Sometimes the best part of traveling is the secrets that each city reveals. We’ve partnered with adventure, luxury, and culture travel writer, Dr. Cacinda Maloney, from the blog PointsandTravel as she reflects on her recent trip to Oslo, Norway and her experience of finding the #1 luxury cruise ship in the world in the Oslo port!

Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of, Oslo's hidden luxury secret

Photo by PointsandTravel

Shhh! Oslo has a secret!

The famously expensive Norwegian capital of Oslo has a secret beyond its glorious landscapes of the Oslo Fjord, Vigeland Sculpture Park, and its modern opera house.

Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of, Vigeland sculpture park, Oslo's hidden luxury secret

Photo by PointsandTravel

modern opera house, Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of

Photo by PointsandTravel

On my first few visits to Oslo, I had not discovered the secret yet, although I enjoyed this mega city with its maritime trade and Viking history despite not knowing.

Viking Ship Museum, Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of

Photo by PointsandTravel

Having the #2 spot on the list of the world’s most expensive cities, Oslo caters to the rich with culture and style. It would be perfectly natural to imagine that the top-rated cruise ship in the world sails right out of her port. It was puzzling to me why I hadn’t heard an inkling about this magnificent luxury ship that was in port.

Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of, Europa2, Haplag-Lloyd Cruises

Europa2 by Haplag-Lloyd Cruises, Photo by PointsandTravel

The Europa 2 from the Haplag-Lloyd Cruises

Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of, Europa2, Haplag-Lloyd Cruises

Europa2 by Haplag-Lloyd Cruises, Photo by PointsandTravel

But now I  understand, the Europeans were trying to keep it a secret!

The #1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World … in Oslo Port!

Upon my arrival into Oslo, jetting in via the FlytoGet Airport Express train that runs every 10 minutes and only takes you 22 minutes to get right into the city center, this city that I love allows you to get to the central train station in mere minutes. And upon your arrival into the central train station, you will find that you have landed yourself into Oslo’s version of the avenue Champs-Elysee: Karl Johans Gate, the main thoroughfare and a perfect place to begin your exploration of this Viking city.

Folk Art Museum, Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of

Photo by PointsandTravel

I usually centrally locate myself in a hotel near the train station, but there are many options available for you to get settled in and begin to do all the “don’t miss” things in Oslo:

  • Take a walk down Oslo’s Karl Johns Gate, where restaurants, parks, museums, and shops abound. The street is a bustling hub that makes for great people watching.
  • Visit Vigeland Sculpture Park, a massive park with fountains and tree-lined “streets” of over 200 sculptures, all made from one man, as well as his brother’s mausoleum (a different secret I found out about on an earlier visit).
  • Take a day trip to the Fjords of Oslo, take the ferry to the nearest Island of Hovedova, where you can hike trails and find the ruins of a monastery from the 1100’s.
  • Gaze at the Holmenkollen Ski Jump: Skiers have been hurling themselves off long before this reconstructed landmark was unveiled for visitors.
  • Stop by the spectacular and modern Opera House (shaped like the hull of a ship), that typically has free art installations and excellent views of the city by walking on its rooftop.
  • Go to the Viking Ship Museum and the Norsk Folkemuseum, spend the day wandering around and learning the history of the Nordic vessels and the lives of the Nordic people. You can thank me later!
Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of, Europa2, Haplag-Lloyd Cruises

Europa2 by Haplag-Lloyd Cruises, Photo by PointsandTravel

Europa 2 from Haplag-Lloyd Cruises

While I was in Oslo, I discovered that the #1 luxury ship in the world comes right into port: the Europa 2 made a stop in Oslo, as well as through its famous fjords and a stop in the northern Norway city of Bergen. Since her christening in 2013, she has been named the “#1 Ship in the World” by the authority of cruise ship guidebooks, the Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships. This after beating out her sister ship, the Europa, which held the title for more than a decade. In fact, in 2016, she was given its highest award ever based on a points scoring system. The ship, Europa 2 from Haplag-Lloyd Cruises, continues to allude Americans, but is right square on the radar of wealthy Europeans, and for good reason.

Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of, Europa2, Haplag-Lloyd Cruises

Europa2 by Haplag-Lloyd Cruises, Photo by PointsandTravel

Ok upscale Americans, now you know! The secret is out!

Europa 2 is a floating luxury resort!

What makes the Europa 2 so spectacular?  She has more space per passenger than any other cruise ship and every room is a suite with its own veranda! With floor to ceiling windows in the main areas, her décor is brightly lit during the day with natural light and she has a contemporary interior design.

Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of, Europa2, Haplag-Lloyd Cruises

Europa2 by Haplag-Lloyd Cruises, Photo by PointsandTravel

She also has an amazing art collection, which is one of the largest art collections at sea, with over 850 original pieces that were commissioned exclusively for the ship by well-known artists from around the world.

Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of, Europa2, Haplag-Lloyd Cruises, art sculpture

Photo by PointsandTravel

But that is not all she has!  She also has the largest gin collection at sea!  Since gin is a popular drink that is served and drank at sea, why not build the world’s largest at-sea gin collection with over 36 different gins from 9 countries?  And, of course, a gin tasting is included in your sailing fee where you will learn all about this complex spirit.  This is just a small part of the services and delights when it comes to the details that this ship can provide you and your family when sailing on the Europa 2. I won’t even mention the butler and the nanny service or the 7 gourmet restaurants where the service in the major player and the food is a work of art. Of course, they have the buffet available every day, room service and plenty of clubs and cigar bars.

Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of, Europa2, Haplag-Lloyd Cruises

Europa2 by Haplag-Lloyd Cruises, Photo by PointsandTravel

The secret of Oslo, one of my favorite cities in the world, and its exclusive “floating luxury resort” is out and now you, too, can experience the bilingual Haplag-Lloyd’s Europa 2 with stops in the charming cities of Oslo and Bergen, as well as many other gorgeous ports. Check out her sailing map to see where she sails next in the world:

Oslo, Norway and the “#1 Luxury Cruise Ship in the World” that Americans Have Never Heard Of, Europa2, Haplag-Lloyd Cruises, Europa 2 mapCacinda Maloney is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads visit travelocitygnomads.com.

 

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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