HAMBURG – NORTH CAPE – HAMBURG – HIDDEN WINTER GEMS AND NORTHERN LIGHTS
Experience the Northern Lights and learn all about this spectacular phenomenon
- Experience the Northern Lights and learn all about this spectacular phenomenon
- Explore Norway’s amazing coastline in winter
- Join in on fun winter activities
- Learn about Norwegian culture, history and nature with our Expedition Teams
Day 1 Embark on the Adventure
Today you depart Germany’s second-largest city headed north to explore Norway’s amazing coastline as we hunt for the Northern Lights.
This amazing natural phenomenon is the result of disturbances caused by solar wind – creating a cosmic lightshow of dazzling colour and complexity. Your chances of experiencing the Northern Lights improve the farther north we go.
As we sail across the North Sea, you may want to get to know your expedition ship. Check out the Science Center, the sauna and hot tubs, scout out a comfortable chair in the Explorer lounge, find a window table you like in the ship’s restaurant or locate a good spot on deck for viewing Norway’s incredible coastline.
Day 2 Norway Bound
Enjoy a day at sea as we head north to the Norwegian coastline.
Meet our Expedition Team, who prepare you for exciting adventures ahead. Listen in on talks by these experienced explorers who share their extensive knowledge about places, people and natural phenomena we are likely to encounter, like the Northern Lights.
Or maybe you just want to kick back and relax. Admire the views, try some of the ship’s cuisine that caught your eye on the menu, or settle into a good book while enjoying this day at sea.
Day 3 The City of Natural Highs
Welcome to Stavanger – known for its many nearby natural attractions, including famous Pulpit Rock and long sandy beaches along the North Sea.
The Stavanger region is on the radar of nearly every visitor to Norway. Many different nationalities are drawn to the area, making it a highly international destination.
Its cosmopolitan nature is reflected in the city’s lively, urban ambience, with creative food menus, fun pubs and bars, and a booming cultural scene.
Stavanger’s proud history is never far from sight. Old Stavanger has Europe’s best-preserved wooden house area with more than 170 white wooden structures dating back to the 1700s.
Stavanger is also Europe’s oil and energy capital. Visit the Norwegian Petroleum Museum to learn more about Norway’s most important industry through modern interactive exhibits. See how oil and gas were formed millions of years ago, as well as how petroleum is found, produced and consumed. Feeling adventurous? You can slide down an escape chute used on offshore oil and gas platforms.
While its less likely to spot the Northern Lights this far south, it does happen. Keep your eyes on the northern edge of the horizon
Day 4 Art Nouveau and Aquatic Species
Today you arrive in the charming small city of Ålesund – renowned for its beautiful art nouveau architecture. This owes to a devastating fire that burned a large part of the city to the ground in 1904. The entire town was subsequently rebuilt in the fashionable art nouveau style of the time.
Take the opportunity to wander Ålesund’s charming cobblestone streets and admire the numerous spires, towers and highly-ornate buildings.
Norway is a seafood nation and Ålesund is its fisheries capital – so it’s only natural your included activity today is a visit to the Norwegian Aquarium. Built directly into the rocky coastline, the aquarium is also an architectural marvel. Due to excellent oceanic conditions along the Norwegian coast, the aquarium features a colourful and exciting range of fish and fauna, including octopus, seals and penguins.
You can also choose one of our interesting optional excursions in and around this fascinating coastal Norwegian city.
Day 5 Home of Famous Torghatten
Welcome to Brønnøysund – a vibrant and pretty little town of 5,000 folks located on a narrow peninsula surrounded by islands and sea. You are now at the halfway mark along Norway’s long coastline. Brønnøysund is near the famous mountain with a hole in the middle – Torghatten.
Brønnøysund is also the gateway to Vega Island – a UNESCO World Heritage site which was granted UNESCO status because of how the community demonstrates its centuries-old sustainable way of life. Remarkably, the islanders have thrived by practicing the now unique tradition of eider farming and duck down processing.
