Bright Lights in Norway

Resort: Bright Lights in Norway
Operator: Saga
Destination: Norway
Price From: £2915.00

Prepare to be spellbound

Seek out Norway’s mesmerising Northern Lights and enjoy a host of active winter experiences such as skiing in Narvik, a husky-sled ride and sleeping overnight in a cosy Arctic pod! We’ve planned an overnight sojourn in Alta too. Known as the ‘Town of the Northern Lights’, there’s an included an excursion here to increase your odds of sighting the aurora borealis. You can also look forward to visiting the bustling fishing town of Kålvag, which is a new port for Saga.

Saga price includes…

  • A Northern Lights excursion worth £150
  • Complimentary Arctic jacket
  • All meals on board, including 24-hour room service
  • A choice of wines at lunch and dinner
  • All on-board gratuities
  • Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
  • Entertainment and activities
  • Welcome cocktail party and Captain’s dinner
  • All port taxes and visas
  • UK mainland travel service to and from Portsmouth

Itinerary

Portsmouth

Embark Saga Pearl II.

Depart 1600.

Portsmouth is one of the most densely populated cities in Southern England, and is unusual as most of its built-up area occupies Portsea Island, which is linked to the mainland by road and rail bridges. Although there is a Roman fort at nearby Portchester, which was occupied later by both the Saxons and the Normans, there was no settlement on the site of Portsmouth at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086. The town developed in medieval times and received its first charter in 1194 from King Richard the Lionheart; soon afterwards it developed into a permanent naval base. It has the world’s oldest continuously used dry dock, and is home to several famous ships, including HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose, which millions of television viewers watched being raised from the Solent in 1982. Portsmouth remains an important naval base and is home to a large proportion of the British service fleet. The waterfront area is now dominated by the Spinnaker Tower, 560 feet high, which is the United Kingdom’s tallest building outside London. Other things to see in the city include the house where Charles Dickens was born, and the City Museum, which contains a permanent exhibition devoted to another famous writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who lived in the town.

FactFile

Population

205,400 (approximate)

Language

English

Currency

Pound sterling

Time Difference

N/A

Climate

Portsmouth experiences an oceanic climate, with cool winters and mild to warm summers.

Ship berths at

Portsmouth International Port

Distance from Centre

½-mile

Distance from gangway to coach

Coaches can pull up immediately outside the terminal building.

Useful Information

Shopping

The nearest shops to the terminal are in Gunwharf Quays, near the Spinnaker Tower.

Shopping Opening Hours

Most shops are open Monday to Friday 0900-2000, Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 1100-1700.

Post Office

The main Post Office is in Slindon Street, near Portsmouth & Southsea railway station.

Tourist Office

The Tourist Information Office is on Clarence Esplanade. Telephone: 023 9282 6722.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber’s number.

Emergency Services

Dial 999.

Banks

All main UK banks have branches in the city centre, and there are ATMs in the Cruise Terminal.

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Bergen

Arrive 0800. Depart 1600.

Surrounded by mountains and sparkling fjords, the waterside city of Bergen has a spectacular setting. There has been a settlement here since medieval times and the colourful waterfront buildings of the Hanseatic wharf, known as Bryggen, are testament to its fascinating history of trade. As Norway’s best known medieval settlement, the Bryggen is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Our comprehensive selection of excursions allows you to discover the many sides of Bergen, such as the fish market and narrow cobbled streets, as well as stunning views of the city from the summit of Mt Fløyen. Alternatively, those who have visited the city previously may like to experience one of the tours that travel further afield. Just 300 yards from the main piers, you will find the Fortress Museum (Fesningsmuseum), which has an interesting collection of objects related to World War II.

FactFile

Population

280,000 (approximate)

Language

Norwegian

Currency

Norwegian Kroner

Time Difference

UK+1

Climate

Temperate with frequent rain

Ship berths at

Bontelabo or Jekteviken Cruise Terminal, or Skolten Pier

Distance from Centre

Up to half-a-mile

Distance from gangway to coach

Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

Shops can be found along the Hanseatic Wharf and at the Galleriet Shopping Centre.

