Welcome to part 1 of my newest series of blog posts Cruise Norway .
With the Northern European cruise season now in full swing it brought back happy memories of when I cruised with Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas on a Norway and Arctic circle cruise. Over the last few years Northern Europe has become increasingly popular with cruisers, whether its Norway, Iceland or the Baltics, however some are still dubious on what to expect. Before I went I spent hours online researching the cruise, ports, weather, everything so here’s my quick guide from my own experience.
It ended up being a little long so not wanting to miss anything out I thought I’d split it into 2 parts so happy reading
The biggest surprise was the weather and this is what mainly puts people off as they just think its really cold. I went in June maybe I was lucky but the last few days we were up on deck sunbathing and it got to 21 degrees. The beginning of the cruise was about 12-16 degrees but once the sun came out it felt pretty warm and you didn’t need a jacket. Although it was freezing on the ship as we headed North, very windy but sailing back down was much more pleasant and I have my lovely pink Royal Caribbean fleece as a souvenir
Here’s a brief overview of all the ports I visited
Was a lovely little place. You can easily walk off the ship so no real need to book an excursion. They offer hop on hop off buses (approx. £20) and also a little tourist train, some areas are quite spread out so may be worth doing the bus if you aren’t too good at walking. Mainly if you want to go up Mount Aksla its 418 steps!!! Well worth it though for the views and there’s a little café at the top. Taxi cost us about £15 to go up then we walked back down. To the left of the port head left and you have the old part, very pretty, multi-coloured buildings running along a canal, with an old wooden church, all in art nouveau architecture
Royal Caribbean made an occasion out of crossing the Arctic circle, they even give you a certificate and paint your nose blue! They do an initiation ceremony with King Neptune which was a bit daft and really funny. I was told all cruiselines do something to acknowledge the crossing but I suppose it depends on the individual company as to how fun it is
The further North you go the lighter the evenings, it was definitely unusual sitting In the Viking lounge at midnight with bright sunshine. There was one day where the sun set at 1.44 and rose at 1.59, but unfortunately that evening was thick with cloud so we couldn’t see anything.
Honningsvag – North Cape
This is a mainly a fishing port, you can walk off ship easily, there’s one main street and the front promenade.
The main attraction is going up to the North Cape, the most Northernmost point of Europe. Its approx. 40mins away, you can take an excursion from the cruise or book the bus from right outside the port, the prices are pretty much the same. We did the bus, they went at 10.15 and 12.00 coming back at 14.00 and 16.00, cost about £49 including entrance (the excursion was about $89). It’s all baron landscape with snow on hills the higher up you go. There’s a monument of a globe at the highest point (there is only the Svalbard Islands separating you and the North pole about 200miles away), visitor centre with a museum, café, restaurant, champagne bar and shop.
This is off a Norwegian website that I found and I think it certainly sums up the atmosphere
When the clouds cover the ocean with a colorful, heavenly carpet, and the Midnight Sun is at its lowest, this is one of the most special places on earth. You do not get further north in mainland Europe – you are at the end of the world
it as a cruise
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