Adventure Cruises in Norway
Norway is well known for its jagged peaks, fjords, and unending open spaces. The capital city of Oslo is a popular launching point for land-based activities like fishing, hiking, and skiing. However, to experience this fascinating Scandinavian country in its true glory, a small ship cruise around Norway is a must. If encountering as much of Norway's picturesque north is your goal, booking a small ship cruise is the way to go. With thousands of miles of coastline covered in unending fjords, there are countless ways to experience this unique country.
The solitude of Norway's Scandinavian coastline is where adventurous travelers fall in love with this rugged region year after year. With nearly half of the country falling above the Arctic Circle, booking an Arctic cruise is one of the best ways to visit Norway. Choose from any number of dates and locations - small ship cruising around Norway takes place throughout the year. Norway adventure cruises will pave the way for you to encounter some of the most remote wildlife on earth, like walruses, polar bears, orcas, and beluga whales.
Svalbard Archipelago (Spitsbergen)
If whale watching and witnessing the majestic Aurora Borealis (otherwise known as the Northern Lights) are your main Norway cruise goals, booking a small boat cruise through the Svalbard Arctic island chain is the way to go. Located halfway between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard cruises will take you where few have the privilege to travel. The Svalbard Archipelago's remoteness makes small ship cruising the best way to experience this isolated region. Travel in and around the Arctic waters surrounding Svalbard's largest island, Spitsbergen, to see jagged mountain peaks, glaciers, and some of the most exciting marine life on the planet.
The quaint fishing village of Lofoten is one of Norway's best-kept secrets. Booking a Norway cruise through this scenic archipelago is the best way to experience this region's jagged mountain peaks, clear-water inlets, beautiful beaches, and spectacular marine life. You will be surrounded by raw, rugged beauty throughout your Lofoten Islands cruise. The dramatic scenery set amongst picturesque fishing villages makes for a photographer's dream. Set above the Arctic Circle, Lofoten is home to one of the world's northernmost populated regions, where daily sightings of sea eagles, puffins, and the Northern Lights are a way of life.
Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
Have you ever dreamed of witnessing the captivating beauty and pure majesty of the Northern Lights? The sweeping greenish hues of this fantastic phenomenon, technically named Aurora Borealis, is often at the top of every true adventurer's bucket list. Taking a Norway cruise above the Arctic Circle is the best way to visit this spectacular phenomenon. There are many Arctic cruises to choose from that will weave you in, out, and around Norway's breathtaking fjords during the darker winter months of October - April, when the Northern Lights are at their best.
Nordic fjord cruises are some of the most exhilarating, breathtaking, awe-inspiring types of cruises on the planet. Sailing down and around these long, narrow waterways with mountains steeped on either side is nothing short of amazing. From the deck of your ship, witness spectacular waterfalls that plunge hundreds of feet from the majestic cliff tops and fantastic wildlife sightings like the white-tailed eagle, the bearded seal, and reindeer. With over 1000 fjords throughout Norway, you will surely find your small piece of paradise in this beautiful, wild country.
While on a small ship cruise around Norway, you will encounter wildlife most people only get to see in photographs or National Geographic documentaries. Thanks to its northern reaches and presence above the Arctic Circle, Norway is home to exciting arctic species like the arctic fox, Eurasian lynx, reindeer, white-tailed eagle, Atlantic puffin, and the coveted polar bear. If you are lucky, aboard your Norway cruise, you will see walrus' and bearded seals swimming about, and, during the proper season, humpback, sperm, beluga, and orca whales, just to name a few. Thanks to its unique biodiversity, Norway is a photographer's dream.
Best time to cruise in Norway
The best time to visit Norway depends on what kind of adventure you are looking for. If you love whale watching, visiting Norway between October and January will give you the best chance of seeing humpback and killer whales. If catching a glimpse of the majestic Northern Lights is your goal, visiting Norway during the winter months of September through March is the best time to go. However, visiting Norway during the summer months of June through August allows you to experience the midnight sun, the phenomenon where the sun never fully sets. So whether it's endless days or dark, magical nights you are searching for, Norway is a spectacular destination any time of year.
How to get to Norway
Norway is easily accessible from major cities worldwide. Norway's capital, Oslo, is a bustling city with a large international airport, offering direct flights from many major USA and European cities. Bergen, on the southwest coast, is home to Norway's other major international airport. Flying is the best way to travel to Norway since the North Sea separates it from the rest of Europe. You can travel by train from mainland Europe, passing through Denmark and Sweden; however, this way is not as direct and, therefore, not as popular.
Most small ship cruising around Norway takes place above the Arctic Circle, where the landscape is stunning. Tromsø is one of the main cruise departure ports in northern Norway. Other polar cruises can depart from Longyearbyen and Lofoten. Most travelers reach these northern cities by catching a direct flight out of the Oslo or Bergen airports.
Norway Cruise Tips
Plan ahead - The key to any successful Norway cruise is to plan ahead. Besides purchasing your cruise package and airfare well in advance, consider researching your cruise destination to guarantee you are fully prepared. Researching the weather will ensure you pack proper clothing. Check the activities list to see what type of additional gear you may want to bring. Lastly, see if you need transfers from the airport and book any overnight stays before or after your cruise.
Arrive early - Arrive early. International travel can be unpredictable sometimes, and when you have invested in a one-in-a-lifetime trip such as this, you do not want to miss the boat. Allow yourself to arrive at the port of call 1-2 days before the cruise departure in case of travel delays. Coming early also lets you settle into Norway's cooler climate and catch up on your jetlag, so you are fresh and ready to go when your departure date is here.
Choosing the right trip - The types of cruises offered around Norway are so varied you will surely find one to enjoy. Norway's Arctic cruises take you well beyond the Arctic circle to see snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and rarely-seen Arctic wildlife. Nordic fjord cruises are for you if you love to photograph breathtaking scenery. Are you a whale aficionado? Then book a Norwegian whale-watching cruise. Small ship cruising around Norway is for everyone!
What to pack - Packing for a Norway cruise can be exciting and seem daunting at the same time. The good news is, it does not have to be. The trick to packing for a small ship cruise around Norway is layers! Wearing layers allows you to add and remove clothing easily as the temperature fluctuates throughout the day. Pack a base layer that includes dry-wicking material, add a wool sweater or fleece, and top it off with a heavy jacket and non-cotton long pants. Also, do not forget other essentials like medications, chapstick, lotion, sunscreen, sunglasses, a wide-brim hat, wool socks, waterproof boots, and a daypack.
Snorkeling Gear - If exploring what lies beneath the water is on your Norway cruise itinerary, do not forget to bring snorkeling equipment. Most cruise ships usually offer snorkel gear on board; however, bringing your own is always best. Purchasing personal snorkel equipment before your cruise ensures that you find a mask, snorkel, and fins that fit you properly and will typically be of higher quality than what you will find offered on the ship.
Norway Travel Advice - Small ship cruising around Norway is an exciting adventure. In addition to packing properly, you will want to ensure your passport is valid for at least three months beyond your departure date, get the proper travel visas, and carry the correct currency. Most travelers obtain a visa onboard the flight into Norway. Before your trip, exchanging currency at a local bank usually ensures you get the best conversion rate. Norway's currency is the Norwegian krone.