There’s a lot to see in Scandinavia. From deep fjords, jagged snow-covered peaks, thundering waterfalls, to smorgasbords of succulent salmon and pickled herring, to hip cities like Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo, Scandinavia has it all. If you want to cover great distances, and do more in a short time, cruising is the perfect option.
On a recent 9-day Holland America Cruise, my daughter and I started the journey in the happiest place on earth. If you think I’m referring to theme parks in Orlando or Anaheim, you’re missing the big picture. According to the United Nations’ World Happiness Report for 2013, the happiest country in the world is Denmark.
Not only are the Danes and other Scandinavians friendly, but they’re also phenomenally beautiful people. An added attraction to the stunning natural beauty of Scandinavia is undeniably its tall, blonde, Nordic men and women. We were quite literally swept off our feet.
From colorful Copenhagen, we cruised North along Norway’s western coastline, dotted with lush, green farmlands nestled against steep mountainsides and immense glacial mountain ranges still topped with snow. We sailed in and out of these natural wonders each day. Summer in Scandinavia is a frenetic burst of life when the flora and fauna take advantage of every minute of precious sunlight before the long winter sets in. The result is an incredible array of flowers and greenery. We even found wild blueberries and raspberries growing by the side of the road in Norway. We ate until our bellies hurt.
In 9 packed days we sampled the scenery and culture of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. From Copenhagen we cruised to the small Norwegian village of Flåm (pronounced “Flum”), in the world’s longest and deepest fjord: Sognefjord. We continued south stopping in Stavanger, Kristiansand and Oslo before gliding into Gothenburg, Sweden and returning to Copenhagen. Our days were long and exciting, and we were so grateful for a little pampering when we got back to the ship at their full service spa. My daughter danced the night away while the rocking of the ship lulled me to sleep.
Seeing Scandinavia by ship is the way to go.
We cruised aboard Holland America’s midsize ms Eurodam with eleven decks and five types of staterooms. The ship can carry up to 2,104 passengers. The staff for the room, the bar, the front desk were all excellent and the food was a hit with everyone. Passengers, us included, were foodies who appreciated the many options from the Pan-Asian Tamarind Restaurant with ocean views and the Asian style, quiet and classy Silk Den Lounge. We also enjoyed the upscale Pinnacle Grill, the Italian Canaletto Restaurant and the causal Lido Restaurant. There were two pools, one exclusively for adults, and of course, the spa. www.HollandAmerica.com