Norwegian Fjords Disney Cruise Line Report – Day 1
So with zero clothes aside from what I was wearing (which, at least, was three layers–again, small victories), we headed to the cruise port in Copenhagen and boarded the Disney Magic for our Norwegian Fjords cruise. Our first stop was at Guest Relations to report my lost luggage (so they’d know to expect it) and also let them know we might have to cancel our Palo reservation.
If there’s any consolation to this all, it’s that we got to witness Disney Cruise Line’s exemplary guest service in action. In addition to delivering robes to our room, offering us free laundry service, and indicating that there’d be no need to cancel Palo because their wardrobe department would provide me with clothes, they also offered to have a tailor measure me for formal night and provide me something at no charge.
The Cast Member at the desk, and Cast Members who subsequently assisted with the lost luggage were all exceptional. From our stateroom host to Guest Services Cast Members who followed up via phone to ensure we had what we needed–they were all great. I’ve commented in the past that the Cast Members aboard Disney Cruise Line are shining examples of the “Disney Difference,” and these experiences certainly reaffirmed that.
It was also great just to be on the ship. I think we held it together in what was otherwise a comedy of unfortunate scenarios (coming this Thanksgiving: Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Bricker Edition), laughing at the absurdity of so much bad luck. Still, I’m not sure we wouldn’t have had a total meltdown had more gone wrong.
I didn’t mention it before, but when we arrived in Copenhagen’s baggage claim and saw the Disney Cruise Line reps, we were overcome with excitement. We raced to their podium and exclaimed that we were there for the cruise, and they started looking for our names. Of course, it was for airport transfers…which we did not book. (We used public transit to get to the port.) Just seeing the podium in the airport was like a desert oasis!
Once we were on the Disney Magic, everything started turning around. We saw cheery Cast Members in traditional Norwegian attire (of course I didn’t think to take any photos), heard the familiar background music, and were in a place we loved.
The trip had taken a complete one-eighty.
After that, we headed up to Cabanas for lunch. As far as buffets go, this is a solid option, I think. There are some items that are certainly misses, but plenty of worthwhile choices, too.
Following lunch, I have to admit that we were in a bit of a daze. We only had a couple hours of sleep the night before, and that coupled with eating our weight in buffet food had us ready to just sleep under the table at Cabanas.
I know we did something else after lunch before heading to our stateroom, but I’m not entirely sure what. Perhaps we did just fall asleep under the table until our stateroom was ready.
We also saw the Sail Away Celebration, which was in the atrium. This is always a fun way to kick off a cruise.
In any case, once our room was ready, we headed there. Our room was nothing special, being a standard inside stateroom on floor 6. I suppose a downside of booking the IGT rate is that you cannot choose your stateroom, but we really didn’t care.
The room was sufficiently large and well-appointed for our purposes, which would basically just be getting ready and sleeping. We did not intend upon spending much time at all in the room. Except for now: nap time.
We were awoken by the sound of the assembly drill buzzers. You know that feeling when you’re doing some exceptional work napping and wake up and are so disoriented you don’t know if it’s still the same day or the following morning? That’s what I felt, along with a general sense of “where am I?!” It was a productive nap.
After the assembly drill, we wandered around the ship some more. The experience I was most looking forward to on the first day was the gift shops opening. I had been in the same clothes for over 2 days, and was ready for some fresh attire.
One of the accommodations Lufthansa had made was the promise to reimburse us for clothing purchases (50% if I keep the clothes, 100% if not), so I was prepared to go nuts purchasing Disney Cruise Line Norwegian Fjords exclusive merchandise.
I had already bought underwear and socks from a dollar store in Copenhagen on the way to port, so I was at least ready to roll in two departments!
We “rope-dropped” the gift shops and were quite disappointed. Even before getting 50% off and needing new clothes, we had looked at old Parks Blog posts and were excited about some potentially cool merchandise for this cruise.
There was nothing like that. Instead, there was one long-sleeve shirt for men, one for women, one for kids, a couple of lightweight coats, and cups. I was prepared to buy the entire inventory, but instead got only the lightweight coat. I also bought a Tervis tumbler (my first!) with the logo below on it. Why they couldn’t put that logo on a plain men’s shirt confounds me.
I’m probably going to kick myself for not buying more general Disney Cruise Line merchandise if Lufthansa actually does reimburse me for the coat (I’m a bit worried since it was booked via United miles that they’ll try to pass the buck and I won’t ever receive payment), but there was just very little merchandise in general that appealed to me. I figured I’d buy stuff our first or second day in port.
