Board MS Otto Sverdrup on this 15-day expedition cruise exploring the Norwegian coast. Make the most of long Arctic summer days with day hikes with stunning views, stops in charming coastal villages and exciting cities, and plenty of opportunities to spot local wildlife such as whales, seals, puffins, and other seabirds. Enjoy Norway's relaxed, nature-focused culture as you immerse yourself in the beauty of the fjords in summer.
Look for wildlife such as whales, puffins, seals, and other seabirds
Make the most of the long summer days by exploring the fjords of Norway
Today you depart Germany’s second-largest city headed north to explore Norway’s amazing coastline.
Prepare yourself for perpetual daylight, crystal-clear fjords, mountains reaching from sea to sky and waterfalls spilling off impossibly high precipices.
As we sail across the North Sea, you may want to get to know your expediton ship. Check out the Science Center, the sauna and hot tubs, scout out a comfortable chair in the Explorer lounge, find a window table you like in the ship’s restaurant or locate a good spot on deck for viewing Norway’s incredible coastline.
Enjoy a day at sea as we head north to the Norwegian coastline.
Meet our Expedition Team, who prepare you for exciting adventures ahead. Listen in on talks by these experienced explorers who share their extensive knowledge about places, people and natural phenomena we are likely to encounter, like the Northern Lights.
Or maybe you just want to kick back and relax. Admire the views, try some of the ship’s cuisine that caught your eye on the menu, or settle into a good book while enjoying this day at sea.
In the morning, we glimpse the Norwegian coastline in the distance. Small islands and mountains draw closer. Finally, we exit the North Sea and sail into calmer straits and fjords.
After lunch, we reach Bergen, arguably Norway’s most beautiful city and an ideal place to explore on foot. Founded in 1070 AD, Bergen has retained much of its local character, charm and and history. It was once an important port in the medieval Hanseatic League. Experience this legacy in the historic UNESCO-listed Bryggen district. Wander about its colourful wooden wharfs dating back to the 14th century.
Visit Mount Fløyen - the Fløibanen funicular takes you to the summit in just six minutes. Enjoy amazing views over Bergen - nestled between seven mountains and the sea. You can also follow one of the many easy trails into the surrounding alpine landscape.
Back below, stroll along the many narrow alleyways (called ‘smau’) and cobblestone streets past charming wooden houses dating back to the 18th century. Visit one of many outdoor cafés and restaurants, sample fresh shrimp at the fish market, or pop into a pub and order a local Hansa pilsner.
Back aboard the ship, we sail north along the Hjeltefjord, a route once used by Vikings on their westward. Spend the rest of the evening relaxing and preparing for your adventurous days ahead.
Today we dock at Norway’s ‘City of Roses’ – Molde. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the annual summer jazz festival, you may want to take in a concert one of many world-class performing artists.
Molde is also home to one of Norway’s largest folk museums, Romsdalsmuseet, established in 1912. Regional folk art and design are exhibited along with preserved historic buildings and interiors. You may want to visit the city´s scenic viewpoint, Varden, for fantastic vistas over Molde, the surrounding fjord and islands, and Romsdal Alps in the distance.
Kristiansund is located on four sea islands in the Norwegian Sea. The setting has historically provided the town with prosperous livelihoods in the fishing, shipbuilding and oil industries.
A dry fact! Kristiansund is also known as Norway’s ‘dried cod capital’ because of its long-time export of salted dry fish, called bacalao. It worth wandering along the waterfront of this interesting little Atlantic city, past old boat yards and marinas, to see what you might discover.
Brønnøysund is an attractive town of 5,000 inhabitants situated on a narrow peninsula surrounded by islands and water. You are now at the halfway point along Norway’s long coastline.
Brønnøysund is also the gateway to Vega Island – a UNESCO World Heritage site, which was granted UNESCO status because of how the community demonstrates its centuries-old, sustainable way of life. Islanders thrived in this remote location for more than 1,000 years based on the unique and now obsolete tradition of eider farming.
