From Dover to the Arctic under Norway’s Midnight Sun
- Sail above the Arctic Circle to experience the magical glow of the Midnight Sun
- Visit Norway’s remote islands, idyllic fishing villages, and tranquil fjords few ever see
- Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
- Fine-dining À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm is included for suite guests
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore
- Range of included activities
- Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
- Use the ship’s Science Center, which features an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research
- The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
- The ship has hot tubs, a sauna, an outdoor and indoor gym, and an outdoor running track
- Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
- Trekking poles, head lamps, and walking poles are available if necessary. Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographers will help configure your camera settings before landings
- International flights
- Travel protection
- Baggage handling
- Optional shore excursions with our local partners
- Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
- Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area
- All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- Please ensure you can meet all entry and boarding requirements
- No gratuities are expected
Summer cruising from the White Cliffs - Dover, UK
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. As the weather is unpredictable, it may come in handy. Take time to settle into your cabin and explore the ship before attending a mandatory pre-departure safety drill.
With that, we’re off! MS Maud will embark on its summer adventure from Dover, heading northward 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 sea legs on deck and further acquaint yourself with the different areas of the ship, your home away from home for the next two weeks.
Enjoy your first dinner aboard the ship, one of many more delicious meals to come. Raise your glass and join the captain and crew in a toast to an enjoyable expedition. 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 members of the Expedition Team are local Norwegians who are very excited to show you their favorite aspects of their homes. But their number one priority will be to ensure that you and your fellow explorers are always safe and sound throughout your cruise. They’ll take you through the important health and safety principles you must keep in mind to have a smooth and safe journey.
Relaxation in the North Sea - At Sea
Enjoy a day at sea as we head north to the rugged Norwegian coastline. You’ll have time to unwind, relax and find the perfect mindset for this expedition cruise. Admire the waves from MS Maud’s expansive Observation Deck or settle into the Fredheim restaurant with a good book and a freshly baked pastry. Don’t forget to take full advantage of the gym and hot tubs!
You’ll also be invited to talks hosted by the Expedition Team who will enthusiastically share their extensive knowledge of Norway with you. Topics will change each day and will often be relevant to the area you’re sailing in. For example, our lectures of the day might explore the geology of the North Sea as we sail across it. Instead of in the Science Center, we might head on deck to learn about this sea, which is well-known for its oil and gas reserves divided among the UK, Norway, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands. These added insights will enhance your experience, filling your sense of discovery with delicious detail. The onboard professional photographer will also be available to give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos.
With calm seas and good weather conditions, we can expect to reach Bergen tomorrow afternoon. If the weather isn’t so cooperative, the captain will chart a course further north up the coast to stunning Hjørundfjord. This slower sail through Norway’s idyllic islands offers additional protection against unruly elements.
Historic coastal capital - Bergen, Norway
In the afternoon, you’ll get your first glimpse of the Norwegian coast. Small islands and mountain silhouettes draw closer. We leave the North Sea behind and enter the scenic straits and fjords. Weather permitting, we’ll start our visit in Bergen, one of Norway’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 colorful houses dotting the hillsides. Founded in 1070 A.D., Bergen was Norway’s capital for many years, given its perfect location as the gateway port for Hanseatic trade between Norway and Europe. The nation’s second-largest city has kept 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 small boutiques selling artisanal handicrafts. Opposite Bryggen is Bergen’s famous fish market, which includes stalls cooking sumptuous fresh seafood right in front of you. Take the funicular cable car up to Mount Fløyen for views of the acclaimed seven mountains. But if the sun’s out and it’s warm, what could be better than sitting outdoors at one of the many cafés or pubs? Sip on a pint (or two) of refreshing local Hansa beer and bask in the vibes of this buzzing city.
Hidden tranquility - Hjørundfjord, Norway
Like the famous Geirangerfjord next door, Hjørundfjord is part of the UNESCO-designated Fjords Norway area, which is notable for ‘exceptional natural beauty’. Unlike its neighbor (which can get a bit too popular in summer, frankly), Hjørundfjord is off the beaten tourist track and you can calmly bask in its beauty and tranquility. Surrounded by the Sunnmøre Alps, with peaks soaring over 5,500 feet straight up from the sea, it’s one of the most scenic fjords in all of Norway and still undiscovered by most other cruise lines.