After shopping, it was show time. For night 1, it was “Be Our Guest: Welcome Aboard Show,” which featured the entertainment director Clayton (who was awesome) along with a musical montage from the various shows.
It also included a sketch from comedian/magician Danny Buckler, a hilarious Brit. We really enjoyed his self-deprecating, wry style; it worked well with the particular audience on this cruise, but perhaps wouldn’t have played as well with an audience of mostly-American families.
Dinner that evening was at Carioca’s, which is themed to a Brazilian festival with nods to Disney’s The Three Caballeros and menu consisting of South American cuisine. Normally.
For our cruise, the South American cuisine was still present, but there were also regional inspirations on the menu, so Scandinavian cuisine. This was a pleasant surprise. When we were weighing this cruise versus Norway on our own, one of the concessions we figured we’d have to make was in terms of food. We’d eat more and better quality food on the cruise, but assumed it would not be anything unique to Norway.
We were not too disappointed by this. We assumed the scenario would be similar to Switzerland, where even low-end food is incredibly expensive, and you are not tasting the best of the cuisine unless you shell out serious money–something we would not be willing to do.
Here’s what we had for dinner:
It probably does not bear repeating that we’re pigs–we ordered all of the regional inspirations at Carioca’s plus a couple of other things. I cannot fathom how much this meal would’ve cost in Norway, but my guess is “a lot.” (Then again, we wouldn’t have ordered so much if we were paying out of pocket.)
While I suspect all of the Scandinavian cuisine we tried was “Disneyified” to some degree (or perhaps not–Scandinavian cuisine does not seem particularly ‘exotic’ to an American palate), that’s fine. We don’t know any better, and it was great to have thematically-appropriate food on our trip to Norway.
It was also cool to still see daylight outside our window during dinner at ~9:30 p.m.
We were done with dinner at around 9:45 p.m., and it was still light out, so we headed up to the deck for sunset. Sunset that evening was around 9:50 p.m., which was actually the earliest sunset of the entire cruise. It was cool experiencing daylight pretty much no matter what time you went up on deck. Over the course of the entire cruise, I never saw the night sky once. I knew I was unlikely to need my tripod for this cruise, but I had packed it anyway, hoping to use it that first night. Alas, it was in my lost suitcase, so I decided to call it an “early” night instead. Hope our travel misadventures and first day of the cruise report were not too much of a bore…
We pick up from this point with our first day at sea in part 2!
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If you’ve been, what do you think of Norway? Have you considered (or done) Disney Cruise Line’s Norwegian Fjords itinerary? Any thoughts on our adventure in simply getting to Copenhagen to board the Disney Magic? Thoughts on Disney Cruise Line’s service, the cost of visiting Norway, cruise cuisine, or anything else we’ve covered in this cruise report? Any other tips to add or recommendations? We love hearing from readers, so if you have any questions or thoughts, please post them in the comments below!
I typed in the last Norwegian phrase you decided to learn into an online translator and laughed so hard that my co-workers came running to see what was so funny.
I was not very happy with you after your review of the “live-action” Beauty and the Beast movie (how could you not be completely mesmerized by Emma Watson?), but that laugh more than makes up for it. Thanks for that, Tom!
Ok, I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this, but …
I wish people would stop apologizing for America or from being from America. Regardless of the Mad Tweeter’s antics and irrespective of political affiliation, this is still the greatest country in the world. This isn’t our best moment, to be sure. However, there’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather be.
I’ll jump down from my soap box and try hard not to pull a hamstring in the process. 🙂 I’m a huge fan of your work and look forward to reading the rest of your report.
“or for being from America” is what that first sentence should have said.
We are so looking forward to the rest of your reports. We leave on the Magic next week. Your tips are great & your writings are so fun. Please hurry up with the rest of your trip!!
My family was on this cruise as well! I am so sad we didn’t see you guys but it’s probably a good thing as I would have embarrassed myself asking for your autographs! We loved this cruise and did many of the same things as you. I look forward to reading the rest of your report!
It really was an awesome cruise, wasn’t it?! Hope you share what other things you did in subsequent report installments. 🙂
The few key phrases of Norwegian you looked up literally made me laugh out loud, I was not expecting that! I really hoped the rest of your travel was better than its start 🙂
I wonder if the Disney Cruise Line knew who you were and that you were likely to publish a widely read article about the experience. They could have easily added a note to your booking to take extra good care of you, assuming they knew who you were at booking time. Perhaps that is why you got such great treatment from customer service, like the free wardrobe and laundry service? Or do you think they treat every customer in this way?