As we leave Brønnøysund, we sail along the coast of Helgeland – passing the Seven Sisters mountain range. Legend has it that seven beautiful troll sisters were caught out at sunrise and turned to stone, thus creating these seven beautiful peaks.
In the evening, we sail by the small islet of Vikingen, through which the Arctic Circle passes. We have now entered the Land of Midnight Sun, where the sun is visible for 24 hours a day in the height of the summer.
You won’t soon forget your first approach to Lofoten because of the formidable wall of mountains looming on the horizon.
The Lofoten Islands are world famous for their distinctive dramatic peaks, sheltered bays and untouched beaches - and this is your day to explore them. Lofoten is also known for its excellent fishing, picturesque villages and exciting year-round activities.
We dock at idyllic Reine in the morning. Fishermen´s huts dotting the shoreline and snowy granite peaks shooting out of the fjord make Reine one of the most frequently photographed landscapes in Norway.
After departing Reine, we sail along the massive Lofoten wall to Svolvær. The islands, steep mountains, beautiful beaches and bays we pass are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. In Svolvær, choose from a number of exciting outdoor and indoor activities. Intriguing shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants are scattered throughout the town.
After a whole day exploring Lofoten, we sail to Trollfjord, an amazing place where vertical mountain walls surrealistically jut out of the sea. In winter, it’s not possible to sail into the fjord, so we admire this very special site at its entrance.
Keep looking skyward to catch sight of the Northern Lights.
Looking for an adventurous winter wonderland? Tromsø is the perfect destination for winter activities and boasts a wide range of optional excursions to choose from depending on your interests.
Enjoy a ride into the sky on the Fjellheisen cable car, with breathtaking views of the city, mountains, fjords - and hopefully the Aurora.
Tromsø brims with fascinating history, culture and bold architecture. The Arctic Cathedral is a landmark in Tromsø visible from the Tromsø Sound, featuring a huge stained-glass window. Care to meet some friendly locals? Tromsø is home to the world’s northernmost brewery, Mack Bryggeri, which also runs Ølhallen, a lively pub where townspeople go for a chat and a beer.
Other winter activities include optional excursions with our Expedition Team on nature hikes, and Aurora-focused bus rides.
Tromsø is so far north that you may see the Northern Lights directly overhead.
Today we visit one of the northernmost points in Europe, North Cape. This is also as far north as we go on this winter expedition cruise.
Start the day by taking a scenic bus ride from the town of Honningsvåg. We pass small bays and tiny villages, then cross a mountain plateau before arriving at spectacular North Cape. At 71°10’21´N, North Cape is just 2,100 km away from the Geographic North Pole. Stand at the edge of the cliff and gaze out on the sea. Only the Svalbard Archipelago separates you from the North Pole. North Cape feels like the end of the world. It’s also a great place to take stunning photos and there will be enough time to visit the North Cape Hall´s cinema, showing a short film about the North Cape Plateau, and there are several exhibits open to visitors.
Back in Honningsvåg, you can opt to stroll about, past charming houses, nice shops and a church that was the only structure left standing at the end of World War II.
This is the ship’s turning point and from here we start our return trip southward. Keep looking skyward!
Today we dock at Finnsnes, just across a bridge from the remarkable island of Senja, which Norwegians call the ‘fairytale island’ because of its spectacular nature.
Senja is Norway’s second largest island and counts just under 8,000 inhabitants. As you might guess, fisheries and aquaculture are the dominant industries here. Cod and pollock are traditionally fished in Senja’s waters while salmon is farmed.
The island is famous for its diverse landscapes and is often referred to as Norway in miniature. The scenery can dramatically change within the blink of an eye. The outer side of Senja is characterised by lofty mountains plummeting straight into the sea, interspersed with isolated coves and sandy beaches. South Senja is distinguished by rocky coastline and pine forests and is home to Ånderdalen National Park. The eastern side of Senja has a a gentler landscape with rolling hills and birch forests.
There is little light pollution here, increasing your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.
Surrounded by sea and fjord, the light in Bodø constantly shifts with the wind and weather. The skies never completely darken here during summer.
