In Search of the Northern Lights
- Revel in the early winter wonders of Northern Norway – get closer to dramatic landscapes, experience exhilarating adventures and even go in search of the spellbinding Northern Lights.
- Visiting Narvik affords opportunities to embark on a thrilling husky-sled ride or see Arctic wildlife at the Polar Park, while Tromsø’s attractions include Mount Storsteinen and the Arctic Cathedral.
- Stopping overnight at Alta could be the highlight of your holiday as, with luck on your side, you may witness the colourful, awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis illuminating the night sky.
Sailing from Portsmouth
4 November 2021
FREE DRINKS & TIPS!
Visiting three incredible destinations in northern Norway presents the perfect opportunity to revel in the early winter wonders of Europe’s spectacular northernmost region. Get closer to dramatic landscapes; embark on exhilarating Arctic adventures; and even go in search of the spellbinding Northern Lights. Experience it all on one unforgettable 13-night cruise.
Balmoral will take you, in comfort and style, into the Arctic Circle, where four consecutive days of discovery are sure to provide sights and experiences you will remember forever. You’ll visit Narvik, which is surrounded by majestic, mountainous landscapes best explored on thrilling husky sledding excursions and is your starting point for tours to the Polar Park, home to native wildlife including bears, lynx and wolves. Stopping overnight in Alta, considered one of the best places on earth to see Aurora Borealis, could be the highlight of your holiday. With luck on your side, you may be fortunate enough to see Mother Nature’s remarkable light show illuminate the clear night sky with dancing ribbons of colour. There will be time during the day to immerse yourself in authentic Sami culture and see the UNESCO-listed rock carvings of Hjemmeluft at the fascinating Alta Museum too.
Spending a day in Tromsø will also afford an opportunity to uncover the abundant attractions of a city known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’. Take time to explore and you’ll find everything from Neoclassic architecture to the Mack Brewery and the iconic, iceberg-shaped Arctic Cathedral. Be sure to ride a cable car up Mount Storsteinen here – the views of Tromsø and its stunning scenery from the top are not to be missed. Elsewhere, en route to and from Arctic Norway, you’ll also visit Molde and Ålesund. Perhaps begin your time in Norway with a ride on the picturesque Rauma Railway or a journey along the Atlantic Road, regarded one of the world’s greatest roads; and before returning home, make the most of your time in Ålesund to admire the town’s pretty art-nouveau architecture and take in the panoramas available from atop Mount Aksla.
- 13 nights onboard Balmoral
- Comfortable, stylish cabins and suites equipped with a Smart TV, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge and individually controlled air conditioning
- A tempting choice of cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with five-course à la carte dinners, casual breakfast and lunch buffets, late-night snacks and much more
- Unlimited, self-service tea and coffee available 24hrs at selected venues, complimentary afternoon tea* with sandwiches and cakes, and in-room sandwiches and snacks
- A full programme of evening entertainment, including cabaret shows, comedy, dancing and live music
- Full use of on board leisure facilities, including swimming pools, Jacuzzis and gym
- A wide choice of engaging on board activities and lectures throughout the day
- All UK port taxes (where collectable in advance)
- Luggage porterage between your cabin and the drop-off/pick-up point
- Formal welcome and/or Captain’s Drinks Party and Gala Buffet
Day 1 Portsmouth, UK
Set sail from Portsmouth onboard Balmoral
Day 4 Molde, Norway
Depending on your preference, Molde is the town of roses or jazz. Sitting alongside the Romsdalfjord, the town benefits from rich, fertile soil and a mild climate and the town’s gardens - both public and private - are full of flowers, especially roses. In the market square is a statue of the Little Rose Seller.
Every July, Molde hosts a famous jazz festival, which takes over the whole town, with many of the concerts being held in the Romsdal Museum. This is one of the biggest folk museums in Norway, with over fifty historic buildings including farmhouses, smokehouses and a small chapel. On Town Street are local town houses from the pre-war period. The Fisheries Museum is also in the open air, with old houses, fishermen’s shacks, a school and even a cod-liver oil factory.
Moldemarka - a vast recreational hiking area located just north of Molde city centre - is one of the most popular attractions with locals and visitors alike. Famous for the Molde panorama - a magnificent view of over 222 mountains, lush green hills and the North Atlantic Ocean - Moldemarka has a network of easily accessible paths and is easy to climb, hike and ski all year round.
