The Voyage North carries a sense of cultural exploration as you travel to the major coastal cities and remote communities, continuing up into the Arctic Circle. Explore the rugged coastline as you go face-to-face with natural wonders and thrilling excursions.
Your 7-day expedition to the high north starts in Bergen, a city surrounded by seven mountains. Before departure you may wish to explore this cultural gateway to the fjords. Bergen was founded in 1070 AD, and was the capital of Norway for several years. The city is a central point for Norwegian travel, and has retained a great deal of local character and history. One example of this is the historic UNESCO-listed Bryggen district with colourful wharfs that date back to the 14th century. Take a stroll around this charming and compact city, spend some time in one of the outdoor cafés and restaurants, enjoy a trip on the Fløibanen Funicular or visit the famous fish market.
After embarkation, we invite you to enjoy our tasty dinner buffet, based on the best ingredients from the coast. We sail north from Bergen along the Hjeltefjord, the same route the Vikings once plied to the Shetland Islands and beyond. We are heading to the high north. Spend the rest of the evening relaxing as you admire the spectacular landscapes, either from deck or in our panorama lounges.
Even before your voyage starts, you can explore more of Norway with our Land Adventures. We offer a variety of packages at our main ports across coastal Norway. ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ starts in Bergen and takes you to some of the most magnificent scenery in the region with breathtaking fjords, rural villages and the spectacular Flåm Mountain Railway. These land adventures are great ways to complement your voyage and see more of inland Norway.
If you wake up early the next day, you have the chance to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Nordfjord, followed by a delicious breakfast. As we sail past the West Cape, we are out on the open sea. The ship then navigates through skerries and islands before reaching Ålesund. Distinguished by its numerous spires, towers and highly-ornate buildings, Ålesund is a town renowned for its beautiful art nouveau architecture. It owes this to a devastating fire that burned a large proportion of the city to the ground in 1904. The entire town was subsequently rebuilt in the fashionable style of the time, art nouveau. If you like marine life, join us on a visit to Atlanterhavsparken – one of Northern Europe’s largest salt-water aquariums. The tour includes a visit to the open-air pool to see the resident penguins. After visiting Atlanterhavsparken, we continue onwards and upwards to Mount Aksla where you will get an amazing panorama of the area.
In the summer months, we set course for the spectacular UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord passing sheer, 800 metre cliffs and impressive waterfalls en route. In autumn, we explore Hjørundfjord, situated amidst the majestic Sunnmøre Alps. Its seclusion and unspoiled natural landscape are what give this fjord its special character: far from the tourist bustle, taking passengers past steep rock walls, green meadows, lonely mountain farms and small villages.
Few large cities have managed to preserve their intimacy as effectively as Norway’s third largest city, Trondheim. Viking king, Olav Tryggvason, founded this ancient city as early as 997. Join our optional excursion to Norway’s national shrine, Nidaros Cathedral, the country´s only Gothic-style cathedral built over the burial place of St. Olav, Norway’s patron saint. Here you can marvel at the cathedral’s incredible architectural details and exquisite works of art. We continue to the Ringve Museum of Musical History, where the history of Norway’s music is brought to life. This beautiful manor house is surrounded by a wonderful botanical garden, and provides fantastic views of both the city and the fjord.
You can also explore Trondheim from sea level in a kayak along the river Nid from June to September. Or experience Trondheim on a bicycle and try out the world’s only bicycle lift from April to September.
In summer, you can join the Expedition Team for explorer boat activities to discover more of Trondheim and its surroundings.
In the afternoon, the ship sets a northwest course, passing the beautiful Kjeungskjær lighthouse and numerous charming islets and rocky outcrops. After passing through the narrow Stokksund, the ship heads towards charming Rørvik.
