The views on offer for clients in Scandinavia and the Arctic region are hard to beat, and it’s no surprise cruise lines are seeing growing demand for this region.
The Scandinavian region may not be renowned for its warm temperatures but it has never been so hot in travellers’ eyes. Demand is rising for the incredible, raw beauty to be found as you cruise the coasts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland.
Whether cruising along the scenic fjords of Norway or around the beautiful Stockholm archipelago, those onboard are glued to the views. And whether it’s riding the spectacular Flam railway or tracking polar bears in Spitsbergen, opportunities for a dramatic soundbite are plentiful. “We like to include all the adventure seekers’ favourites, such as whale watching, searching for the Northern Lights and husky-sledding,” says Neil Herbert, head of sales, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.
As you venture north and cross the Arctic Circle, this becomes true expedition territory. Silversea’s refurbished ice-class expedition vessel Silver Cloud will push beyond the northernmost limits of human habitation, when she departs on her inaugural Arctic voyage next year.
Hurtigruten, a veritable Scandinavian specialist, has 12 ships travelling up and down the Norwegian coast, exploring from Bergen in the far south to Kirkenes in the north and 32 other ports in between.
The popularity of the region can affect capacity and it’s wise to book early – Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Arctic voyages onboard Hanseatic sell out months in advance.
Although the Midnight Sun is a tempting draw, don’t forget winter also delivers on the fairytale factor. Saga will make its first pre-Christmas visit to Scandinavia this year. Itinerary planner James Langley recommends the “magical” Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.
SHORT AND SUITE
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has a three-night option onboard Europa 2. Sailing from Kiel to Hamburg with a call in casual, exciting Copenhagen, it’s the ideal chance to sample the five-star-plus ship, the highest rated ship in the Berlitz Guide. Departing on September 6, 2017, the cruise-only fare for a Grand Ocean Suite starts from £2,166pp.
SPAIN, DUE NORTH
Viking Cruises is taking guests all the way from Barcelona to Stockholm, onboard Viking Sky. The ship will visit 13 ports in 11 countries as it traces the coast of Western Europe up to the Baltic, with overnight stays in Amsterdam and St Petersburg. A Verandah stateroom starts from £5,890pp for the 21-night voyage departing April 15.
Fred Olsen Cruise Line’s Black Watch has a 27-night exploration of Norway, Spitsbergen, Iceland, Greenland and the secluded Faroe Islands, departing from Dover on July 14. The cruise calls into 12 destinations and sails into 30 areas of scenic cruising. There’s every chance of spotting polar bears on this epic cruise, from £4,599pp.
BE LIKE MARCO POLO
With the introduction of mid-sized Magellan and Columbus to the fleet, CMV has been able to develop a range of more explorative cruises for Marco Polo, including a 21-night cruise to Greenland & Iceland and a 14-night sailing to Spitsbergen. Book by April 30 to take advantage of savings up to 40%.
HAVE A G ADVENTURE
G Adventures has introduced three new itineraries in Norway onboard its expedition ship, G Expedition, in response to consumer demand. They include Scottish Highlands and the Norwegian Fjords from £3,049pp. The 14-day voyage sails from Edinburgh to Tromso, offering the chance to discover the Standing Stones of Stennes, the mystical Ring of Brodgar and to marvel at the forests and waterfalls that line the fjords.
Wrap up warm and bask in the glow of the Baltic’s most atmospheric Christmas markets. City squares are transformed into festive wonderlands, where you find stalls laden with handmade gifts and mouth-watering food. Saga has a nine-night Scandinavian Festive Markets itinerary, onboard Saga Pearl II, departing Southampton, from £1,383pp and ticking off markets in Gothenburg and Copenhagen.
Among Crystal Cruises’ Scandinavian itineraries this year is the 18-night North Cape Discovery, a majestic voyage through Norway’s fjords with three maiden calls at Kristiansund, Hammerfest and Bronnoysund, plus an overnight in artsy Antwerp. Hammerfest is considered the world’s most northerly city, with a modest population of 8,000. This is priced from £5,774pp cruise-only, departing Oslo on July 16.
Silver Cloud, soon to be part of Silversea’s Expedition fleet, will depart on its inaugural Arctic voyage in June 2018. There will be 18 Zodiacs to ferry guests into nooks and crannies for unrivalled views of magnificent mountains, deep fjords, stunning glaciers and monumental ice sheets. A 12-day expedition from Longyearbyen to Oslo departing June 24, starts from £7,950pp based on double occupancy of a Vista suite.