Shopping Opening Hours

Open from Monday to Saturday from 1000-2000. A limited number of shops are open on Sundays.

Post Office

Bergen Sentrum Postkontor, Småstrandgaten 3. Open Monday to Friday 0900-1800 and Saturday 1000-1500.

Tourist Office

The Turistinformasjonen Bergen is located on the 1st Floor of the new Mathallen indoor fishmarket at Strandkaien 3. Opening hours are 0830-2000.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Dial 113 for an ambulance, 112 for the police and 110 for the fire service.

Banks

Forex Bank at Strandkaien 2B is close to the Fish Market and Tourist Office. Open Monday to Friday 0900-1900 and Saturday 1000-1730. ATMs are available.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

A Taste of Hardanger

Go sightseeing around the beautiful Hardanger region on this excursion. First take a short orientation drive through Bergen, passing the fish and flower markets, the 13th-century Bergenshus Fortress, medieval King HÃ¥kon’s Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower. Leaving the city behind, your scenic journey cuts through a variety of landscapes following the Hardangerfjord and passes through quaint market towns along the way to Hardanger. After passing the Kvamskogen mountain plateau and Fossen Bratte waterfall you will pause at a second waterfall, Steinsdalsfossen, where you can actually walk behind the curtain of water without getting wet. Your drive continues to the village of Øystese. Hardanger is renowned as a prime fruit-growing region, and is especially prized for its apples, which have been growing here since the 14th century. You can admire the fruit farms on the hillside of the fjord. At a local hotel by the fjord you will enjoy a light lunch served with musical accompaniment, before returning via the same scenic route to Bergen.

Although this tour requires just a few yards of walking, some of it is over uneven ground with a handful of steps and thresholds. In addition, if Steinsdalsfossen Waterfall is not frozen, you may have the opportunity to walk behind it. Extra care should be taken as this is a 200-yard walk, up a steeply sloped path that is likely to be very slippery. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with comfortable, flat-soled walking shoes. Views will depend on the weather.

Bergen City Highlights

This tour allows you to discover more about Bergen’s long seafaring history. Your morning begins by passing the Royal Hall, Haakonshallen and the old buildings of Bryggen, known as the Hanseatic Wharf and listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Then continue to the Old Bergen Museum for a guided tour through the exterior of the museum area, before driving to the Fantoft Stave Church situated about 20 minutes from the city centre. Here you stop for a guided tour of the church, which has been painstakingly rebuilt using traditional methods after a fire in 1992 destroyed the original 12th-century building. Finally take a thrilling cable car ride to the top of Mt Ulriken, which at just over 2,000 ft is the highest of the seven mountains that surround Bergen and from where spectacular views, not just of the city, but also the fjords, sea and mountains, can all be enjoyed.

To access the cable car there is a 100-yard walk with a few steps. Further walking at the Old Bergen Museum area is over steep uneven surfaces and cobblestones. Views from Mt Ulriken may be spoilt by inclement weather. In the event of the cable car being closed due to high winds, then a funicular ride to Mount Fløyen will be substituted. Also, the visit to Fantoft Stave Church requires a slight uphill walk of about 150 yards on an uneven footpath. Depending on traffic, these sights may be seen in a different order.

Bergen City Panoramic

This panoramic excursion starts with a drive through Sandviken or ‘Sandy Bay’, where you can see many charming white wooden buildings built in the traditional Bergen style. On your return pass beautiful St Mary’s Church, the oldest building in Bergen and one of the few Romanesque buildings in Norway. Then take a funicular ride to a height of 1,000 feet up Mount Fløyen, one of the seven mountains that surround Bergen, for a bird’s eye view of the city below. Discover the well-known fish market, now housed in a stunning new glass building, before continuing to the Nordnes Peninsula for a photo-stop at the old customs pier. Next, travel past the Bergen Aquarium: near here you can glimpse a typical narrow Bergen street, known as a ‘smug’. Pass Bergen Theatre and drive into the Hakonsgaten for a glimpse of St John’s Church. Your tour finishes with a drive past the Grieg Hall, the busy Danmarksplass intersection, Haukeland University Hospital and Kalfaret, a residential area with many charming old buildings.

Whilst walking on this excursion is mainly at your discretion, there is a 100-yard walk with a few steps to access the funicular. However, a lift is available at both the top and bottom stations. No other entrances are included on this tour. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes. Views from Mount Fløyen may be spoilt by inclement weather. Depending on traffic, the sights may be seen in a different order.

Norwegian Landscapes and the Flåm Railway

This comprehensive day-long tour heads first to Voss, a popular winter resort set beside a peaceful lake. Here you board a train for one of Europe’s most impressive rail journeys, which will take you through valleys, past rivers and under mountains. At Myrdal you change trains and descend the famous FlÃ¥msbana railway line to the tiny village of FlÃ¥m, beautifully set alongside the mammoth Sognefjord. En-route, stop at the stunning Kjösfossen Waterfall, disembarking the train to take photographs of this stunning panorama. You then travel by coach through two long tunnels to Gudvangen, which translates as ‘worship place of the heathen gods’. Enjoy unrivalled mountain scenery as you pass Oppheim Lake and arriving at Tvinde Waterfall. After a short stop to admire the foaming rapids of the falls, you return to Voss where you will have lunch in one of the local hotels. Afterwards enjoy some free time to explore the town, perhaps visiting the beautiful 13th-century stone church which managed to remain standing despite some heavy bombing in the area during World War II. Finally, you re-board the coach and return directly to Bergen.

There are three steep steps to board the train. At some stops there may be a wide gap between the platform and the train. Walking at all the stops is mainly at your discretion. Please note that there are many tunnels on this tour and few comfort stops. Please advise the Shore Excursion Manager on board the ship of any dietary requests, at least 48hrs before arrival in Bergen.

Iconic Norway

This comprehensive day-long tour heads first to Voss, a popular winter resort set beside a peaceful lake. Here you board a train for one of Europe’s most impressive rail journeys, which will take you through valleys, past rivers and under mountains. At Myrdal you change trains and descend to the tiny village of FlÃ¥m, beautifully set alongside the mammoth Sognefjord. En route, stop at the stunning Kjössfossen Waterfall, disembarking the train to take photographs of this stunning panorama. You then travel by coach to Gudvangen, which translates as ‘worship place of the gods’. Enjoy unrivalled mountain scenery as you tackle several hairpin bends and ascend Norway’s steepest road, the famous Stalheimskleivene. Next, enjoy a buffet lunch at the Stalheim Hotel, packed with antiques, furniture and paintings, before passing Oppheim Lake and arriving at the Tvinde Waterfall. After a short stop to admire the foaming rapids of the falls, return to Voss. Here you will have some free time to explore the town, perhaps seeing the beautiful 13th-century stone church. Finally, return to Bergen, arriving in time for dinner on board.

There are three steep steps to board the train and at some stops there can be a wide gap between the platform and the train. Walking at all stops is mainly at your discretion. This excursion must be booked in advance and cannot be booked on board ship.

Images of Grieg

This interesting tour reveals the legacy of Bergen’s most famous son, the world-renowned composer Edvard Grieg, who was born in the city in 1843. Begin by travelling into Bergen’s suburbs passing King HÃ¥kon’s Hall, the Rosenkrantz Tower, the colourful Bryggen area and the fish market. Continue to the village of Paradis to visit Troldhaugen, which was Grieg’s home from 1885 until his death in 1907. Enjoy a guided tour of the beautifully-furnished villa which has been preserved just as it was when the composer died, with many of his possessions, including his Steinway piano, still in situ. In the concert hall next to the villa, attend a piano recital of Grieg’s music, before heading back to your ship.

