The idea for doing a fly-cruise trip to Europe has been in my mind since 2010. That year, hubby and I went on a Greek Island cruise. I fell in love with cruising immediately after that. It was such a great feeling to go to sleep every night and wake up in a new destination each day.
I realised that Europe was the PERFECT destination to go cruising. If we were to fly all the way to Europe from Singapore, we want to cover more than one country. Or at least more than one city (or in the case of Greece, more than one island). It’s not like Asia, where we can afford to fly to Japan over and over again to cover different parts of Japan slowly. Air tickets from Singapore to Japan are relatively cheap, and I don’t consider a 6-7 hours flight long.
But Singapore to Europe is almost twice as far as Singapore to Japan. Air tickets are also twice as expensive. We can’t possibly keep flying to Europe, one holiday to visit Denmark, next holiday to visit Sweden, and next holiday to visit Finland. We want to fly there once, and go to Denmark AND Sweden AND Finland.
But there’s the logistics. When we were young backpackers, we could hop onto trains and cheap budget flights and country-hop. No problem. But now that we’re past our mid-30s and have two young kids in tow, we prefer to enjoy the finer things in life. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing. Not a mad scramble of flight after flight.
Cruising solves many of our problems. We don’t need to change a hotel every other day. We cut down on the number of flights we need to take (and hence the number of “my ears are painful” cryings). It takes away the most mundane part of travelling, the transport from point to point, and turns the transport into a vacation in itself. And we still get to visit multiple countries!
Of course, some people don’t like to cruise. Because they feel that it’s too touch-and-go. You’re in a country for only a couple of hours. “That’s not the way to travel!” they say. Whatever. To each his own. Sure, I would love to spend 5 days in Santorini rather than 5 hours. But given a choice, I would rather use that 5 days to see Santorini AND Mykonos, Rhode, Crete, Ephesus… You get the idea.
Coming back to our Northern Europe trip. So after our 2010 Greek Island cruise, I started looking up the internet about Europe cruises. It was at a time when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I think the pregnancy hormones played a part. Because immediately something caught my attention.
DISNEY CRUISE LINE.
At that time, I haven’t heard of Disney Cruise Line before. It was intriguing. I found out that Disney Cruise Line had a ship that sailed in Europe – Disney Magic. Back in 2010, Disney Magic was sailing the Mediterranean from Barcelona. I’ve always wanted to go to Barcelona to see Gaudi’s works! It was like my dream placed in front of me on a computer screen – Barcelona AND Disney Cruise! I immediately KIVed it and told myself, “I need to do this at least once in my lifetime!”
Fast forward to 2016. Somehow the realities of having 2 kids and mid-life crisis make people lose sight of their dreams. I can’t remember the exact sequence of events. I think it had to do with me stumbling into the scene of the infamous Holland Village ‘armed’ bank robbery (which turned out to be unarmed) and being surrounded by armed police officers. Thoughts of being held hostage at gunpoint ran through my head briefly. And I realised I can’t die yet, I haven’t gone for my Disney Cruise in Europe.
So I picked up this idea again, went onto the internet and realised Disney Magic was not sailing from Barcelona. It was sailing from Copenhagen! WTF?
But somehow I decided it was now or never. Half my dream come true was better than nothing. My kids were growing up fast. Barcelona could wait. But Disney was something I wanted to enjoy with little kids who were still full of dreams and fantasy, not angsty teenagers. So to Copenhagen we went, and onto Disney Magic we cruised.
And at the end of the trip, I think I owe Copenhagen, or Denmark in general, an apology. I’m sorry for not making you my first choice and choosing Barcelona over you. I’m glad I visited while my kids were still kids. Because if there was a “Most Kids-Friendly Country” award, Denmark would win hands down.
I think the Danes are obsessed with making sure kids are happy. Take for example cycling. You know how they love cycling? No? Now you do. People in Denmark love cycling. So they built a bike that could transport the kids comfortably. One where kids could eat, sleep and
shi. … okay not that. But I think you may be able to do a quick diaper-change inside if desperate.
We went to Givskud Zoo. They felt a zoo alone would be too boring for the kids. They built playgrounds. Yes, plural. Many playgroundS. They threw in dinosaurs. They provided free wagons. They even put a log over a pond to make crossing over a pond oh-so-fun.
They had a 460 year old castle. They built playgrounds ALL AROUND IT. Who on earth builds playgrounds all around a 460 year old castle??? Most people would be more concerned about preserving the natural environment and heritage and stuff that don’t concern kids. But not in Denmark. It’s okay to have playgrounds around a castle in Denmark. Because the kids will love it. And yes, wagons too. Follow our blog. I’ll tell you all about Denmark and their wagons.
If you’ve never been to Denmark before, you should make your first trip there one with kids. Otherwise you may feel left out of all the fun. I’m glad Disney Magic moved to Copenhagen. Maybe this is exactly why Disney Magic went to Copenhagen.
As with all our long trips, let us start off with
photo spam an outline of our itinerary. Later on, we will write more to fill you in on the details of each leg of the trip, part by part.
Kauppatori Market Square
Allas Sea Pool
Copenhagen Street Food (Paper Island)
The Little Mermaid
(Ladby Viking Ship Burial)
Aboard Disney Magic
Stockholm City Hall Clock Tower
Gamla Stan (Old Town)
OLD MARKET HALL
Boat Sightseeing Tour
St Isaac’s Cathedral
Church of the Saviour on Blood
Old Viru Street
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Toompea Castle & Tall Hermann
St Mary’s Cathedral Bell Tower
Kohtuotsa viewing platform
Patkuli viewing platform
Town Hall Square
Copenhagen Canal Tour
Tivoli Garden (Yes, again)