A summer cruise to Norway guarantees full days for exploration as the sun never truly sets during the season of Midnight Sun. With up to twenty hours of light per day, visitors can maximize time in port towns, take well-lit strolls around the ship promenade, or take an evening dip in the ship pool still bathed in light. All the while, natural beauty abounds while cruising through stunning fjords—narrow deep sea passageways surrounded by towering lands and waterfalls.
Cruise to Geiranger, Norway
One of the most photographed waterfalls along the Geirangerfjorden is Seven Sisters, located just outside the village of Geiranger. This 410-meter waterfall features seven separate water spouts trickling down a rocky hillside, and is part of the Geiranger World Heritage Site. Legend says these Seven Sisters dance and flirt with a neighboring waterfall, The Suitor, located directly across the fjord. Here, the cruise ship crawls at a slow speed, while passengers adorn the deck snapping photos of the impressive natural landscape, preparing for a day in the village port.
Geiranger has made plenty of must-visit lists for its scenic allure, and currently houses the third largest cruise port in Norway. Though the village itself is tiny, with only a few hundred in population, the destination seems full and active as ship passengers combine with land travelers staying in hotels or within local camping sites. Geiranger is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with cycling and hiking paths for a variety of skills levels, and an annual half marathon taking runners from sea level to the summit of Mount Dalsnibba.
For food and culture lovers, Geiranger is home to several espresso shops and bakeries serving fresh, local pastries. A chocolate making shop, Geiranger Sjokolade, offers candy samples and decadent flavors of hot chocolate to warm the hands if a cool day occurs while in port. Shoppers will delight at the many local artisan shops offering handmade souvenirs, home decor, crafts, and wool clothing.
Cruise to Haugesund, Norway
History buffs should plan their day to include visiting landmarks throughout Haugesund. King Harald Fairhair is noted for uniting Norway in this very region, and just outside the bustling downtown a wonderful monument and statue pays tribute to this notable Viking leader. A burial mound may also be found in this area at Haraldshaugen.
Downtown, along the waterfront, another statue stands in honor of Marilyn Monroe. Local lore claims Monroe’s ancestral roots are here, as her Norwegian father immigrated from Haugesund to the United States. And, since area commerce was built on herring fishing, visitors will also come upon a statue of two fishermen in the central square. Those seeking more immersion in Haugesund history will enjoy the Museum of Cultural History, known locally as Karmsund Folkemuseum. Exhibits detail the area’s thriving fishing past, farming, shipping trade, and development into Haugesund as it is today.
Strolling downtown, visitors to the area will note the thriving shopping and cultural district. A pedestrian shopping district welcomes guests to a cornucopia of fashion retailers, home decor shops, bookstores, and cafes. One must-try treat in particular is a custard cinnamon roll from Haugli Bakeri. These local treats are found nearly everywhere in Norwegian ports, from Flam to Geiranger, yet the Haugli Bakeri in Haugesund offers the perfect size for sharing with a travel companion, with a lovely sidewalk patio suitable for people watching. Isn’t that the best way to end a full day of exploring in port?
Sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line
A variety of Northern Europe and UK-bound itineraries include port stops throughout Norway, and guests may just find a cruise featuring three or more Norwegian ports with NCL: Norwegian Cruise Line. These are often mid-sized ships, with just a few thousand passengers to ensure immersive experiences and maneuverability in tighter fjords. For the 2020-2021 summer cruise season, sailings inclusive of Norwegian fjords may be booked aboard Norwegian Star and Norwegian Jade, and often include visits throughout the British Isles. Two-week cruises offer the most port visits with full days in popular Geiranger, and options like Bergen or Alesund.
In addition to variety in the buffet and main dining rooms, consider enhancing your culinary experiences aboard by reserving dinner at interactive Teppanyaki or at Moderno Churrascaria, a Brazilian steakhouse with endless tableside carvings. While some cruisers always opt for balcony suites, know that the decks come alive during fjord sailings so you likely won’t spend too much time in your room. Join the fun on deck with drink specials, historical and geographical tips from local guides, and the natural beauty of Norway accompanying your journey into the Midnight Sun.