We’ve booked our next adventure, this time we’re off to colder climes on a cruise expedition to discover the Arctic in December.
The Northern Lights were definitely on our travel bucket list, so when an opportunity arose to take a 4 day cruise along the coast of Norway and spend a night in Tromsø “The capital of the Arctic”, where we are likely to encouter the fabulous Aurora Borealis, we didn’t hesitate.
We are travelling with Hurtigruten, who are an expedition company first, rather than a cruise line. Their clients are generally new to cruising and include all ages and abilities, they have a great motto that “It’s an Attitude not an age”.
Our itinerary aboard the MS Finnmarken includes return flights with Germania from London to Norway. Prices start from £799 per person for this package, which includes flights, cabin with half board accommodation and an overnight hotel with breakfast.
Fly to Tromsø, the gateway to the Arctic
Fly direct from the UK to Tromsø, the Gateway to the Arctic, and perhaps enjoy the sights of this lively, compact city before boarding the ship and departing late in the afternoon. (Dinner on board)
Honningsvåg and the North Cape
Following the scenic sailing through Magerøysund and after an early stop in Hammerfest, you arrive in Honningsvåg. This small port is the gateway to the wonders of the spectacular North Cape (optional excursion). At 71° 10’ 21” N it puts you a mere 2 000 kilometres from the Geographical North Pole. This evening, you pass Finnkirka, a rock formation that is sacred to the indigenous Sami people and now also the site of an impressive light show. (Breakfast and dinner included)
Kirkenes, the voyage turning point
The last port on the Voyage North is Kirkenes. And at longitude 30° E, you are actually further east than Istanbul and St. Petersburg. The terrain, culture and geography of Kirkenes offer the opportunity to take part in some fabulous Arctic excursions. Departing Kirkenes at lunchtime, you retrace your steps along the Varanger peninsula reaching Berlevåg in the evening. (Breakfast and dinner included).
Hammerfest and Tromsø
Your first major stop of the day is Hammerfest. Here, you can enjoy an optional excursion including a visit to Hammerfest’s UNESCO World Heritage site, the Meridian Column, commemorating the conclusion of Struve’s historical measurement of the globe. From here, you next major stop will be Tromsø where your voyage comes to an end. Transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay. (Breakfast and dinner included).
After breakfast in your hotel this morning, a choice of winter excursions are available before you are transferred to Tromsø airport for your direct flight back to the UK (Breakfast included).
If you’re wondering what to pack for an Arctic expedition, help is at hand…..
I Imagine that it’s going to feel slightly strange travelling from the Canary Islands where we are used to a minimum of 6 hours sunshine a day, and an average temperature that only fluctuates by 10 °C. The average temperature in Tromsø during December is -3°C (27°F) with zero hours of sunshine and 105mm of rain.
We’re looking forward to our Arctic Highlights holiday and first cruise experience, it will be interesting comparing this trip with a 3 day visit to Rovaniemi we did some years ago.