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On Saturday, June 9th, 2001 at 8:00 AM sharp, Legend of the Seas quietly docks in Oslo, the capital of Norway and birthplace of Royal Caribbean International. The sun shines, Legend is dressed overall and after a hearty breakfast in the Windjammer Café our small group is ready to set foot ashore. We walk to the central station to buy day tickets for unlimited travel on Oslo's excellent public transport system. A modern tram takes us to the entrance of the Frogner Park, where we admire the many sculptures that Gustav Vigeland has created of mankind in all forms, shapes and sizes.

A short tram ride back (in a rattling ancient tram this time) brings us downtown to the Aker Brygge shopping and entertainment complex, located right on the edge of the Oslofjord. Once a the site of many commercial docks, the area has been successfully revamped as a trendy neighborhood full of shops, restaurants and posh condos (including one where Diana Ross used to live). Ilona and I continue our discovery tour of Oslo, watching the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace and drinking cappuccino on a sidewalk terrace. We even manage to find some great buys at some of the modern stores in town.

By tea time we are back on board Legend,where we enthusiastically raid the snack buffet in the Windjammer Café. Offered daily from 4:00 to 5:00 PM on all Royal Caribbean ships, the snack buffet is home to those delicious chocolate chip cookies, the line's famous bread pudding and more. We quickly digest the snack buffet's offerings, as by 5 PM we slowly move away from the quay at the deep sound of the ship's horn. Friends and family of Legend of the Seas' Scandinavian officers are waiving us goodbye and a flottila of small boats accompany us down the Oslofjord. Under-cooled but over-happy we go back to our cabin and dress for dinner. To me, this is what makes cruising so amazing: to explore a foreign place by day, and then come back to your floating hotel to unwind, relax and enjoy the good life until it's time for the next place to visit.

In the early hours of the next day, Legend of the Seas cautiously docks at Copenhagen's Langelinie Quay, directly behind Holland America's Noordam. The ferry Queen of Scandinavia is just passing us when we head for the Windjammer Café and the wonderful omelet station. Again, there is no line and our omelets are delivered right away. Both Ilona and myself have been to Copenhagen several times before and although the Danish capital has countless attractions we have chosen to do something completely different. We have decided to take the train to Helsingør, a seaside town north of Copenhagen. The 50-minute train ride is all too pleasant, with beautiful coastal views along the way. It is no wonder that this area is often referred to as the "Danish Riviera"!

 

The town of Helsingør is located on the narrowest spot of the Oresund waterway. With Sweden almost within shouting distance, the ferry traffic is non-stop.  There is a departure every 20 minutes, with our crossing on Tycho Brahe taking up the exact same time. It is fascinating to watch the well-run shore side organization that is necessary to have the ships run on time. Everything seems to be automated; from mooring and unmooring to maneuvering the gangway into place! Inside, the 10,845-ton Tycho Brahe and her Swedish near-sister Aurora af Helsingbord are like floating shopping malls and restaurants. In fact, it is quite normal to dine extensively on board these ships - no matter how many roundtrips it takes!

 

After a quick walk around the Swedish town of Helsingborg, we take Aurora af Helsingbord back to Denmark (are you confused already?), passing the famous castle of Kronborg just before we dock again at Helsingør. We find out that Helsingør is a very pretty little town, with a wonderful pedestrian shopping street and some very charming old rambling buildings. Too bad the shops are closed on Sunday! By 5:00 PM we are back in Copenhagen and after a leisurely 20-minute walk from the train station to the ship we board our gigantic Legend of the Seas. Ahh, home sweet home!

Legend of the Seas docked in Oslo

Changing of the Guards at the Royal Palace in Oslo

Ilona enjoying the sights & sounds of Oslo

Strike up the band!

Oslo seafront

Legend's home waters...

Sailing down the Oslo fjord
Costa Marina set sails from Oslo

The ferry Queen of Scandinavia arrives at Copenhagen

Copenhagen horizon

Noordam at Copenhagen

A true Passenger Ship Parade in Copenhagen...

Helsingør, Denmark

The port of Helsingør, Denmark

Traditional Danish architecture

Street in Helsingør, Denmark

Tycho Brahe, one of the double-ended ferries sailing between Denmark and Sweden

Floating shopping center

Busy port scene in Helsingborg, Sweden

Helsingborg, Sweden looking towards Denmark

 

All photos and text: © 2001-2003 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com. All rights reserved

First published on July 28th, 2001. This revised version was launched on December 25th, 2003.