The Norwegian fjords offer multiple breathtaking views of what Norway has to offer and embarking on a cruise is one of the best ways to enjoy your trip.
However, children have a habit of being restless or easily distracted, which is why finding the right way to cruise is essential if you want to enjoy your time together in this spectacular region.
Research is an important part of cruising in the Norwegian fjords with children. It is essential to find a cruise line and ship that is family-friendly and that can offer activities for the age group your children fall into. On the other hand, your own preparation is just as important, as a prepared parent will be a happy parent on a cruise. Unexpected surprises aren’t always a good thing!
Which Cruise Lines Operate in the Norwegian Fjords and What They Offer
Depending on their age, your children will have differing needs. Small children might well be easily entertained, but at the same time, you still need to find more than one source of entertainment for them. Teenagers, on the other hand, are often more difficult to impress, but can enjoy a lot of things that smaller children certainly can’t.
Traveling with Older Children
For teens a cruise must be entertaining, with various shore stops that can provide cultural immersion. Here are some Norwegian Fjord cruises that are highly recommended if you are traveling with teens.
- Holland America Line
If you have teenagers, then the Holland America Line is a good choice for your cruise. Beginning in either the Netherlands or Fort Lauderdale their cruises take you through to Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO-listed landscape that is surrounded by waterfalls and breath-taking open waters, which you can enjoy from the ground or the balconies of the ship.
Their ships feature various itineraries that are perfect for teenagers. Midnight sun sailing is one of the most popular activities, but you’ll also get to stop for shore trips. One of the stops included by the Holland American Line includes Eidfjord, with an opportunity to go kayaking (for adventurous families), or to enjoy a scenic drive at the apple brandy and cider factory.
If you are looking to educate your child culturally, Cunard offer an amazing Norwegians Fjords cruise for children as young as 12 years old. Their cruises follow the old trading route of the Vikings along the Sognefjord. At 4,300 feet deep, this is the largest fjord in Norway, which is why it is also dubbed the King of Fjords.
This cruise also takes you on several shore excursions, including visits to the home of the celebrated composer Edvard Grieg, making it perfect for music lovers. These visits often end with a performance in the spectacular concert hall of Troldsalen. The whole cruise is a cultural immersion presented in a very entertaining way.
- MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises are not usually on the radar when it comes to traveling with children, but their ships are none the less family-friendly, and the activities are usually very entertaining for older children. MSC Sinfonia is a popular option for younger children, who even get discounted rates, but it is also highly entertaining for older children.
The MSC line stops in multiple ports, including Geiranger, Flam, Copenhagen, and Warnemünde. Attractions such as the Flam Railway Museum or the Aurlandsfjord are very close to your docking area. MSC Cruises also have a Kid’s Club, where children can enjoy some playtime onboard the ship. From Lego areas to splash parks, and playgrounds, all of which are highly equipped to keep the children entertained, regardless of their age.
Traveling with Younger Children
Traveling with a younger child, such as a baby, a toddler or a preschooler can be sometimes difficult, as smaller children have seemingly endless amounts of energy! Here are the cruise lines and cruises that small children typically enjoy.
- P&O Cruises
If you’re in the UK in particular and have a toddler that you want to take on a cruise with you, then you might want to consider booking with P&O Cruises. The newest ships in the P&O fleet can fit as many as 5,200 passengers and are among the most popular choices to visit the fjords. P&O cruises depart from Southampton in the UK, and include seven days of cruising through the fjords.
P&O ships have several playgrounds so your children may be able to play onboard, and the variety of shore stops will also allow them to explore and stretch their legs. The interior design of P&O ships is opulent, but that doesn’t make them a stuffy choice – although you’ll probably find certain evenings are designed to be a bit more full of pomp and ceremony in the main restaurant, with more formal dress codes, but children are still very much welcome.
