In just a few weeks I will be setting off for Bergen to join a dear friend Kathleen who I’ve travelled with in the past to India and Burma.  We decided this time to break away from the hot and humid Asian experiences and try something completely different. Very different! We are taking a cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes with a Norwegian cruise line called Hurtigruten in search of the Northern Lights.

I enjoyed a Norway cruise last year in July with Viking Cruises during the midnight sun. This meant that once we crossed the Arctic Circle, it was sunny 24 hours a day. The experience was breath-taking – beyond extraordinary!  But this winter trip promises to be very different.

Who is Hurtigruten?

Hurtigruten is a Norwegian cruise company with ships going between Bergen and Kirkenes almost every single day of the year. They have been in business for 125 years. They are one of the world’s largest expedition cruise line. The company has invested heavily in green technology. They recently announced that in the near future they will be powering their ships with fossil-free, renewable gas produced from dead fish and other organic waste. Fascinating!

5 Star Recommendation from A Cruise Journalist

When I interviewed cruise journalist Jane Archer for Sixty and Me, she recommended I consider a Hurtigruten Norwegian cruise. Not only could I not pronounce the name, I had honestly never heard of Hurtigruten!

Jane explained that on the classic round trip that Kathleen and I are taking, you visit 34 harbours, 22 of them located north of the Polar Circle.  Hurtigruten owns a fleet of 17 working ships picking up cars and passengers at ports all the way up and down the coast. Their ships go into some of the remote Fjords offering a fantastic experience.

This cruise has been called the world’s most beautiful sea voyage.  The itinerary offers a wide range of experiences and activities all year around. We are of course hoping to see the Northern Lights but more of that in a minute. Here is a link to my interview with Jane Archer.

Accommodation Hurtigruten Style

Our cabin with be tiny. We will share an inside room and the description is as you would expect is quite basic. One bed and a pull down sofa with no window. I expect it will be as basic as it gets but since we each paid less that 1200 Euros for a 12-day sailing including all meals I feel it will be good value for money. Excursions are extra, and I am still trying to decide whether to sign up for the dog sledding option. I am so excited!

Weather

January is the coldest month in Bergen with an average monthly temperature of only 2°C. The average temperature range doesn’t have much variation at all, with daytime highs of 3°C and early morning lows of 0°C.

During the months of December, January, and February, the days are short and the nights long. North of the Arctic Circle the sun doesn’t rise for weeks or even months. From the middle of November until the end of January, the sun doesn’t rise at all in parts of Northern Norway. However, if we are fortunate, the northern lights might appear for us. We will be keeping our frozen toes and fingers crossed!

Excursions

In winter, Norway is transformed into a snowy paradise. There will be lots of exciting activities in the frosty landscape. The Hurtigruten excursions include some wonderful choices.  It is promised that on-board Expedition Teams will offer activities and interpret the cultural and natural treasures seen during the voyage. I hope to see reindeer! With over 20 stops, there will be lots of varied excursions. In Tromso you can attend a midnight concert at the city’s iconic Arctic Cathedral. You can participate in a sea eagle safari, a dog sledding adventure or explore Lofoten island by horse. Visit the Nidaros Cathedral at Trondheim or explore the Geiranger Fjord. There are so many incredible excursion options!

Here is the itinerary:

In Search of the Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern Lights up close and personal is probably on millions of bucket lists. It is definitely on mine.  The best chance of seeing the northern lights in Northern Norway is between October and March. The polar night makes them easier to see. One exceptional offer made by Hurtigruten is that if you don’t see the Northern Lights during the 12 cruise during certain periods, they will offer a half board 6 or 7 day classic cruise free of charge.

Enjoy the Cosy Feeling of “Friluftsliv”

No matter the season, all cruises with Hurtigruten promise to be thrilling adventures filled with amazing scenery and active “friluftsliv” experiences. According to the Daily Telegraph this is the Nordic word that will define how you travel in 2019!

The word (pronounced ‘free-loofts-liv’) translates as ‘open air living’ and describes the value of spending time in remote locations in the open air. It’s a bit like the Danish idea of ‘hygge’ and is a part of the cultural fabric of Norway. It is the simple pleasure of being outside, somewhere remote.

I am looking forward to a little cosy Friluftsliv experience and will be sharing my Hurtigruten adventure during and after the cruise with video and articles!

Have you ever cruised in Norway? Have you or someone you know sailed with Hurtigruten?  Perhaps you have been on another snowy expedition? Please share your experiences below – let’s start a conversation!

 

 

 

 

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