Hurtigruten Nordlys sails the Norwegian coast. // © 2010 Hurtigruten
The line is offering a 20 percent discount on all 2011 Norwegian Coastal Voyage itineraries if booked by Sept 30.
The 2,500-mile coastline of Norway has one of the world’s most dramatic sea routes, and seeing the country’s narrow sounds and broad fjords in person are highlights of Hurtigruten’s six-, seven- and 12-day Norwegian Coastal Voyage itineraries.
Onboard the 691-passenger Nordlys (Northern Lights), visitors can view the ever-changing landscapes of gray headlands against a pewter sky. The ship has inside and outside Cabins, Suites and Mini-Suites, some with televisions, balconies and minibars. Guests have access to three elevators as well as lounges that showcase the spectacular views, a fitness room, a library, a playroom for kids, a bar and a sundeck. A 24-hour cafe offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, while an attractive dining room offers seasonal fare from lobster and fresh fish to reindeer.
Our seven-day northbound route began in the 1,000-year-old city of Bergen, where red and gold houses line narrow pathways, revealing a maze of restaurants, shops and museums. Passengers transferred to smaller sightseeing boats to see the famous 1,180-foot-deep Geiranger Fjord, passing by thundering waterfalls and sheer rock faces. Both Bergen and the fjords are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The second day brought us to Trondheim, Norway’s third-largest city, known for its gray soapstone Nidaros Cathedral. The cathedral is famously the largest medieval building in Northern Europe and the place where royal coronations took place.
The ship made its way up the narrow Trollfjord where rocks that rise along the sides of fjords resemble giant, sleeping trolls, silhouetted against the sky. This is where Norway’s sea eagles, with wingspans of up to six feet, can be seen in their natural feeding grounds.
Farther north is Tromso, the gateway to the Arctic. The Nordlys makes a stopover there for a visit to the Arctic Cathedral, a triangular structure designed to resemble a sharp-edged iceberg pointing toward the sky.
A favorite excursion for many guests was the bus ride from Svolvaer through the Lofoten islands, the Venice of the North, to the fishing village of Henningsvaer. Crimson sunsets and dark mountains edge the town of red, white and mustard-yellow houses. Fishing boats bob in the harbor, and codfish are hung out to dry on the rocks.
The cruise ends at the Arctic City of Kirkenes along the Russian border and, by the time visitors board the flight back to Oslo, they have witnessed a sweeping view of Norway’s history from its Viking past to the modern day.