A slice of the high life is always sweet.
In Norway, visitors might catch a glimpse of the royal family or the establishments in which they live. The Royal Palace and Oscarhall are popular sites and open to the public during the summer.
What a constitutional government means for the king
The government of Norway operates as a constitutional monarchy, in which executive power is exercised by the king's cabinet, led by the Prime Minister of Norway. This means the king is formally the head of the state but his duties are principally ceremonial.
It is widely accepted that Norwegians celebrate society. In the government, Norwegians don't vote for a candidate, they vote for a party.
About the royal family
Today, the Royal House of Norway belongs to the House of Glücksburg, claimed by Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja and their royal highnesses Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Ingrid Alexandra.
King Harald officiates the formal opening of the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) every autumn. Voyagers on a Norwegian cruise in the fall may hear about this gathering. He is also the Commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces. Besides visiting other countries and hosting foreign leaders who visit Norway, the king presides over the Council of State at the Royal Palace.
Royal Palace tours
Want a sneak peak at the regal chambers? Schedule a visit.
The Royal Palace in Oslo is the most important of the king's residences, as most official functions take place here. Those making a stop in Oslo on cruise vacations can take a guided tour of the stunning palace. Here you'll walk through gorgeous state rooms, from the Cabinet Cloakroom to the White Parlour to the Family Dining Room.
The tours last about one hour and start every 20 minutes. Though most tours are in Norwegian, tours in English are available.
Two miles across the bay lies Oscarshall, the summer palace. Oscarshall is open to the public during the summer season and also offers a guided tour of the main rooms. On the ground floor, visitors will see the vestibule, gilded Salon and dining hall, before moving up to the king's apartment on the first floor and the queen's apartment on the second floor. Visitors are free to walk in the palace park after the tour.
While you're here, be sure to visit the Queen Joséphine Gallery, which was officially opened by Queen Sonja in June 2013. Inside, you can marvel at gorgeous artwork such as the graphic prints by the artist Olav Christopher Jensen.
Besides the Royal Palace and Oscarshall, there are a handful of royal residences scattered in other parts of the Norway, including Stiftsgården in Trondheim, Gamlehaugen in Bergen, Leedal in Stavanger and Bygdø Royal Farm outside Oslo.
The king, queen, prince and princess visit many counties around Norway. Visitors on cruises in Norway might be lucky enough to run into them on their county visits, which typically lasts two to three days over four to six municipalities. Two counties are visited each year, one by King Harald and Queen Sonja and one by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit.
Norway's 200th Anniversary
It's a big year for Norway! In 2014, the country will celebrate the 200th of the Norwegian Constitution. In May, 1814, the country signed the "Grunnlov," which is the oldest European constitution that is still in use. Not only did it lead to independence for the country, it was a radical step forward in the development of human rights.