Cruises of Norway and its Arctic waters have never been more popular, and most likely youâ€™ve seen plenty magazine and newspaper adverts for cruises vying to lure you on to their â€˜NorwayTourâ€™, aboard massive, impressive cruise ships. But the reality is that to truly see this beautiful region, up close and personal, youâ€™ll need a smaller vessel.
If what youâ€™re looking for is a cruise experience, with thousands of guests enjoying a mammoth floating hotel, then these large cruise ships are probably what you want. If, on the other hand, your reason for travelling into the north is to see its stunning landscapes, and unique wildlife and to witness the lifestyle of those living in this remote part of the world, my advice is search out a smaller company offering a more intimate cruise experience.
Cruising Beyond the Popular Waterways
A smaller vessel will take you along the same famous route as the cruise companies offering the standard Norway tour, but it will also be able to venture further inland, to see sights that larger ships canâ€™t reach.
Setting off from Bergen and travelling up the Norwegian coastline to Kirkenes, youâ€™ll pass more than 30 local ports and fishing villages, and some of the worldâ€™s most breath-taking scenery, on what Lonely Planet claims is the â€˜worldâ€™s most beautiful voyageâ€™. Crossing the Arctic Circle youâ€™ll see unique fauna and flora which only thrive in this part of the world.
The benefit of being on a smaller cruise ship is that along this well-travelled route, you will be able to make forays into some of the spectacular fjords, including the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord. Venturing into this stunning landscape youâ€™ll see, even in the summer months, snow-capped mountains reflected in the deep blue waters of the fjord.
Another excursion will take you into HjÃ¸rundfjord with its mountainsides strewn with the colours of rich vegetation. Keep an eye out and you may even witness some local wildlife living in this glorious wilderness.
The Changing Seasons
The wonderful thing about a Norway tour is that the type of experience will differ depending on the season in which you travel. Choose to venture north in the spring and youâ€™ll witness the awakening of the local wildlife and flora as it bursts into life after the long winter months, attracting migrating birds and marine life. The summer, with its midnight sun, is a time of life and proliferation in this region. Colourful flowers and wildlife enjoying the warmth and light seem to rejoice along the shoreline putting on a show for passing visitors. The autumn is one of the best seasons for seeing the Northern Lights, and the winter brings an icy majesty to the entire region.
There are so many reasons to take this beautiful journey, but be warned, not all Norway tours are the same, so take the time to do your research. Pick your cruise ship carefully to make sure that you get the experience you are hoping for and then select the season in which you would like to travel. One thing is for sure, no matter how you choose to travel, or when you choose to go, a cruise along the northern Norway coast will be a trip of a lifetime and one you wonâ€™t forget for a long, long time.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays for or over 30 years. Recently his recommended Norway tour has been included in Prestige’s luxury holiday portfolio. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.
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