Sailing from Newcastle
Newcastle • Narvik, Norway • Alta, Finnmark, Norway (overnight) • Tromso, Norway • Bodo, Norway • Newcastle
Founded in 1903, Narvik is a relatively new city but still offers a fascinating history. Located north of the Arctic Circle, the city's harbour is surprisingly ice-free, however, there are still a number of stunning Arctic sights to see, including the Narvikfjellet Mountain.
Although over 400km north of the Arctic Circle, Narvik’s harbour is ice-free and in use all year as a port for iron ore exports. Although inhabited since prehistoric times, the town was not established until 1903 when the Ofoten Railway was
completed. The line is a tourist attraction in itself, running 42km through magnificent scenery to the Swedish border. A cable car ride from the centre of town to the viewpoint on the Narvikfjellet Mountain gives fabulous views over the Ofotfjord and surrounding area.
Close to the town centre is the Ofoten Museum, with displays of local history including 5,000-year-old rock carvings. The Nordland Red Cross War Memorial Museum commemorates the occupation of Narvik in the Second World War. Narvik Church is a fine example of Scandinavian architecture, with a painted altar piece by Eilif Pettersen, while the northernmost animal park, Polar Park, is worth a look.
As one of the best places on earth to witness the Northern Lights in winter, and experience the sensation of the Midnight Sun in summer, Alta is a truly magical destination. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Sami people, the area has a fascinating cultural history. Rock carvings in nearby Hjemmeluft are believed to date from around 4,200 to 500 BC. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the carvings on display in the Alta Museum are evidence of the existence of human activity in the far north during prehistoric times.
Alta needed rebuilding after World War II, so the buildings of this northern Norwegian port are relatively new; notable architecture includes the Northern Lights Cathedral. A particular highlight is the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel. Everything inside and outside the hotel is made of ice, and is open to visitors from January until it melts away in spring.
The head of the Altafjord, where the Altaelva runs through the town, is said to have the best salmon fishing in the world. It’s still possible to see the fish leaping up the river, despite the construction of the 100m Altadammen in the 1970s.
The island city of Tromsø is one of northern Norway’s true delights. Rich with neo-classical architecture, the city known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ contains the largest number of wooden houses in Northern Norway, and its old world charm makes it a joy to explore.
A major cultural hub above the Arctic Circle, Tromsø is famed as a viewing point for the colourful Northern Lights that often light up the night sky. The city’s most recognisable landmark is the must-visit Arctic Cathedral. Built in 1965, the cathedral’s distinctive iceberg-shaped design was inspired by the landscapes of Northern Norway and features a beautiful glass mosaic.
The many museums and galleries in the city include the Perspektivet Museum – set in a neo-classical building built in 1838 that has exhibits from Tromsø’s past, plus the Art Museum of Northern Norway and the Mack Brewery. Tromsø is also home to Polaria, an Arctic aquarium that is popular with locals and tourists alike. The aquarium’s tanks are full of Arctic fish species, and the friendly bearded seals always delight the visiting crowds.
Tromsø, and the stunning landscapes that surround it, are best viewed from the top of the Storsteinen Mountain, which stands 420 metres above sea level. Accessible via cable car, the peak is easy to reach and one of the most popular spots on the edge of the city.
The charming town of Bodø is the northernmost point on the stunning Kystriksveien Coastal Route and home to the world's strongest maelstrom, Saltstraumen. The port represents the northern terminus of Norway's railway system, and is ideal for year round bird spotting as it boasts the world&rsq...
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|