So last year one of my best friends got married at Sea on a Royal Caribbean cruise between Hamburg and Norway. Due to my work commitments in a new job, I couldn't get the entire trip off but I did manage to negotiate a few days off work, just enough to see my beautiful friend get married.
I flew to Hamburg in Germany met up with the wedding party an enjoyed a day of wandering around the city before boarding the ship (I would just like to point out up until this trip I have never been on a cruise, or even considered a cruise for a holiday or to do some travelling).
My first impression of Hamburg
It was beautiful, relaxed and very clean. I've been to Germany quite a few times and every time I have loved it and been amazed. There were plenty of museums, lots of gorgeous cafes and restaurants to eat at and plenty to see and do.
One thing I really liked about Hamburg was the canals and waterways (above), We walked along the canals and mostly peered at the architecture and shops. It was glorious sunshine outside, so no one had a set plan of what they wanted to do other than this.
We dined at BlockBrau which is along the waterfront next to Landungsbrücken on the waterfront. The food was lovely and lots of seafood dishes to chose from. It was decorated in a nautical style with a modern twist (but not tacky). We all really enjoyed it and were recommended by my friend's uncle who regularly visits the area.
Something I'd like to do next time I visit (and obviously for longer than a day) is the Haunted Tour at night. With all the lovely architecture and historical monuments around the city, I imagine it will be fun (even if I am creeped out easily).
On Board the Ship
Now this ship was huge and although I don't know much about cruises or have anything to compare it too I've spend years funding my travels and studies (in sport and fitness, which is my day job) by working in backpackers, luxury independent hotels, 5 star active resorts and come from a seaside town which relies on the tourism industry.
There were a few things that stood out to me as a positive:
The Service everywhere from the housekeeping (who went above and beyond), the front desks, the leisure and restaurant staff on board.
The choice of facilities - I honestly had this idea in my head that being on a cruise would be like a prison at sea. As someone who tends to steer clear of package holidays, all inclusives or just large hotels. This was a combination of all those things I don't normally like, yet became very appealing. The pool, the gym, the spa, the shows and entertainment are all free to use there is a really fun atmosphere on board.
The Wedding - Now this wedding was unbelievably perfect for my friends. The captain married Tom and Amy in a small ceremony with 20 of us and it was perfect. My friend's father walked her down the promenade of the ship whilst everyone watched in awe. Now I should point out my friend was very nervous about this and self-conscious but the way Royal Caribbean handled this was amazing, any detail that needed changing wasn't too much. In the end, the bridesmaids (including me) got to walk down the promenade with our friend and her father whilst the groom and rest of the wedding party waited for the entrance of the bride.
Following this, we had a fantastic 3-course meal in the great hall and then went to join in the entertainment on board with the bride. Later in the evening, there was a storm so we went to watch (and take part in) Karaoke and then to the sports bar to play snooker and have drinks. Before the evening had finished a few of us decided to go on the top deck and watch the storm from the top deck jacuzzi's, then finally went for a pizza (who knew 24-hour pizzeria feels like something I need in my life everywhere I go).
Other facilities onboard that I didn't have time to try out but heard everyone raving about was the cinema, ice rink, climbing wall, and flo-rider (surfing machine).
First Impression of Oslo
The next morning we woke up with this view (Above) outside of our cabin, and I was so sad to go. I disembarked at Oslo but luckily had a full day to explore before my evening flight. We didn't do anything amazing or visit any tourist attractions during the day, we just decided to explore the city and wander around. The weather was quite cool and clouded so we headed to a cafe for some light lunch.
There are lots of stuff to see and do in the city. I spotted a couple of things i'd like to do when I come back. One being a hike, another a walking tour of myths and legends (I mean who doesn't want hear more about nordic tales) and another would be a cruise to the fiords. I've popped the links below for these. Please note these are affiliate links that should you chose to book I do receive a small commission. To find out more about my affiliate links Click here.
My top tip for Oslo when limited on time
Rent an electric scooter, we rented from Voi Scooters but some of the group rented from other ones. You can pick them up and leave them where ever when you are done, you just need to download there app and it will charge you for the time you use it. Make sure you log out once you are done. I've popped some pictures below from exploring around the city.
Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to Royal Caribbean for an amazing experience and for making my friends have such a magical time.