Cruising on the slow boat to Oslo

IMG_0906It should hardly be surprising that travel between the Scandinavian countries is very much a nautical affair. The coastlines are enormous and water is truly integrated into the daily life of the vast majority of folks in the region. And so getting between Copenhagen and Oslo can be done either by hopping on one of the many daily flights between the two capital cities or by cruising with DFDS Seaways on one of their ships plying the waters between the two countries. There is a daily sailing in each direction that takes about 16.5 hours. It is certainly not the fastest way to get between Copenhagen and Oslo, nor is it necessarily the cheapest or the most luxurious. But it is probably the most relaxing and certainly it is an enjoyable way to cover the distance.

The amenities on board the ship are typical of most cruise liners, albeit not quite as involved as the mega-ships of the Caribbean. Yes, there is a sun deck, duty-free shopping, a night club, a discotheque and a few restaurants. But there are no swimming pools, ice skating rinks, rock climbing walls or midnight buffets. The ship carries cars in addition to people which limits the number of passengers a bit but there are still about a thousand folks on board enjoying the crossing. And they seem to be a typical distribution that you’d find on any cruise (at least the few I’ve been on). There are families, a slightly higher percentage of older folks and the random collection of guys that seem to be straight out of central casting as “Jersey Guidos” though I’m not entirely sure where they find those guys in Denmark. There was even the random guy who just walked by at 8am with one open beer and about four more rolled up in his shirt; I hope he realizes that they won’t go bad if he doesn’t drink them all this morning.

IMG_0904The ship sets off at 5pm from the ferry terminal in Copenhagen, plenty late that you get a full day for your last day in Denmark. And it arrives in Oslo at 9:30am, just after the morning rush. In between the coastlines of Denmark, Sweden and Norway are the views off the deck of the ship, scrolling by at about 20 miles/hour. Yes, it is a much slower means of transportation than flying, but it is worth it to take a bit of pause in a hurried life of travel.

The arrival onto the coast of Norway is a rather stark change from the Danish coastline. Sure, most of Denmark that you see is part of the capital city area while the Norwegian coast is decidedly unpopulated a a similar distance from Oslo. And that is also part of the allure of this region of the country. Shrouded in a morning fog there are small islands and towns with a few dozen homes carved into the wooded hills of the coast. Truly rather beautiful.

IMG_0909 We’ll arrive in port in another hour or so, back to the hustle and bustle of city life for a few hours before heading back out of town and off to the west coast of Norway and the centerpiece of this trip – the fjords.


A decidedly craptacular photo of the moon and its reflection on the sea.


Hmmm…interesting juxtaposition.

Note: This post is showing up a couple days later than it actually happened because I’m off in the middle of nowhere enjoying the fjords but didn’t want to leave the blog empty all week.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.