On a clear day, you’ll get the full 360° sensory experience: the bluest skies, the greens of coniferous forests and pastures for grazing covering the mountainsides. The still, pristine waters reflect this superb scenery in all its glory, perfectly merging the fjord and the landscape. The steep mountains have made it almost impossible to cultivate the land here. Still, a few tiny farms cling to the slopes, and we will sail past small villages nestled along the shoreline.
The village of Urke is one of our options to go ashore and experience Norwegian nature and culture. Today’s lecture may touch on the geology of Norway, and how the mountains and fjords came to exist. Sign up for optional excursions to further explore the area. You can join a guided walk through villages along the Hjørundfjord and learn about the history, nature and royal connections of this splendid and gorgeous place. Raise your pulse on exhilarating excursions such as hiking up the mountain for incredible views. Or kayak the fjord, where exquisite silence is broken only by your paddle dipping into its waters.
Crossing the Arctic Circle - At Sea
We sail north along the rugged Helgeland coast toward Lofoten, following the sheltered coastal route that Hurtigruten pioneered almost 130 years ago. Even now, sailing these waters requires intensive crew training, and only specially certified ships are allowed to sail here. It's an experience you can only get with Hurtigruten.
There’ll be plenty to see out on deck as we pass the islands of Smøla and Frøya en route to Trondheimsleia. Small towns and villages will slowly come into view and then disappear on our way to magical Lofoten. We’ll sail past two sites that have inspired local lore involving trolls: the Seven Sisters mountain range and the unique mountain of Torghatten, with a hole in its middle.
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 as they travel across the planet. Or the Globe Observer project, which combines your observations of clouds and sky conditions with satellite data. Not only will you support the scientific community, but you’ll gain 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’s that ceremony about? You’ll just have to be out on deck to find out! We now enter northern Norway. For the next few days, we’ll sail alongside the warm glow of the 24-hour Midnight Sun.
Iconic Lofoten landscapes - Reine, Norway
Keep your eyes peeled as we approach to Lofoten, as a formidable wall of mountains awaits 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 idyllic fishing villages.
We’ll land in the picturesque town of Reine in the morning. You may recognize it; it’s one of the most photographed nature landscapes in Norway—for good reason. Iconic red fishing huts known as rorbuer dot the shoreline against a backdrop of granite peaks jutting out from the fjord. An included activity here includes a bus ride to the old, picturesque 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 that might very well be whipping up a fresh batch of lefse cakes. The local museum explains how cod fishing has been key to Norway’s establishment as a country.
From Reine, we sail to Trollfjord, a narrow waterway where vertical mountain walls loom above you. At the captain’s discretion and weather conditions permitting, you might get to experience ‘threading the needle’ as the ship sails into the fjord so close to the cliff walls that you’ll feel as though you can reach out and touch them. Once safely within the fjord, the ship will then turn 360° on the spot. Hold your breath as the ship maneuvers back out through the tight entrance. It’s a thrilling experience and a feat of superb seamanship. Thankfully, our Hurtigruten captains have that in spades!
North Cape under the Midnight Sun - Honningsvåg, Norway
We’ll spend the morning today sailing through Arctic Norway. Notice how the landscape and scenery has changed since Bergen and the Helgeland Coast. The weather is a usually a bit cooler here, too.
We’ll arrive at the small town of Honningsvåg in the late afternoon, where you’ll have the opportunity to visit one of the northernmost points in Europe as part of an included excursion. The scenic bus ride from Honningsvåg brings you past small bays and tiny villages, then crosses a mountain plateau before arriving at the spectacular North Cape. At 71°10’21´N, it is just 1,300 miles away from the Geographic North Pole, with only the Svalbard Archipelago in between. Stand at the cliff’s edge and gaze across the sparkling sea. The North Cape is likely the closest you’ll get to the top of the world. Take a moment to ponder the vastness of our planet while basking in the rays of the Midnight Sun. Snap the obligatory selfie at the Globe Monument before visiting the North Cape Hall for exhibits and a short film chronicling the cape’s history.
Back in Honningsvåg, stroll along the pretty harbor, and check out the charming shops, houses, and church. Local restaurants offer fresh fish and seafood, with king crab on the menu all year round, while summer is the season for stockfish. This is the ship’s turning point. From here, we start our return trip southbound.
A hub for Arctic summer adventure - Tromsø, Norway
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 peak summer and the town brims with nearly round-the-clock activities. There are lots of great hiking trails to explore and watersports around the harbor. Join the Expedition Team on optional excursions such as hikes, 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, along with a number of great restaurants specializing in fresh regional foods. It’s also rich in Arctic history and culture. The Expedition Team will share more with you about Tromsø‘s polar history and the history of polar exploration in one of their lectures. As the gateway to the Arctic, Tromsø was the starting point for many polar expeditions. It was also a very welcome first stop on the explorers’ return to civilization. Visit the Polar Museum to learn more about the famous explorers and expeditions originating from the city.
The modern 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 mountain towering over 1,390 feet high. Enjoy sweeping views of the city, mountains and fjords from the summit. If you are curious about Arctic marine life, the Polaria Arctic Experience Centre is a family-friendly aquarium where you can see the fish and seals that inhabit the region’s polar waters.
Microcosm of Norway - Senja, Norway
Today we dock at Senja, one of the most ruggedly beautiful and rarely-visited islands in Norway. This scenery will leave you awestruck and you’ll understand why it made CNN Travel’s list of ’10 of the world’s most beautiful islands’.
Senja is Norway’s second-biggest island, with fewer than 8,000 inhabitants, most of whom work in the fishing and aquaculture industries. The captain will decide where to drop anchor or which port where we can dock. Should the weather be rough on the coastal side, we’ll seek a bit more shelter in a bay or inlet.
Sometimes referred to as ‘Norway in miniature’, the island’s diverse landscapes seem to change in the blink of an eye. Senja’s northern coastline features lofty mountains that plummet straight into the sea, with isolated coves and sandy beaches along crystal-clear turquoise waters. Southern Senja boasts a rocky coastline and pine forests, and is home to Ånderdalen National Park. Senja’s eastern side has gentler, more forgiving landscapes, with rolling hills and birch forests. One of the best ways to see the island’s beautiful and contrasting topographies is a road trip along the National Scenic Route. Setting off from a local village, we’ll take a guided bus tour along part of the route and see Senja’s magnificent, untamed coastal landscapes. You’ll be amazed by the dark, jagged peaks of the Okshornan mountain range, which is aptly nicknamed the ‘Devil’s Jaw’. Meanwhile, the Expedition Team will tell you the intriguing tale of the Senja troll.
‘Friluftsliv’ in a little Hawaii - Træna, Norway
In the morning, we’ll 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 made up 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.
The community on the islands has a surprising Nordic-Hawaiian vibe, which is probably best appreciated in summer. Visit the permanent outdoor photography exhibition, the themed café, and even a local ‘Waikiki Beach’.
Similar to the Hawaiian spirit, Norwegians believe in their own philosophy of friluftsliv—a respect for nature and a love of the outdoors. Summer is the perfect time not just to learn about this philosophy, but to live it. Træna is a perfect place for you to try a host of optional excursions.
Remember though that this sea can be rough all year round. If weather prevents us from landing this far from the coast, we might take you to Svartisen Glacier instead, where you can join a hike to the glacier or go kayaking as an optional excursion. At approximately 143 square miles, Svartisen is Norway’s second-largest glacier, after Jostedalbreen, the Jostedal Glacier.
Small-city charm in ‘The Cod Capital’ - Kristiansund, Norway
Relax aboard the ship this morning. Maybe sunbathe on deck, work out in the gym, contribute to research in the Science Center, or practice your landscape photography.
After the past few days of exploring tranquil and isolated coastal settings, today will be a change of tempo. We dock at Kristiansund, one of the most densely populated cities in Norway. Its urban area spreads across four islands. The city boasts bustling waterfronts, scenic marinas, and distinctive architecture decorated in shades of red, yellow, and green. It’s a city that lives from and by the sea, whose industries include fishing, shipping, and oil and gas. Kristiansund is also known as Norway’s ‘Dried Cod Capital’ because of its historic export of the salted fish known in some places as bacalao and locally as klippfisk. If this topic sparks your interest, check out today’s lecture about cod, or head to the local Norwegian Bacalao Museum, housed in a 250-year-old building.
You’ll go on a guided walking tour and experience all this small city has to offer. There are also optional excursions to enjoy, including kayaking with local guides or a hike with the Expedition Team. Another optional excursion is a five-mile scenic drive along the famous Atlantic Ocean Road, whose eight uniquely designed, undulating bridges link a series of islands.
Life on the windswept islands - Værlandet, Norway
Today, we’ll explore the area around Værlandet, the westernmost islands of Norway and the outlet of the Sognefjord. At 3.5 square miles in size and a population of only 200 people, Værlandet is a small island even by Norwegian standards, rarely visited by cruise ships. The windswept islands in and around Værlandet face the North Sea and are exposed to the elements, in contrast to the sheltered fjords. Small communities do exist on these windswept islands that are dotted with small trees stunted and bent by the wind. The people here are engaged largely in the fishing industries, and a small amount of 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 the plants and animals of the coast.
Given their exposure to wind and waves, our itinerary around these islands is subject to the weather, even during the summer months. The ship will try to anchor off one of the islands or find shelter in a small bay. Small boats (RIBs) will take you to a location that gives you the best chance to explore these tiny islands on optional excursions. This might include visiting the little chapel and a 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 may also have the opportunity to kayak in the turquoise waters between islets and fishing boats.
Before dinner, we’ll raise our anchor and set sail for Lysefjord. Its steep cliffs and stunning views will likely make it a particular highlight of the cruise.
On a high at Pulpit Rock - Lysefjord, Norway
Your final day of exploration begins with Mosterøy and Klosterøy in the morning, two of the many islands located around the city of Stavanger. Mosterøy is a lovely island, made up of a mixture of cattle pastures, horticulture, and cute neighborhoods. Klosterøy is less than one square mile in size, but home to the historic Utstein Abbey and Utstein Church, more than 800 years old. The stone church is a protected site. It seats up to 300 people, but is only used for special occasions. Explore the abbey, Norway’s best-preserved medieval monastery. This abbey is still booked as a venue for concerts, seminars, and conventions. It’s actually a well-known site for hosting conferences on emergency medicine. There will also be an optional excursion to go out on the water in kayaks near Mosterøy.
Around lunch, we’ll sail as deep as possible into the imposing Lysefjord, toward the iconic viewpoint at Preikestolen. Lysefjord is 25 miles long, up to 1,384 feet deep, and boasts some of the most striking vertical cliffs of all the Norwegian fjords. Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, is probably the most famous tourist attraction. Hopefully we will be treated to a fine view of this incredible rock formation from below as we approach Preikestolen. We might also see the equally renown Kjæragbolten, where a giant boulder seems precariously wedged in a mountain crevasse.
We recommend taking the optional excursion to the Preikestolen viewpoint. This five-hour guided hike takes you nearly 2,000 feet above Lysefjord. If you decide to hang out on the ship, head out to the deck to bask in the magnificent scenery, and admire the majestic mountains towering above you. Following a scenic cruise of the fjord and after collecting our tired-but-exhilarated hikers, we’ll set sail for Dover, leaving the fjords, islands, and eventually the Norwegian coast behind.
Homeward bound - At Sea
Our final day at sea is also the last full day of this memorable expedition cruise. As we cross the North Sea, keep an eye out for the seabirds and dolphins that like to follow the ship.
Relive your wonderful experiences from coastal Norway sharing stories with your shipmates over a drink in the Explorer Bar or editing your photos. Or, soak up the fresh sea air in the comfort of a hot tub or out on deck. Go to the Science Center and chat with the Expedition Team members, asking them any questions you may have. Be sure to join the Expedition Team’s slideshow of all the trip’s highlights.
Special summer memories - Dover, U.K.
We’ll sail past the White Cliffs of Dover and into the English Channel during the early hours of the morning, then dock at the city harbor. After breakfast, the time will come to bid a fond farewell to MS Maud and everyone who made your expedition so special.
As you head ashore, you’ll carry your lifelong memories of Norway with you, including wonderful fjords, impressive nature, fascinating towns and cities, and of course the people you’ve met along the way. We hope you’ll join again for another adventure soon!