Shore Excursion and Port Reviews
Akershus Fortress, Oslo taken from the deck of the Silver Shadow
Oslo, Norway Port Information
Updated by Nancy Norris
Language and Currency
What is Oslo Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
A valid passport is required for entry but no visa is necessary for stays of under 90 days.
The official language of Norway is Norwegian, however, most residents speak English. The currency is the Norwegian Krone, but many places will also accept Euros.
Panoramic View of Oslo's Harbor
Oslo, the capital city of Norway, is located at the head of the Oslo Fjord on the Aker River. Covering 175 square miles that consists mostly of farmland, lakes and forests, it is the least densely populated capital city in Europe. The city offers beautiful parks, broad streets, impressive statues and an attractive shoreline harbor. Pleasant, hillside winding streets, dotted with beautiful homes amidst the pines, contrast with the bustling activity of the modern, busy streets that surround the harbor making for a somewhat unique eclectic charm. Modern in design, there is no shortage of excellent shops and dining venues.
Summertime (June – August) highs can reach into the 70’s but the average is about 60° and it is often windy.
Docked in Oslo, Norway
The ship docks just minutes from the downtown/harbor area right next to the Akershus Fortress. In fact, you can see the main buildings at eye level from the pool deck of your ship. People joke that it is the only "cruise in" Fortress in the world. Virtually everything is available by walking, taking one of the public trams or water taxis across the harbor.
Aker Brygge (taken from the Akershus Fortress grounds) Oslo, Norway
Oslo offers a very quaint pedestrian shopping street in city centre known as Karl Johans Gate. It goes for blocks and offers every type of store imaginable. Located about 1 mile from the pier, to get to Karl Johan Gate head into the center of the quay, or harbor and take one of the streets inland several blocks until you hit one of the pedestrian streets. Turn to the right and the city will open up before you eyes. It is a great walk and worth the effort. The harbor area also has some very upscale stores in an area named Aker Brygge. Well worth exploring, it begins at the waterfront and goes inland a few blocks. There are also shopping malls scattered throughout the city that are frequented by the locals. Finally, just in case you want to pick up a last minute item, right at the cruise terminal, there is an extensive Norwegian arts and crafts market.
Entrance to Downtown Oslo From the Harbor
I can't think of a product category or label missing from the hundreds of stores found on Karl Johans Gate. Every conceivable product is available. Of special interest are the Norwegian sweaters. Quite reasonably priced, they can be found in every design and color. Norwegian tableware (glass and pewter products) are also widely available. You will find designer clothes, shoes and other upscale boutiques in Aker Brygge. Oh yes, Norwegian trolls are everywhere and make great gifts for folks at home. At the Norwegian arts and crafts market at the cruise terminal you will find furs, sweaters, trolls, coffee cups, t-shirts and every other souvenir you would expect to find in such an environment.
Akershus Fortress, Oslo taken from the deck of the R-7
There is certainly no shortage of options in Oslo. Are you interested in art, architecture, history, music, dance, shopping or sports? Or perhaps you like nothing more than sitting at a sidewalk café and taking in the impressions of the city and its people? Oslo has something for everyone. With over 50 museums, cultural life flourishes. First, you can get right off the ship and investigate the Akershus Fortress and Castle. This walled fortress was built in the 13th century and is a quality representation of what life was like then. Of special interest is the dungeons that were used for who knows what evil? The Norwegian Resistance Museum, also housed in the fortress is well worth the time to explore.
The Main Pillar in Vigeland Sculpture Park
The city is full of statues and sculptures, but by far the most impressive is Vigeland Sculpture Park, located in Frogner Park.
Celebrating Life is the Theme of Vigeland Sculpture Park
Dedicated to the work of Gustav Vigeland, the park boasts 212 bronze, granite and wrought iron sculptures within the confines of its 79 acres. Depicting the whole cycle of human life from birth to death, the park, in my opinion, is not to be missed.
Just one of the 212 Bronze Statutes
The public park is free and a favorite of locals as well as tourists. Adjacent to the park is the Vigeland Museum that was at one time the residence and studio of Gustav Vigeland.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
The easiest way to visit the park from the harbor is to take one of the westbound trams that stop directly in front of the entrance. When you purchase your tram ticket, be aware that it is a round trip fare and collection is done on the honor system. If you are interested in art, then you may find a visit to the Munch Museum and the National Gallery appealing.
One of Olso's Public Ferrys
Another option is to take the public ferry from the harbor to Bygdøy.
Just One of the Incredible Houses in the Bygdey Area
Some of the most beautiful homes in Oslo are located nestled in amongst the trees and hills of streets that wind through Bygdøy and worth the ferry ride alone.
Another Bygdøy Area House
It is easy to see how folks get through the long winters in this area. The homes are large and beautiful.
The Best of the Viking Ship Museum
Now, high on the list of suggested museums here is the Viking Ship Museum. I strongly suggest you not waste your money to visit. If you are curious, just walk in and climb to the second floor at the entrance, take a couple of pictures and exit. What you see from that vantage point is about all there is.
The Kon Tiki Museum
If you wish to visit any of the ship museums here, I recommend the Kon-Tiki (of Thor Hyerdahl fame) and Fram (Amundsen’s polar ship) Museums as better options.
The Fram Museum
I would also suggest you take some time to explore the Norwegian Folk Museum in Bygdøy. This open air museum provides a collection of exhibits depicting the cultural history of Norway from old farmhouses with sod roofs to examples of daily life enacted by period costumed performers (Think of a Norwegian Williamsburg).
The FRAM Museum
For incredible views of the city and surrounding fjords, you might wish to travel the 6 miles into the suburbs to visit the Hollmenkollen Ski Tower. The facility was built in 1952 for the Winter Olympics and well worth the trip. The Ski Museum is also located there and traces the history of skiing in Norway from early cave paintings of human figures on skis through the polar expeditions of Amundsen.
Aker Brygge Seen From the Port
Of course, no visit to Oslo would be complete without allowing time to stroll the harbor area of Aker Brygge to Karl Johans Gate. On your walking tour, you may wish to include City Hall, the Royal Palace and Olso Cathedral. If you are lucky you will be just in time to watch the changing of the guards at the Palace. And don’t forget time to stop along the way at one of the many coffee bars and cafes. Particularly if you are like me and love to savor the essence of a destination.
If you are not adventurous or just can’t decide what you want to do, there is a city bus tour that was offered right at the exit of the gangway on my last visit and cost a mere $18 US per person.
Vigeland Sculpture Park, a "Must See"
Do not pass up a visit to the truly unique 80 acre Vigeland Sculpture Park, coupled with exploring the harbor area and Aker Brygge.
There are many good restaurants and coffee bars in Oslo, but I thoroughly enjoyed “Vin Og” along the waterfront on my last visit. (Sit in the covered patio on the second level for the view alone.)
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