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Monday, August 7, 2023 - Oslo, Norway - Where the Hats Saved The Day

FTC Disclosure: Through business relationships with our suppliers, some may provide complimentary or discounted access to their locations and products to provide hands-on experiences to better assist my clients.

Kara: If the Disney Dream was graded on on-time departures from ports, on this sailing, it would get a D-. That also meant our on-time arrival time into Oslo was off by about 30 minutes. While that didn’t matter much to us, I’m sure it impacted other people’s plans a bit. Gayle: This was so strange, as usually the Disney ships run like clockwork. Based on our arrival luggage process, I can only wonder if this was due to dock workers, port authorities, etc.

Kara: After we woke and dressed, we headed up to the chaos of Cabanas for breakfast as the boat was finalizing docking procedures. Not long after we got seated with our food, Carly, our cruise director, came on and let us know that the weather wasn’t looking great but that we were cleared to disembark when we were ready. Gayle: FYI the sky was pretty dark and fully overcast. And being in a Norwegian fjord area had an almost creepy “Lochness” feel to it. Clearly Elsa wasn’t “letting it go” anytime soon.

Kara: We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast since our plan was just to stroll around a bit, take in City Hall, grab a snack at a local cake shop, and maybe head to the opera house or the library. Gayle: As mentioned in our planning post, our intent was just to stroll along the extensive Harbor Promenade.

This telephone booth looked like a Little Free Library

Kara: We disembarked and headed off to City Hall first. There were beautiful wood frieze carvings on both sides of the entry way to city hall. The carvings were by Dagfin Werenskiold. The 16 wooden friezes depict Norse god legends - which if you know your trivia - were inspiration for parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We learned a bit more about the legends of Loke (Loki in Marvel), Tor (Thor in Marvel), Odin (Odin), and things like the Bifrost, Ragnarok, and Yggdrasil (The Tree of Life). These were a definite highlight. Gayle: I’m so glad Kara noticed these as we entered and exited the building. They were great examples of spontaneous finds that made our visit more valuable!

Kara: After passing through City Hall security, we wandered into the Grand Hall, which is absolutely gorgeous. The City Hall was built in the late 1920s and completed in 1930 in an area that was formerly a slum. The architecture is grand. There is a pipe organ evident in the corners, although it wasn’t playing today. Gayle took a great panoramic shot of the Grand Hall.

As we exited the City Hall, it started to drizzle a bit which wasn’t a big deal, as we were prepared for rain with rain coats and our hats. We’d both remembered to bring our hats today to shield glasses from the rain. (Which became a very, very good thing). Gayle: FYI neither of us really ever wears hats! Yet for this trip we knew the weather could do just about anything, so we added these to our list. In fact, one of the only reasons we thought about them today was from my complaint of rain on my glasses at the start of our Kiel day!

Kara: We next headed to a local cake/coffee shop that Gayle had found. It is called VANITE by Hancock. They had beautiful looking cupcakes and donuts. We both got cupcakes (Gayle the plain chocolate and me the Salted Caramel which was filled!) and I got an Americano coffee. Gayle: This shop very much reminded me of our hometown, The Cake Bake Shop, in Indy. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, since there will be one opening at Disney’s Boardwalk in early 2024!)

The shop was beautiful and I’d give my filled cupcake a 9.5/10. The coffee was also the best I’ve had on the trip. I love traveling but there is NOTHING like that first sip of coffee out of my favorite mug once I’m back home. Gayle: I’d give my cupcake a 7/10, as it was really nothing special.

Kara: As we ate, the weather took a turn for the worse. By the time we were ready to leave it was really raining. We opted to head back to the ship. Gayle recorded this for her travel clients…

…and then it REALLLY STARTED TO POUR. As I watched people pass us, and Gayle and I chatted about it, we could feel water coming up our legs through our jeans, down our backs, etc. The only part of me that stayed dry were my glasses thanks to my hat! So, at least I could see!

Gayle: I honestly cannot recall enduring rain LIKE THIS on any other vacation. (Maybe that’s because at Walt Disney World we can pop into a shop or hunker down at the resort.) We got to trek back around the marina area, which might have been smaller than the lake-side of Disney Springs. Yes. That far. Everything Kara wrote was true - and more. There was nowhere to avoid the small streams and ponds in the street, as they were far beyond puddles. Our rain jackets have elastic at the wrists and adjustment cords at the bottom and hood, but with that amount of rain and wind, nothing could help us! So you can imagine the poor folks who only had Disney ponchos whipping in the wind!

Kara: We made our way back onto the ship, grabbed warm towels from the gangway (thank you Disney!), and headed to our room to get out of our wet clothes and find a dryer for them. Luckily, Gayle was able to grab a dryer right here on Deck 9 so we dried clothes while we both packed and I called home to check in with my dad and sister. There may have been some reading and napping that took place as well.

Gayle: After the laundry struggle from earlier in the trip, where I trekked all over the ship, futilely looking for an open dryer, we were VERY LUCKY to have gotten back and grabbed a dryer when we could. Through this trip I’d called to ask how much it would be for the Laundry Service to simply dry our clothes: $25. Crazy. After hearing this, our steward, Tony, let us know he checked with his supervisor and they would offer us this service complimentary. But by that time, we pretty much had everything dry. Except Kara’s shoes. They were pretty much worn out, so they got a fitting burial at sea. (No we didn’t toss them overboard!)

From here it was a pretty chill afternoon. We (obviously) showered, began the sad tradition of packing, and ordered room service. Like Fredericia, we realized somewhat too late today/Oslo was also to be a notably early departure day at 2:45pm! For me, flying all the way to Northern Europe and having 2 of our port days end before 3pm really diminished the value of the trip. It’s not something we’ve encountered with the overwhelming majority of our other cruises. So it will now be an absolute “check” before committing to similar cruises in the future.

This ended up being a non-issue since the unending rain put an actual damper on the day. Yes, it rained pretty much non-stop all day. With having lunch in our room and the sail-out from Oslo being surrounded by the green landscapes, it was actually a lovely sailing day. Typically when you leave port, you are immediately in open sea, but not here. This afternoon was definitely more like a river cruise than ocean cruise.

Tonight we were back in Animator’s Palate for our final night. (The only reason we went was to see our delightful servers and present their tip envelopes.) It was “animation night”, which Kara enjoys - & I won’t give away the surprise (although Kara might with a video here)!

The meal was yet again underwhelming. Kara got a shrimp salad of some sort; I got a pasta with tomato sauce & shrimp. To really express how the meal was, for dessert Kara got a Mickey Premium Bar and I simply got scoops of ice cream.

Either before or after dinner we finally got time in our favorite onboard bar, Skyline, where Kara ordered a drink whose name she does not remember. After dinner we also headed to Evolution for the fan-fave Silent DJ. It’s always amusing, but there weren’t many people and those there were tightly huddled. I’m not sure if it was the space, time of the offering or what, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as in Hero Zone onboard Disney Wish. The most entertaining part was the bartenders. They were completely overstaffed, standing around with pretty much nothing to do.

Thus, it was off to sleep, knowing the too early & bustling departure routine of the next day.

Disclaimer: I (Gayle) am a travel agent with Authorized Disney Travel Planner agency - Off to Neverland Travel. Contact me today for a no-obligation quote!

Next up… Back in Copenhagen - but where are our bags?!

As to Disney artwork, logos, and properties: ©Disney | Ship Registry: The Bahamas | CST# 2090317-40 / Fla. Seller of Travel Ref. No. ST37203

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