That’s a possibility, I suppose, but I doubt it. We are not on Disney Cruise Line’s media list, nor have we ever received any perks, special offers, etc. from Disney Cruise Line in the past.
Usually in situations where you’re being “handled” it’s easy to tell that it’s happening. I did not perceive anything like that on this cruise.
We did this cruise in 2015 and really loved it. However, we were rather amused by the Regional Inspirations on the menus. We are German and have travelled in Scandinavian a lot. Norway was the last country to cross off the list. We found that about half of the special dishes on the menu were not really Scandinavian at all, more kind of Central European. But we did enjoy the greater variety and thought it was a nice touch! And the summer berry pudding on the next update is definitely regiona as I assume it was this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/RÃ¸dgrÃ¸d It Ian really easy to make as well.
I am sorry that Lufthansa failed you so badly! They usually are my airline of choice (considering that they are one of only three major airlines that go to my local regional airport) and I only ever had one bad incident with them, which was weather related, too.
It does not surprise me that a lot of the dishes are not strictly Scandinavian. The regional inspirations are heavy on fish, which is probably a good proxy for Scandinavian dishes in the perception of most guests.
We still enjoyed the menus, and I’ll continue pretending that what we had was 100% authentic Norwegian cuisine! 😉
We had a terrible stay years ago in the Bahamas. My husband, myself and our three young sons were to spend four days there, and then spend five night at the Contemporary. Sounds great, right? Nope. We had one problem after the other, and no one at the hotel made any attempt to resolve the issues.
So, after making a few calls, we left the Bahamas. Luckily, the airline had seats available (not difficult then, as many times they flew “empty”). Even more lucky, the Contemporary had a room. We arrived at WDW in just a few hours. I was so happy and relieved, I wanted to hug the cast member.
Bad experiences, while exhausting and frustrating, should never sour anyone on traveling. I don’t know how I would have handled your situation Tom, but it sounds like you felt the same sense of relief I did when you got to your Disney ship. Your trip report really was “a series of unfortunate events” (pun intended). Thankfully, it worked out. Except for, I imagine, that dollar store underwear.
I really appreciate these reviews. I travel a lot domestically, but go overseas usually once every two years and I always appreciate reading how other people deal with these situations so I’m more prepared when they come up.
I’ve been trapped in Amsterdam on my way to Paris during an airline strike (took the train, but it was definitely not easy to get our bags and handle all of the logistics), had my mother’s suitcase just not arrive in Rome before a cruise, had my flight out of a small town in Africa cancelled because it was raining and the pilot didn’t know how to use the instruments to land in the rain… Any time you travel outside the US, it’s good to to have a plan for dealing with unexpected travel changes. It seems like there’s always something.
I don’t fly Lufthansa anymore after what was possibly the WORST long-haul flight experience ever. (And it didn’t even involve cancelled flights or lost luggage, so I can only imagine how much worse your experience was!)
Oslo is quite a nice city to visit (albeit prohibitively expensive for the budget traveler) so it’s a pity you missed it. But my favourite city in that part of the world is Stockholm. It has everything from ABBA to the Vikings to a World Heritage cemetery!
I think we’ll likely make a return visit to do Oslo and Stockholm later. We’ll likely do winter for that trip, as hotel prices are significantly lower at that time (at least per my research) and I’d love to see the Christmas markets.
Stockholm in the summer is just plain stunning. It is a series of islands whose beauty needs a boat trip and sunlight for full impact.
Excited to read all the posts and “re-live” our trip :). We did the Norwegian fjord cruise this same time last year and it was so magical. We flew Icelandair to Copenhagen the day before and visited Tivoli and stayed at the Tivoli hotel, which we really enjoyed. The only downside of flying Icelandair is now we really want to visit Iceland after watching the promo videos on the plane :). Thinking of the 11 night Iceland/Norway Disney cruise (we assumed Norway was a once in a lifetime trip, but it was so beautiful we want to go back. Plus our trip started off with a (non-travel related) bad event that makes us feel like we kind of deserve a do-over for ourselves anyways 🙂 ).
We’re also now starting to look at some of the other itineraries DCL does in Europe. Not necessarily the Iceland/Norway cruise, but there are a few on our radar. We also assumed this would be a once in a lifetime trip. Funny how that works!