DAY 1: DOVER
Summer cruising from the White Cliffs
Your comfortable expedition ship MS Maud will be ready and waiting for you in the port of Dover. Once you board the ship and check-in, you’ll receive your complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket which may come in handy with the unpredictable weather. There’ll be time to settle into your cabin and explore a bit of the ship before attending a mandatory pre-departure safety drill.
And with that, we’ll be away! MS Maud will set sail due north from Dover, bound for summer adventure along miles and miles of stunning Norwegian coastline. We’ll pass through the Dover Strait, with the white cliffs of Dover receding into the distance, and head out to the North Sea. Stretch your newly-found sea legs out on deck and get to know the different areas of the ship, your new home away from home for the next two weeks.
Enjoy your first dinner aboard the ship and look forward to many more delicious meals to come. Raise your glass and join the Captain and crew as they toast to an enjoyable expedition together. You’ll then be greeted by your friendly and energetic Expedition Team. They’ll prepare you for your exciting days of exploration ahead, guiding you through their fascinating lectures and intimate knowledge of the Norwegian coast. Some are local Norwegians who will be really excited about showing off their favourite aspects of their home with you. First things first though, their number one priority will be to ensure you and your fellow explorers are always safe and well throughout your cruise. They’ll take you through important health and safety principles to keep in mind for a smooth and safe journey.
DAY 2: AT SEA
Relaxing in the North Sea
Enjoy a day at sea as we head north to the rugged Norwegian coastline. You’ll have plenty of time to de-stress, relax and really get into the mood for this expedition cruise. Admire the waves from MS Maud’s expansive Observation Deck, settle into a good book together with a freshly baked pastry from the Fredheim restaurant, or take full advantage of the gym and hot tubs.
You’ll also be invited to talks hosted by the Expedition Team who will happily share their extensive knowledge of Norway with you. Topics will change each day and often be relevant to the area you are sailing in. For instance, as we sail across the North Sea, well-known for its oil and gas reserves divided among the UK, Norway, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands, the lecture subject, perhaps out on deck instead of the Science Centre, might well be about the geology of the North Sea. These added insights will enhance your experience, filling out your sense of discovery with delicious detail. Our professional onboard photographer will also be available to give top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos.
With calm seas and good weather conditions, we can expect to reach Bergen tomorrow afternoon. If the weather is less agreeable, the Captain will chart a course further north up the coast to stunning Hjørundfjord, sailing slower through Norway’s idyllic islands that offer more protection against any unruly elements.
DAY 3: BERGEN
Historic Coastal capital
In the afternoon, we get our first glimpse of the Norwegian coast. Small islands and mountain silhouettes draw closer. We leave the North Sea behind and enter scenic straits and fjords. If weather conditions have allowed, we will start our visit of Norway in Bergen, one of the country’s most beautiful cities and a great place to explore by foot.
As we approach Bergen, ‘The City of Seven Mountains’, you’ll catch sight of the colourful houses that stud the hillsides. Founded in 1070 AD, Bergen was Norway’s capital for many years, its location ideally placing it as the gateway port for Hanseatic trade between Norway and Europe. The nation’s second largest city has retained much of its local character, history and charm.
While in Bergen, be sure to visit the historic Bryggen district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with distinctive wooden wharves. You’ll find the area full of independent boutiques selling artisanal handicrafts. Opposite Bryggen is Bergen’s top-notch fish market that cooks up sumptuous fresh seafood right in front of you. You can also take the funicular up to Mount Fløyen for views of the acclaimed seven mountains. But if the sun is out and it’s warm, what could be better than sitting outdoors at one of the many cafés or pubs? Partake in a pint or two of refreshing local Hansa beer and bask in the vibes of this buzzy city.
DAY 4: HJøRUNDFJORD
Like famous Geirangerfjord next door, Hjørundfjord is part of the UNESCO designated Fjords Norway area which is notable for “exceptional natural beauty”. However, unlike its neighbour which gets a bit too popular in the summer, Hjørundfjord can bask in its beauty in tranquillity thanks to being off the beaten tourist track. Surrounded by the Sunnmøre Alps with peaks soaring 1,700 metres straight up from the sea, it is one of the most scenic fjords in all of Norway and still undiscovered by most other cruise lines.
On a clear summer’s day, you’ll get the full 360° sensory experience: the bluest skies, the greens of coniferous forests and grazing pastures covering the mountainsides. The still, pristine waters then reflect the superb scenery in all its glory, merging the fjord and landscape perfectly. The steep mountains have made it almost impossible to cultivate the land here. Still, a few tiny farms cling to the slopes and small villages nestle along the shoreline.
