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7 Reasons Why Your First Cruise Should be to Norway

If you are considering taking your first cruise, you may be considering taking a cruise to Norway. I’ve just disembarked a Norwegian Fjord cruise with Royal Caribbean and have also visited with Viking and MSC.

I often recomend cruising to Norway to first time cruisers, and in this post we will explore why.

The below photo was taken in Geiranger, Norway onboard Anthem of The Seas.

Cruising to The Norwegian Fjords is an Affordable Way to Visit a Reasonably Expensive Country

Norway can be an expensive holiday destination, food and drink may cost more than you are used to.  

A beer in a bar or restaurant could cost around $9 / £7. 
A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant $84 / £66. 
A cappuccino $4.50 / £3.50. 

These are approximate costs, but as you can see, if you were having to buy all your food and drink out, along with the cost of accommodation, the costs could soon mount up.

When I visited Norway with Viking I ordered a pint of cider in a local bar and it cost me £12! £12! That’s $15!!

Gifts can also be expensive.

Favourites in portside gift shops appear to be Reindeer sausages, wooden trolls, waterproof coats, and outerwear for the unpredictable Norwegian weather! 

When you visit by cruise ship, you can spend as little or as much as you want to in each port, which makes it far easier if you are travelling on a budget.  

You can stop at a local café for refreshments, or just return to the ship – leaving you money to buy quirky gifts for your friends and family back home. I did offer to bring my back my frineds a reindeer sauage… they declined.

The Norwegian Fjords Are Easy to Reach From The UK

From the UK, it is a really easy cruise option. 

No stressful flights or airports, just travel to Southampton and get on board – your holiday starts there! 

Even if you are traveling to the UK from the USA or another destination, Southampton is only around 80 miles from London Heathrow or Gatwick and the journey down to Southampton isn’t hard. 

Many visitors take the opportunity to spend time in London whilst they are here, there is so much to see and do in London – it makes perfect sense!

If you are flying into a London airport and need to get to Southampton, here are my airport guides:

How to Get From Gatwick Airport to Southampton Cruise Port – Options Explored

Southampton Airport to The Cruise Port: Complete Transport Guide

Heathrow Airport to Southampton Cruise Port: Transport Guide

The Scenery in The Fjords is Beautiful Year-Round

Whether raining, foggy, or sunny, the scenery is wonderful and the views are ever-changing.  Snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, and enormous rock faces line the fjord edges.  

Norway’s Coastline: 570,000 km

Coastal Norway has a unique landscape, made up of small islands, inlets, and peninsulas.

This landscape has influenced the history and culture of Norway, with strong ties to fishing and water-based activities like kayaking and cruising.

Although fjords are not just a Norwegian phenomenon, the country is famous for these beautiful inlets of deep blue water, and both Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Geirangerfjord is probably the most famous Norwegian fjord, and it has been used as a location in movies like The Wave.  

In Norway, You Don’t Need to Spend Extra Money on Cruise Ship Excursions. 

Cruise companies will try and sell you excursions, but you will normally dock right in the middle of the small towns and you can just get off and walk around. 

In the port of Flåm, the most popular excursion is a trip on the Flåm railway – a 20km /12 mile trip along with one of the steepest narrow gauge lines in the world. There are 20 tunnels, over 18 of which were built by hand.  It is said to be one of the greatest engineering feats in Norway. 

The railway is very close to where cruise ships dock, why not just walk over and buy your own ticket and save yourself money? 

In Bergan, a trip on the Funicular railway is very popular.  Again, the cruise line will try and sell you an excursion.  The station is a five or ten-minute walk from where most cruise ships dock. 

Although it gets quite busy during peak times, why not get up early, and go up Mount Fløyen on the funicular railway and take the lovely walk down the hill? 

Walking both up and down the hill is more of a challenge, as I found out on my recent Anthem of the Seas trip! 

Views from the top can be amazing – or not, depending on the weather!

The below is the view from the last time I visited with Royal Caribbean in May.

The below photo was taken in the same place, when I visited Norway with P&O in June.

norwegian fjord cruise bergen view from floyen mountain in fog

That said, there is nothing wrong with taking cruise ship excursions.  If you want to visit a glacier or a skylift, it could be a good option, but don’t feel you MUST book something in every port.

Norway is Great For Lovers of Cool Weather

The weather in Norway can be unpredictable, when it comes to what to pack and wear, layering up is always best advice. 