Today we cross the Arctic Circle! This invisible line is situated at 66 degrees 33 minutes north and marks the border to the Arctic Region. In summer, this means 24-hour daylight – often referred to as the ‘midnight sun’. During winter, being above this latitude provides the best chances for experiencing the Northern Lights. Even if you aren’t awake to see the Arctic Circle, the captain makes sure that the occasion is a memorable event. If you are sailing in Arctic waters for the first time, you can participate in a daytime Arctic Circle ceremony on deck.
Near Ørnes, you find Svartisen, Norway’s second largest glacier. Join us for a trip to the Svartisen Tourist Centre in summer, where you can admire the beauty of this enigmatic ice world. Afterwards, the journey continues along the beautiful coast of Helgeland to Bodø, where you re-join the ship. In Bodø, you can join an adventure in harmony with nature, eagles and the deep blue sea. We head to Saltstraumen in a RIB, where you witness the world’s most powerful tidal current. On this exciting journey through wild landscape, there is also a good chance to observe sea eagles.
Later this afternoon, the sight of the 1,000 m high Lofoten Wall appears on the horizon. Tucked between majestic granite cliffs and white sandy beaches, Lofoten is an experience that is out of the ordinary. The charms of the Lofoten Islands are revealed in the small, picturesque fishing villages with their bohemian ambience. Take a stroll between stockfish racks and ‘rorbuer’, the traditional fisherman’s huts.
At Stamsund, join a historical journey to the Lofotr Viking Museum, where you are invited into the chieftain’s house, a full-size reconstruction featuring exhibits of finds dating back to the Viking Age. The chieftain and the lady of the house invite you to join them for a real Viking meal in the banquet hall, providing a taste of the Viking Age, complete with traditional food, drinks, costumes, singing and dancing.
Between Stamsund and Svolvær, you have the chance to experience life on a herb and cheese farm in Lofoten, or visit the Lofoten’s only craft brewery, situated in an old fish landing facility.
In winter, crossing the Arctic Circle is when the hunt for the Northern Light begins. We celebrate the event by presenting a multimedia show, ‘The Magic Light, Aurora Borealis’, featuring pictures, words and music. As we sail through the narrow Raftsund, we stop at the entrance to Trollfjord. Here we serve freshly made fish cakes out on deck. You also hear the story of ‘The battle of Trollfjord’, which took place here in the winter of 1890. If you look closely, you might see trolls up in the steep mountains. Or you might not.
Get ready for a day full of exciting activities, whatever the season! During the morning hours, we briefly dock at Risøyhamn, Harstad and Finnsnes. The ship then continues to Tromsø, `Capital of the Arctic´, for a prolonged stay. Many epic Arctic expeditions used Tromsø as a starting point. Join our `Polar History Walk´ in winter to learn more about the explorers and Arctic hunters, and to taste beer made at the world´s northernmost brewery. Or take part in an excursion to meet the Arctic´s indigenous reindeer herders, the Sámi.
In winter and spring, you can complete your stay in Tromsø with a thrilling husky dog sledge ride. On this mini polar expedition, the huskies pull you over the frozen landscape while you enjoy stunning views of the ocean, mountains and open plateaus. During the polar night, the only light comes from headlamps, the starry sky, and, if we’re lucky, the magical Northern Lights. Why not test your coordination skills and have some winter fun by joining a cross-country skiing or snowshoeing adventure.
In summer, you can join the Expedition Team for explorer boat activities and discover more of Tromsø and its surroundings.
If you want to experience peace and tranquillity on the sea, why not join us for a kayaking excursion in summer? Paddle in the waters off the Tromsø coastline with the mountains as a stunning backdrop. This is a great way to silently glide through these pristine waters and get close to marine wildlife. Speaking of silent, you can join a silent winter whale exploration tour in the waters of Kaldfjorden. Guided by an expert crew trained in responsible wildlife tourism, you are transported by Opal, a carbon-neutral oak sailing boat. The only sound you hear are whales surfacing and spraying water from their blowholes, as well as your heart beating a little bit faster than normal.