As we leave Brønnøysund, we sail along the coast of Helgeland and pass the famous mountain range called the Seven Sisters. Legend has it that seven beautiful troll sisters were caught out at sunrise and turned to stone, creating the seven beautiful peaks.
In the evening, we cross the Arctic Circle – and your chances to experience the Aurora grow.
Day 6 Idyllic Reine
You won’t soon forget your first approach to Lofoten because of the formidable wall of mountains looming on the horizon.
The Lofoten Islands are world famous for their distinctive dramatic peaks, sheltered bays and untouched beaches – and this is your day to explore them. Lofoten is also known for its excellent fishing, picturesque villages and exciting year-round activities.
We dock at idyllic Reine in the morning. Fishermen´s huts dotting the shoreline and snowy granite peaks shooting out of the fjord make Reine one of the most frequently photographed landscapes in Norway.
After departing Reine, we sail past Henningsvær and Svolvær. The islands, steep mountains, beautiful beaches and bays we pass are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. In Svolvær, choose from a number of exciting outdoor and indoor activities. Intriguing shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants are scattered throughout the town.
After a day exploring Lofoten, we sail to Trollfjord, an amazing place where vertical mountain walls surrealistically jut out of the sea. In winter, it’s not possible to sail into the fjord, so we admire this very special site at its entrance. Keep looking skyward to catch sight of the Northern Lights.
Day 7 Sami Culture
A Sami settlement in the medieval times, Alta has grown into a small city 500 years later, the largest in this part of Norway. It’s roots in the Sami culture is still very present among the population, and sometimes you can hear Sami being spoken in the streets.
Alta is also home to two UNESCO sites, being the Struve Geodetic Arc which is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest to the Black Sea, as well as the Rock art dating back 7000 years.
Northern lights can be seen frequently and the stable weather provides suitable conditions for experiencing this natural phenomenon. Many of the dogsledding teams that participate in the Finnmark race are located here, and some of those kennels can be visited.
Day 8 Edge of the World
Today we visit one of the northernmost points in Europe, North Cape. This is also as far north as we go on this winter expedition cruise.
Start the day by taking a scenic bus ride from the town of Honningsvåg. We pass small bays and tiny villages, then cross a mountain plateau before arriving at spectacular North Cape. At 71°10’21´N, North Cape is just 2,100 km away from the Geographic North Pole. Stand at the edge of the cliff and gaze out on the sea. Only the Svalbard Archipelago separates you from the North Pole. North Cape feels like the end of the world. It’s also a great place to take stunning photos and there will be enough time to visit the North Cape Hall´s cinema, showing a short film about the North Cape Plateau, and there are several exhibits open to visitors.
Back in Honningsvåg, you can opt to stroll about, past charming houses, nice shops and a church that was the only structure left standing at the end of World War II.
This is the ship’s turning point and from here we start our return trip southward. Keep looking skyward!
Day 9 Gateway to the Arctic
Looking for an adventurous winter wonderland? Tromsø is the perfect destination for winter activities and boasts a wide range of optional excursions to choose from depending on your interests.
Enjoy a ride into the sky on the Fjellheisen cable car, with breathtaking views of the city, mountains, fjords – and hopefully the Aurora.
Tromsø brims with fascinating history, culture and bold architecture. The Arctic Cathedral is a landmark in Tromsø visible from the Tromsø Sound, featuring a huge stained-glass window. Care to meet some friendly locals? Tromsø is home to the world’s northernmost brewery, Mack Bryggeri, which also runs Ølhallen, a lively pub where townspeople go for a chat and a beer.
Other winter activities include optional excursions with our Expedition Team on nature hikes, and Aurora-focused bus rides. Tromsø is so far north that you may see the Northern Lights directly overhead.
Day 10 History and Mountains
We call on the scenic town of Narvik bordered by impressive mountains where the skies are especially clear making it a great place for observing the Northern Lights at this time of year.
