International cruising is now back on the agenda and it’s time once again to start ticking off all those incredible destinations you’ve always dreamed of seeing one day.
We’ve got some good news for you, cruise fans: Norway, the home of spectacular cruising experiences, is now open, safe and ready to welcome you back to experience all of its delights, from the fjords to the stunningly breathtaking Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun in summer.
To sweeten the deal, Norway has now completely removed its entry restrictions, so it’s the perfect time to experience all of the majestic landscapes and beautiful opportunities this country has on offer.
Hurtigruten’s Norwegian Coastal Express has been cruising the coast since 1893 and will give you access to small fishing villages, locally sourced cuisine and off-the-beaten-track excursions, allowing you to really explore the country like a local.
So, what are you waiting for? Book before April 30 on selected departures in 2022 and you may receive up to 50% OFF the second guest.
Here we’ve outlined just a few of the things you can expect on one of these must-do cruises.
1. Explore the majestic fjords
Yes, the Fjords are calling – and if you’re still unsure of what that is after reading this, then here’s a little explainer.
A fjord is a long, deep, narrow body of water that reaches far inland, and is made when a glacier retreats, resulting in an incredible U-shaped valley with soaring cliffs on either side.
Cruising in Norway will take you to the heart of these jaw-dropping natural creations which you can finally tick off your bucket list.
Some of the best and most unmissable fjords in Norway are the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Geirangerfjord with its spectacular waterfalls, the epic 180km long Hardangerfjord, the pretty Trondheimsfjorden that’s home to the gorgeous port city of Trondheim, and the unspoilt surrounds of tiny Trollfjord – which, while only 3km in length and just 100 metres wide at its mouth, contains enough jaw-dropping scenery to leave you in awe.
2. Gaze up at the Northern Lights
Yes, you are actually guaranteed to experience the Northern Lights during their spectacular winter viewing season in either September or next year in March. If the lights don’t present on your cruise, you’ll be given a free 6 or 7 day voyage the following season with Hurtiguten’s amazing ‘Northern Lights Guarantee’.
Known as nature’s own mesmerising light show, the Aurora Borealis lasts up to 15-30 minutes, and what we see from the ground is caused by electrically charged particles from space entering the Earth’s upper atmosphere at a very high speed.
Interestingly, the famed Northern Lights also look substantially different to all who view them, with some people seeing different colours making their way across the sky, or rays of light going up into space.
Another item to check off your bucket list? We think so!
3. Experience the land of the Midnight Sun
What do you think of when you read the words “Midnight Sun”? We are betting it is exactly what you think it is.
If the words of past guest of Hurtigruten Bronwen Pyle are anything to go by, experiencing this phenomenon from the deck of the Norwegian Coastal Express is something you will never forget.
“The day kept on going and going, never getting dark, even all through the night. The non-stop day actually gave us even more time to admire the scenery on the route,” she says.
Bronwen says that the crew and passengers were all lovely, saying it was definitely the almost never-ending sunlight that helped everyone’s mood.
She suggests staying on the ship’s deck to secure a seat and enjoy the Midnight Sun as much as possible.
A word of caution from Bronwen, though: Don’t get stuck behind the camera; enjoy what is actually there in front of you in the present moment, and create some memories that will last a lifetime.
And one last tip: If you feel like you’re struggling to sleep because of the extra hours of sunlight, then the awesome onboard gym is the place for you before knocking off!
4. Dine on delicious locally sourced meals
Hopping on board the Norwegian Coastal Express will help you not only see the dramatic coast in all its splendour, but taste it too – thanks to the delicious onboard meals.
All food is locally sourced, with its provenance resting in very ports that the ship pauses at along the way, making it an even more special experience to appreciate the freshness and flavours.
Other than the food, you can choose to get involved in endless excursions (there are more than 70 on offer!), learn about regional specialities, discover how food is at the heart of local life, and listen to the life stories of brewers, chefs, farmers and more.
So, are you ready for the cruising experience of a lifetime and to fall in love with the beauty and people of Norway? If you are, don’t forget to share the adventure with a friend and get up to 50 per cent off for a second guest on summer voyages if you book before the end of April.
This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Hurtigruten.