- Photo Tours
- Carnival Breeze – Exotic Eastern Caribbean
- Carnival Freedom – Western Caribbean
- Carnival Miracle – Mexican Riviera
- Carnival Pride – Bahamas from Baltimore
- Coral Princess – Ultimate Alaska with Cruise Experts Travel
- Cuba Cruise Louis Cristal – Cuba
- MSC Divina – Eastern Caribbean
- Norwegian Breakaway – Christening
- Norwegian Epic – Eastern Caribbean
- Norwegian Pearl – Alaska RT Seattle
- Quantum of the Seas – Preview Cruise
- Zuiderdam – Alaska Inside Passage
- Hurtigruten FRAM – Antarctica
- Hurtigruten Midnatsol – North Cape
- Passing Cloud – BC’s Gulf Islands
- Passing Cloud – Haida Gwaii
- S.S. Legacy – Columbia & Snake Rivers
- Safari Endeavour – Alaska’s Glacier Country
- Safari Voyager – Mexico’s Sea of Cortes
- Schooner Zodiac – Brew Cruise 2013
- Schooner Zodiac – Wine Cruise
- Silver Discoverer – Australia to Indonesia
- Silver Explorer – Arctic Svalbard
- Silver Explorer – British Isles
- Silver Galapagos – Galapagos Islands
- Wind Spirit – Stockholm to Oslo
- Wind Star – Rome to Nice
- EUROPA 2 – Greece & Turkey
- Queen Mary 2 – Eastbound Transatlantic 2012
- Queen Mary 2 – Westbound Transatlantic 2015
- Seabourn Sojourn – Ultimate Alaskan Sojourn
- Silver Shadow – Exotic Alaska
- Silver Shadow – Southeast Asia & Myanmar
- Silver Spirit – Athens to Barcelona
- Silver Spirit- Eastbound Transatlantic
- Silver Wind – Mediterranean
- Silver Wind – Middle East
- Silver Wind – South Africa
- AmaLotus – Cambodia & Vietnam
- AmaLyra- Danube Christmas Markets
- American Empress on the Columbia
- Emerald Waterways Emerald Star – Danube Delights
- G Adventures – India’s Ganges
- S.S. Maria Theresa – Christening
- Tauck ms Inspire – Maiden Voyage
- Tauck Swiss Jewel – Blue Danube
- Viking Baldur – Danube Christmas
- Viking Baldur – Rhine Christmas
- Viking Forseti – Chateaux, Rivers & Wine
- Viking Freya – Danube Christmas
- Viking Longships Christening 2012
- Viking Longships Christening 2013
- Viking Longships Christening 2014
- Viking Longships Christening 2015
- Viking Vidar – Grand European Tour
- Upcoming Cruises
- About FTDC
Caves and Storms in Molde
Viking Cruises’ Viking Sky pulled into Molde, Norway on a decidedly stormy Tuesday morning. Little whitecaps were being kicked up on the slate-grey sea as we spun around in the harbour, made all the darker thanks to a low and brooding cloud ceiling. Rain once again hammered down on the Viking Sky, erasing all hopes that I might get a photo of the ship bathed in sunlight.
And as it turns out, I’ve been here before.
Walking to breakfast in the World Café on Deck 7, I looked out over the town of Molde, and it looked back at me in a familiar way. And suddenly, it hit me: I was here four years ago, on a winter cruise up the Norwegian coast aboard Hurtigruten’s Midnatsol. I looked back at my photos when I got back to my stateroom; sure enough, there’s Midnatsol on a wintery evening, docked in Molde.
How bad is that? I’ve finally hit the point where I’m forgetting which places I’ve been to before.
Now, in all fairness, I was only here for about an hour on Midnatsol, which managed to stop at nearly 30 ports of call in seven days on its run up from Bergen to Kirkenes. Today, Viking is giving guests the chance to really make the most of their time here.
Today’s included excursion is a 2.5-hour long tour to the nearby Romsdal Open-Air Museum; a recreated Norwegian village that depicts rural life in 18th century Norway. A total of three departures (11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm) are offered on this complimentary tour, which is nice as it gives guests a better chance to maximize their time and plan their day here. And of course, it gives the flexibility to enjoy the beautiful Viking Sky.
Today, though, I took one of Viking’s optional excursions: the 3.5-hour Bergtatt Marble Caves tour.
From the Viking Shore Excursion brochure:
Marvel at Norway’s Geological Past — Learn about Norway’s geological past at Bergtatt, a magnificent working marble and limestone mine. Your coach transports you to nearby Eide and Bergtatt, where local experienced guides welcome you and ensure you are equipped with helmets and life jackets. After a safety demonstration, the guides lead you to the cave entrance, where the temperature is always 43°F (6°C). Hear all about the interesting history of the quarry before boarding your vessel. Enjoy the magical sounds, lights and colors while you are transported across crystal clear waters and further into the mountain through illuminated tunnels toward the spellbinding caves. Return to your ship via the Atlantic Road, a scenic 5-mile stretch that connects the mainland with Averøya Island. Your route touches several small islands and skerries connected by causeways, viaducts and bridges and passes through the Atlantic Ocean Tunnel, a three-mile undersea passage.
