Sailing from Rosyth
Rosyth • Cruising Lysefjord • Stavanger, Norway • Lerwick, Shetland Islands • Cruising by Sumburgh Head, Scotland • Cruising by Marwick Head, Scotland • Cruising by Old Man of Hoy, Orkneys • Cruising by the Needle, Orkneys • Rosyth
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The Lysefjord is a stunning example of the Norwegian fjords' spectacular natural beauty. Carved into the landscape by glacier movement in the Ice Age approximately 10,000 years ago, Lysefjord is lined by magnificent mountains and dramatic cliff faces – some soaring over 1,000 metres high into the unpolluted skies above. In some sections of the fjord the water is as deep as the mountains are high, however at the shallowest point the water depth drops to just 13 metres. This means only small ships such as those in the Fred. Olsen fleet can cruise the Lysefjord.
Behind the bustle of the prosperous and cosmopolitan Stavanger of today lie 1,000 years of ancient seafaring tradition and history. This vibrant, exciting Norwegian city oozes charm and was awarded the prestigious title of ‘European Capital of Culture’ in 2008.
The city’s wealth and thriving oil industry has prompted its tag as Norway’s ‘Oil Capital’, but Stavanger has remained as charming as ever. The old town, Gamle Stavanger, has narrow winding streets and ancient wooden houses gathered round an historic fresh fish and vegetable market. Stavanger is also a university city, which is reflected in the city’s lively, urban atmosphere, and in the varied assortment of shopping and dining experiences.
The Norwegian Petroleum Museum exhibits drilling equipment, a model oil platform, submersibles and audio-visual shows, while the city’s Herring Canning Museum celebrates one of Stavanger’s earlier sources of wealth. Beyond the town, the Three Swords monument commemorates the 9th century battle of Hafrsfjord – the moment Harald Hårfagre became the first King of Norway.
Stavanger is also perfectly placed for the breath-taking Lysefjord, one of the most famous Norwegian Fjords. This stunning waterway is home to the Kjerag Mountain and Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) – two of the country's most popular attractions.
Lerwick is the friendly capital of the 100 islands and islets of the Shetland. The bustling, cosmopolitan seaport is the islands’ only town, and its wonderful natural harbour is a joy to explore.
Until the 1600s, Leir Vik – Norse for a muddy bay – was little more than a few huts. However, conflict between the British and Dutch, whose fishing fleet fished for herrings off the islands, led to the building of a permanent settlement. This included Fort Charlotte, which once overlooked the harbour but has now been enclosed by the town following land reclamation.
Despite the wealth created by North Sea oil, modern Lerwick retains many fascinating small shops and historic buildings. Wandering along atmospheric Commercial Street is a delight, and the Böd of Gremista – a “fishing booth” built in 1780, is now a fascinating museum. The ground floor has the salt store and the kitchen, where herrings were hung to dry. Outside the town are the well preserved remains of the Broch of Clickimin, a small Bronze-Age settlement excavated in the last century.
Located at the southern tip of the Shetlands’ main island, Sumburgh Head is a towering, 100-metre-high rock spur capped by the Sumburgh Head Lighthouse – one of Scotland’s oldest, best-known and most photographed lighthouses.
The head, and its unspoilt, rugged surroundings, are a designated RSPB Nature Reserve, providing the perfect natural habitat for various seabird species including Puffins, Fulmars, Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes to name just a few.
Enjoy views of the lighthouse as you sail slowly by, watch for huge seabird colonies perched on the cliffs through your binoculars, and be sure to keep your eyes on the water: you might be lucky enough to see White-sided dolphins, Harbour Porpoises and Whales too.
Cruising by Marwick Head, Scotland
Cruising by Oldman of Hoy, Orkneys
Britain’s tallest and arguably most famous sea stack, the Old Man of Hoy rises 450 feet out of the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Hoy Island, in Scotland’s rugged Orkney archipelago.
Originally an arch with two ‘legs’ resembling those of an old man, hence the landmark’s nickname, the erosive power of the weather has reduced the stack to a single pillar which, owing to a huge crack slicing through the middle of it, geologists believe will one day collapse into the sea.
As it stands today though, defiantly battling the Atlantic tide and Scottish storms, the Old Man of Hoy remains one of the UK’s most popular climbing spots and an impressive sight to enjoy from the comfort of your cruise ship.
Cruising by the Needle, Orkneys
'Pinned' just off south west coast of Hoy Island, the 230 ft-high Needle is the Orkney archipelago's second-highest rock stack.
Along with the legendary Old Man of Hoy, the Needle is one of the Orkney's most popular climbing hotspots, a haven for various seabird species and is a magnificent sight to admire from the comfort of your ship's decks.
At a glance....
Balmoral is Fred. Olsen's largest and newest cruise ship, named after the Scottish home of the Royal Family. Still smaller than most cruise ships today, there are 710 cabins and suites and generous public space for the 1,300 guests on board.
|Passengers||1350 Standard Occupancy|
|Beam (width)||28.2 m|