As part of our 10 Night Scandinavia Circuit, we did the DFDS overnight ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo. It also does the reverse route and the schedule is pretty much identical. We had a lot of fun on the boat and I highly recommend it! We sailed with our two kids, almost 6 and 3.
The boat departs at 4:30 pm from the DFDS Copenhagen Terminal, which was conveniently just a 10 minute walk from our AirBnB! Boarding starts at least by 3:15 pm and possibly earlier. It was hard to find out exact times. We arrived about 3:15 and people were already starting the process. They have self check-in terminals, but for some reason all of our birthdays were off by 1 day and we had to get checked in manually so they could fix the birthdates! Then we got our passports and tickets checked and boarded.
We had booked a room for 4 people, which had 2 sets of bunk beds. The top bunks fold down from the wall when you need them. Kids slept on bottom and adults on top as one bunk had no rail at all and the other one was a fairly small rail. They have cabins that fit up to 5 people and kids 3 and under don’t count as a person if they share a bed. Though these were pretty small beds, so sharing would be cosy! We paid a bit more for a sea view, which was nice on arrival morning as the kids could sit on the ledge and look out as we got ready. If you want to go all out, they also had fancier rooms.
One thing to note is there is not a lot of space for luggage. We had packed carefully so that everything we needed was in our carry-on bags and so we didn’t need to try and open our larger pieces. My large wheelie bag was able to fit in the “closet” space by the front door and DH’s large duffle just hung out on the bed when we weren’t asleep. Carry-on sized bags could fit under the bed. There are hanging hooks in the closet space, and we hung bags there. There is also a shelf above the closet for carry-on bags. The bathroom had a small shelf, shower, sink, and toilet. Each person got 1 towel.
After dropping off our luggage, we explored the boat as we had time before pulling away from dock. The boat had Decks 3-11. Decks 3 and 4 were for cars (this is a ferry after all), The other decks were a mix of rooms, restaurants, conference rooms, and more. They have an Espresso House, Sea Shop, Red-White Wine Bar, Columbus Club, Navigators Bar, Champagne Bar, Explorers Steakhouse, Sjo and Blu Riband Restaurants, 7 Seas Buffet Restaurant, Little Italy Restaurant, and Bubbles Zone (kids club).
We got a drink and snack at the Espresso House. They had a little Duplo table in a corner for kids. Then we made our way to the top deck to watch the boat pull away. It was windy and cold!!
Bubbles Club is a small kid zone. We spent an hour there before dinner. It has a little ball pit, some Duplos, and staff doing face painting and balloon animals. There is also a little snack stand and a very small pool (the pool costs money). It was cute and there was seating, so we were happy.
We prebooked and prepaid for dinner and breakfast at the 7 Seas Buffet Restaurant. Prebooking let us pick the meal time. They had meal times starting as early as 5 pm! We did a 5:45 pm dinner, which was great for the kids. The buffet included a small kid section with pasta and meat sauce, chicken nuggets, sausage, French fries, and sliced raw veggies. Win! There was also soft serve ice cream with toppings.
Adults (or more adventurous kids!) had a range of options, including seafood, classic Scandinavia food, and then an international selection. Plus a big dessert table.
Breakfast was in the same restaurant and had a mix of Scandinavian breakfast food and international/American options. Plenty for everyone.
After dinner I got the kids settled into bed and read on my bunk until I was sleepy. DH checked out some of the bars. The beds were not very comfortable and the pillows were tiny, so I rolled up a jacket to add some padding to the pillow.
When we woke in the morning and pulled back the blinds, we were greeted with this view! We ate breakfast (no set time booking required), and then wandered the decks looking at the views. Still chilly! Layers definitely necessary. The boat did have a small pool on deck so I guess in the summer it gets warmer.
We pulled into Oslo Harbor about 9:45 am. We grabbed our luggage and got to the departure door no problem. Once off the boat, however, there were massive lines!
Pro Tip: You are greeted with 3 options–take the ramp to the left, or go right for the elevator or stairs. Go RIGHT! They all dump you downstairs for immigration. But if you take the ramp with the majority of the people you are dumped out in line behind anyone doing the stairs or elevator. It took a long time to get down the ramp and I had no idea why until we finally got around the corner.
Non EU passport holders were also pulled aside for additional questioning. We ended up being the last people off the boat! Once outside, we easily found a taxi to go to our hotel.
DFDS Pearl Seaways:
Service Speed: 16.50 knots
Distance Copenhagen to Oslo: 275 Nautical Miles or 509 Km
For budgeting help:
Our cabin for 4 in March 2019 was about $200. We paid a bit more for a sea view.
Dinner buffet Adult at 7 Seas Pre Paid: About $42
Dinner buffet Child: About $20. Our 3 year old was free
Breakfast Buffet Child: About $10
Breakfast Buffet Adult: About $20
Buffet meals were the cheapest meal option. You could have brought on your own food for consumption in your cabin, but you cannot eat outside food elsewhere on the boat. No alcohol for consumption on board is allowed to be brought. However, they didn’t scan our bags so I don’t know how they’d know.
Realistically the luggage rule is you can bring what you can carry. They do not help you get your luggage to your room. You need to be able to to get it up elevators/escalators and down ramps and hallways on your own. Not to mention the rooms are small for the most part. Officially, I believe the rule is 50kg per adult. Which is about 2 checked bags per person. There would not be space for that!
For our March trip it was very chilly on deck! Lots of wind and cold! Kids wore winter coats with rain coats over top for wind protection, gloves, hats, and boots, and were still cold. We all wore a layer under our regular pants. Brrr!!! Inside was nicely warm.
You might enjoy: