Black Watch, Northern Norway with Sami National Day ex Southampton Return
- Departs Southampton, England
- 31st Jan 2020
- 14 nights
- Black Watch
14 Night Cruise sailing from Southampton roundtrip aboard Black Watch.
Experience Norway at a time of the year when the dramatic landscapes of this incredible part of the world are at their frozen finest, the country’s enchanting towns, villages and cities really come to life, and you have the best chance to see one of Mother Nature’s most spellbinding phenomena, on this wonderful winter escape.
As February begins, you’ll leave the gloom of the British winter behind and embark on your unforgettable adventure, with a sense of excitement for Norway’s seasonal wonders building on board Balmoral as your ship heads north. Your Norwegian adventure gets underway in some style; in Ålesund you can marvel at the town’s fine Art Nouveau architecture and climb Mount Aksla for stunning scenic views, while the brightly-painted houses of Bakklandet and the Gothic-style Nidaros Cathedral await in Trondheim. A day’s sailing then takes you across the Arctic Circle en route to Tromsø, where your call coincides Sami National Day. The celebrations of this ancient indigenous people are a real treat, with the traditional dress, yoik choirs and much more on show sure to linger long in the memory. Stopping overnight in the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ also allows you time to visit the iconic Arctic Cathedral, climb Mount Storsteinen, and go in search of the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis – a simply unmissable and unforgettable experience – at nightfall.
With the delights of Tromsø behind you, the course is set for Alta, considered one of the best places on earth to see the Northern Lights. With another overnight stay, you might be lucky enough to see Mother Nature’s incredible light display once again after the sunlight fades away here in the early afternoon. Spending two days in Alta offers you the chance to discover the unique Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, with its ice bar, ice chapel and beautiful sculptures too; or visit the fascinating Alta Museum, which offers an in-depth insight into Sami culture. There’s even an opportunity to explore Alta’s surrounding Arctic landscapes on an exhilarating dog-sledding adventure. Finally, as you sail south en route back to the UK, Balmoral diverts to Kristiansund, one of Norway’s earliest settlements and your gateway to the dramatic Atlantic Ocean Road – one of the world’s most photographed highways.
Highlights of this cruise:
Ålesund is Norway’s popular, art-nouveau epic of towers and turrets, ornaments and balconies, steeples and spires. The city’s delightful pedestrianised streets, offer a diverse mix of art galleries, shops and lively cafés, and lead to the 418 steps that climb Mount Aksla. The Fjellstua restaurant and café at the summit is the perfect place to sit and soak up panoramic views of this attractive city, the archipelago, and the Sunnmore Alps.
Virtually destroyed by fire in 1904, Ålesund was rebuilt within three years and is regarded widely as one of Europe’s true visual experiences. The port is home to the Jugendstilsenteret – The National Art Nouveau Centre –, which has a well-preserved art nouveau interior and regularly features exhibitions and displays.
Ålesund is the gateway to the iconic northwestern fjords and this seaport is the home base for Norway's largest cod-fishing fleet, which, unsurprisingly, provides the city's visitors with some superb seafood to try.
Founded over a thousand years ago by Viking King Olav Trygvasson, Trondheim was Norway’s first capital city. Its colourful warehouses, charming waterways and wooded hills makes Trondheim one of Norway's most photogenic towns.
Sat on the impressive Trondheim Fjord, the city is packed with interesting sights which are easy to navigate on foot, as most of the attractions are located on a small island accessible via a series of walkable bridges.
The pride of Trondheim is Nidarosdomen, the world’s northernmost medieval cathedral. The majestic church towers above the city centre and is erected on the site of St. Olav’s grave where medieval pilgrims flocked to worship. Nearby is the Archbishop’s Palace, now a museum displaying artefacts, sculpture and gargoyles, while the Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum has stunning collections of furniture, textiles and jewellery.
Ringve Museum is a fascinating music museum in a former manor house and barn. Other museums worth a look include Sverresborg Trøndelag Folk Museum and the unique Sverresborg Ski Museum, which traces the history of skiing in Norway from the 17th century to modern times.
Trondheim’s wide streets and semi-pedestrianised heart has some great cafés and restaurants on show, while Kristiansten Fortress, located on high to the east of the centre, is one of the most popular recreational areas.
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 the Second World War, so the buildings of this northerly 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.
Itinerary may vary by sailing date and itineraries may be changed at the cruise line's discretion. Please check itinerary details at time of booking and before booking other travel services such as airline tickets.