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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,

We bought our current XC90 back in 2006 via OSD and it was a great experience. We had a great time exploring Sweden and Spain (using Volvo side trip deal). Our Swedespeed OSD resident expert back then, Yannis, helped us with the OSD and it was great having an expert orient us to the program.

With our XC90 is almost 10 years old now with 120K+ miles and Volvo finally launching the new model, it was time for us to start thinking about another OSD trip. We found that our local dealer where we take our XC90 for service had another OSD expert, William, on the team so it was a no brainer to work with him for our second OSD. Needless to say, William has been awesome with our OSD order, planning, changes, etc. so far and I would not hesitate in recommending him for your OSD needs irrespective of where you are located in the US. :thumbup:

A buddy of mine, who I introduced to Volvo's OSD program, also ordered his XC90 for pickup at the same time. We just booked our tickets for a two week trip in June to pick up our SUVs. With that, the focus now shifts into the most exciting part of the wait - the planning part. :)

I am looking for some general feedback on the following itinerary. We are looking to cover parts of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany in two weeks so there's the usual bit of driving involved. I am very open to suggestions regarding itinerary, places to stop and stay overnight, places to explore at these locations, etc. and welcome your comments based on what worked during your OSD experiences for these cities.

Day 1 Land in Gothenburg, explore Gothenburg
Day 2 Car pickup, factory tour; leave for Bergen (Stay near Oslo overnight)
Day 3-5 Reach Bergen; Explore Bergen (Cruise, other suggestions?? etc.)
Day 6 Leave for Copenhagen; Stay somewhere in Sweden overnight
Day 7 Reach Copenhagen; Explore Copenhagen
Day 8 Explore Copenhagen
Day 9-11 Leave for Berlin (6 hrs drive + Ferry); Reach Berlin; Explore Berlin
Day 12 Leave for Hamburg (3 hrs drive); Explore Hamburg
Day 13 Explore Hamburg; Drop off car
Day 14 Fly back to US


Cheers!
 

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Have a great time with the planning......I don't have to tell you what super great time you will have on your trip!!! We are going on our second OSD and are just as excited as you....... :)
 

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Accuview,

We did our OSD in 2012 and I have a few suggestions for the first part of your proposed itinerary. Gothenberg to Oslo is an easy but rather dull half day drive through flat or rolling farmlands. Oslo is an expensive stopover. The scenery becomes much more dramatic a few hours north of Oslo. We based our Fjord time in the quaint but tourist friendly village called Balestrand. If you enjoy twisty mountain roads, endless waterfalls, ice filled alpine lakes, assorted ferries and auto tunnels then this region is great place to break in your new XC90. Instead of backtracking through Western Sweden to Copenhagen you might consider the overnight auto ferry from Bergen or Stavanger that delivers you to the northern tip of Denmark around 9AM. We had a tiny sleeping room and our Volvo was locked up below deck with hundreds of other cars. We stopped in Skagen a Northern Denmark seaside resort before heading south. I'd suggest leaving your XC90 on the outskirts of central Copenhagen which is best enjoyed on foot, public transportation or bicycle. It may be the most bicycle friendly city in Europe. For all the fjord ferries we paid a cash toll while waiting for each one to load up. The overnight sea ferry can be booked online before you arrive in Europe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Accuview,

We did our OSD in 2012 and I have a few suggestions for the first part of your proposed itinerary. Gothenberg to Oslo is an easy but rather dull half day drive through flat or rolling farmlands. Oslo is an expensive stopover. The scenery becomes much more dramatic a few hours north of Oslo. We based our Fjord time in the quaint but tourist friendly village called Balestrand. If you enjoy twisty mountain roads, endless waterfalls, ice filled alpine lakes, assorted ferries and auto tunnels then this region is great place to break in your new XC90. Instead of backtracking through Western Sweden to Copenhagen you might consider the overnight auto ferry from Bergen or Stavanger that delivers you to the northern tip of Denmark around 9AM. We had a tiny sleeping room and our Volvo was locked up below deck with hundreds of other cars. We stopped in Skagen a Northern Denmark seaside resort before heading south. I'd suggest leaving your XC90 on the outskirts of central Copenhagen which is best enjoyed on foot, public transportation or bicycle. It may be the most bicycle friendly city in Europe. For all the fjord ferries we paid a cash toll while waiting for each one to load up. The overnight sea ferry can be booked online before you arrive in Europe.
Thanks Benbow! I was not aware of the ferry option from Bergen to Denmark. That's a great idea!

