Cruising Scandinavia on a Small Ship


By Linda Kissam “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”



ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Travel writer Linda Kissam shares her Scandinavian adventures on a small ship cruise with Viking Cruises. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Podbean.


This past summer I accepted an invitation from Viking Cruises to go on a two-week Scandinavian cruise. At first, I almost said no, as I am a really big fan of their small ship river cruises and thought I might want to do that again. That being said, I began to wonder if their ocean small ship experience could be just as good as the river cruises. It was. In their own way, each cruise is curated to include good times in a sophisticated but relaxed manner. Viking Cruises is destination focused and culturally enriching no matter which type of ship or destination you choose.

In late August I set sail for two weeks on the Viking Jupiter on a Bergen, Norway to Stockholm, Sweden route. This historic route allowed me to discover a lot of Scandinavia with stops in Stockholm, Oslo, scenic Bergen, charming Ålborg, fascinating Gdańsk, and the grand cities of Berlin and Copenhagen. It’s hard not to be impressed as even the time aboard the ship provides breathtaking scenery as the small ship glides through majestic Norwegian fjords in the legendary homelands of the Vikings.

Every detail on board a Viking ship is designed to enrich and enhance the travel experience, helping each passenger fully immerse into the rich cultures they are visiting. From the thoughtfully curated ship-wide library to the insights of guest lecturers and Viking Resident Historians to cooking classes with the chef and wine tastings with the sommelier. The onboard art collection is not to be missed. Passengers can go on a self-guided audio tour.

What a Viking Cruise is Not
Sometimes it’s what a cruise line is not doing that makes all the difference in the world. Did you know that all aboard Viking river and ocean expeditions there are no casinos, no children under 18, no umbrella drinks, no photography sales, no art auctions, no charge for beer & wine with lunch and dinner, no charge for alternative restaurants, no charge for Wi-Fi, no charge for use of launderettes, no entrance fee for The Spa, inside staterooms, no formal nights, no butlers, nor white gloves? Someone from this company needs to come accept The Smart Cookie Award.

As you will read below, this was more of a foodie tour than souvenir shopping for me. I came home with a few items, but it’s the memories that fed my soul this time.

  • A Taste of Stravenger tour
    A Taste of Stravenger tour


My favorite experiences aboard this ship

The Nordic Spa – It’s the ultimate healthy Scandinavian tradition from the Sauna and Snow Grotto to a relaxing massage. I had their signature organic rejuvenating HydraFacial facial.  I go to a spa every month. This one ranks in the top three.

Explorers’ Lounge – The Explorers’ Lounge is the ideal place for guests to sit back with an aquavit or a craft beer while enjoying floor-to-ceiling windows, magnificent scenery, and entertainment. There’s plenty of room for everyone and the beverage service is impeccable.

Wintergarden – In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood each afternoon from 3 – 4 PM, a calming tea ceremony allows passengers to indulge in an afternoon tea service while enjoying the soft strains of a string quartet.  Truly magnificent.

Manfredi’s –There are four places to dine in the evening. I tried all four. Each was excellent in its own right. This one offers Italian cuisine.  The farm-inspired heartiness of Tuscany, the famed flavors from Rome, and the subdued ambient lighting all entwine to create a warm, welcoming air in this traditional restaurant that recalls Italy’s beloved trattorias. Reservations are necessary. Book your time prior to going on the cruise.

My favorite experiences off-ship:
Stavanger, Norway – A Taste of Stavanger. Stavanger is considered a premier culinary destination. Many of the city’s resident chefs are ranked among the best in Europe. We walked off our ship to stroll around Old Town. Our guide helped us learn all about the city. We made stops along the way to savor the aromas and taste several different food items that have played a significant role in the development of Stavanger. We sampled local delights such as heart-shaped mini waffles, chocolate, tea, sardines, and hot chocolate.

Oslo, Norway- A self-guided foodie tour at the Mathallen Food Court: Mathallen Oslo is inspired by the great European food courts. We found specialty shops, cafés, and great places to eat. The place was crowded with all types of people. We (My husband and I) finally decided to try the ravioli at Via Italia. Via Italia is devoted to quality ecological foods from Italy. They source many of their products from proud, small-scale producers in Alta Tuscia. Fabulous wine and pasta in Norway. Who knew?

Gdansk, Poland – Guided City tour: A stunning city. I am Polish. I loved this place. Gdańsk is widely known as the city of glowing amber and Gothic cathedrals. The city’s rich history is on display in the remarkably restored Old Town, a splendid mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque styles. We took the time to sit at a local restaurant serving delicious traditional Polish pierogis or a glass of beer. Wonderful.

Copenhagen Denmark – Copenhagen Food Lover’s Tour: We took our taste buds on a guided adventure through Nordic cuisine in the market halls. The Torvehallerne food market halls in the city center are open year-round and are considered the modern luxury edition of a food market with groceries, bakeries, coffee, wine, beer, delis, and fast food – most of it organic—lots of tourists and locals. We sampled cheese, porridge, mini sandwiches, and the best-ever chocolate, in the form of classic Flodebolle.

Viking helps its passengers to connect to their destination in every possible way. Perhaps you are ready for a special vacation. Put this cruise on the top of your list. As Viking says, “Where do we go next? Onwards.”

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit

All in Good Taste
All in Good Taste

About the Author:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits.

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