The village of Urke is one possible location where we’ll go ashore to experience Norwegian nature and culture. The topic of today’s lecture may well be the geology of Norway, explaining how the mountains and fjords around you came to be. Sign up for optional excursions to explore the area further. Join a guided walk taking in villages along the Hjørundfjord and learn about the history, nature and royal connections of this splendid beauty spot. Alternatively, you can opt for more exhilarating, pulse-raising excursions such as hiking up the mountain for incredible views. Or find yourself kayaking along the fjord, the exquisite silence broken only by the sound of your own paddle.
DAY 5: AT SEA
Crossing the Arctic Circle
We sail north along the rugged Helgeland coast towards Lofoten, following the sheltered coastal route that Hurtigruten pioneered almost 130 years ago. Even now, sailing these waters requires intensive crew training, and only ships carrying specialist certification are allowed to sail here. It’s an experience you can only get with Hurtigruten.
There’ll be plenty to see out on deck today as we pass the islands of Smøla and Frøya en route to Trondheimsleia. Small towns and villages will slowly come into view and disappear again on our way to magical Lofoten. We sail past the Seven Sisters mountain range and unique hole-in-the-middle mountain of Torghatten, both of which inspire local lore invariably involving trolls.
We also support a number of Citizen Science projects that you can join. These projects include Happywhale where your photographs help identify and track whales across the planet. Or the Globe observer project which combines your observations of clouds and sky conditions from below with data collected by satellites. Not only will you be supporting the scientific community, you’ll also be getting a better understanding of the world around you.
Once past Brønnøysund, the ship will soon cross the Arctic Circle. We’ll mark the occasion with a special ceremony. What that ceremony will be is something you’ll just have to be on board to find out! We now enter Northern Norway and, for the next few days, the warm glow of the 24-hour Midnight Sun will accompany us.
DAY 6: REINE
Iconic Lofoten landscapes
The approach to Lofoten is not to be missed as a formidable wall of mountains greets you. The islands here are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The breathtaking scenery is a masterpiece of distinctive peaks, sheltered bays, untouched beaches, and paradisaic fishing villages.
We’ll land in idyllic Reine in the morning. You may recognise it as one of the most photographed nature landscapes in Norway – and for good reason. Characteristic red fishing huts known as rorbuer dot the shoreline against a backdrop of granite peak clusters jutting out of the fjord. As part of an included activity, you’ll board a bus to the picturesque old fishing village of Å, a unique, historical attraction. Here, you’ll see well-preserved houses, a blacksmith, an old cod liver oil press, and a bakery which might be making a fresh batch of lefse cakes. The local museum explains how cod fishing has been key to establishing Norway into a country.
From Reine, we sail to Trollfjord, a narrow waterway where vertical mountain walls loom above you. At the Captain’s discretion and depending on weather conditions in the area, you might get to experience the ship ‘threading the needle’ as it sails into the fjord so close to the cliff walls that you’ll feel you could reach out and brush them. Once safely within the fjord, the ship will then turn 360° on the spot. You’ll be holding your breath again as it manoeuvres back out through the tight entrance. It is a thrilling experience that requires superb seamanship. Thankfully, Hurtigruten Captains have that in spades!
DAY 7: HONNINGSVåG
North Cape under the Midnight Sun
We spend the morning today sailing through Arctic Norway. You’ll notice how the landscape and scenery is different from Bergen and the Helgeland Coast. The climate is usually a tad cooler too.
Arriving in the small town of Honningsvåg in the late afternoon, you’ll now visit one of the northernmost points in Europe as part of an included excursion. The scenic bus ride from Honningsvåg passes small bays and tiny villages, then crosses a mountain plateau before arriving at spectacular North Cape. At 71°10’21´N, it is just 2,100 kilometres away from the Geographic North Pole, with only the Svalbard Archipelago in between. Stand at the cliff’s edge and gaze out across the sparkling sea. North Cape is the closest you may ever get to the top of the world. While embraced by the warm rays of the Midnight Sun, take a moment to ponder the vastness of our planet. There’s the obligatory selfie at the Globe Monument to snap before visiting the North Cape Hall for several exhibits and a short film which chronicle the history of the cape.
Back in Honningsvåg, enjoy a stroll by the pretty harbour, browsing the charming shops, houses and church. The local restaurants offer fresh fish and seafood, with king crabs available all year round while summer is the season for stockfish. This is the ship’s turning point and from here, we start our return trip southbound.