Bodø is the capital of Nordland county and lies just north of the Arctic Circle on the edge of both sea and countryside. The small city is known for its hospitality and hosts one of Norway’s most lively student communities.
The strongest tidal current in the world, Saltstraumen, with water velocities reaching 22 knots, is situated just southeast of Bodø. Some say Jules Verne was inspired by Saltstraumen when writing “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”. Want to see this marvel of mother nature? Join an optional excursion to visit Saltstraumen.
Today we arrive in Trondheim, Norway´s capital for 200 years, founded in 997 by Viking king Olav Tryggvason.
Trondheim is a fascinating city to explore.Visit the beautiful Nidaros Cathedral, the burial place of St. Olav (Tryggvason), Norway’s patron saint. Nidaros is the country’s only Gothic-style cathedral and was Northern Europe's most important pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages. It is rich in architectural details and intriguing medieval statues.
Trondheim is known for its rich multicultural life - and is said to have the most restaurants and cafés per capita in Norway. There is plenty to see as you wander through this historic city. The old wooden buildings, the medieval stone walls and elegant botanical gardens create a beautiful, almost mystical atmosphere.
After departing Trondheim, we pass the island of Munkholmen, where executions took place during the Viking Age. The island has also been a fort, prison and monastery. A popular Norwegian non-alcoholic beer is named after Munkholmen. It is a popular getaway during summer.
Get ready to experience the wow factor. Today we sail into Hjørundfjord.
This natural wonder stands out from other popular fjords in its solitary grandeur - far off the beaten tourist tracks. Hjørundfjord is considered one of the purest and most beautiful fjords in Norway.
The fjord is surrounded by the Sunnmøre Alps, with peaks soaring as high as 1,700 metres straight up from the sea.
The steep mountains have made it impossible to cultivate the land here. Still, a few tiny farms cling to the mountain sides and some small villages reside along the shoreline. Sæbø is one of them.
We anchor close to the settlement of Sæbø and a local tender boat takes you ashore.
You can join optional excursions to explore other villages along Hjørundfjord, or go on hikes and kayaking tours. You can also join a scenic excursion to the UNESCO Heritage Site of Geirangerfjord, and famous Trollstigen road (the troll’s ladder). This excursion ends in Ålesund, where you rejoin the ship.
MS Otto Sverdrup arrives at Ålesund in the afternoon. This city is a delight to visit. Ålesund is renowned for its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture, owing to a devastating fire that burned much of the city down in 1904. The entire town was subsequently rebuilt in the fashionable style of the time, Art Nouveau. Enjoy the afternoon strolling the cobblestone streets of this charming North Atlantic city.
Welcome to Stavanger – known for its many nearby natural attractions, including famous Pulpit Rock and long sandy beaches along the North Sea.
The Stavanger region is on the radar of nearly every visitor to Norway. Many different nationalities are drawn to the area, making it a highly international destination. Its cosmopolitan nature is reflected in the city’s lively, urban ambience, with creative food menus, fun pubs and bars, and a booming cultural scene.
Stavanger’s proud history is never far from sight. Old Stavanger has Europe’s best-preserved wooden house area with more than 170 white wooden structures dating back to the 1700s.
Stavanger is also Europe’s oil and energy capital. Visit the Norwegian Petroleum Museum to learn more about Norway’s most important industry through modern interactive exhibits. See how oil and gas were formed millions of years ago, as well as how petroleum is found, produced and consumed. Feeling adventurous? You can slide down an escape chute used on offshore oil and gas platforms.
While it’s less likely to spot the Northern Lights this far south, it does happen. Keep your eyes on the northern edge of the horizon.
You may want to take one last soak in the hot tub, relax in the ship’s lounge, edit your photographs, or join the Expedition Team as they review the highlights of your memorable winter expedition cruise to the coast of Norway.
Day 15: Hamburg, Germany | Disembark
We dock in Hamburg during the early morning hours. After breakfast, it’s time to leave your home of the past 15 days.
As you head ashore, you’ll take with you the memories of a lifetime - experiencing coastal Norway in summer, its wonderful fjords, fascinating towns and happy people.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!