- Princess Cruises
Princess cruise lines are great for people with children aged six months and above. The Sky Princess and the Island Princess give you a great view of the fjords, along with various opportunities to walk the trails around the fjords. You’ll get the opportunity to see the hamlet of Skolden which has some of the highest European peaks as a backdrop. Here children will especially love walking through the fjord meadows, where they may even see llamas enjoying their day!
Princess Cruises also offer more conventional opportunities for sightseeing, such as a visit to Bryggen, a UNESCO heritage site that is very close to its cruise port. Lined with many colorful buildings with beautiful architecture, this medieval port will have visually curious children overjoyed, and provides many priceless photo opportunities.
- G Adventures
While the comparatively small ship of this company the ‘G Expedition’ has no special onboard facilities for small children, it makes up for it in activities ashore. Travelers with children over 10 that love exploring the wonders of the fjords are welcome on board the G Expedition, on a cruise that will take you through the Lofoten Island all around the Norwegian fjords.
Among the activities you might choose to enjoy during this cruise are nature walks and glacier hikes. G Adventures offers photography sessions for those who want to immortalize their memories of the Norwegian coastline. Interactive host lectures are also part of the package, making the cruise as entertaining as it is educational.
Definitely one for those who want a more hands on adventure.
- Norwegian Cruise Line
For those looking for a full Norwegian experience, the Norwegian Cruise Line offers many opportunities. For an all-new experience of the fjords, you may want to try cruising aboard the Prima. This ship launches in 2022 as part of the Prima Class, and it is equipped to entertain children as young as just a few months old along with their parents.
Norwegian Cruises offer a luxury experience for those who want to see the fjords in style. Prima features an infinity pool and an outdoor spa with a glass wall that allows you to view the passing scenery in style.
The cruise also stops at the Måløy coastal village, where you may enjoy the silver sandy beaches which are always a hit with little ones.
- Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises is a cruise line that takes you around the fjords, with the aim of making you and your family feel like celebrities travelling in style.
The ships Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Silhouette have both received makeovers recently, and they are both sailing to Norway this season. Celebrity Cruise ships now feature an exclusive area called “The Retreat,” where suite passengers can enjoy a restaurant, sun deck, and lounge.
Cruising in this manner is very popular for families with children as young as 3 years old. The cruises span over 7-9 days, and it takes those on board through the Nordfjord, where they can see the Briksdal Glacier – one of the largest glaciers in Europe.
How to Plan and Enjoy a Norwegian Fjords Cruise with Your Kids
Norway is a family-friendly country loaded with legends and folklore to catch the imagination of the young and old alike. With the release of the ever popular Frozen – a movie inspired by the Norwegian Fjords – every child now wants to see the real life version of their fairy tale for real. To ensure your cruise through the Norwegian Fjords goes smoothly, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Planning with the Children
A family trip will only ever be successful if everyone is in on it – and this includes your children. Kids, especially as they get past the toddler age, have a good idea of the things they like and those things they don’t. They might give you an idea of what cruise to pick based on their preferences, or what itinerary you should pick. If you’re unsure, a cruise travel agent should be able to provide some insight as to which cruise suits your whole family’s preferences the most.
- Appropriate Ship Choice
Every cruise ship going through the Norwegian Fjords is broadly oriented towards a certain category of customer. For this reason, you’ll want to ensure the cruise you’re planning on going on is family friendly.
Very often, these cruises will have child-oriented itineraries, along with clubs and playgrounds that can keep the children entertained while they are on the boat. Each cruise also stops at different ports, so you might want to choose one that stops in child-friendly and entertaining towns, and which offers child friendly excursions and tours.
- Early Tour Research and Booking
Going on a cruise does not mean you are automatically signed up for tours, so you might have to research and book them in advance. Talk with your children, see what they might like to see while on your cruise. For instance, MSC Cruises have multiple child-friendly itineraries, but their popularity might require you to book them before departure.
Cruising in the Norwegian fjords with children might seem intimidating at first, but the right cruise can save you a lot of stress. Remember to choose a ship that has enough child-friendly facilities, along with exciting itineraries that might keep your children entertained.