DAY 8: TROMSø
Center for Arctic summer adventure
Looking for Arctic adventure? Tromsø is the place to find it. Set far above the Arctic Circle, the Midnight Sun shines here from May 20 to July 22. It never gets dark during the peak of the summer and the town brims with almost round-the-clock activities. There are lots of great hiking trails to explore and watersports around the harbour. You can join optional excursions like hikes with our Expedition Team, kayaking, boat trips and scenic bus tours.
Nicknamed the ‘Paris of the North’, Tromsø is a lively university city, with a large brewery and several microbreweries, and a selection of great restaurants specialising in fresh regional produce. It is also rich in Arctic history and culture. Our Expedition Team can share more with you about polar history and exploration in one of their lectures. As the gateway to the Arctic, Tromsø was the starting point for many polar expeditions and provided a very welcome first stop on explorers’ return to civilisation. Visit the Polar Museum to learn more about the famous explorers and expeditions that have their origins in the city.
The angular Arctic Cathedral is a city landmark, featuring a striking, stained glass window. One of the main attractions is to ride the Fjellheisen cable car to the top of a 424-metre-high mountain. The summit provides fabulous views of the city, mountains and fjords. If you are curious about Arctic marine life, the Polaria Arctic Experience Centre is a family-friendly aquarium with fish and seals that inhabit the region’s polar waters.
DAY 9: SENJA
Microcosm of Norway
Today, we dock at Senja, one of the most ruggedly beautiful and less-visited islands in Norway. You’ll be awestruck by the scenery on display here and understand why it made CNN travel’s list for ’10 of the world’s most beautiful islands’.
Senja is Norway’s second largest island but counts fewer than 8,000 inhabitants, most of whom are employed in fishing and aquaculture. The captain will decide on a location to drop anchor or a port where we can dock. Should the weather be rough on the coast side, we will seek more shelter in the bays or inlets.
Sometimes referred to as ‘Norway in miniature’, the island boasts diverse landscapes that seem to change in the blink of an eye. Senja’s northern coastline is characterised by lofty mountains plummeting straight into the sea, interspersed with isolated coves and sandy beaches that fringe crystal clear turquoise waters. Southern Senja is distinguished by rocky coastline and pine forests and is home to Ånderdalen National Park. The eastern side of Senja has gentler, more forgiving landscapes with rolling hills and birch forests. One of the best ways to see the island’s many beautiful contrasting topographies is a road trip along the National Scenic Route in Senja. Setting off from a local village, we’ll take a guided coach tour along part of this route and see the magnificent, untamed coastal landscape of Senja. One scenery that you’ll be amazed by are the dark, jagged peaks of the Okshornan mountain range, which are aptly nicknamed ‘Devil’s Jaw’. Along the way, you’ll also learn from the Expedition Team about the intriguing tale of the Senja troll.
DAY 10: TRAENA
Friluftsliv in a little Hawaii
In the morning, we sail along the coast of Helgeland with nothing but sky and sea ahead. In the distance, you can see mountains rise from the horizon. This is Træna, an archipelago of over 400 islands and islets right on the Arctic Circle. We plan to go on a scenic walk around the village of Husøya where most of Træna’s 454 inhabitants live.
Surprisingly, the community on the islands has a Nordic-Hawaiian vibe, which is probably best appreciated in summer. There is a permanent outdoor photography exhibition, a themed café, and even a local ‘Waikiki Beach’.
Similar to Hawaiians, Norwegians believe in the life philosophy of friluftsliv – a respect for nature and a love of the outdoors. Summer is the best time not just to learn about this ideal, but to live it. And Træna is a perfect place for you to try a host of optional excursions.
Remember though that the sea can be rough any time of the year. If weather does not permit us to land this far out from the coast, we might take you to Svartisen Glacier instead, where you can join optional excursion hikes to the glacier and kayaking. At approximately 370 square kilometres, Svartisen is Norway’s second largest glacier after Jostedalbreen Glacier.
DAY 11: KRISTIANSUND
Small-city charm in ‘The Cod Capital’
Enjoy a relaxing morning on board the ship, perhaps sunbathing on deck, working out in the gym, doing further research in the Science Center, or practising your landscape photography.
After the past few days spent exploring tranquil and isolated coastal settings, get ready for a change of tempo today. We dock at Kristiansund which is one of the most densely populated cities in Norway. Its urban area is spread across four islands with bustling waterfronts, scenic marinas and distinctive architecture, decorated in shades of red, yellow and green. It’s a city that has made its living from the sea: fishing, shipping and oil and gas. Kristiansund is also known as Norway’s ‘Dried Cod Capital’ because of its historic export of salted fish or bacalao, known locally as klippfisk. If you’re interested in the topic, you can learn more about cod in today’s lecture or head to the local Norwegian Bacalao Museum housed in a 250-year-old building.