A drive along the incredible Atlantic Road - an 8 kilometre stretch of road that links Molde and Kristiansund - is breathtaking experience, and one that's not-to-be-missed during your time here. The twisting, rising and falling road passes through beautiful rocky coastlines, over the sea and through vast hills and mountains. Featuring some unbelievable architecture and mind-blowing bridges, a drive along this amazing stretch of tarmac was once called the world’s best road trip by The Guardian.
Day 6 Narvik, Norway
Founded in 1903, Narvik is a relatively new city but still offers a fascinating history. Located north of the Arctic Circle, the city's harbour is surprisingly ice-free, however, there are still a number of stunning Arctic sights to see, including the Narvikfjellet Mountain.
Although over 400km north of the Arctic Circle, Narvik’s harbour is ice-free and in use all year as a port for iron ore exports. Although inhabited since prehistoric times, the town was not established until 1903 when the Ofoten Railway wascompleted. The line is a tourist attraction in itself, running 42km through magnificent scenery to the Swedish border. A cable car ride from the centre of town to the viewpoint on the Narvikfjellet Mountain gives fabulous views over the Ofotfjord and surrounding area.
Close to the town centre is the Ofoten Museum, with displays of local history including 5,000-year-old rock carvings. The Nordland Red Cross War Memorial Museum commemorates the occupation of Narvik in the Second World War. Narvik Church is a fine example of Scandinavian architecture, with a painted altar piece by Eilif Pettersen, while the northernmost animal park, Polar Park, is worth a look.
Day 7 Alta, Norway
As one of the best places on earth to witness the Northern Lights in winter, and experience the sensation of the Midnight Sun in summer, Alta is a truly magical destination. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Sami people, the area has a fascinating cultural history. Rock carvings in nearby Hjemmeluft are believed to date from around 4,200 to 500 BC. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the carvings on display in the Alta Museum are evidence of the existence of human activity in the far north during prehistoric times.
Alta needed rebuilding after World War II, so the buildings of this northern Norwegian port are relatively new; notable architecture includes the Northern Lights Cathedral. A particular highlight in the winter months is the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel. Everything inside and outside the hotel is made of ice, and is open to visitors from January until it melts away in spring.
The head of the Altafjord, where the Altaelva runs through the town, is said to have the best salmon fishing in the world. It’s still possible to see the fish leaping up the river, despite the construction of the 100m Altadammen in the 1970s.
Day 9 Tromsø, Norway
The island city of Tromsø is one of northern Norway’s true delights. Rich with neo-classical architecture, the city known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ contains the largest number of wooden houses in Northern Norway, and its old world charm makes it a joy to explore.
A major cultural hub above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is famed as a viewing point for the colourful Northern Lights that often light up the night sky. The city’s most recognisable landmark is the must-visit Arctic Cathedral. Built in 1965, the cathedral’s distinctive iceberg-shaped design was inspired by the landscapes of Northern Norway and features a beautiful glass mosaic.
The many museums and galleries in the city include the Perspektivet Museum – set in a neo-classical building built in 1838 that has exhibits from Tromsø’s past, plus the Art Museum of Northern Norway and the Mack Brewery. Tromsø is also home to Polaria, an Arctic aquarium that is popular with locals and tourists alike. The aquarium’s tanks are full of Arctic fish species, and the friendly bearded seals always delight the visiting crowds.
Tromsø, and the stunning landscapes that surround it, are best viewed from the top of the Storsteinen Mountain, which stands 420 metres above sea level. Accessible via cable car, the peak is easy to reach and one of the most popular spots on the edge of the city.
Day 11 Ålesund, Norway
Ålesund is Norway’s popular, art-nouveau epic of towers and turrets, ornaments and balconies, steeples and spires. The city’s delightful pedestrianised streets, offer a diverse mix of art galleries, shops and lively cafés, and lead to the 418 steps that climb Mount Aksla. The Fjellstua restaurant and café at the summit is the perfect place to sit and soak up panoramic views of this attractive city, the archipelago, and the Sunnmore Alps.
Virtually destroyed by fire in 1904, Ålesund was rebuilt within three years and is regarded widely as one of Europe’s true visual experiences. The port is home to the Jugendstilsenteret – The National Art Nouveau Centre –, which has a well-preserved art nouveau interior and regularly features exhibitions and displays.
GATEWAY TO THE FJORDS OF NORTHERN NORWAY
Ålesund is the gateway to the iconic northwestern fjords and this seaport is the home base for Norway's largest cod-fishing fleet, which, unsurprisingly, provides the city's visitors with some superb seafood to try.
Day 14 Portsmouth, UK
Time to say our farewells and make our way home