Homelands Cruise – Karlskrona, Sweden

  • Day 17 – Aug 6 – Karlskrona, Sweden
  • Day 18 – Aug 7 – A day at the Baltic Sea

This port stop was another substitution on our original itinerary, for we were scheduled to stop at Tallin, Estonia. We all know who the culprit is for that. OK, end of rant 😉

Anyhow, Karlskrona is a coastal and naval city located in the picturesque archipelago of the southern Swedish province of Blekinge. Did you know that Sweden is the country with the most islands in the world? There are more than 267,000 of them, but fewer than 1,000 are inhabited. A cool little factoid we learned while we were here.

Two soldier actors welcomed us to the island. 

We took the first early tender from the ship to the harbor and began our 2 1/2 hour walking tour.  The town was quiet because most of the businesses here don’t open until 10:00am.  Our first impression was that the town was dead, since we were the only ones walking around at that hour. We were proven wrong, for by the time we left the streets were humming with people and activities.

Enjoying the cool weather at the harbor before we head to the hot countries
Fisketorget Plaza 

Our visit to this small and quiet island really drove home how much history exists in the countries we’ve visited recently.  We’ve seen so many structures that were built over 500 years ago and are still standing that it’s becoming common-place.  Our guides have described the history of these stops in great detail, and this island was a nice example of a small population (about 65,000) dealing with everything that’s happened over the past few centuries, including current issues like Covid.

We learned about the placement of the military and civilian sections on the island, and how they interact.  Karlskrona was built as Sweden’s main naval base and shipyard in the late 17th century. The naval presence has ensured distinctive architectural qualities, and UNESCO has named this place a World Heritage city. Signs on the huge rock walls around the base warned us to not take any pictures of the walls or base facilities.

A stroll to the Bjorkholmen historical area led us to the narrow alleys of the old working section of town with charming cottages in vibrant colors. Many of the tiny wooden houses with low ceilings are from the 18th century and were built by ship carpenters for themselves and their families.

Hopefully our photos will give you a sense of what this place is like – small, quiet, and colorful.  It has good schools and virtually no crime.  Unfortunately the fishing industry isn’t anything like it used to be, and many small businesses have started up over the years but then gone on to fail.

I was finally able to do my water-touching ritual on the Baltic Sea!
Viking Star is waiting and we’re ready for tomorrow, our only day at sea for this cruise

Day 18 – Aug 7 – A day at the Baltic Sea

We always embrace a day at sea. It’s a time to catch our breath from the busy days of excursions with their constant feed of knowledge. We were ready for a break. What did we do? Well, we took a multi-mile walk around Deck 2, relaxed at the wonderful Nordic Thermal Suite Spa, did laundry, downloaded pictures, read, ate, and ate and ate.

Unlike our aborted World Wonders Cruise in 2020 where we hung out with new friends and joined ship activities, this time around we were more socially distant. We still had 38 days to go, including two river cruises, and we sure didn’t want to get sick. So we watched the port talks from our stateroom, skipped most of the shows at the Star Theater and mostly ate by ourselves. We were kind of boring cruisers this time.

A bit pricey, but we splurged on a high-end wine and cheese tasting and
no one joined us at our table
Ahh, Tea Time at the Wintergarden and we ate all of the yummy offerings!
Steve pounds out his daily travel notes in the Explorer Lounge
At Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant

Located next to the Explorer Lounge is a Norwegian-style deli called Mamsen’s where the menu originated from Viking’s owner’s mother, all served on the same tableware used by their family. The waffles are legendary and to die for! So much so that I could only eat half of one (Steve is not a big waffle fan). 

Open-faced Norwegian style sandwiches: Roast beef, Gravlax-cured salmon on dark bread with mustard dill sauce and
Reke North-Atlantic shrimp on white bread ( I chose the Reke)
We were always among the first to arrive at the World Café for our meals

Below is a sampling of what we enjoyed from the huge buffet selection at the World Café:

Steve attained his goal of gaining 10 pounds on our 14-day cruise, by visiting the buffet bar 2-3 times per meal. I felt like I was having dinner with a farm animal – oink, oink!


Our Homelands ocean cruise is winding down to its final stop – Stockholm

8 comments

  1. Steve gained 10 pounds?? That’s impressive! Now he has to keep eating that much at home to maintain it, LOL! The food does look delicious. And I like those adorable little tiny cottages.

  2. Seems like “island time” isn’t restricted to Hawaii! I’ve been scouring maps and itching to explore more of the islands around here. Islands are cool.

    Oh, aaaalllllll that food looks so good! And I’m always blown away by how nice the interior of those ships look. I think I want those brown leather chairs!

  3. I love those tiny, pastel homes…I could live in one! The food, of course, is the star of this blog post! I wish I were with you, waffles are my favorite thing (or one of them!) I would have helped you. Socially distant crusing – sounds like my kind of thing!

  4. Thanks for the history lesson about Sweden. That was a big surprise to me that Sweden has the most islands. I would have never guessed it. The food looks amazing. WOW, WOW, WOW. Thanks for sharing all the info.

  5. So smart to continue to social distance and stay healthy for the trip. I just love that every town seems to have these beautiful, colorful buildings. Definitely does make everything seem, so cheerful. The food presentation is spectacular. Love your beautifully presented waffle. I think your lunch plate was my favorite. That’s exactly what I would have chosen. Great breakfast plate, too. You truly do need a sea day to recover and let your mind relax.

  6. I love the colorful little towns in the Baltic countries. Totally understand keeping your distance. Similar to what you did, on our spring cruise, we watched the lectures and entertainment on the TV and opted not to share tables. Doing pretty much the same on the cruise we are on at the moment.

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