Begin your expedition in Bergen, a charming port city which is surrounded by seven mountains. Founded in 1070, this vibrant city has retained a great deal of local character and history. As the ship begins its northbound journey, enjoy the myriad views of islands, small fishing communities and fjords.
Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Nordfjord as you enjoy breakfast. Sail past the West Cape and enter open sea for one of the few times during this voyage. Navigate through skerries and islands before reaching Ålesund. This city is renowned for its unique concentration of Art Nouveau architecture. From the top of Mount Aksla, enjoy an amazing panorama of the area. In the summer months, set course for the spectacular UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord, passing sheer, 2,600 feet cliffs and impressive waterfalls en route. In the fall, explore Hjørundfjord, situated amidst the majestic Sunnmore Alps. Its seclusion and unspoiled natural landscape are what give this fjord its special character.
Arrive in Trondheim and discover the city's secrets by strolling through its charming streets or sitting by the peaceful harbor. Be sure to enjoy the views from Gamle Bybrua (the Old Town Bridge), which dates back to 1861, and the restored wooden buildings of the Bakkland district. Nidaros Cathedral, built between 1070 and 1300, is Norway’s largest Gothic edifice. In the afternoon, set a northwest course and pass the distinct Kjeungskjær lighthouse and numerous charming islets and rocky outcrops. Pass through the narrow Stoksund, and arrive in Rørvik.
Cross the Arctic Circle between Nesna and Ørnes, marked by a globe on a small islet. Passengers sailing in Arctic waters for the first time can participate in the Arctic Circle ceremony on deck. After a break at Bodø, enjoy the sight of the 3,280 ft high Lofoten Wall as it appears on the horizon. The charms of the Lofoten Islands are revealed in all the small, picturesque fishing villages with their bohemian atmosphere. Tucked in between majestic granite cliffs and white sandy beaches, these islands are pristine and beautiful. Stroll between stockfish racks and 'rorbuer:' traditional fisherman's huts. Between Stamsund and Svolvær, take part in an optional excursion and step back in history at the authentic Lofotr Viking Feast.
During the night, the ship navigates the narrow Raftsund strait. After a stop in Harstad, continue to Tromsø for a prolonged stay. Many epic Arctic expeditions used Tromsø as a starting point. With the presence of the Norwegian Polar Institute, the city has cemented its position as the Polar Capital of Norway. 'Ishavskatedralen,' the Arctic Cathedral, is the city’s most famous landmark with its progressive design and extraordinary stained glass window. The world’s northernmost university and large numbers of tourists have created a vibrant cultural scene and the numerous restaurants and cafes are always teeming with life.
After a brief stop in Hammerfest and Havøysund, arrive in Honningsvåg, the gateway to the spectacular North Cape. The optional excursion to the North Cape Plateau puts you at 71° 10’ 21”N, only 1.2 miles from the Geographical North Pole. Standing atop the 1,000ft North Cape plateau gives you a sublime feeling of being at the end of the world. The area is also known for its bird life. Approach Kjøllefjord in the evening, and pass the rock formation Finnkirka, an ancient sacrificial site of the area’s indigenous Sámi people.
Arrive in Kirkenes in the morning. The Russian border is close by, and you may find it intriguing that the road signs are written in both Norwegian and Russian. Spending time in Kirkenes gives you an opportunity to take part in some of the adventurous activities offered in this Arctic environment. As the ship starts its voyage south, enjoy a delicious lunch followed by views of arctic wilderness from deck or the panorama lounge. The ports previously visited by night on the northbound journey are now seen by day. In the afternoon, dock in Vardø, Norway's easternmost port. Continue along the Varanger Peninsula to Båtsfjord before reaching Berlevåg in the evening.
Reach Honningsvåg early in the morning and begin your day with an excursion to the North Cape. Enjoy breakfast 1,000 ft above the churning Atlantic Ocean. Hammerfest, where signs of settlement dates back to the Stone Age, still plays an important role as a fishing settlement. Visit the Meridian Column, erected in 1854 to commemorate the first precise measurement of the globe - an achievement so important it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrive in Tromsø, where you may choose to book a seat at the Midnight Concert at the Arctic Cathedral.
Pass through the Risøyrenna, a channel constructed as an inside route between Harstad and Sortland. Continue through the narrow Raftsund, where the captain may choose to take a detour into the spectacular Trollfjord, where steep cliffs hug the ship's sides. Continue to Svolvær, the main settlement on the Lofoten Islands. In addition to beautiful nature, Lofoten is known for cod fishing. The season starts in January and lasts through April. Leave the Lofoten Islands during the evening and set course for the mainland.
The Helgeland coast, which offers hundreds of islets, fertile farmlands, and steep mountains is worth getting up early to experience. Legends and myths are numerous along this part of the coast. Celebrate the second crossing of the Arctic Circle out on deck.
Explore the city of Trondheim. Pass the islands of Munkholmen and Hitra before crossing the open sea to Molde, also known as the city of roses due to its lush Gulf Stream location. The town of Kristiansund is regarded as Norway's 'cured cod capital' and has long been the main export port for this popular salted dry fish.
Make the most of your final impressions of Norway as you say goodbye. Enjoy the last few nautical miles of fascinating scenery ahead of you, such as the picturesque Nordfjord below the enormous Jostedal Glacier. Navigate the estuary of the mighty Sognefjord and get the best views of the archipelago en route.
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