ITINERARY 12 / 7 / 6 DAYS
DAY 1 BERGEN – EMBARKATION [D]
Your voyage starts in Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city and a gateway to the fjords. Founded in 1070 A.D., Bergen boasts architecture influenced by the prosperous 14th-century German trading organization, the Hanseatic League. If you have time before your ship departs, visit the UNESCO-listed wharfs in the colorful Bryggen district, now a neighborhood with artisan’s shops, complete with cobblestone streets. Just across the street is the famous fish market, which serves delicious seafood. The Fløibanen funicular can also whisk you up Mount Fløyen for lovely views of the city. Before boarding, relax in our comfortable guest lounge at the terminal. Once aboard, enjoy the first of many delicious meals made from fresh coastal produce as we depart Bergen and sail the old Viking route along the Hjeltefjord. Depart Bergen at 8:30pm. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
Note: Overnight in Bergen prior to cruise departure is recommended for international flight arrivals. Price from $130 per person for city center hotel.
DAY 2 FLORØ – MOLDE [B,L,D]
Enjoy early morning in the breathtaking Nordfjord, near Torvik. Then we’ll sail past the West Cape for our approach to Ålesund. Ålesund is renowned for its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture and Atlanterhavsparken, one of northern Europe’s largest saltwater aquariums. If you’re traveling with us in spring or winter, you’ll have most of the day to explore this picturesque town. In the summer, we set our course for the spectacular UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord, passing some of the most magnificent scenery in Norway. Once in the fjord, you may see the famous Seven Sisters waterfalls cascading down the cliffs. In autumn, we explore Hjørundfjord, hidden away in the Sunnmøre Alps. We’ll also call at the scenic village of Urke. Here, you can admire thousand-year-old farms, the fjord, and the lush mountainsides. The last port of the day is Molde. In summer, there might just enough daylight to see the amazing view of the 222 mountain peaks across the fjord, called the ‘Molde Panorama’. And from mid-June to late August, the streets and gardens are adorned with roses of all shades and scents, all solidify Molde’s nickname as the ‘City of Roses’. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
DAY 3 TRONDHEIM – RØRVIK [B,L,D]
This section of the voyage brings us to the Trøndelag region of Norway, marked by crumpled hills, fields dotted with farmsteads, and low-lying coastal settlements. Trondheim was founded by Viking King Olav Tryggvason in 997 A.D. and is now Norway’s third-largest city. It features a mix of historic buildings and a lively student population. You’ll have three hours to explore Trondheim and its various highlights, either on your own or on one of our optional excursions. A must-see site of the city is Nidaros Cathedral, nicknamed ‘Norway’s Notre Dame’ for its Gothic architectural style. It is considered the most sacred building in all of Norway. Next door to the cathedral is the Archbishop’s Palace, where Norway’s crown jewels are on display. Nearby, the old city bridge Gamle Bybro sits over Nid River, marking the entrance to the old Hanseatic district of Bakklandet. The neighborhood’s colorful wooden wharves, which are propped up on stilts by the river’s edge, now house trendy restaurants. Up from Bakklandet is Kristiansten Fort, which features beautiful panoramic views of the city and fjord. In the afternoon, the ship will sail northwest, passing the ochre-colored Kjeungskjær Lighthouse, islets, and rocky reefs. After that, we’ll head towards charming Rørvik. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
DAY 4 BRØNNØYSUND – SVOLVÆR [B,L,D]
We cross the Arctic Circle early in the morning, beginning your Arctic tour of Norway. We mark the moment with a traditional ceremony that’s sure to wake you up! Above the Arctic Circle in summer, you can enjoy the sun 24 hours a day, while in winter, your chances of seeing the Northern Lights greatly improve. At 10 a.m., we’ll dock in Ørnes, near Norway’s second-largest glacier, Svartisen. The pier here is popular for the ‘Love Bench’, where sweethearts declare their lasting romance with a padlock. Then we’ll sail to Bodø, Northern Norway’s second-largest city, overlooked by the Børvass peaks. Admire fabulous street art or join an optional boat excursion to Saltstraumen, the world’s most powerful maelstrom. The ship enters the Lofoten Archipelago in the afternoon. The Lofoten Wall, standing over 3,200 feet tall, is a stunning sight on the horizon. Stamsund is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the islands, which is busiest between January and April, when the Arctic cod—known locally as skrei—swim from the Barents Sea in the north down to Vestfjord to spawn. This evening, you’ll know you’ve arrived in the pretty harbor of Svolvær when you see rows of traditional fisherman’s huts on stilts, known as rorbuer. This is the main town of the Lofoten Islands. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