Narvik played an important role during World War II as it provided an ice-free harbour in the North Atlantic for iron ore transported by the railway from Kiruna in Sweden. Both sides in the Second World War had an interest in securing this iron supply for themselves and denying it to the enemy, setting the stage for one of the biggest battles since the Invasion of Poland.
Take the cable car to the summit of Fagernesfjellet, which on clear days offers impressive views of the fjord below.
Day 11 Serenity of the Sea
Today you can spend time in the ship’s Explorer lounge, soaking in a hot tub, or out on deck watching for the aurora. Our Expedition Team and on-board photography expert can help you locate the Northern Lights and take good pictures.
The Expedition Team also continues its on-board lecture series, sharing their vast knowledge and experience about the geography, culture and history of Norway’s long and varied coastline.
The team also summarizes the voyage so far and lets you know about plans for the exciting days ahead.
Day 12 Norwegian Alps and Viking Battles
Kristiansund’s location on four sea islands in the Norwegian Sea has steadily provided livelihoods in the fishing, shipbuilding and oil industries. Interested in history? A decisive battle between Danish and Norwegian Vikings was fought near here in 955 and later noted in the famous ‘Lives of the Norse Kings’ by Snorre Sturlasson.
Maybe it’s a dry fact, but Kristiansund today is known as Norway’s ‘dried cod capital’ because of its historic export of dry salted fish, often called bacalao. Take some time to stroll along the waterfront of this interesting little city, past old shipyards and marinas, and see what you can find.
Perhaps join an excursion along the Atlantic Road, one of Norway’s most-visited tourist destinations, spanning eight bridges through picturesque landscapes and across the open sea. The excursion ends in Molde, ‘City of Roses’, where you rejoin the ship.
Day 13 Beautiful Bergen
We arrive in Bergen, one of Norway’s most beautiful cities and a great place to explore by foot. Founded in 1070 AD, Bergen was Norway’s capital for many years. The city has retained a great deal of its local character, history and charm, and is a hub for Norwegian travel. Be sure to stroll through the historic UNESCO-listed Bryggen district with its colourful wooden wharfs dating back to the 14th century.
Visit Mount Fløyen – the Fløibanen funicular takes you to the top in just six minutes. At the summit you get amazing views over this city surrounded by seven mountains and the sea. Feeling energetic? Follow one of many light trails atop Mount Fløyen into possibly snow-decked alpine forrest.
Back at sea level, Wander the cobblestone streets and alleyways of this enchanting, compact city. Drop into one of its many cafés or pubs and order a half-litre of local Hansa beer, browse through unique boutiques and visit world-class museums.
Spend the evening relaxing, maybe in the panoramic lounge or out on deck. While its less likely the Northern Lights will appear this far south, it does happen.
Day 14 Relax and Unwind
It’s our final day at sea. As we cross the North Sea, you may spot the giant gas flares atop one of the many oil and gas platforms.
You may want to take one last soak in the hot tub, relax in the ship’s lounge, edit your photographs, or join the Expedition Team as they review the highlights of your memorable winter expedition cruise to the coast of Norway.
Day 15 Return to Hamburg
We dock in Hamburg and after breakfast, it’s time to leave your home of the past 14 days.
As you head ashore, you’ll take with you the lifetime memories of Norway in winter – wonderful fjords, fascinating towns and cities, friendly people, and the magical Northern Lights.
Welcome aboard again soon!
MS Otto Sverdrup
MS Otto Sverdrup is designed for exciting, sustainable expedition cruises along the Norwegian coastline
MS Otto Sverdrup (formerly MS Finnmarken) is named after a great Norwegian polar hero. Sverdrup was the first person to ski across Greenland, was a key member of polar expeditions and was the captain of the legendary Arctic ship “Fram”. He also served as a Hurtigruten captain between expeditions.
The re-designed MS Otto Sverdrup is an ice class 1C ship. It’s equipped with advanced maritime technology that makes her exceptionally well suited for expedition cruises in Norway.
Year of construction 2002 (Year of refurbishment: 2020)
Ship yard Kleven Verft (N)
Gross tonnage 15,690