See the vast landscapes of Norway and sample Scandinavian culture on a Norwegian Fjords cruise.

Converted to cruising

Author: Catherine Earp

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Catherine Earp wasn’t convinced a cruise was for her but compromised on her honeymoon – and now understands why her new husband and so many others repeatedly take to the seas.

Our honeymoon has been the first argument of our married life. My new husband and I have always been keen travellers, and have thought nothing of booking some cheap flights and an Airbnb and spending a week exploring an obscure European city.

For the first adventure of our married life, I was keen to continue to step this up and go hiking across Scandinavia. My husband however was looking for something a little different, relaxation with the furthest trip being to an all-inclusive buffet.

This led us to compromise and decide on a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords. This way we got to see the beautiful scenery, but from a luxury setting.

Truthfully, I’ve never really given much of a thought to cruising and have written it off for retired couples and Jane McDonald fans. As a first-time cruiser, I admit to some apprehension in the weeks leading up to departing Southampton.

Newly weds Gary and Catherine enjoyed a blissful honeymoon at sea. Credit: Gary Peters and Catherine Earp

The first moment I realised my mind was about to be changed was straight after arriving at the port. Dropping off our luggage and heading straight to Alfredo’s pizzeria to eat the most mouth-watering Hawaiian I’ve ever had (pineapple belongs on pizza!) and realising everything would show up in my stateroom later certainly beats battling with airport carousels and local bus routes.

The second moment was as I sat in the jacuzzi as the stunning Fjords sailed into sight. With the sun on my face and a cocktail in my hand, it was going to be a pretty hard moment to beat. And yet, there were many others.

Sitting on the balcony watching the sun set over the snow-topped mountains of Skjolden, drinking crystal clear glacier water straight from a stream in Olden, walking underneath a waterfall in Bergen – they all mesmerise in equal measure, and I find myself wondering why I had never previously considered a cruise holiday.

Norway's towering glaciers captivated Gary Peters (pictured) and wife Catherine. Credit: Catherine Earp

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I also didn’t realise that the ship would be docking right in the heart of a Fjord.

Having my first experience of Norway being opening my curtains to a postcard perfect setting, rather than miles of airport tarmac and a freezing journey anywhere of interest certainly erased much of the stress I’ve had previously travelling.

I’m also pleasantly surprised by the scale and choice of activities on offer on Sky Princess. Number one is dining.

There are a combination of three main dining rooms and speciality restaurants meaning I sampled luxury food around the world from the comfort of one ship.

It took us until the third night to try the buffet for dinner. My husband had been hankering for a curry and the Indian night at the World Fresh Marketplace seemed the perfect excuse.

Sky Princess offers an array of inclusive dining options. Credit: Princess Cruises

Although I had been happy to have breakfast there, I was a bit more apprehensive about dinner, worried that the bigger spread would mean luke-warm dishes left to dry out under heat-lamps.

Instead, everything was hot, fresh and incredibly tasty, with servers dishing up for you.

For a girl who always orders the same chicken tikka every time, the opportunity to try a bit of everything was great, and I definitely made numerous, comical ‘Mmmm’ sounds as I sampled all the options.

The easier grab-and-go options on top deck, at Salty Dog Grill and Slice, also prove to be a hit, with many of my fellow passengers looking enviously every time someone passes by with a fresh slice of pizza or gourmet burger cooked to order.

A balcony cabin onboard Sky Princess. Credit: Princess Cruises

I was also unsure about what to expect with the on-board entertainment. However, I need not have worried, as the shows on Sky Princess proved to be equal to anything I have seen on land.

First up is Rock Opera. This is a gothic masterpiece calling out for the West End. The talented group of singers took on versions of Queen, Aerosmith, Bonnie Tyler, The Greatest Showman and much more including a hauntingly beautiful version of The Sound Of Silence.

I was glad to see stand-out vocalist Ross Hunter was given his own spotlight with a solo show two nights later.

Hopping around the stage with the energy of a springer spaniel puppy as he belted out Tina Turner, he seamlessly brought the audience to an awed silence as he belted out Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, then back to having people literally jiving in the aisles to Bruno Mars, all in 45 minutes.

The tech-driven 5 Skies is also a feast for the eyes and ears, and the final night Royal Variety Show makes for a masterful conclusion to the on-board productions.

The star of any Norway cruise are the Norwegian fjords. Credit: Princess Cruises

Arriving back in the UK, after four ports of call and two sea days, I’m sure that sailing around the Norwegian fjords will not be my last cruise experience. In fact, I’m already planning my next adventure at sea.

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