I will check out the Balestrand option. Sounds like a lot of fun and very scenic. Any recommendations for places to stay there?

I also heard Copenhagen is not very auto friendly. Which part of Copenhagen did you stay at?

Cheers!
 

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I've done three OSD deliveries in 2007, 2012 and 2015. Here's a few thoughts building on other comments above:

I like Oslo. We stayed at the Rica Hotel G20 (in the centre) ... a bit complicated to navigate around there. They had garage parking - but it was down a side street and very tight for the 2013 XC90 - I have an XC90 T8 and that may be even more difficult to park (5 inches longer + 5 inches wider).

Oslo and Norway in general is (very) expensive. If you are not planning on spending a lot of time in Oslo proper you may want to find someplace elsewhere to stay - maybe further to the north (and skip the city)?

Also consider: ask for an early morning pickup from the hotel on the day of your car delivery. (Make this request early on - as they have time slots and if you end up with an afternoon delivery that will eat into your driving plans.) Have the FDC deliver your car to you in the morning - then do lunch (and if you want to purchase any extras, they can arrange for them during lunch). Do the tour after lunch (if they are running it). Maybe plan on heading north from Göteborg circa 2:00 PM at the latest - easy drive up to Oslo ... figure how far you want to go in that first day.

(Also note: Norway has toll roads without toll booths - they'll charge you by license plate photos - you can create an account on-line and pay via credit card.)


Bergen to Copehangen: that's a long drive - indeed I'd break it up. I think the fun part of the drive is from Bergen to Oslo ... from Oslo south - nice roads, but you'd be doubling back over some of what you drove north on. If you do this drive - I'd recommend going all the way down to Malmö and then over the Øresund Bridge (if you haven't seen it before) - quite the structure.

Or look into a ferry. Not sure if there's anything that runs direct from Bergen to Copenhagen - you could consider driving back down to Oslo and take the Oslo to Copenhagen ferry (Silja Line - maybe others as well). The nice thing about many of these ferries - if the journey is long enough you can do an overnight on the ferry. I did this in Oct 2015 with the ferry between Göteborg and Kiel (and vice versa).


Plenty to do in Copehagen - especially in the good weather and long days expected during your trip. Looks like you only have a day and a half there? Hmmm ...

In one of my OSD trips I stayed at the Kong Arthur in Copehagen. It was quite a few days - and they had safe and secure parking ... I just left the vehicle in the car park and did everything on foot. Got an upgraded room - great accomodations and nice folks, too.

Driving in Copehagen can be a challenge. Lots of bikes and pedestrians. But plenty to do and see in the city without the need to use the car to get around.


Copenhagen to Berlin: that's via the Rostock ferry. Nice drive in Denmark ... and some of the German autobahn where there shouldn't be too much traffic. In Oct 2015 we stayed at the Grand Hyatt Berlin (near Potsdamer Platz). They have a very large (and spacious) parking garage - easy in and out with the XC90. Park it and enjoy the city. (Easy access there to public transport and also in walking distance for many things.)


Hamburg: I think the traffic in / around Hamburg is worse than Berlin :) ... not sure what the drop off charges are these days - Bremerhaven used to always be one of the lowest cost places to drop your vehicle. It could be a couple of hours further past Hamburg (especially if you take the B roads which may be more fun / scenic) ... or take the more southern autobahn and bypass some of the cities (A2 to A7 to A27).

If the program is still the same as in Oct 2015 - your complimentary Volvo airfare is free from London or Scandinavia (on BA or SAS). I assume you'll either have to pay for a flight from Hamburg / Bremerhaven / etc. to one of the gateway cities ... or you are going to somehow get back to Copenhagen?

An alternative: take the aforementioned ferry from Kiel (north of Hamburg) to Göteborg - leaves Kiel around 18:45 every night and arrives after 09:00 the next morning. Drop off car (for free) and go from there. Note: I would allow for delays with the ferry arrival of an hour or more. And then allow for time to disembark and get over the bridge and up to Volvo. Only need about 30 minutes for drop-off formalities at the FDC ... but figure another 30 for getting the limo to the FDC to take you where you want to go. Depending on flights - you may be able to drop off your car and then get a ride from Volvo to the airport ... say if you had an afternoon departure from GOT. Or stay an additional night in Göteborg and leave refreshed in the morning.

Hope this helps!
 

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Thanks Benbow! I was not aware of the ferry option from Bergen to Denmark. That's a great idea!

