The Alesund City Highlights Tour was one of two excursions that I booked directly through Disney Cruise Line’s port adventures. When it came time for planning our day in this Norwegian port city, I hadn’t really found anything that called out to me. Having never heard of Alesund prior to booking the cruise, I also didn’t know at the time that Alesund would be such a particularly charming destination either. This was also my birthday so I wasn’t interested in doing a full day tour somewhere (i.e. eight + hours) as we had dinner reservations that night at Palo, the adults only restaurant on board. So when I stumbled across the Alesund City Highlights tour, it seemed amenable enough and I booked it. (It was the adults only departure; contrary to what some people think, Disney Cruise Line does make an effort to please its adult guests who are traveling sans children.)
What it was:
A moderate 3.5-4 hour sighting tour that consisted of stops at the top of Mount Aksla (when you see those gorgeous photographs of Alesund, this is where they’re taken from), and the Sunnmøre Museum which is a preserved outdoor museum a short drive from the city center featuring more than 50 buildings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century that depict life in this seaport city.
How much it cost:
$55 USD (adults 10 and up)/ $29 USD (children ages 3-9)/ $0 (ages 0-2). This included travel via motor coach bus, a tour guide, and admission to Sunnmøre Museum
What I liked:
The views from atop Mount Aksla were incredible and it was nice not having to worry about the logistics of getting up there myself. Learning about the history of the land where Sunnmøre Museum is located was also fascinating. For a time it was the center of life in this part of Norway; however, once Alesund was developed it lost its importance and became what it is today, a sleepy area with a historical museum on its grounds. Hearing the various tidbits about Alesund was interesting too; during World War II the Norwegian resistance had an extremely strong presence in Alesund, so strong in fact that its nickname was Little London.
What I didn’t like:
Just like any guided tour with a set schedule, it was too short and not enough time was allowed at each spot. I really would have preferred more time at Mount Aksla as there are paths there for hiking and exploring. We were told that the Nazis had built fortifications there during World War II and subsequently saw them, but I wish I could have seen them from more than just the bus window. Sunnmøre Museum was neat. I especially liked seeing the old buildings because in many ways it reminded me of Colonial Williamsburg in the American state of Virginia. And of course seeing restored Viking ships was especially unique (they are massive!). However, I do feel that our time there was not entirely what was advertised. On the port adventures section of Disney Cruise Line’s website, it mentioned exploring a traditional Borgund stone church. While our guide did point it out to us and briefly talked about it, we didn’t get close to it at all and obviously didn’t get to go inside which was disappointing.
Would I recommend it?
The convenience factor in terms of transportation and getting around to places couldn’t be beat. However, considering the cost, it seemed a bit much for how little we got to see and do, especially since another port adventure (Path of the Trolls) only cost $47 more and not only traveled a lot farther but also lasted a lot longer (8 hours compared to 3.5).
Do some research to see how to get to Mount Aksla on your own and explore other things to do in Alesund.