DAY 5 STOKMARKNES – SKJERVØY [B,L,D]
We dock in Harstad just after 7 a.m. Feel free to have a peaceful early morning stroll around town. The ship will then continue to Finnsnes, which connects the beautiful island of Senja via the impressive Gisund Bridge. Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of seabirds, including puffins, as there are several colonies nearby. You may also spot whales in the waters here, especially during the winter season. Then we’ll sail to the historic Arctic exploration capital of Tromsø, where you’ll have four hours to explore the city or join an optional excursion. You’ll find Polaria (the world’s northernmost aquarium) and the nice waterfront. Pop in to one of the many shops and restaurants in the city center, including Mack Brewery and the Ølhallen pub, a favorite local watering hole. There are also trendy cafés offering delicious cinnamon buns and where baristas create innovative coffee-foam art. Across the fjord from where the ship docks, check out the iconic Arctic Cathedral, with its beautiful stained-glass mosaic. Leaving Tromsø in the early evening, we’ll head north for the trading post of Skjervøy, founded in 1622. On our way, we’ll pass the Lyngen Alps, which rise majestically from the sea. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
DAY 6 ØKSFJORD – BERLEVÅG [B,L,D]
The ship reaches the town of Hammerfest on the island of Kvaløya early in the morning. In the summer, herds of reindeer migrate to the island by the thousands. You’ll know we’ve reached Havøysund when you see the wind turbines of the landmark Havøygavlen wind farm, which produces enough electricity to power 6,000 local homes. In the mid-morning, we’ll arrive at Honningsvåg, the portal to the North Cape, where a globe monument marks the top of continental Europe. The optional excursion up to the dramatic promontory is very popular, so you’ll want to book early. Near the entrance of the Kjøllefjord village, look out for the striking, building-like rock formation Finnkirka, an ancient sacrificial site once used by the indigenous Sámi. You can join an optional excursion to meet local Sámi, learn about their reindeer-herding life, and listen to joik folk songs. We’ll reach our northernmost port of call, Mehamn, in the evening. If you’re visiting during the months of February and March, you might spot cod drying on outdoor wooden racks, called hjell, mainly destined for export. The ship then sets off for Berlevåg. On the way, we’ll pass the tall Slettnes Lighthouse, the planet’s northernmost mainland lighthouse. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
DAY 7 BÅTSFJORD – KIRKENES – BERLEVÅG [B,L,D]
We call at Båtsfjord and Vardø during the night, before docking at Vadsø early in the morning. The area around Vadsø is one of the most scenic and popular birdwatching spots in the Arctic, lying directly under the migration path of birds flying from east to west. Watch for Hooded Crows and Sea Eagles. By the time we reach Kirkenes after breakfast, you’ll have traveled farther east than St. Petersburg and Istanbul! You’ll have many optional excursions to choose from to explore the area. Kirkenes is just a few miles from the Russian border. This neighbor has had many influences on Norway, from road signs in both Norwegian and Russian to a monthly Russian market and the World War II Russian Monument. Kirkenes is where the Norwegian Coastal Express changes direction and the ship heads south. Several of the places we stopped at during the night we’ll now see during the day. Back in Vardø, visit the solemn Witches’ Monument and the star-shaped Vardøhus Fortress, built in 1737. The northernmost fortification of any kind, it remains in use by the military to this day. We’ll return to the small, bustling port of Båtsfjord and then make for Berlevåg in the late evening, crossing paths with the northbound ship. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
DAY 8 MEHAMN – TROMSØ [B,L,D]
We make stops at Mehamn and Kjøllefjord during the night before early-morning visits to Honningsvåg and Havøysund. In the early afternoon, you’ll spend time in Hammerfest, once the northernmost town in the world (until Longyearbyen in Svalbard claimed the title). Check out the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, shop for souvenirs at the Polar Bear Society, or take the path behind the town to the viewpoint on Mount Salen. We’ll continue cruising Norway’s coastline south to Øksfjord and then continue to Skjervøy, surrounded by mountain peaks. We’ve been docking at this vital fishing port since 1896. If you’re visiting in the winter, you might spot the orcas and humpback whales that gather here to feed on herring. As we make our way to Tromsø, you might also glimpse views of the Lyngen Alps, which boast some of the highest peaks in all of Norway. We dock at Tromsø just before midnight. In the summer months, stroll the still-busy city in glorious 24-hour daylight. You can also book an excursion for a midnight boat ride around the city or attend a candlelit classical concert at the Arctic Cathedral. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