Two departures were offered for this excursion, one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. I chose the afternoon departure in order to enjoy a quiet morning aboard Viking Sky, while the rain and wind lashed the outside of the ship. Sitting in the Wintergarden on Deck 7, you’d never even know it was absolutely awful outside.
I disembarked the ship at 1:30pm and joined the coach for my tour to the Bergtatt Marble Caves, about 30 kilometres away from Molde. Upon our arrival, we drove up a switchback road before entering a tunnel carved deep within the mountain. Dark and narrow, the coach continued along a dirt road inside the mountain before finally coming to a stop at a large clearing. This is the entrance to the Bergtatt Marble Caves.
Mining has taken place here since 1938, though the amount mined is down to about 40,000 tons per year, as opposed to 500,000 tons a decade ago. While mining still continues on in other parts of the mountain, its owners have found better success using the remaining spaces as a home for high-tech data centres, and as a tourist attraction and concert venue.
The caves are always 6°C inside, and damp. Somewhere in the distance, Enya was playing indistinctly, its sound warbling off the cave walls. And at the far end, two wooden boats were moored alongside, floating atop a natural lake with waters so crystal-clear that they’re as transparent as drinking water.
Donning lifejackets and hard-hats, we embarked these raft-like boats (propelled by small electric motors) and went on a cruise through this subterranean wonder. We’re 1000 metres inside the mountain, with 250 metres of sheer rock above us at this point.
Energy-efficient LED lights have been strategically placed inside the caves to illuminate them, and – surprisingly – the entire cave is wired with superfast WiFi internet access. It’s odd to float along these caves and, then, notice a WiFi router above your head.
Eventually, we came to a clearing lit by LED candles and lanterns that mimic old-world open flames, without the noxious emissions. This event space looks like it normally serves up cocktails and whatnot, and I wondered what a G&T would taste like in a subterranean cave. I also had to continually remind myself that this was a Real Cave, and not some Disneyland attraction.
Here, we were invited to step off our rafts and enjoy some pure, ice-cold water from the subterranean mountain spring. I didn’t know water could taste so good. So pure.
Afterwards, we sailed back to our entry point and were invited to watch a short film on the history of mining operations at Bergtatt inside the banquet hall in the caves, where the temperature is kept to a warm 22°C. I really dislike watching videos on tours, but this one was absolutely fascinating – particularly about how the business has transitioned from a strict marble quarry into a new, sustainable home for internet data storage farms thanks to its cool interior and remote location.
Following our visit, we took a drive along the so-called Atlantic Road, which runs between the islands and fjords on the very rim of the Atlantic Ocean. We stopped at the Storseisundet Bridge, located roughly halfway between Molde and Kristiansund. It is one of the most photographed sights in Norway, frequently showing up in magazines and tourist brochures thanks to its immense height and curved design.
As we drove back to the ship, the rain pounded the coach. Arriving back at the pier at 5:30pm, we were whisked onboard and not long after, Viking Sky dropped her lines and sailed out into the stormy seas.
Tonight, I dined in The Restaurant on Deck 2. Walking in at 7:00pm, I had no issue getting a nice table for one by the windows at the back of the room. My waiter, Peter, did a wonderful job. He already had my order ready (filled out in advance because of my allergy to nuts), and courses were trotted out at just the right pace. I’d brought a book with me, but I spent most of my time watching Viking Sky pitch and roll in the heavy seas on our way out of port.
At one point, the sun came up during dinner. Had it really been four days since I’d last seen it?
Another glass of wine, and I was ready to call it an early evening. Tomorrow, I get to enjoy a great day at sea aboard Viking Sky, but tonight, I thought I’d take it easy and watch one of the complimentary on-demand movies in my stateroom. Huge bonus points to Viking for their great collection of movies, including two of my favorites: The Red Violin and The Legend of 1900.
How will I decide which one to watch? It’s a nice problem to have. Like Viking Sky and the rest of Viking’s ships, it’s all about choice – and how you choose to spend your cruise holiday. Fun here isn’t manufactured; it just happens naturally.
Our Voyage Report from Viking Cruises’ Viking Sky Christening Voyage continues tomorrow with a Day at Sea en-route to Tromsø, Norway. Follow along with our latest cruise adventures on Twitter: @deckchairblog.
Viking Sky - Christening Cruise
|Saturday, June 17 - Sunday, June 18, ,2017||Bergen, Norway||Embark & overnight||1700|
|Monday, June 19||Geiranger, Norway||0800||1700|
|Tuesday, June 20||Molde, Norway||0800||1730|
|Wednesday, June 21||Summer Solstice at Sea|
|Thursday, June 22||Tromso, Norway - Christening||0800||1800|
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009