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Cruise line representatives delve into Stavanger's culture and history

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P&O Cruises' Iona called at Stavanger on April 22 where the fam trip was in full swing
Cruise line representatives visited no fewer than four museums in Stavanger today as part of Cruise Norway’s familiarisation trip to the southwestern fjords.

The trip kicked off in Stavanger yesterday and will conclude on April 27 after visits to Haugesund, Eidfjord, Flam, Nordfjordeid and Hareid. 

Viking Museum 

The Viking Museum, which opened in March 2019 and is located opposite Stavanger’s Strandkaien quay, tells the story of the unification of Norway under King Harald Fairhair using virtual reality technology for an exhilarating adventure that takes passengers into the heart of the action: from the prophecy of Fairhair’s future success to victory in battle. 

The Viking Virtual Reality Experience lasts 15 minutes, runs every 30 minutes, and is available in Norwegian, English, German and Spanish. 

Visitors sit in a vessel styled like a Viking longship for the experience. The attraction can manage 25 visitors at a time, but upgrades are set to take place that will allow it to handle around 30 individuals. 

The attraction has a well-stocked gift shop containing various Viking themed souvenirs. 

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The Viking Virtual Reality Experience

Aviation Museum 

The Aviation Museum (Flyhistorisk Museum Sola), located next to Stavanger airport is located within an authentic hangar built by the Germans in World War 2 as a base for war planes. It contains six German aircraft from the war, 45 aircraft in total, and visitors can embark three planes in the exhibition. A Heinkel HE 115 seaplane and Caproni bomber are among the museum’s most significant exhibits. 

For group tours, the museum is open year-round; the museum is otherwise open for visitors from May to November. This year it will open in June owing to the construction of two new buildings. A brand-new exhibition will share the stories of eight pilots who flew planes during the Cold War, recounting their personal journeys, including near misses. A further building will open next year containing educational rooms, a gift shop, cafe and WC. 

Passengers have the chance to go inside the workshop where restoration of the planes takes place, seeing the mechanics and engineers at work. 

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is one of the operators whose passengers have the opportunity to visit the museum as part of a World War 2 tour, which incorporates a visit to the war graves located a stone’s throw from the town centre. 

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Aviation Museum

The museum is part of the Jærmuseet network whose other museums include tours like: ‘History and science and a journey to the universe,’ focusing on the northern lights and star gazing; ‘Farm, life, travel,’ a hands on experience teaching about the development of the farming industry through the ages; and ‘Coastal life’ at Vistnestunet, a period Norwegian farm dating to 1874, nestled by the North Sea. The farmhouse stands as a tribute to traditional and historic architecture. The well-preserved farm ensemble includes the farmhouse, quaint cooking house, barn, and a windmill.

Norwegian Petroleum Museum

The Norwegian Petroleum Museum - the only one of its kind in the country - delves into how oil and gas are formed, resources found beneath the seabed, and drilling and production. It can accommodate a substantial number of cruise passengers at one time, once hosting passengers from two mid-sized cruise vessels on one day. 

The museum receives receives 150,000 visitors every year; its printed guides come in 11 languages and all exhibitions have Norwegian and English text.

Offshore operations represent Norway's most important industry. Highlights include an evacuation room simulator, which is incorporated in all crew tours, a sizeable collection of models of offshore platforms, short animations on subsea and offshore technologies, a children’s play area and a well-stocked gift shop. One area of the museum is dedicated to exploring the climate threat and developing solutions. 

The building itself is made out of 260m-year-old bedrock. 

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Norwegian Petroleum Museum

Canning Museum 

At IDDIS Canning Museum, cruise passengers can see how Stavanger's important canning industry has evolved over time, try their hand at canning fish using rudimentary techniques, and see the earliest canning machines in practical use. A highlight is tasting oak smoked fish straight from the oven and seeing the vibrant and imaginative labels (iddis) that have been used to decorate the cans over the years.

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Andrea Leonetti, itinerary designer, Silversea Cruises at the Canning Museum

Since they share a common industrial history, the venue shares the same premises as the Norwegian Printing Museum. The printing technology was also required to print the various can labels. 

In the printing section, passengers can learn how a print was created in the past using -  among other methods - hand setting, old printing presses and bookbinding.

Walking tour  

The museum is situated in the heart of Old Stavanger, which has a number of attractive white wooden buildings. 

The nearly 900-year-old Stavanger Cathedral has been closed for the past four years but will reopen next year with improved accessibility, among other essential upgrades to preserve the building’s character. It was the oldest cathedral in constant use in Norway until its doors closed for the works to be carried out. 

Passengers can take a beer tour which involves a visit to the Cardinal, a bar with a vast selection of beers, visit the Danish Consulate built between 1704 and 1710 and ascend Valberg Tower for views of the town. 

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Valberg Tower

Chili chocolate 

The fam group had the opportunity to decorate their own chocolate troll and participate in a chocolate tasting session, including unique brown cheese chocolate, at Chili Chocolate. All their products contain chocolate or chili or both. It delves into the importance of the cocoa bean to the Maya civilisation and explains the journey of the organic cocoa from the plantation in a short video. 

The venue can host up to 20 passengers for each workshop – each one lasting 45 minutes in duration – and a maximum of 120 passengers a day. Options include greeting passengers with a hot chocolate. Imaginative chocolate creations can be purchased from the shop. 

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Chili Chocolate