Today, we arrived in Gothenburg, Sweden, about four hours late according to the published schedule, which I pointed out in an earlier post is more of an aspiration than a rigid timetable.
The reason we arrived late is that the Gota Canal, like the weather in Sweden, can be fickle. The canal deposits mud in its bends, causing the old lady Juno to rub her belly on the bottom.
We were stuck several times during the course of our voyage and running so far behind, in fact, that several passengers had to disembark just after noon on the last day to make their planes and trains back to their homes.
Despite the speed bumps along the way, or perhaps because of them, our Gota Canal cruise certainly was a memorable one, as charming as Sweden itself. I recommend it for any avid cruiser wanting to cruise on a piece of history itself, our ship Juno, and for those desiring an immersion in Sweden.
There were several aspects of our cruise that were remarkable:
- We had cruised across Sweden, slicing across this great land on a canal officially opened in 1832.
- We cruised on the oldest passenger ship still in operation, the Juno, build in 1874.
- We slept in the tiniest staterooms I’ve ever experienced on a ship. Sleeping on the bunk beds (I had the lower; my daughter, the upper) was fine, but we found it challenging to move about in the stateroom. I should note, however, that we could have requested to store our large luggage.
- We were immersed in Swedish culture, including dining on board, and Swedish tradition, such as a sip of schnapps and the Swedish toast, Skol.
Many pros, few cons. In fact, it is difficult to find fault with the cruise, particularly when you consider you are cruising on a museum piece. I feel that the product is handled about as well as it can be handled. I didn’t mind the common toilets and showers. There were never lines for the either. The only con was the weather, and not every day. It was cold and windy on some days while we were sailing, but that’s just Sweden.
The cost of crossing Sweden does not come cheap, but passengers who I talked with, including North Americans and Europeans, said the experience, despite some cold and cloudy days, was well worth it. The entry cost of the Gota Canal cruise is about the same as cruising a luxury ocean liner.
This summer, published rates range from $3,000 per couple to about $6,000 per couple. Technically, it’s a three-night, four day cruise, so you’re looking at per diems of $375 per person to $750 per person. Alcohol and soft drinks are reasonably priced, and tipping is not required but small amounts (anywhere from $15 to $50 per couple) are appreciated and pooled among the crew.
Missed our previous coverage of our Gota Canal Cruise?