Tips for a different cruising experience in Norway
When you think of a cruise vacation, your mind naturally assumes a tropical cruise. There is however another equally rewarding area that is famous for its scenery, shore excursions and cultural heritage. What about Norway, summer or winter, cruising the fjords, the many islands and visiting the harbour towns? Some cruises even go up into arctic waters where, in winter, you can come surprisingly close to the sheer ice faces of magnificent icebergs, while others visit Baltic city destinations. Even in winter the Gulf Stream warms the coast and produces a mild climate.
It is well known that cruise prices are governed by the law of supply and demand however since Norwegian cruises take place all year round, there is no real “off-peak” season that the operators need to balance. This means that unfortunately there are fewer deals available for bargain-hunting consumers.
Perhaps one of the most famous Norwegian cruises has for many years been nicknamed “Highway One”. It consists of a small luxury cruise ship with superb cuisine that goes from Kristiansand in the south to Spitsbergen in the north via more than 30 harbours and nearly every one of the many fjords on the way, then does the same on the return journey. The traveller has a unique opportunity to sample a truly scenic landscape with beautiful picturesque villages and amazing Scandinavian speciality food. It has come a long way since its origin as the post boat servicing the isolated islands and Norwegian coastal towns.
Nearly everyone is familiar with the Norwegian cultural Viking heritage, but there is so much more for the traveller to appreciate with famous Norwegian composers, painters and traditional art. With historic wooden buildings, museums, modern attractions for younger passengers, and the ever-present folklore stories, Norway has much to offer as a satisfying cruise destination, and cruise operators organize many different shore excursions to take advantage of these cultural and beautiful places among the friendly, well educated Norwegians who speak many foreign languages.
To get the best out of your Norwegian cruise don’t forget to take your camera and charger with plenty of storage media. Binoculars will also benefit you, but the most important thing to get right is the clothing, and this will depend on the time of year that you take your cruise. Remember that you will get the best view from the decks of the cruise ship and that the fjords “funnel” the wind into quite a strong breeze in some places
The accepted norm is casual clothing for the daytime and is most often the usual jeans, slacks, shirts, and sweaters. Learn from the locals and dress in layers so that you can easily adjust according to the weather, and top off with a good quality jacket. Being an extremely relaxed nation, the Norwegians do not insist on “dressing for dinner”, however they appreciate people who do. In the main however, the “smart-casual” style predominates at the dining table.