"The Danish Ferry" is an institution in Norwegian travel history. Providing short cruises between Denmark and Norway, filled with shitty buffets, washed up entertainment and cheap booze. Every Norwegian has at some point been involved with this phenomenon. It's been ages since last time, so we thought we'd give it another go.
Oslo - Kiel - Oslo
This time we chose Germany and Kiel as destination. Concept is still the same, just longer trip and slightly bigger boats. You get on at 14.00, spend a day and night getting to Kiel. You get off and spend four hours in Kiel, board the boat and repeat return. Bada bing bada bom.
I have no recollection of a prior life as cattle, but the start off the trip must come close to what cows and sheep's feel when on the move. A lot of people trying to get into one hole, one entrance. But to my surprise the process went quite smooth. Efficient staff and self check-in machines made this a quite quick affair.
We got ourselves a 3-star cabin with an ocean view. This proved to be an essential choice; the ocean view. It's like having a constant moving nature documentary from BBC filling the main wall. So whatever you do: get the ocean view! If there is no more left, wait until the next day. Or the day after. Boats run constantly, every day.
The cabin is small, but smart. Clean and neat, with an impressive choice of TV-channels, if that's your thing. Stepping onto the boat has an immediate effect. It's like a little isolated world, just floating around without anyone taking notice.
The main street, that runs through the boat, holds a few eateries, a souvenir shop, a reception with a kiosk, a fashion boutique and an Irish pub.
Wining and dinning
There is a Tapas choice as well, which we considered. But the total lack of guests just send bad vibes, and when the food looks like it's been untouched for a while; well...we skipped it.
The Gourmet Experience
Yes, as weird as it sounds, there is such an option on the boat. I can't remember this from last time I sailed these shores, but again, that was some time ago. We dressed up and decided to make it happen.
Ruinart is one of our absolute favorite Champagnes. It's the oldest producer of the exclusive bubbles in the world, dating back to 1729. The Blanc des Blanc works both as a fresh appetizer and will go well with most of the dishes on the menu. The bubbles in Champagne are unique that way. They will clean your palette in no way other wines will, leaving this an excellent choice if you're in doubt.
Kicking off with a classic; bread & butter. Freshly baked sourdough bread and two excellent choices of butter. One with black truffles and one with a sour cream twist.
Amuse Bouche: halibut, celeriac cream, pickled onion and roe
A delicate opening of the meal. A mouthful of clean and nice tastes.
Ceviche of crayfish, with green cabbage chips and tapioka
If you're thinking..."What is Tapioka again?", well then you're not alone. We had to Google it: Tapioka is Sago, a form of starch. Exiting twist on this Peruvian dish, but somewhat an unbalance to the flavours, without this overshadowing it all.
Mountain trout with small potatoes, pickled cucumber, dill and mustard sauce
Maybe the best dish of the meal. A Norwegian classic. As simple as that.
Poached Turbot with spring onion, parsley cream and butter sauce
Here the kitchen messes up. Turbot is considered one of the finest fishes there are, and this one has been to long under the heat lamp. If you study the picture above, you'll see that the green cream thing is solidified. The spring onion is full of servants and the butter sauce has formed a skinn on top. To bad!
Waiting dish - chilled melon soup
Wonderful! A nice resting course, between all the dishes. Fresh and cool, consisting of a vodka based drink and frozen melon cubes.
Tenderlion of Mountain pig and baked rib. Served with hazelnut cream and carrots
Super tender cuts of meat. Very juicy and tasty dish. Well done!
Variations on Edamer cheese and beetroot
It's not a strawberry, but what happens when you place beetroot and Edamer cheese in the same room. Excellent little dish with a nice combo of soft and crisp Edamer.
Paprika marinated pineapple, yoghurt sorbét and sabayonne cream
Nice and fresh conclusion to the meal. But by this we're quite full, so we're not seeing the true potential of the dessert.
A few words on the wine. Because there has been a revolution in the world of tasting wine.
"It tastes like red wine" :)
Yes the funky mission of getting the lady to see wine with new glasses :)
Waking up in Kiel
Well...it looks like this. Now you have about 3,5 - 4 hours worth of quality time in this port of call. Getting in at 10 in the morning, leaves you good for a nice brunch and some shopping.
Cattle off the boat
Look at the square
Then dive into lunch/brunch.
Germany have great traditions when it comes to baking, so there's plenty to go around. Prices are a fraction of what you could expect in Norway, so go crazy :)
Pastry traditions aren't bad either. Actually so good that it looked like this before we realized no picture was taken :)
With a no children policy, the Spa is a retreat you really should consider. It hold a work out area, two bubble baths, a lounge and two separate treatment rooms. Book an appointment and drink Champagne. You will render into "zen" and stay that until Christmas.
In the end
Something has changed since we last took the ferry. Like everything, it has it's flaws. But all in all, going on a two day cruise like this will do you loads of good. There are more upscaled cabins than this, if you need and I forgot to mention there's a little casino if you are the gambling type.
We ended up thinking that the next time our work schedules calls for a two day office period, we're taking it on the infamous "Danish Ferry". Who would have taught :)