This tour involves walking a minimum of 500 yards at Troldhaugen. There are also around a dozen steps up to the front door of the villa. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes.

Åndalsnes

Arrive 0800. Depart 1630.

A small town in Norway’s fjord country, Ã…ndalsnes is a gateway to the rugged wilderness of the Romsdalfjord. Known as the ‘village between the mountains and the fjords’, it typifies Norway’s striking natural beauty with its setting on a promontory lined by alps and set at the mouth of the Rauma River. The town itself is tucked under the lofty mountain peaks, backed by lush, green scenery. Nearby is the impressive Trollveggen, or ‘Troll Wall’, which at 6,000 feet is Europe’s highest vertical cliff face and is often topped by cloud. The precipice is said to be the ultimate trial for rock climbers, who regularly flock here to accept the challenge. Ã…ndalsnes is also the terminus of the famous Rauma Railway which runs 70 miles alongside the emerald-green Rauma river and through some of Norway’s most spectacular scenery to DombÃ¥s (2160 feet above sea level) where it then connects to the main Oslo to Trondheim line.

FactFile

Population

7,500 (approximate)

Language

Norwegian

Currency

Norwegian Kroner

Time Difference

UK+1

Climate

Temperate with frequent rain

Ship berths at

Natokaien

Distance from Centre

Approximately 300 yards

Distance from gangway to coach

Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

There are a wide selection of shops in the town and also at a shopping centre 1½ miles from the pier

Shopping Opening Hours

Most are open Monday to Friday from 1000-1700 and on Saturday 1000-1500

Post Office

The Post Office situated in the Coop Extra Åndalsnes store located at STRANDGATA 1 6300 ÅNDALSNES. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 0700-2300 and Saturday 0800-2200.

Tourist Office

There is not a Tourist Office located in the town.

How to Phone Home

Dial 00 44 followed by the STD code (omitting the first 0) and then the number

Emergency Services

Dial 113 for an ambulance, 112 for police and 110 for the fire service

Banks

The Sparebanken Møre Bank is located in Jernbanegate about 100 yards from the pier. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 0900-1530. It is closed weekends, but there is a 24-hour ATM

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Musk Ox Safari

The vast Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park extends to some 650 sq miles and is the only place in Norway and Europe, and one of the few remaining places on earth, where you can still see the mighty musk oxen. Your hiking tour commences with a leisurely two hour drive through the Romsdalen Valley where you will pass Troll Wall, Europe’s highest vertical rock face. You continue across the truss bridge at Sogge and through Bjorli before finally arriving in DombÃ¥s. Here an expert guide will come onboard the coach and together you will travel for a further half an hour to the realm of the musk ox. On the way the guide will explain about the life of these fascinating animals and their habitats and how they first came to Dovrefjell. Having arrived at a suitable spot, closest to where the animals are expected to be on the day, you will commence your three or four hour hike through the national park. After about a mile you will reach Snøhetta viewpoint some 4000 feet above sea level. Having paused to admire the picturesque views across the park to the snow-capped peaks of the Snøhetta Mountain in the distance, you continue your hike in search of the Musk Ox but stopping enroute also to admire the ever changing flora of the area, including some species which are not seen elsewhere in Norway. Whilst sightings of Musk Ox cannot of course be guaranteed, you would be unlucky not to see at least one, as well as the occasional reindeer and ptarmigan. Following your exhilarating hike you will reboard the coach and continue to a mountain lodge for a light meal, before commencing the 80 mile journey back to Ã…ndalsnes.

The hike will last up to 4 hours and is expected to cover several miles over rough terrain as well as established paths. Please bear in mind that you will only be able to observe the musk oxen from a safe distance of approximately 200 yards and not approach them close up. The only available bathrooms will be at the viewpoint and mountain lodge. Remember to bring binoculars as well as your camera. Insect repellent is also recommended.

Scenic Romsdal

Join this leisurely panoramic drive to view the famous Troll Wall and visit one of Norway’s few remaining stave churches. Travelling north from Ã…ndalsnes you follow the banks of the Romsdalsfjord through the village of Isfjorden, known for its many small clothing and woodworking factories, to Lerheim where your journey then continues alongside the Rødvenfjord to the ancient stave church, dating back to 1300. Since 1907, when a new church was built across the road, Rødven stave church has been owned by the Society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments and now only holds one service a year on the eve of St Olav’s Day. The church’s interior furnishings and decorations mainly date from the 1600 and 1700s but the wooden crucifix is older and goes back to the 13th century. Returning by a similar route, you will continue beyond Ã…ndalsnes and drive south along the scenic Romsdalen Valley to a viewpoint in front of the stunning Trollveggen. The Troll Wall forms part of Trolltinden (Troll Peaks), and at 3600 feet is Europe’s tallest vertical rock face. Having witnessed this impressive feat of nature, you then return to the ship in Ã…ndalsnes.

This excursion requires less than 100 yards walking with a couple of high threshold steps to access the church and pews inside. Walking at the Troll Wall viewpoint will be at your own discretion. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes. Flash photography is not permitted inside the stave church.

The Rauma Railway

Step aboard the scenic Rauma Railway for a train ride through some of the most spectacular mountain formations in Norway. After walking the short distance to the railway station in Ã…ndalsnes, board the train and ride 35 miles along the line to Bjorli, while admiring the picture-postcard scenes from the large panoramic windows. Throughout the journey several stops will be made allowing you to take photographs of the dramatic scenery from the train. Your ride will take you along the course of the Rauma River, ascending the Romsdal Valley and passing the Horn of Romsdal and the ‘Troll Wall’ mountain face. You will see many waterfalls, cross several bridges, and ride through two ‘turning tunnels’ which allow the train to ascend further up into the valley. Then, cross over the Kylling Bridge from where there is a dramatic view of the river flowing into a canyon below. After alighting the train at Bjorli Station your mode of transport changes, and you take a coach drive through one of Norway’s most beautiful valleys, surrounded by impressive peaks rising straight up from the valley floor. Pause at the Slettafossen waterfall viewpoint and get a closer look at the ‘Troll Wall’, Europe’s highest perpendicular mountain wall, before returning to your ship at Ã…ndalsnes.

This excursion requires walking approximately 450 yards in total, with a few steps to board and disembark the train. Any further walking at the photo stops is at your own discretion. For half the group the itinerary will operate in reverse, travelling first by coach and then boarding the train in Bjorli. Please be aware that places for this excursion are restricted, especially during the winter months when the number of train departures is quite limited, so early prebooking is essential. Photo Credit: Leif J Olestad.

The Rauma Railway

Step aboard the scenic Rauma Railway for a train ride through some of the most spectacular mountain formations in Norway. After walking the short distance to the railway station in Ã…ndalsnes, board the train and ride 35 miles along the line to Bjorli, while admiring the picture-postcard scenes from the large panoramic windows. Your ride will take you along the course of the Rauma River, ascending the Romsdal Valley and passing the Horn of Romsdal and the ‘Troll Wall’ mountain face. You will see many waterfalls, cross several bridges, and ride through two ‘turning tunnels’ which allow the train to ascend further up into the valley. Then, cross over the Kylling Bridge from where there is a dramatic view of the river flowing into a canyon below. After alighting the train at Bjorli Station your mode of transport changes, and you take a coach drive through one of Norway’s most beautiful valleys, surrounded by impressive peaks rising straight up from the valley floor. Pause at the Slettafossen waterfall viewpoint and get a closer look at the ‘Troll Wall’, Europe’s highest perpendicular mountain wall, before returning to your ship at Ã…ndalsnes.

This excursion requires walking approximately 450 yards in total, with a few steps to board and disembark the train. Any further walking at the photo stops is at your own discretion. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes.For half the group the itinerary will operate in reverse, travelling first by coach and then boarding the train in Bjorli. Photo Credit: Leif J Olestad.

The Trolls Wall and Romsdalen Valley

On this leisurely panoramic drive you will pass beautiful mountain scenery and foaming rapids as you follow the Rauma River up to Bjorli. Your first photo stop after leaving Ã…ndalsnes will be at a viewpoint at the foot of Trollsveggen, the Trolls Wall. Forming part of the Trolltinden peaks, the 3600ft high Trollveggen is Europe’s tallest vertical overhanging rock face. On the opposite side of the valley, the majestic Romsdalshorn peak towers to a height of over 5000ft. Continuing along the narrow valley beside the banks of the foaming salmon river, Rauma, you eventually reach Bjorli Ski Centre which is situated at 1800ft above sea level . Enjoy refreshments here at the Bjorligard Hotel before returning back along a similar route and, weather conditions permitting, pausing near Verma to admire a particularly pretty stretch of the River Rauma as it flows rapidly through a deep gorge to form the Slettafossen Waterfall.

Walking to access the Bjorligard Hotel and the Trolls Wall viewpoint will amount to less than 100 yards and just the occasional step. To view the Slettafossen Waterfall will involve walking a further 100 yards over uneven and possibly icy surfaces.

Twilight Moose Safari

On this pleasant excursion you travel to the Fokstumyra Nature Reserve for a great chance of spotting the elusive moose. Your drive commences with a leisurely two hour drive through the Romsdalen Valley where you will pass Troll Wall, Europe’s highest vertical rock face. You continue across the truss bridge at Sogge and through Bjorli before finally arriving in DombÃ¥s. Here an expert guide will come onboard the coach and together you will drive through Dovre National Park to the realm of the moose in Fokstumyra Nature Reserve. The moose is the largest species in the deer family and are nervous solitary animals. Whilst sightings, cannot be guaranteed of course, the moose does become more active towards the evening, so twilight is the best time of day to see these ‘kings of the forest’ and your expert guide normally manages to find them. Although generally slow-moving and sedentary, the shy moose can become agitated and move surprisingly quickly if startled, so its important to be quiet and avoid sudden movements when you see one. After spending approximately two hours driving in the nature reserve you will enjoy a light meal at a mountain lodge before embarking on the return journey to Ã…ndalsnes. Hopefully having spotted several moose as well as red deer and some interesting species of birds too.

Walking on this excursion will not amount to more than 500 yards as the safari is mainly carried out from the comfort of your coach. There will be a couple of steps to negotiate at the mountain lodge where the meal is served. Remember to bring binoculars as well as your camera.

Cross the Arctic Circle.

Tromsø

Arrive 0800 on February 20. Depart 1800 on February 21.

With its centre located on the island of Tromsø, the municipality of Tromsø is more than five times the size of Norway’s capital, Oslo, and is the world’s northernmost university city. Lying 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle, it is known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ because it was used as a starting point for hunters looking for Arctic foxes, polar bears and seals. In the 19th century it was a base for explorers on Arctic expeditions – a history that is remembered in the city’s Polar Museum, which you can visit on an excursion. Also commemorated in the area is the history of Norway’s indigenous people, the Sami. Visitors can learn about the traditions, heritage and modern preservation of the Sami culture at the Tromsø Museum. Nowadays, Tromsø is a charming mix of old and new, with wooden buildings sitting alongside contemporary architecture such as the impressive glacier-like Arctic Cathedral, which features one of the largest stained glass windows in Europe. Looking down on the city is Mount Storsteinen, and a cable car runs to the top, giving wonderful views over the surrounding countryside of forested peaks and reindeer pastures.

