Disney's new Norwegian Fjords cruises
Disney's new Norwegian cruise has boatload of fun!
Experience 'Frozen' fun on Disney's new Norwegian Fjords cruises
ALESUND, Norway -- A lively summer festival is underway as Linda Neeley, 56, of
But the day's real excitement comes about an hour later, when a herald announces the arrival of a queen -- and a princess, too. Appearing around a bend in a horse-drawn carriage, sparkling in flowing dresses, they smile and wave, and the crowd cheers in adulation.
If it seems like something out of a fairy tale, that's because it is. The two royals are Elsa and Anna from the hit Disney film Frozen, and the festival is an exclusive event for passengers aboard
"This is just great fun," says Neeley, a retired accountant who is among dozens of die-hard Frozen fans paying $359 to attend the afternoon outing. "This takes me to a happy place."
It isn't often that the Disney Cruise Line adds a new itinerary. But this summer the company is tying into the frenzy over Frozen, which was inspired by the glacier-carved landscape of Norway, with its first voyages along the fjord-lined Norwegian coast.
Starting and ending in
Anna and Elsa also have been worked into one of the ship's Broadway-style shows,
Still, the voyages are much more than a celebration of the movie. Like the cruises to the Norwegian fjords long offered by such lines as Holland America and Princess, the trips are a chance to experience Norway's stunning mountain landscape while learning about the country's culture and Viking heritage.
"It's even more amazing in real life than in the pictures," marvels Tammy Thibodeau, 45, of Tempe, Ariz., pausing to talk after a two-hour hike up a mountainside to Pulpit Rock, a 2,000-foot-high outcropping that overlooks one of Norway's most beautiful fjords.
The hike is just one of several excursions available during a stop in Stavanger, a historic town along Norway's Southwest coast that has become a hub for the country's booming oil industry. Other options include a visit to a reconstructed Iron Age farm and a home visit with a Norwegian local.
Also on the schedule on this seven-night sailing is the cozy fjord town of Bergen, where passengers explore the wooden buildings of the 300-year-old wharf area, now a
But perhaps the highlight of the trip is a day in Norway's famed, UNESCO-protected
While many of the excursions are the same as those offered by other lines in Norway, that's where the similarity with competitors ends. As on other Disney sailings, the cruise experience is distinctly Disney, from the Disney tunes playing endlessly in hallways to the Mickey-shaped waffles at the breakfast buffet.
Even after long days in Norwegian ports, passengers pack the ship's Walt Disney Theatre for elaborate shows starring Disney characters singing beloved Disney songs, and children squeal with delight at the nearly-around-the-clock character appearances in the soaring Art Deco atrium. Mickey even makes an appearance during dinner in the animation-themed Animator's Palate restaurant.
Indeed, at times it's almost a cult-like experience, in part because the newness of the itinerary has drawn some of Disney's most hard-core fans. On the first day of the voyage, Disneyphiles on board mob the Disney store, scooping up Frozen- and Disney-in-Norway-themed merchandise by the armful. An impressive percentage of the youngsters on board -- and even a few adults -- walk around dressed as Disney characters.
"My kids made me do it," says Stephen Calderwood, 42, of
Like Cory Rigsby of Orlando, Fla., many of those listed on the ship's manifest already have sailed with Disney from the Caribbean to Alaska and were looking for something new.
"We booked (a Norway sailing) as soon as Disney announced them," says the 20-year-old flight attendant, who is on an 11th Disney cruise with his extended family.
Unveiled in 1998, the
The new Norwegian Fjords itineraries are just the latest addition at the line, which has more than doubled its capacity in recent years with two new ships. Initially operating only in the Bahamas and Caribbean, Disney offered its first sailings to the Mediterranean in 2007 and the Baltic in 2010. Alaska itineraries arrived in 2011, and 2012 brought new Hawaii cruises as well as sailings from New York.
For fans such as Neeley, a veteran of 54 Disney cruises, the growing line-up means there's no reason to travel any other way.
"I now can go all over the world with Disney, and because it's Disney I feel safe and secure," she says. "I've been to places such as this where I never would have gone had it not been for the cruise line.
If you go ...
As of this year, Disney Cruise Line's 1,754-passenger Disney Magic is sailing to Norway out of Copenhagen, Denmark during a brief season each summer. Disney also will offer two sailings to Norway in 2016 out of
Norway offers unforgettable moments for this Disney cruise
Last edited: 28/06/2015