings are when I kick into high gear. I spent a long time working in the Explorer’s Lounge on Deck 7. Spanning two decks in height, this superb space is my home-away-from-home on any Viking Cruises ship. I indulged in Pap’s Brandy Special and got to work. But the beautiful views kept pulling me away from the laptop.
At this time of the year, the sun never really sets here. Bergen and its environs have what’s known as “civil twilight”; a blue-ish dusk that lasts from 11:00pm until 4:09am. When we reach Tromsø on Thursday – and Viking Sky’s christening – the sun won’t set at all. One day post-Summer Solstice, twilight won’t reach Tromsø until at least August.
Geiranger – The Viking Way
Geiranger just might be Norway’s most photographed location. Nestled at the end of the Geirangerfjord, this picturesque little town offers plenty to first-time and repeat visitors. I haven’t been here since the summer of 2009, when I stopped here aboard the much-larger Crown Princess. It was 30°C then, and I got sunburned sitting on my balcony.
No risk of sunburn today: it’s just 6°C and misty outside. Tomorrow, the weather forecast calls for possible snow and a high of just 3°C – highly unusual for Norway in June. But it’s been that kind of spring and summer throughout Europe (witness my snowy visit to Zurich in April with Viking River Cruises).
I awoke at 6:30 this morning and opened my curtains in time to see the Seven Sisters Waterfall roaring just outside my balcony. I rushed to get my camera and snapped a few shots of the Geirangerfjord’s most-photographed waterfall as it receded into the distance.
Viking Sky was the first ship to arrive this morning, but we were later joined by Ponant’s Le Soleal; Costa Cruises’ Costa Favolosa; and finally, Hurtigruten’s Kong Harald. It’s your typical three-ship day here in the Geirangerfjord!
Viking offers a total of 10 shore excursions in Geiranger, some of which have multiple departure time options. These range from the included 2.5-hour Geiranger Eagle’s Bend Overlook Panorama Tour to the $209 Fjords and Glaciers excursion. I was also pleasantly surprised to see a large number of active excursions in addition to the usual (and more sedate) bus tours. These so-called “demanding” excursions include the “Jet Boat Adventure” ($129 per person; 1.5 hours); the “Nordic Hike to Westeras and Hole” ($79 per person, 3 hours); and “Kayaking Geirangerfjord” ($119 per person, 3 hours).
The excursions looked enticing, and I did sign up for the included “Eagle’s Bend Panoramic Tour” but backed out at the last minute. It was pouring rain outside, and I was very content to stay onboard the spacious Viking Sky and relax. However, I did get off the ship and browse around the town’s more touristic shops, which I did for an enjoyable 90 minutes or so.
Some photos from Geiranger:
At 6:00pm, Viking Sky rumbled to life. Our starboard anchor was raised; a process that you can watch yourself, thanks to some very cool observation windows on Deck 2, all the way forward on the Promenade Deck.
Behind us, Le Soleal and Costa Favolosa were raising their tender boats back into their davits and dropping their lines. Viking Sky started out in the lead, but Costa Favolosa quickly overtook us, blaring its horn as it passed us. It seemed like a friendly horn blast (not the kind of horn you’d give to an aggressive driver passing you on the highway), and Viking Sky sounded her horn in return. Costa Favolosa pulled in front of us to give its guests a closer – albeit very quick – view of the magnificent Seven Sisters Waterfall on the way out.