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The best way to experience Norway is on a Fjord Cruise. Fjords are long and narrow inlets with steep sides created in a valley carved by Glacial activity. Western Norway abounds with Fjords and is a very popular destination among Cruise Ships.

The million year old Briksdal Glacier
I went onboard MV Century from Amsterdam harbor and through 4 ports on the western coast of Norway towards the Arctic Circle. Exploring the gigantic ship itself will take an entire day so that’s what I did before the first port of call. I got my first glimpse of MV. Century just 5minutes into the cab from the airport. The vessel looked like Gulliver in Liliput!
It was 815 feet long, 105 feet wide, and all of 70606 tons. It had a power output of 46.5 MW or equivalent to the power of 700 medium sized family cars.
But, it is the store supplies that baffled me the most. An average 7 day cruise had the following supplies:
15400 pounds of beef, 2500 pounds of lamb, 3100 pounds of pork, 2050 pounds of veal, 1900 pounds of sausage, 3000 pounds of chicken, 2200 pounds of turkey, 5380 pounds of fish, 900 pounds of lobster, 18000 pounds of fresh vegetables, 8400 pounds of potatoes, 20000 pounds of fresh fruit, 3000 gallons of milk, 320 quarts of cream, 240 gallons of ice cream, 4000 dozen eggs, 8000 pasteurized frozen eggs, 3500 pounds of sugar, 2600 pounds of rice, 1200 pounds of cereal, 400 pounds of jelly, 1000 pounds of coffee, 1400 pounds of cookies, 7000 pounds of flour, 40 pounds of herbs and spices, 2950 bottles of assorted wines, 175 bottles of champagne, 150 bottles of gin, 350 bottles of vodka, 290 bottles of whiskey, 175 bottles of rum, 40 bottles of sherry, 570 bottles of assorted liqueurs and 7800 bottles of beer. No one goes hungry on the Century!

The most popular public areas are the Celebrity Theatre and a 7500 sq feet Fortunes Casino. What amazed me is the basket ball court right at the top of the 14th Deck! . The Atlantic breeze was so powerful there that one had to hold on to the side rails to stand.

The first halt is at Olden, the gateway to some of the oldest and largest glaciers in Europe. The highlight here is the glacier walk over Briksdal which is over a million years old! You will need to trek for an hour up a hill to reach the base camp for the glacier walk. You are provided with some gear for the walk-helmet, tramp ons, pick axe and ropes. A local guide will give you the basic safety instructions and some tips on retaining your balance on the ice.

Flam is the next destination where the sheer mountain walls climb twice as high as the 1500 feet width of the fjords, creating an almost permanent shade. It has a ferry terminal with a train station that allows travelers to view the spectacular scenery on the heights above. I took the Flam/Myrdal railway ride for a breathtaking journey.

The deck view

The third port , Alesund is situated at the mouth of the Storfjord. Alesund is one of the most important fishing harbors in Norway. It has an international reputation for its maritime tradition and distinctive Art Nouveau architecture.

Bergen is the last port of call. Surrounded by 7 mountains and several fjords, it is Norway’s second largest city. At Bergen you can walk around and have a look at the educational institutions and the Wharf area. While at Bergen I also made a visit to Troldhaugen, home of Norway’s illustrious composer; Edvard Grieg.

Being a vegetarian i could have a look at the local cuisine only from a distance! Like other Scandinavian countries, the Koldbord (Cold table) of Buffet style meal is popular, emphasis being placed on fish, particularly Salmon which is a national favorite. “Fair I Kal” is one of the more traditional dishes, a stew of lamb and cabbage; kjottkaker(meat cakes) are also quite common, served with sauerkraut, flavored with caraway. Reindeer appears in many menus, particularly further north, similar to beef but richer, slightly sweet flavored meat



For more pictures and a detailed account of my trip, read on at http://www.greatholidayideas.net/holiday-ideas/international/norwegian-fjord-cruise.html
 
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