Hurtigruten – the home of the original Norwegian costal cruise. – Established in 1863 and still cruising the coast today – ‘The world’s most beautiful voyage’
Flying from London Gatwick to Bergen with Norwegian Airlines was a smooth journey for our arrival at the Comfort Hotel Bergen for an overnight stay. Just 3 minutes from the airport there is a regular bus service, the A4, which will take you to and from the hotel to the airport.
This was an evening arrival so just a quick whistle stop wander around until a ride on the Funicular train the next day, which takes you to the top of Mount Floyen in 6 minutes. A single trip is 95 NOK approx. (£9.50) – here on a clear day you have fantastic views over the city.
Bergen is famous for its fish market selling fresh king crabs and the old city of Bryggen. Top tip – pack an umbrella it has been known to rain!
From Bergen we flew to Trondheim to embark on our cruise
We board the MS Nordnorge, home for the next 3 nights. I had a Polar Outside Cabin with a picture window, clean and comfortable with under floor heating in the bathroom.
There is plenty of indoor and outdoor space. The explorer’s lounge is a great place to sit back and take in the scenery, you may even see an Eider duck or a Sea Eagle. On the daily itinerary there are always points of interest as you sail the coast and the Expedition team will be around to explain. They also give lectures during times at sea which you can attend and find out more about the ‘Norwegian way of life’.
The food was a buffet breakfast and lunch and waiter service in the evening (which are allocated times) there is plenty of variation catering for all.
Trondheim was Norway’s first capital city and is home to the Nidaros Cathedral an excursion not to be missed. We continued our coach trip around the city taking in the Fort of Kristiansten, the university with the front façade of a church to fit in with the architecture and Munkholmen – Monks Island built in the 11th Century by the Benedictine monks.
Returning to the ship we start our voyage sailing the coast on our way to Tromso, stopping off on the way to pick up fresh produce for the day’s meals, a car or the post.
You pass Kjeungskjaer – the Red Lighthouse where a family of 2 adults and 3 children used to live with their teacher.
The next highlight was crossing the Arctic circle in darkness you see the light appear and you have officially crossed, toast with a glass of champagne approx. 125 NOK (£12.50). After this take part in the official crossing of the circle ceremony, where the Captain will drop freezing cold water down your neck. (I decided to give this a miss due to the shivering temperatures!)
Now docked in Bodo you have a couple of excursions, we chose the easy option and strolled into the city from the ship to see the cathedral. Bodo is not like the other cities mainly purpose built after it was bombed in the second world war.
This afternoon we took in a lecture ‘The Drama of the Fram’ giving you the insight of Amundsen and Scott and their attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole.
The evening we took and excursion to ‘Meet the Vikings’ we were given a traditional feast of Lamb and Vegetables, some Mead and a dance around the fire.
We then sailed through the Trollfjord one of the narrowest Fjord passages, and this was in the dark.
Waking on the next day we decided to take in the movie about Tromso ‘ The gateway to the Artic Circle’
Time after a buffet lunch for our final excursion to Kvaloya Island home to the Huskies – we were able to pet the friendly dogs and meet the puppies. Then enjoying a nice cup of coffee with homemade chocolate cake sitting around a log fire in a ‘Lavo’.
After this excursion it was time to say goodbye to the Nordnorge and a short walk from 8-9 minutes to the Sandic Ishavshotel for our last night.
The highlight this evening was a spectacular display of the ‘Northern Lights’ we’d been waiting all trip in hope of seeing them and they did us justice!
The next morning was bright, fresh and crisp with the sun shining we took a brisk 25 minute walk across the bridge to the Arctic Cathedral. Here we saw people in traditional dress attending a Sunday service.
After this is was time to say farewell to Norway and what a wonderful experience and treasured memories…