After an exhilarating day in Tromsø, we continue our northbound journey. In winter, the captain invites guests to taste stockfish on deck. The ship is now sailing into waters where you have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights between October and March. We gather on deck to search the skies for this breathtaking phenomenon.
Enjoy magnificent sub-Arctic landscape as we cross the 71st parallel on our journey towards North Cape, one of the northernmost points on the European continent. In summer, you may see herds of grazing reindeer and small camps belonging to the indigenous Sámi people.
After brief early stops in Hammerfest and Havøysund, we arrive in Honningsvåg, the gateway to the spectacular North Cape. An optional excursion to the North Cape plateau puts you at 71°10’21´N, only 2,000 km away from the geographic North Pole. Standing on top the 307 m high North Cape plateau imparts a sublime sense of being at the end of the world. While admiring the view, make sure you get some photographic evidence of this amazing place. Close to North Cape you find one of the world’s most exciting nature reserves, Gjesværstappan. Join a bird-watching safari to experience Finnmark’s largest flock of puffins, together with large numbers of kittiwakes. During the nesting season, this area is teeming with life, and mighty sea eagles hover above in search of prey. Meanwhile guillemots, razorbills, cormorants, Arctic skuas, northern fulmars, Brünnich’s guillemots, and the large northern gannet fill the air with a cacophony of shrieks and screeches.
If you want to learn more about local life in this remote region, join the fishing village tour that takes you through the island of Magerøya´s fantastic scenery to the fishing communities of Kamøyvær and Skarsvåg. Along the way, your guide tells you about the area´s nature, local culture and history.
The ship then continues north, sailing into the heartland of the indigenous Sámi people. We pass their ancient sacred site, the rock formation Finnkirka, as we approach our next stop, the fishing village Kjøllefjord. Here you have the opportunity to learn more about the Sámi people, as well as to explore the wonderful landscape. Learn about Sámi traditions and their way of life, and hear traditional Sámi joiking (song). In winter, you can join us on an unforgettable snowmobile trip to one of Europe’s most extreme and exciting natural areas. Along the way, guides tell you about the Sámi people, the geographic and climatic conditions, life on the Finnmark coast, and how the local population effectively utilises nature during both the summer and winter seasons. Experience snow-clad valleys, fresh winter air and perhaps the mesmerizing Northern Lights in the clear, starry sky. ‘Sámi Autumn’ is an excursion where you can learn about the Arctic natural ‘pantry and pharmacy’, sampling dried-reindeer meat, crowberry juice, herbal tea (nettle) and roseroot tincture. You may also feel the presence of the Sámi shaman, Noaidi.
In Berlevåg, you can join a unique two-day winter expedition into the Arctic wilderness, including both dog sledging and snowmobiling.
The vistas become more dramatic as we approach Kirkenes. We arrive in nearby Vadsø early in the morning and just after breakfast, arrive in Kirkenes, at 30° East, further east than Istanbul and St. Petersburg. Kirkenes is known as the capital of the Barents region and gateway to the east.
The Russian border is a just few miles away. You may find it intriguing that the local road signs are written in both Norwegian and Russian. Depending on the season, there are many ways to visit the Russian frontier. Travel either by bus (all year), enjoy a riverboat safari, or join an action-packed trip on ATV/quad-bikes. Kirkenes also boasts several fascinating small museums recounting the remarkably rich history and heritage of this remote region.
Spending time in Kirkenes provides the opportunity to take part in numerous adventurous activities into the Arctic environment. In winter, Kirkenes is home to the fantastic Snow Hotel, a base for several exciting excursions. You can also greet the reindeer living on the grounds. During spring, you can still participate in winter activities and excursions, for example, exploring the Arctic wilderness on a snowmobile and driving over a frozen fjord. During the trip, your guides tell you about the history of the Sámi people, the extreme Arctic climate and the area´s unique wildlife. On our dog-sledge adventures, huskies eagerly transport you across the frozen Arctic landscape. You can also catch and eat giant king crab from the Barents Sea. In summer, you can hike across mountainous terrain with your own husky companion.