Norway is known for its winter sports, beautiful fjords, the Northern Lights and the midnight sun. I went to Norway in the winter expressly to see the Northern Lights and was not disappointed as I saw them the first night we crossed the Arctic Circle. I took a 12 day cruise with Hurtigruten from Bergen to Kirkenes and back, spending 8 days in the Arctic Circle. Hurtigruten guarantee you a free 6 day cruise if the Northern Lights fail to appear between November and March each year.
The cruise was on MS Spitsbergen, their newest ship, with excellent cabins and good facilities. Their fleet is small ships and ours held only 243 passengers. There are several ports each day as the company services the small villages along the coast with mail and food supplies. If you stop in a port going north during the night, you will stop during the day on the return journey. Some stops are only for half an hour but the bigger towns have optional excursions you may join and a longer stop. There is an expedition team on board with regular lectures but little in the way of entertainment. We booked several excursions but 2 were cancelled due to high winds and avalanche risk. A favourite was the husky dog sledge ride and the snow hotel but the snowmobile ride was unfortunately cancelled.
We spent a day in Oslo on arrival and visited the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which was very impressive with hundreds of stone sculptures.
The following day we took a sightseeing trip to Bergen, by train, ferry, bus and train. It snowed on the way and on the ferry there was low cloud so the fjord was not at it’s best. We plowed through ice at the end of the 2nd fjord. We saw a frozen waterfall on the way down to Flam.
The city of Bergen is very picturesque. We took the funicular up Mt Floyen for fabulous views.