Respected cruise writer Anthony Nicolas recently took some time out to tell us why cruises to Norway are growing in popularity…
For lovers of nature and serial romantics, Norway is hard to beat as a cruise destination. More than twelve thousand miles of stunning, indented coastline is backed by ranges of jagged mountains, their peaks dusted with snow even in the endless light of the long summer days. Deep, silent fjords reflect brightly coloured clap-board houses that dot the landscape like a string of random exclamation marks.
Ashore, herds of dairy cattle graze on an amazing patchwork quilt of green fields, freshly carpeted with flowers. The only sound is often the thunder of a vast waterfall, tumbling into the broad, meandering fjords below.
Head due north across the Arctic Circle, and daylight embraces you 24/7 during the summer months. Stand on the brooding bluffs of North Cape, the very roof of mainland Europe, and watch reindeer’s galloping across the tundra, while butterflies flit skittishly in the grass. Only a cruise allows you to see this amazing scenic smorgasbord in such comfort and depth, and to such an extent.
Bustling cities such as cosmopolitan Bergen boast amazing architecture, including the restored, thirteenth century merchant’s houses on Bryggen, and the petrified stone banqueting hall, dating back to the twelfth century. Oslo is approached through a magnificent, sixty mile fjord. Here you usually dock under the soaring ramparts of Akershus Castle, with it’s unequalled views out over one of the prettiest harbours anywhere in Europe.
Prices are admittedly high, but the sheer quality of local buys such as jumpers and reindeer quilts is probably unequalled anywhere else. The sight of Bergen’s pretty harbour from the top of the cable car ride in the town centre is breathtaking, and almost priceless.
But it is the little details that really stay. A brightly coloured fishing boat chugging quietly across a glass calm lake. Red wooden houses sitting on umbrella splashed quay-sides while families of ducks feast on scraps. Stately Art Nouveau architecture in pretty little Alesund.
Trails that cut swathes across flower filled fields reveal sudden views of tumbling streams, with mountains sharp and black against petrol blue, cloud kissed skies .And if you are a lover of fishing, then the salmon is noted as being among the best anywhere in the world. The whole country is like some stunning natural theme park, perhaps invented by the people responsible for Kodak. One thing is for sure; Norway will stay with you long after you actually leave it behind.
If you’re interested in enjoying a cruise that takes in some of Norway’s highlights, please take a look here: Norwegian Fjords Cruises 2013
Written by Anthony Nicholas for The Cruise Line, 2012.