FactFile

Population

72,681 (approximate)

Language

Norwegian

Currency

Norwegian Kroner

Time Difference

UK+1

Climate

Cold with a risk of snow showers

Ship berths at

Prostneset or Breivika Pier

Distance from Centre

200 yards or three miles, depending on pier

Distance from gangway to coach

Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

The Nærstranda Steen og Strøm Shopping Centre has a good selection of shops.

Shopping Opening Hours

Usually 1000-2000 Monday to Friday and 1000-1800 on Saturdays.

Post Office

The Post Office is located at Strandgata 41 and is open Monday to Friday from 0800-1800, and 1000-1800 on Saturdays.

Tourist Office

The Tourist Office is located at Kirkegata 2. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 0900-1600, and 1000-1600 on Saturday.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Dial 113 for an ambulance, 112 for police and 110 for the fire service.

Banks

Banks are open Monday to Friday 0900-1530. 24-hour ATMs are located at Storgata 65 and Sjøgata 8.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

An Overview of Tromsø

Your tour begins with a short drive to the Tromsø Museum, where you can enjoy a guided tour and learn about the challenges facing the native Sami people as they struggle to preserve their way of life. Continue with a drive past Lake Prestvatn and the Meteorological Institute, as well as the world-renowned Northern Lights Observatory. Pass by the place where Hitler’s Tirpitz (sister ship of the Bismarck) was finally sunk by British Lancasters in November 1944, and discover the modern architecture of the breathtaking Arctic Cathedral, a mighty structure dominated by a beautiful stained glass window depicting the Resurrection of Christ. Then take a thrilling cable car ride up Mount Storsteinen for a stunning bird’s eye view of the city and its surroundings before returning to your ship.

The guided tour of the museum involves climbing one flight of stairs. Walking at the cable car amounts to 100 yards and involves 60 steps. You will need to remain standing during the cable car ride. There is a further walk of 100 yards up a fairly steep incline and a few steps to enter the cathedral.

City Panoramic and Planetarium

Your tour begins with a drive around the city of Tromsø before you proceed past Lake Prestvatn and to the Meteorological Institute and former Northern Lights Observatory. Pass by the place where Hitler’s Tirpitz (sister ship of the Bismark) was finally sunk by British Lancasters in November 1944 before arriving at the Science Centre Planetarium which is based at the world’s northernmost university campus and boasts a 360£° multimedia screen. Here you have the opportunity to watch a fascinating film about the Aurora Borealis and to learn more about this mystical phenomenon. As you continue your tour and drive across Tromsø Bridge you will begin to appreciate the modern architecture of the breathtaking Arctic Cathedral, a mighty structure in the shape of an iceberg which is clad in aluminium. This distinctive and memorable building was consecrated in 1965 and is dominated by a beautiful stained glass window depicting the Resurrection of Christ. which was designed by Viktor Sparre and is one of the largest stained glass windows in Europe.

Walking at the Planetarium amounts to not more than 100 yards with 20 steps to negotiate inside, although a lift is available. There is a further walk of 100 yards up a fairly steep incline and a few steps to enter the cathedral. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes.

Overview of Tromsø

Your tour begins with a short drive to the Tromsø Museum, where you can enjoy a guided tour and learn about the challenges facing the native Sami people as they struggle to preserve their way of life. Continue with a drive past the Meteorological Institute, as well as the world-renowned Northern Lights Observatory. Pass the place where Hitler’s battleship Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck, was sunk by British Lancaster bombers in November 1944, and discover the modern architecture of the breathtaking Arctic Cathedral, a mighty structure dominated by a beautiful stained glass window depicting the Resurrection of Christ. Then take a thrilling cable-car ride up Mount Storsteinen for a stunning bird’s eye view of the city and its surroundings, before concluding your tour at the world’s most northerly botanical gardens to admire their fine displays of Arctic and alpine plants.

