Northern Europe cruise | Port 3 | Ålesund, Norway

It’s Monday, June 19, 2023 and we had an 11-hour port call from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Ålesund, Norway.

9:00 – 11 am: Sailing the Norwegian Coast. Enjoy scenic views from Observation Lounge (Deck 17), Surfside Café and Grill (Buffet, Deck 17), Sun Deck (Deck 18 forward), or from your own balcony cabin.

Here are a couple of pictures from our balcony as we pulled into the port:

11:00 am – 10:00 pm: In port.

Bob and I had a leisurely breakfast and morning, since our meeting time for today’s 7.5-hour excursion wasn’t until 12:15—for a 12:30 departure.

12:15 – 8:00 pm: Fjords, Trolls, and More or Ålesund Ultimate Sightseeing excursions. Meet on the dock and look for the BearCruise group. Excursions leave promptly at 12:30.

Bob and I were scheduled to to on the 7.5-hour Fjords, Trolls, and More excursion, described as:

From the cruise ship, we’ll make our way through the beautiful area outside Ålesund, to the land of the trolls.

After a scenic drive we will arrive at the breathtakingly beautiful Gudbrandsjuvet ravine. You can walk over a bridge from one side of the ravine to the other. From here the bus will drive through the National Park Reinheimen, to the Trollstigen plateau. Enjoy the amazing view over the Troll Road as well as the waterfall Stigfossen. When driving down the Troll Road, the driver will safely drive the bus through 11 hairpin bends. At the bottom of the Troll Road, there will be an extra photo stop from where you will be able to take the best pictures of the day!

Next up is a visit to the Troll Wall, Europe’s tallest vertical rock face, and the impressive Romsdalshorn. After this stop, it is time to head back to Ålesund.

However, we arrived at the meeting point on the dock at 12:10, and it was eerily empty. Thinking we might have the wrong place, I asked nearby NCL staff if he’d seen a large group of guys meeting nearby, and he said there was one about an hour earlier. Ugh!

Turns out we “didn’t get the memo” to set our clocks ahead yet another hour, so we missed the excursion’s departure an hour ago. Apparently there were two time changes over the past two days, which you may remember they tell you about with this card in your cabin.

Well, since there’s no date on the card, or any other identifying mark that it’s a different card, we thought it was the same one from the previous day laying around our cabin, so did not move our clocks ahead an additional hour.

Of course the editor in me has all kinds of suggestions about how to communicate this better. I get that they probably want to reuse them, so don’t want to do something as obvious as to date them, but they could do something like adding to the bottom of them, “First of two,” and “Second of two,” or they could mark one “The end of the day we leave Iceland” and the other one “At end of our day at sea.” Anything to let us know that the second one is a new/different card.

But we’ve let all that—and the $280 we paid for a tour we didn’t get to go on—go. Right at the port, we saw a tourism company offering a 1.5-hour “train” ride, whose next departure was about an hour away, so we walked around the port a little, and then took that.

It was a guided tour, recorded in various languages with yours selected from a choice of 8, listened to with earbuds, and it was well done. Its biggest takeaway, from people getting off the previous tour, at least was the song playing on the recording between talking, which sounded like maybe some city anthem.

Hear it for yourself:

It turned out to be a real nice tour whose highlight was the mountain town, Aksla, with a great viewpoint for pictures,

In the port area right off the ship:

In this area, there was also a mall, with gay flags out in front of it, and since we had some time we went in it to check it out. There were several stores with pride displays, and one of them had a translated Spare by Prince Harry. The translated title of the book says, “In The Shadow.”

That site at the top of the mountain is where this little “train” tour took us:

Shots of the panoramic view at the top of Aksla mountins:

Since our group would be gone until 8 PM—you know, on that excursion that we paid $280 for but didn’t get to go on but have let go— back on the ship, we took advantage of the fantastic weather by enjoying the jacuzzi.

Before we got in the jacuzzi, that lady in the last picture was at the bar and I heard that she was waiting for a beer on tap that had run out. “Draining the keg again, are ya?” I asked.

The bartender asked me what I wanted, and I told him that I didn’t mind waiting for him to change the keg and get her drink, to which she offered, “Go ahead and order yours, and I’ll bring it to the jacuzzi for you.” Very sweet.

After a little while and a couple of drinks in the jacuzzi, another member of our group, John, joined us. While talking, he asked if we’d been on the waterslide that was right next to us, and I indicated that I hadn’t but wanted to.

“I’ll go again with you if you want to.” he offered, and the liquid courage was at just the right level to seal the deal.

Bob didn’t want to do it, but he followed us up there to get a picture of me on it, but once we got all situated, John and I got to the entrance at the top only to find it closed.

While we were up on top deck of the ship, deck 20, I took a few pictures:

6:00 pm: Cocktail Hour, Whiskey Bar, Deck 8

Some of The Whiskey Bar offerings:

7:00 pm: Dinner—No specialty restaurant of the day due to late port call departure

After happy hour, we ate at The Hudson, one of the ship’s main dining rooms. Even though we didn’t get a picture of it, appetizers did happen: Bob got the cheese ravioli (with lobster cream sauce), and I got their Caesar salad. An adorable little girl sitting next to us reminded us of a child version of our friend Jaleh.

8:00 pm – midnight: Disco Party – BearCruise group meet-up at the ship’s disco party, Prima Theater, deck 6.

We did not make it to the disco party tonight, but it happens in the 3-story Prima Theater, where the shows are. Once the show is over, they fold down all the seats, which then collapse back toward the wall, opening up the area as a dance floor. Here’s a 2.5-minute video of how it’s done.

After dinner, I went back to our cabin and watched The Book Club, while Bob went to join our group for our 10 pm sail-away. He found the designated bar for the event closed, with no one there, but eventually found them in The Whiskey Bar.

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