If you are not keen on sunny, beach-type holidays, a trip to Norway may be one to consider.

The weather is usually similar to that in the UK.

People often expect Norway to have a cold climate because it has a relatively high latitude. In fact, central Norway’s Trondheim is further north than Anchorage, Alaska! 

Thanks to the North Atlantic Current (Gulf Stream), Norway enjoys a relatively mild climate, especially along the coastline.  

During the summer months when most cruise ships visit, the weather is very variable.  I have been to the fjords in May and had glorious sunshine, and returned in June when it rained every single day.

It can be pleasantly warm, but it is unlikely to be really hot. 

My parents spent their last trip to Norway wishing they had packed sunglasses, they had packed woolly hats and gloves, but never needed them.

In the winter, temperatures along the coast are around zero degrees Celsius / 32 degrees Fahrenheit. 

It is usually colder inland, so pack those hats, gloves, and fur-lined boots if you’re taking a winter trip!

A Norwegian Fjord Cruise is a Great Way to Explore Lots of New Places in a Short Period of Time

You can see a lot of Norway in a short period of time by ship.  If you were attempting to see as much independently, it would involve bridges, tunnels, mountain roads, toll roads, car ferries.

Norwegian roads are quite narrow and you can’t get anywhere fast.

If you are on a coach, be prepared for the driver to drive very close to the sides of the road, you might need to take some gasps of breath, but they know what they are doing! 

Norway is quite a large country, similar to the size of Germany.  A cruise ship relocates overnight, so every day you can wake up, have an amazing breakfast and start exploring.

Many Norwegian cruises are 7 days long, allowing a day to sail across the North Sea, four or five ports of call, and another day sailing back. 

This makes a very good “starter” cruise. 

Longer trips of 12 or 14 nights are also available for those with more time and money available.

To learn more about short cruises, and why I don’t always recommend them for first time crusiers, check out this post: Are Short Cruises Worth it? (Tried and Tested, Pros and Cons)

In Summer The Evenings Are Light

The majority of mainstream cruise lines sail to Norway in the summer months. 

When you sail in the summer, you will find that the sun doesn’t go down until about 11 pm and rises again in the very early hours of the morning. 

It is an unusual experience to go to an evening show on board, come out late at night, expect it to be dark, and then realise that it is still daylight outside.

I Am Usually a BIG Fan of Inside Cabins, But Even I Book a Balcony Cabin For The Fjords

A cruise to Norway is one occasion where you may want to splash out extra money on a balcony cabin. Even I do if I can!

I know I have a reputation as being an “inside cabin” kinda girl, but when you are sailing in Norway those early morning sail-ins along the Fjords are absolutely breath-taking. 

If you have a balcony cabin, you can watch them from your cabin, possibly in bed with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

Can You Cruise to Norway in Winter?

Companies like Hurtigruten, Cunard, Fred Olsen, and many others advertise “Northern Lights” cruises, running through the winter months.

Cruises are great way to see the Aurora Borealis, as cruise ships are able to be out at sea where it is dark for optimal viewing. 

The aurora is at its most active around the equinoxes in March and September, so this is when you have the best chance of viewing this phenomenon. Plus, in spring and summertime, there is too much daylight around at “night time”.

Although a Northern Light sighting can never be guaranteed, Hurtigruten has a “Northern Lights Promise” if you don’t see them, they will offer you another classic 6 or 7-night cruise, free of charge! Sounds like a great deal to me, two cruises for the price of one.

It’s important to note that when Hurtigruten say you must SEE the Northern Lights, that doesn’t mean you personally must see the lights. It just means that they were visible at some point during your cruise.

To learn more about the different seasons, and which benefits there are to visiting each month, check out this post: When is The Best Time to Cruise to Norway? – Season Price Guide

Would I Recommend a Norwegian Fjord Cruise?

If you are considering a Norwegian cruise, book it – I don’t think you will ever be disappointed. 

Do some research and make sure you choose the cruise line and itinerary that suits you and your family best.  Research the ports of call before you go, and decide what you would really like to see but it is hard to go too wrong with a Norwegian Fjord cruise.

If you are taking your first cruise and unsure where to start, I created a video course that’ll show you EVERYTHING you need to know in an easy-to-follow step-by-step format. Check that out here: How to Cruise For Less.

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