I will check out the Balestrand option. Sounds like a lot of fun and very scenic. Any recommendations for places to stay there?

I also heard Copenhagen is not very auto friendly. Which part of Copenhagen did you stay at?

Cheers!
we stayed at The Balestrand Hotel, whose owner (Unni Marie) lives in California during the winter when the their hotel is closed. http://www.balestrand.com/?side=2

In Copenhagen we researched outlying B&Bs but ended up at Clarion Collection Hotel Neptun: http://www.neptun-hotel.dk

Fjordline runs auto ferries between Bergen and Hirtshall in northern Denmark. Stena has a ferry from Oslo to Frederickshavn a little further south on the east coast of Denmark. Stena was running the Stavanger to Hirtshall ferry when we took it in 2012.

Through this Swedespeed forum we coordinated having dinner in a Balestrand restaurant with two other OSD couples who had picked up their new Volvos the same week.

June should be a great time to visit Norway. We were there in late June and it felt like Spring was just arriving with all the gushing waterfalls and the last bits of snow near the high passes.
 

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Hey Benbow - How are you. Great time we all had in Balestrand. We have looked at our Norway pics often. Our Passion Red S60 is still running strong with nearly 70,000 miles. Still love getting behind the wheel - Great car. Balestrand Hotel was perfect - had 5 great days using it as a base for exploring the land around the Sognefjord.
 

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Hey Benbow - How are you. Great time we all had in Balestrand. We have looked at our Norway pics often. Our Passion Red S60 is still running strong with nearly 70,000 miles. Still love getting behind the wheel - Great car. Balestrand Hotel was perfect - had 5 great days using it as a base for exploring the land around the Sognefjord.
How fun.....lots of great memories!!!
 

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Hey Mstak & wife, glad to know you guys are still "in love" with your S60. We have enjoyed almost 25,000 miles so far. For insurance reasons the 940 is still our daily driver. Driving those back roads around Sognefjord were much more fun than being stuck in Gothenburg or Oslo traffic congestion. Perhaps Accuview will consider dropping the German segment of his tour to spend more time in the stunning fjords region. If I recall correctly, you were eager to drive through the longest mountain tunnel in Norway.
 

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You have a good memory Benbow. We did do the drive through the Laerdals tunnel. Looks like you guys are just breaking in your Volvo. I think we had nearly 30,000 in the first year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
...

Oslo and Norway in general is (very) expensive. If you are not planning on spending a lot of time in Oslo proper you may want to find someplace elsewhere to stay - maybe further to the north (and skip the city)?
...
Bergen to Copehangen: that's a long drive - indeed I'd break it up. I think the fun part of the drive is from Bergen to Oslo ... from Oslo south - nice roads, but you'd be doubling back over some of what you drove north on. If you do this drive - I'd recommend going all the way down to Malmö and then over the Øresund Bridge (if you haven't seen it before) - quite the structure.

Or look into a ferry. Not sure if there's anything that runs direct from Bergen to Copenhagen - you could consider driving back down to Oslo and take the Oslo to Copenhagen ferry (Silja Line - maybe others as well). The nice thing about many of these ferries - if the journey is long enough you can do an overnight on the ferry. I did this in Oct 2015 with the ferry between Göteborg and Kiel (and vice versa).
...
In one of my OSD trips I stayed at the Kong Arthur in Copehagen. It was quite a few days - and they had safe and secure parking ... I just left the vehicle in the car park and did everything on foot. Got an upgraded room - great accomodations and nice folks, too.
...
Hamburg: I think the traffic in / around Hamburg is worse than Berlin :) ... not sure what the drop off charges are these days - Bremerhaven used to always be one of the lowest cost places to drop your vehicle. It could be a couple of hours further past Hamburg (especially if you take the B roads which may be more fun / scenic) ... or take the more southern autobahn and bypass some of the cities (A2 to A7 to A27).

If the program is still the same as in Oct 2015 - your complimentary Volvo airfare is free from London or Scandinavia (on BA or SAS). I assume you'll either have to pay for a flight from Hamburg / Bremerhaven / etc. to one of the gateway cities ... or you are going to somehow get back to Copenhagen?

Hope this helps!
rpmccormick - Appreciate the comprehensive response and your numerous tips. From the return trip from Bergen, based on your suggestion I looked up the Oslo-Copenhagen ferry and it looks pretty good. Experience something different and reach Copenhagen fresh and ready to tackle the next day. :) It appears DFDS operates a cruise now on that route I am giving it some serious thought.