DAY 9 TROMSØ – STAMSUND [B,L,D]
On this day, you’ll be exploring the archipelagos of Lofoten and Vesterålen, true highlights of our scenic Norwegian route. After a call at Finnsnes in the early morning, the ship calls at Harstad. Here lies the world’s northernmost medieval stone church on the peninsula: the white-washed Trondenes Church. Next we’ll stop at Risøyhamn, our smallest port of call. Then it’s off to Sortland, where the landscape slowly transforms from hills to mountains towering over 3,280 feet high. Stokmarknes is where captain Richard With launched The Norwegian Coastal Express in 1893. Visit Hurtigrutemuseet, a building resembling a ship in a bottle. It chronicles the Hurtigruten legacy, centered around retired ship MS Finnmarken from 1956. Sailing along Raftsund, the Captain may choose to take the ship into the tiny Trollfjord. The mountain walls will look so close, you’ll think you can reach out and touch them! To exit the fjord, the ship will rotate 180 degrees in a single spot, then sail back out. Remember to look out for sea eagles here, too. We’ll reach Svolvær in the evening. The huge mountain that sits above the town is named the ‘Svolvær Goat’, due to its supposed resemblance. The ship then sails to Stamsund, eventually passing the giant granite cliffs of the Lofoten Wall. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
DAY 10 BODØ – RØRVIK [B,L,D]
The ship will call at Bodø in the wee hours of the morning and then at Ørnes at 7 a.m. Then, we’ll cross over the Arctic Circle just after breakfast. We’ll commemorate the moment with the time-honored tradition of tasting a spoonful of cod liver oil. Next, we’ll make a short stop at Nesna before sailing on to Sandnessjøen, the gateway to the magnificent Helgeland Coast. Admire the stunning landscape of the Seven Sisters mountain range, with peaks stretching up to 3,600 feet. According to legend, seven beautiful troll princesses were caught outside as the sun rose as they fled from an unwanted suitor. The sun turned them into the seven beautiful mountains you see today. Don’t miss the distinctive hole passing straight through Torghatten Mountain! There is also a local legend as to how the mountain came to have such a hole. Make sure you ask your Coastal Expert about it! We’ll reach Brønnøysund in mid-afternoon. Explore the bustling marina on a walk along Havnegata. In the center of town is Brønnøy Church, a Neo-Gothic style stone church dating back to 1870. Our last stop of the day is the cozy fishing port of Rørvik in the picturesque Vikna Archipelago. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
DAY 11 TRONDHEIM – ÅLESUND [B,L,D]
We’ll spend the morning in Trondheim, then sail past beautiful island scenery and some of Norway’s smallest communities before exploring Kristiansund and Molde. Stroll around Trondheim in the early morning as the city wakes. Then visit the sacred Nidaros Cathedral, the resting place of St. Olav. Walk to theGamle Bybro bridge for a photo opportunity over the Nid River. Perhaps treat yourself to quality coffee and a Nordic patisserie in one of the Bakklandet district’s many chic cafés. Then walk up to Kristiansten Fort for sweeping views of Norway’s third-largest city. We dock at Kristiansund’s harbor in the late afternoon. The town is spread over three islands and known for being Norway’s ‘Bacalao Capital’ (called klippfisk in Norwegian) for the salted cod that’s dried out on the surrounding cliffs. Take a walk around the cobblestone streets of the old town and tour the lively port. You can also head up to the old watchtower at Varden viewpoint for lovely panoramic views. The second-to-last port of the day is Molde, where you can spot the tops of the Romsdal Alps. Flowers should be in bloom in this ‘City of Roses’ between mid-June and late August. Overnight on board in selected cabin category. Optional shore excursions are available.
DAY 12 BERGEN [B,L]
At least for this time around, your voyage will reach its end today. During the previous night, we’ll have called at Ålesund and Torvik. On our approach to Måløy, you might catch a glimpse of the Norwegian Coastal Express heading north (if you’re up early enough). You’ll have the chance to glimpse the Nordfjord, under the enormous Jostedal Glacier, mainland Europe’s largest. The ship then docks at Florø in the morning. There, you can take in the harbor and marina. Leaving Florø, you’ll see Stabben Lighthouse, a favorite subject for photographers. Enjoy stunning views as we cross the mouth of the Sognefjord, the longest and widest fjord in all of Norway. As we reach our final port in the afternoon, the ship will navigate through the last islands and skerries of our scenic route, and sail down theHjeltefjord into Bergen. Sadly, it’s time to say farewell to the Captain, crew, and fellow guests. But your journey doesn’t have to stop after disembarkation. We offer a Bergen sightseeing tour, as well as a range of post-cruise Post-Programs that you can add to your voyage, including seeing the Sognefjord by train or a tour of Oslo. Services end upon arrival in Bergen at 2:45pm.