Disclaimer: Due to the high price the internet on the ship (.99/minute) we were unable to blog live for this cruise. The events of this article took place on Oct 3, 2018.
Read about our previous day here.
Today we woke up docked in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Lucy woke up looking like her normal super happy high energy self. At this point, I assumed her episode of vomiting was likely due to jet lag given there were no infectious symptoms and her speedy recovery each time.
We did not schedule a tour in Gothenburg, as the ship sponsored tour was $288 dollars for a 4 hour bus tour that drove you around the city which we felt was a little on the pricey side for a simple bus tour. Since it was the end of their tourist season, despite my best efforts I could not find an independent tour operator as they had shut down for the year. As such the tour options were pretty much nonexistent.
Despite not having a scheduled tour we still had to wake up early at 7AM as we had to board a shuttle to downtown Gothenburg that left the ship at 9AM. This because the port of Gothenburg is a working port. That means that unlike many of the Caribbean and Meditteranean ports where you can simply walk off the boat and be in the center of town or near a taxi stand we were docked in a location whose primary function is cargo handling. While you can consider people cargo, as passengers we are not allowed to roam the port area. For this reason, you cannot leave the ship unless it is via shuttle.
The shuttle needed to be booked in advance for $15/person. They gave you the option for either an 8AM or 9AM departure and we chose the later option so we could get at least a little more sleep.
We went to Garden Cafe, the main buffet for breakfast. The buffet was packed as a expected for a port morning. The kids had the typical chocolate milk and cereal. I had some eggs and bacon as did Kendall. I quickly noticed that unlike Royal Caribbean there is no fresh cut ham on the buffet which is one of my favorite morning foods. My son who loves donuts also noted their absence from the buffet. Aside from those two items, I’d say the buffet is relatively the same as most other cruiseline’s buffets.
After eating we went to Manhattan Dining Room to line up for our shuttle service.
The line was pretty long but once you entered the dining room you at were able to sit down.
After 37 minutes we finally boarded a shuttle, and we immediately felt like members of U2 or Aerosmith as the shuttle was definitely not the standard shuttle we ride in.
The ride was a quick 25 minute drive to downtown. Once downtown we found out that there were two tours operating, a small sightseeing train and the Hop-On Hop Off. This was a nice surprise as when I investigated the dates for the Hop-On Hop-Off on the website prior to going on the cruise the Hop-On Hop-Off was no longer running and I could not buy tickets from the website.
The sightseeing train was very cute and the kids wanted to ride it, but the tour was only 30 min long and there were no stops.
We ultimately decided to take the Hop On Hop Off as it had seven stops and was 50 minutes long.
And more importantly, it was heated. Today was definitely one of the cooler days with a temperature of 44F and a light breeze which did not help the situation. Despite the cold, Lucy, shockingly, did not seem to mind it.
It was only 50 dollars for 2 adults and 1 child as Lucy was free. It came with free headphones so you could hear the prerecorded commentary. There was a 30 minute wait to get on the bus, and in the mean time I decided to take some pics of the kiddos around downtown Gothenburg.
As always, Lucy has to practice her posing.
This girl is gonna be trouble when she gets older. Right before the bus came the sun thankfully came out and it started to warm up a little.
The bus came and we boarded, and road the bus around downtown Gothenburg. It took us past many sites including their opera house.
Realistically all the stops on Hop On Hop Off aside from the fish market were very close together. In retrospect there was no real reason to buy tickets for the Hop-On Hop-Off unless you really wanted to see the fish market. At a total cost of 50 dollars it was not a terrible loss and we got to hear some awesome puns from the prerecorded commentary such as “Swedes believe in cod, not god.”
We got off at stop #5, the train station, as it was close to the botanical gardens that we wanted to see.
The moment we got off the bus Zack had a bathroom emergency. So we ran to the train station looking for a restroom. We were panicking as we did not have time to get any Swedish Kroner before we got to Sweden and most bathrooms in Europe require payment. Our fears were totally realized when we finally found a restroom and we saw that it required money. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw the MasterCard logo and knew they took credit card.
Milk on a cruise ship – Free
Cost of Hop On Hop Off tour- $50
The feeling you get when your son absolutely has to pee RIGHT NOW and you find a restroom but realize that it requires payment and you have no local currency, but then suddenly realize they take MasterCard – Priceless!
It was 2.80 USD for 2 adults, a kid and small child to use the restroom in case you ever needed to go to the restroom in Gothenburg, Sweden.
After surviving that debacle, Kendall of course had to have some medicinal Starbucks.
It was actually relatively close to US pricing with a cost of 6.39 USD for a large chai latte.
We walked across a small canal toward the botanical gardens.
We then went on a beautiful walk through the gardens. It was starting to warm up this point and become a gorgeous day.
The gardens were beautiful and well maintained.
We walked along a canal with some very nice views.
After our short walk, we were starting to get hungry, and after stopping at Starbucks we of course had to stop at the other American icon, McDonald’s.