The drop off charges in Hamburg are reasonable enough compared to Bremmerhaven (149 vs. 65) that we decided to drop off our car in Hamburg itself and board the flight back home from there. Volvo covered our fares from Hamburg so we are good there. :thumbup:

we stayed at The Balestrand Hotel, whose owner (Unni Marie) lives in California during the winter when the their hotel is closed. http://www.balestrand.com/?side=2

In Copenhagen we researched outlying B&Bs but ended up at Clarion Collection Hotel Neptun: http://www.neptun-hotel.dk
...
Perhaps Accuview will consider dropping the German segment of his tour to spend more time in the stunning fjords region. If I recall correctly, you were eager to drive through the longest mountain tunnel in Norway.
Benbow - Appreciate the hotel suggestion. I will be checking out the Balestrand. The flight tickets are done so the German leg of the itinerary is happening for sure. I am hoping 3-4 days in Bergen should give us a good taste of Norway (still need to plan out the details). :)
 

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We are dropping off in Hamburg in February and Volvo did not cover our fare from Hamburg. We had to buy our own tickets from Hamburg to London and Volvo picked up from there. I wonder why it was handled differently. Our return destination is Chicago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We are dropping off in Hamburg in February and Volvo did not cover our fare from Hamburg. We had to buy our own tickets from Hamburg to London and Volvo picked up from there. I wonder why it was handled differently. Our return destination is Chicago.
Perhaps because ours was through Copenhagen via SAS and Hamburg and Gothenburg are equidistant. But them you could make the equidistant argument from London too so who knows? :)
 

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We bought our current XC90 back in 2006 via OSD and it was a great experience.
Our first Volvo was our XC90 (MY2004). A short time later, I learnt about OSD and we got our S60! We had a fantastic trip!
Since then, I waited for the long promised "new XC90", year after year, until.... it finally arrived! Yay!!!!!

We have our new XC90 on order for an early april delivery and this time, we plan to explore Norway. I'm still working out some of the routes because some of the roads may still be closed but the excitement is growing by the minute here!

I'm sure you will enjoy your trip!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Our first Volvo was our XC90 (MY2004). A short time later, I learnt about OSD and we got our S60! We had a fantastic trip!
Since then, I waited for the long promised "new XC90", year after year, until.... it finally arrived! Yay!!!!!

We have our new XC90 on order for an early april delivery and this time, we plan to explore Norway. I'm still working out some of the routes because some of the roads may still be closed but the excitement is growing by the minute here!

I'm sure you will enjoy your trip!
Hey ig_mb,

Don't know if you remember me or not but I was your neighbor at work in the building next door in Alameda. Your OSD tips back in 2006 when we did ours were especially priceless for the Barcelona leg. We will be picking up our new XC90 in June and plan on travelling to Norway as well. Would love to get some tips from you on travel planning for Norway.

Cheers!
 

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It's very interesting to hear about all the repeat OSD travelers going back again for a repeat European experience. I think that says volumes as to the success of the Volvo OSD program......
 

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It's very interesting to hear about all the repeat OSD travelers going back again for a repeat European experience. I think that says volumes as to the success of the Volvo OSD program......
Indeed! While some aspects of the program may change - and certainly the cars have changed - what remains consistent is the experience. I only hope that with Volvo's SCA / 90-series success that they can continue to offer the program and with the level of personalization that they currently do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Indeed. I don't consider myself to be very loyal to a brand, any brand. But with our second OSD, this is the first time we are not only staying with the same brand, but also the same model. :) This will be our second XC90 and the OSD experience was a huge part of why we stayed with Volvo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Do you all recommend booking ferries much in advance? Are they likely to be sold out in the second half of June? We will be booking two - Oslo-Copenhagen and Trelleborg-Rostock and are trying to balance late changes to itinerary vs. securing our spots. The flex fares upgrade from economy fares would give us this flexibility and may be good insurance for an extra 30-40 bucks.
 

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For any of the longer distance ferries you probably are better off booking in advance. I've generally found that the prices are lower than if you close-in book, though at least on one occasion have I purchased Stena Line ferry travel less than a month before the trip and got a decent discount. I suspect that the ferry companies look at loads like airlines do and adjust fares accordingly.

Time of day and day of week may also play into this - like a Friday afternoon / evening.

As a non-resident I typically don't purchase the lowest cost, non-refundable or non-changeable fares ...
 
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