The guided tour of the museum involves climbing one flight of stairs. Walking to the cable-car amounts to 100 yards and involves 60 steps: there may be a long queue before boarding, and you will need to remain standing during the ride. There is a further walk of 100 yards up a fairly steep slope and a few steps to enter the cathedral. The botanical gardens are situated on a moderate incline, and whilst the precise amount of walking is at your discretion, you should expect to cover about 200 yards. Guiding inside the Arctic Cathedral is prohibited, so your guide will give an explanation before you go in. Access to the interior may be restricted in the unlikely event of our visit clashing with a religious service.

Polar Museum and Polaria

This interesting excursion first takes you over to Troms Island to visit the Polar Museum, located in an old customs warehouse dating from 1830. The museum is home to several fascinating exhibits and displays relating to the early polar expeditions, hunting and trapping. Following time to browse at leisure, continue to the Polaria adventure centre. Opened in 1998, this modern building brings to life the wildlife and environment of the polar regions. Enter the large panoramic cinema to watch films about the Aurora Borealis and Arctic Wilderness, which takes you on an airborne trip along the west coast of Spitsbergen. You can then walk along the Arctic Trail to experience first hand some elements of Arctic nature, including a snowstorm, the tundra and the Northern Lights. Next, visit the aquarium and touch pools which are brimming with aquatic life, including bearded seals and fish from the Barents Sea. Perhaps browse the interesting gift shop, before heading back to the ship.

This excursion requires approximately 200 yards of walking. In addition, to reach the Amundsen and Nansen exhibitions at the Polar Museum, it is necessary to climb a flight of 15 steps.

Reindeer Sledding and Sami Experience

Departing the pier you will drive to the other side of Troms Island and then across the 1335-yard long Sandnessund Bridge to Whale Island, where the Tromsø Friluftsenter is situated, a journey of approximately half an hour. Upon arrival you will be greeted by your Sami hosts who will explain a little about the centre and activities offered. You will then be taken to where a small herd of specially trained reindeer are waiting to take you on an old fashioned sled ride. During the next half hour you will travel quietly through the pristine Norwegian winter landscape, hearing nothing but the jingle of the reindeers’ bells as they meander sedately along. After your sledding experience you will be served coffee and Bidos, a traditional sami meal consisting of vegetables and reindeer meat, in a lavvo tent. Your guide will then tell stories about the Sami people, their history and way of life, and demonstrate the art of lasso throwing, which you will also have the opportunity of trying for yourself. You will then return to the city having experienced a glimpse of Sami life.

This excursion will involve walking a total of 300 yards much of which will be over uneven ground covered in snow. Warm clothing is essential so we recommend you wear warm trousers, jacket, hat, scarf and gloves. Please also wear warm, waterproof boots.

The Sami Story

The Sami people are indigenous Finno-Urgic people who inhabit the Arctic areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. They are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognised and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples, and are the northernmost indigenous people of Europe. This tour will introduce you to their history and traditions. A visit to Tromsø Museum, the largest in northern Norway, will tell you about their history through two comprehensive exhibitions. This is followed by a visit to a Sami camp, where you will meet real Sami people and hear from them about their way of living. Tromsø Lapland employs only Sami guides, who will tell you about reindeer and reindeer herders. You have the opportunity of seeing reindeer as they have a small herd of between ten and 15 in the camp. You may learn how to throw a lasso, as reindeer herders catch their own reindeer. About 10% of the Sami are involved with reindeer herding, out of whom 2,800 are employed on a full-time basis. For traditional, environmental, cultural and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sami people in certain regions of the Nordic countries. Your hosts will invite you into a lavvu, a tent where you will be entertained with a ‘joik’ – a traditional Sami folk song. You should leave Tromsø with a much better understanding of the proud Sami people, their origin, their history and their vision for the future.

You should expect to walk up to 200 yards across variable terrain. There is one long flight of between 25 and 30 stairs at the Museum.

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