Wintertime fjords cruise with Shetlands Up Helly Aa
- Making the most of a rare wintertime exploration of Norway’s magical fjords, you’ll enjoy a very special seasonal snapshot of inspirational landscapes and enchanting destinations.
- Breathe in crisp, fresh air and savour spectacular scenes with a ride on the incredible Flåm Railway and Bergen’s famous funicular; and enjoy scenic cruising between the islands and islets of Boknafjord.
- After Norway, you’ll sail south via the Shetland Islands for a unique experience – during an overnight stay in Lerwick, you’ll catch all the parades and ceremonies of the unique Up Helly Aa Festival.
Making the most of a rare wintertime exploration of Norway’s magical fjords, you’ll enjoy a very special seasonal snapshot of inspirational landscapes and enchanting destinations. Breathe in crisp, fresh air and savour spectacular scenery, from on board your ship and during time ashore, all before heading to Scotland in time for the Shetlands’ annual Up Helly Aa celebrations.
The beautiful Boknafjord will provide your first sight of the fjordland’s breathtaking winter scenes. En route to Stavanger, Balmoral will negotiate Boknafjord’s rugged islands and islets, which – if the weather is on your side – will glisten under a blanket of perfect, powder-white snow. Once ashore in Stavanger, you’re sure to feel the warmth of this culture-rich city through the winter chill, as you explore charming districts such as historic Gamla Stavanger. Heading deeper into the fjordland, a winter wonderland of awe-inspiring mountains and frosted waterfalls awaits within Sognefjord and Aurlandsfjord. Stopping at Flåm affords you an opportunity to get closer to some of the region’s greatest natural attractions, via a ride on the world-famous Flåmsbana Railway. Nearby, the 650-metre-high Stegastein Lookout offers unspoilt views of otherworldly landscapes too.
Then there’s Bergen, where postcard-perfect photo opportunities are yours to take advantage of at the top of majestic Mount Fløyen. Reached via funicular railway, the peak of Fløyen is the perfect place from which to appreciate Bergen’s spellbinding winter scenery. With a full day in this Hanseatic city, there’s time to uncover diverse attractions, such as the UNESCO-listed Bryggen Wharf and the Troldhaugen Museum, too. Finally, after leaving Norway, you’ll sail for home via the Shetlands, where your call into Lerwick is perfectly timed for the Up Helly Aa Festival. You’ll catch the Viking parade in the evening and see hundreds of guizers, dressed in traditional Viking costume and carrying flaming torches, march the streets before partaking in the ceremonial burning of a replica Viking ship. An unforgettable experience and unique end to your winter cruise adventure.
- 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 1-2 Southampton
Embark onboard Balmoral
Day 3 Stavanger, Norway
Behind the bustle of the prosperous and cosmopolitan Stavanger of today lie 1,000 years of ancient seafaring tradition and history. This vibrant, exciting Norwegian city oozes charm and was awarded the prestigious title of ‘European Capital of Culture’ in 2008.
The city’s wealth and thriving oil industry has prompted its tag as Norway’s ‘Oil Capital’, but Stavanger has remained as charming as ever. The old town, Gamle Stavanger, has narrow winding streets and ancient wooden houses gathered round an historic fresh fish and vegetable market. Stavanger is also a university city, which is reflected in the city’s lively, urban atmosphere, and in the varied assortment of shopping and dining experiences.
The Norwegian Petroleum Museum exhibits drilling equipment, a model oil platform, submersibles and audio-visual shows, while the city’s Herring Canning Museum celebrates one of Stavanger’s earlier sources Show lessof wealth. Beyond the town, the Three Swords monument commemorates the 9th century battle of Hafrsfjord – the moment Harald Hårfagre became the first King of Norway.
Stavanger is also perfectly placed for the breath-taking Lysefjord, one of the most famous Norwegian Fjords. This stunning waterway is home to the Kjerag Mountain and Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) – two of the country's most popular attractions.
Day 4 Flåm, Norway
Flåm is a tiny village on the banks of the Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the spectacular Sognefjord – the longest and deepest fjord in Europe. Situated amongst scenes of picturesque orchards, hamlets, cottages and farmland, this is one of Norway's most breathtaking locations.
Visitors to Flåm are often drawn to the charming village church, with its traditionally decorated walls, while the Flåmsbana Railway is ranked highly on the fjordland's must-do list. Climbing over 20km as it passes through the magnificent mountain scenery, the Flåmsbana takes in incredible sights such as the striking Kjosfossen Waterfall, crashing 225 metres down rugged cliffs. The Flåmsbana Museum, exploring the railway’s design and construction, is worth visiting too.
Flåm is also perfectly situated for boat tours to UNESCO-listed Naeroyfjord, one of National Geographic's top natural heritage sites.
Day 5 Bergen, Norway
Seven hills and seven fjords frame Hanseatic Bergen, a city steeped in maritime heritage. Of Bergen’s many attractions, the 900-year-old UNESCO-listed Bryggen Wharf is a standout highlights. A delight to explore, the Bryggen's cobbled stairways are lined with traditional half-timbered buildings and climb away from the waterfront, leading to curious open spaces that are often overflowing with colourful flowers that perfume the air.
Bergen has a vibrant fish market and hosts one of Norway's biggest cultural events of the year, the Bergen International Festival. The city was once the home of Norway's most famous composer, Edvard Grieg, and the Troldhaugen Museum is devoted to his life’s work.
Not to be missed is a chance to ride the Funicular Railway to the top of Mount Fløyen, offering spectacular panoramic views of Bergen and its scenic surroundings.
Day 6-8 Lerwick, UK
Lerwick is the friendly capital of the 100 islands and islets of the Shetland. The bustling, cosmopolitan seaport is the islands’ only town, and its wonderful natural harbour is a joy to explore.
Until the 1600s, Leir Vik – Norse for a muddy bay – was little more than a few huts. However, conflict between the British and Dutch, whose fishing fleet fished for herrings off the islands, led to the building of a permanent settlement. This included Fort Charlotte, which once overlooked the harbour but has now been enclosed by the town following land reclamation.
Despite the wealth created by North Sea oil, modern Lerwick retains many fascinating small shops and historic buildings. Wandering along atmospheric Commercial Street is a delight, and the Böd of Gremista – a “fishing booth” built in 1780, is now a fascinating museum. The ground floor has the salt store and the kitchen, where herrings were hung to dry. Outside the town are the well preserved remains of the Broch of Clickimin, a small Bronze-Age settlement excavated in the last century.
Day 9 Southampton