For those of you who do not know me, I LOVE MCDONALD’S. It is truly my favorite restaurant, and I try to experience McDonald’s in as many foreign countries as possible. They apparently have some pretty “Donken Deals” here.
The kiddos and I got the standard Chicken McNuggets and fries. Here they actually had sweet potato fries and we had to try them.
The sweet potato fries were awesome and I wish they would bring them to the US market.
As we were sitting at McDonald’s we randomly heard “Baby Shark” played on the speakers. The kids flipped out and of course had to sing along. You know a song is stalking you when you hear it half way across the world.
For those of you who just started following our blog, “Baby Shark” is sung no less than 20 times a day in our family. If you do not know the song, you can hear it here. I will warn you that it can be pretty catchy.
After eating, we walked down the main street for a quick pic at the Poseidon statue.
The kids, as always, were quick to point out how the statue was “inappropriate.” Much like the artwork on the Adventure of the Seas on our cruise last month. We then decided to call it a day and walk back to the shuttle stop. The shuttle line was long, but moved briskly and we were back on the ship by 2:50 PM.
We went to Garden Cafe for a quick snack. Since it was a beautiful day, Zack and I decided to try out the ropes course while Kendall and Lucy rested in the room.
We played on the course for a bit, and we were on it when the ship left port. At that point it was freezing and the wind was intense so we had to get off. It was so windy, I got stuck on the zip line. I had to shimmy myself across it to get to the end. There are no cameras allowed while on the ropes course, so I have no pics of us on it. Overall, it was a ton of fun and I’d recommend anyone give it a try.
We then went to the cabin and I picked up Lucy, to take her to Medical to get cleared by the ship physician. Despite me being board certified in Pediatrics, I still have to have the ships doctor give us the clearance.
I had never been to medical on a cruise ship before so this was a new experience. We went to medical and spent an hour down there. It is a cash based system, but you can always try and submit your services to your travel insurance or health insurance company for reimbursement with varying results. Prices are pretty similar for what you’d charge on land. Some a little lower, and some a little higher. Ultimately, it all comes down to what insurance pays anyway, although for a true cash payer, it will be very painful.
The space was much larger than anticipated, and they had multiple exam rooms. The rooms are similar to what you’d see in a standard doctor’s office.
The doctors absolutely loved Lucy and her sass. They were parading her around medical to all the doctors and nurses. The doctor who cared for Lucy even had to take a selfie with her.
Once we were done we took kids to Garden Cafe to feed them some dinner. We fed them some mac and cheese, fries, and pizza and then dropped them off at Splash Academy.
We then went to eat dinner at one of the complimentary options, Shanghai, which was a noodle bar.
We both had some fried pork potstickers. I had the Singapore noodles and Kendall had the vegetable fried rice. The food was excellent, and among one of my favorite things we’ve ever had on a cruise ship.
Then went to Syd Norman’s Pour House to watch some karaoke.
It was a pretty small crowd as far as karaoke goes but there was a steady stream of singers despite the small crowd. As always it was a fun time.
We the decided to check out Howl at the Moon. For those not from the US, this a a dueling piano bar that can be found in many US cities.
The whole performance is very similar to the show on land with lots of wit and sarcasm along with some very energetic performances and song parodies.
Once 10:30PM hit, which is the time Splash Academy starts charging for childcare, we went and picked up the kids. We ate at O’Sheehans for some late night snacks. We got some nachos, a cheeseburger, and some cookies. We had heard from some Norwegian cruisers on our last Royal Caribbean cruise about how great O’Sheehan’s cheeseburgers were so I was dying to try one. I must say that the cheeseburger is 100 times better than any burger on Royal Caribbean. The cheeseburger was tasty and juicy and on a sweet tasting bun. A vast upgrade from the burgers of Windjammer. After out late night snack we hit the sack. Tomorrow is a sea day.
Two days into our cruise our whole family seemed to enjoy the food better on Norwegian compared to Royal. I am basing my comparison to a Quantum class vessel as the Breakaway and the Quantum are both reasonably similar in size and debuted at about the same time. The complimentary 24 hour restaurant of O’Sheehans is significantly better than the 24 hour combo of Sorrento’s/Cafe Promenade. Sometimes I do miss the quick pick up and go nature of Sorrento’s, rather than having to sit down and be served at O’Sheehans, but it’s nice to have comfort food 24/7. There is a lack of quick serve lighter fare and dessert options on Norwegian, but Garden Cafe is open almost all day and has late hours till 11:30PM with a limited menu unlike Windjammer which has very limited hours at best.
Thus far NCL is definitely beating Royal on the food front. We do not do specialty restaurants, but for those that do the options are plentiful and more abundant than the Quantum Class Royal Caribbean ships. The complimentary specialty option of Shanghai’s Noodle Bar, while a very small venue was much more to my taste than the Mediterranean themed Solarium Bistro on the Quantum ships. Kendall, who is not a big Asian food fan greatly enjoyed Shanghai’s, and she would rank it one of her favorite places to eat on any cruise ship.
Read about our next day here.
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