You will go on a guided walking tour and experience all this small city has to offer. There are also optional excursions to sign up for, including kayaking with local guides or a hike with the Expedition Team. There’s also an optional excursion to the famous Atlantic Ocean Road, an 8km scenic drive, with eight uniquely designed, undulating bridges linking a series of islands.
DAY 12: VAERLANDET
Life on the windswept Islands
Today, we will explore the area around Værlandet, the westernmost islands of Norway, and the outlet of Sognefjord. At only 3.5 square miles and with only 200 people, Værlandet itself is a small island even by Norwegian standards and the island is rarely visited by cruise ships. The windswept islands in and around Værlandet face the North Sea and are a stark contrast to the sheltered fjords. Here, where even the trees are small and bent by the wind, small communities exist, surviving largely on fishing and a little tourism. The coastal islands are also home to many animals, so be on the lookout for seals, otters, porpoises, eagles and deer. The day’s lecture topic may cover plants and animals of the coast.
Given their exposure to wind and wave, our itinerary in these islands is subject to the elements, even in the summer months. The ship will try to anchor off one of the islands or to shelter in a small bay. Boats will take you to where we have the best possibilities to explore these tiny islands on optional excursions. This might include visiting the little chapel and local store on Stornese by bike, walking across moors to a lighthouse, visiting Pecten Maximus – a wooden weather shelter, or hiking to the statue of Berte and Hansine on Hilliers Island. You’ll also have the chance to kayak in turquoise waters between islets and fishing boats.
Before dinner, we raise our anchor and set sail for Lysefjord. Its steep cliffs and stunning views make it a particular highlight of your cruise.
DAY 13: LYSEFJORD
On a hight Pulpit Rock
Your final day of exploration begins as we arrive at Mosterøy and Klosterøy in the morning, two of the myriad of islands that lie around the city of Stavanger. Mosterøy is a lovely island that is made up of a mixture of pastures for cattle, horticulture, and cute neighbourhoods all around. Klosterøy is less than a square mile in size but home to the historic Utstein Abbey and the 800-year old Utstein Church. The stone church is a protected site and while it seats up to 300 people, it is only used for special occasions. You’ll explore the abbey, Norway’s best-preserved medieval monastery. It is still hired out as a venue for concerts, seminars, and conventions today. So much so that it is even noted as a well-known hosting ground for conferences on emergency medicine. There will also be an optional excursion or to go out on the water in kayaks near Mosterøy.
Around lunch, we sail as deep as possible into imposing Lysefjord towards the iconic viewpoint at Preikestolen. Lysefjord is 40 kilometres long, up to 422 metres deep and boasts some of the most striking vertical cliffs of all the Norwegian fjords. Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, is perhaps the most famous tourist attraction in Norway and the popular subject of many social media posts. As we approach Preikestolen, we hope to be treated to a fine view of this incredible rock formation from below. We might also see the equally renown Kjæragbolten where a giant boulder seems precariously wedged in a mountain crevasse.
You’ll have an optional excursion to do the five-hour guided hike to the Preikestolen viewpoint 604 metres above Lysefjord. If you’ve remained on the ship, you can spend time out on deck drinking in the magnificent scenery, looking up at the majestic mountains towering above you. After a scenic cruise of the fjord and collecting our tired but exhilarated hikers, it’ll be time for us to set sail for Dover, sadly leaving the fjords, islands, and eventually the coast as a whole behind.
DAY 14: AT SEA
It’s our final day at sea and the last full day of this memorable expedition cruise. As we cross the North Sea, you may spot seabirds and dolphins that like to follow the ship.
Relive your wonderful experiences of coastal Norway as you edit your photographs, share stories with fellow guests over drinks in the Explorer Bar, soak up the fresh sea air in the comfort of the hot tub or out on deck. Fill in any knowledge gaps in the Science Center as you chat with Expedition Team members. You might also like to join their expedition review with a slideshow of all the highlights.
DAY 15: DOVER
Special Summer memories
We’ll sail past the white cliffs of Dover and into the English Channel during the early hours of the morning and finally dock at the city’s harbour. After breakfast, it’ll be time to say a fond farewell to everyone on MS Maud who have made your expedition so special.
As you head ashore, you’ll take with you, fantastic lifetime memories of Norway; wonderful fjords, impressive nature, fascinating towns and cities, and of course, all the friendly people you’ve met along the way. We hope you’ll join us for new adventures soon!