Frontiers and Fairytales: Exploring Northern Europe in 2020

Frontiers and Fairytales: Exploring Northern Europe in 2020

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There's no place quite like Northern Europe. Castles tower over rolling hills. Folklore captivates in a way that brings new life to centuries-old. And the landscapes, well, they leave you breathless. Each year we travel to Northern Europe, we find something new to love — and 2020 promises to be no exception! Check out a few of the countries we're looking forward to calling on this cruise season.

Norway

With sleek, sophisticated cities and locals that hold a genuine connection to the unbounded nature that surrounds them, Norway dazzles at every turn. The jagged edges of its famous towering fjords carve into placid bays and remote inlets. Past each peak, you'll encounter rustic wooden villages, the sounds of crashing waterfalls, and the spectacular sight of landscapes materializing out of the mist.

Henningsvær village at the lofoten

While you're sure to be spellbound from the water, we also want you to get out there and explore on shore. Feel like fishing? Set out on a safari that couldn't be further from the savanna's of Africa in search of king crab when you stop in Honningsvåg. Cruise over icy waters, pull crab from pots, and make land at the northernmost tip of the country to feast on your freshly caught crustaceans in a traditional lavvo tent. 

Geirangerfjord with the Seven Sisters Waterfall

If you're not feeling fishing, get an intimate look at local life on working farms during a number of our shore excursions. In Geiranger, visit a family farm home to both a printing workshop and microbrewery (with incredible views of the Seven Sisters waterfall on the way back). Or walk in the footsteps of some bygone farmers and warriors in Haugesund on Bukkøy Island.

We can't forget Flam! Here, you'll find one of the world's most exciting rail journeys — taking you 2,844 feet above sea level through 20 tunnels and past some of the country's most rugged, majestic scenes. At times, the climb is so steep you won't believe the train can really climb to the top, but we say seeing is believing. 

Denmark

Colorful Traditional Houses in Copenhagen old Town Nyhavn at Sunset

Have you heard of hygge (pronounced hue-guh)? It's the Danish word that acknowledges a feeling or moment — either alone or with friends, out or at home, ordinary or extraordinary — as charming, cozy, or memorable. It's about appreciating the simple things, putting substance over style (though you can certainly be stylish if you wish!), and soaking in your surroundings. On a cruise to Denmark with us, you'll experience heaps of hygge

In 2020, our list of maiden ports includes Fredericia in the heart of the country. Flanked by stunning fjords, the city is the perfect place to explore Denmark's famous highlights. Embrace your inner child at the original LEGOLAND®, discover the hometown of renowned storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, and stroll the streets of Scandinavia's oldest (think 700AD oldest) town on our shore excursion to Ribe.

Copenhagen is everything you want in a European capital. Winding cobblestone streets, streamlined modernity, and rich royal heritage. Even if you've been before, you'll experience something new through the lens of our local experts. Hop on a bike (the city's preferred way to get around) and ride past the iconic Little Mermaid statue, the modern-yet-elegant Queen's Palace, the fashionable promenade of Nyhavn Canal, and the lush King's Garden before stopping to snack on some delicious Danish delicacies. 

To really experience Copenhagen as the Danes do, take some time before our after your voyage with our Stay Local in Copenhagen Land Program. If seeing the city by bike isn't your speed, this immersive experience brings all those highlights to you and more. Live like a (royal) local as you step out onto the balcony where Danish monarchs are proclaimed at Christiansborg Palace and view dazzling gems in the crown jewel collection at Rosenborg Castle. 

Sweden

Colourful Stortorget bars restaurants at sunset

Stockholm stands out among its Scandinavian neighbors for being a carefully curated blend of regal and avant-garde, centuries-old and cool urban. As you pull into port, the first impression you'll get is medieval magic, but go beyond the surface and you'll discover a cosmopolitan vibe spilling out of future-forward nightclubs, conceptual furniture stores, and more. But history buffs need not despair, museums abound and cover every era from epic seafaring days at Vasa Museum (the restored 1628 warship is incredible), to the sights and sounds of Euro-pop at the Abba Museum (you won't be able to resist humming "Waterloo").

The city spreads over 14 islands, and we want you to see them all from fresh perspectives when you cruise to Stockholm with us. On our Historic Rooftop Tour you'll travel across the roofs of the city's most famous buildings, starting at the Old Parliament Building and winding around Old Town. For views from the water, climb into a Rigid Inflatable Boat for a fast, fun and fantastically scenic ride through the Stockholm archipelago past islets, canals, and castles.

The Netherlands

sunset over dutch windmills in Rotterdam

Let's go Dutch in 2020! Compact and packed with history, culture, cuisine (and more than a few windmills) the Netherlands never disappoints. In Amsterdam, take a cruise along famous canals to discover narrow buildings that seem to fit together like puzzle pieces — and it's especially romantic by night. On our Evening Canal Cruise with Appetizers shore excursion, the way light plays off the water as you sip wine and beer is something you won't soon forget. 

Amsterdam sunset city skyline at canal waterfront

Amsterdam is all about art. The Rijksmuseum has a collection of over one million pieces, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh, and it's surrounded by a stunning formal garden. Take a deep dive into Van Gogh's work at the museum dedicated to him, and if you can't get enough of canals, there's a museum for that too! Museum-hoppers in Amsterdam should consider an I Amsterdam City Card, which provides free access to many of the city's museums and attractions.

central square and market hall during the morning in Rotterdam city

In contrast to the classic style of Amsterdam, Rotterdam really pushes the envelope with its cultural diversity and modern cityscape. Devastated by bombing in WWII, the city has truly embraced the modern age with its lively art scene and glittering glass architecture. For a culinary experience that celebrates local and captivates the senses, Martkthal is amazing. This sprawling contemporary food market is often referred to as "the Dutch Sistine Chapel" thanks to its ceiling-spanning artwork, Horn of Plenty.

Ready to set sail? This is just a taste of what awaits when you cruise with us to Europe in 2020. Find the perfect voyage for you and get ready to say hallo and hej to these amazing destinations. 

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