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P&O Iona in the Norwegian Fjords

10th August 2018

It has recently been revealed that P&O Cruises’ latest ship, Iona, will enjoy her inaugural sailing season in the magnificent destination of the Norwegian Fjords. This stunning part of the world has such a fantastic variety of things to see and do, making it a great choice for a family-friendly line like P&O Cruises. Discover more about what makes a cruise in this region so special (here you can find our Iona cruise deals, with itinerary and prices).

 

 

The Scenery

 

When sailing on a Norwegian Fjords itinerary, guests will be blessed with vision after vision of beautiful surroundings. Whether it’s the view of otherworldly Geirangerfjord from the ship or sweeping sights of Bergen from the funicular that climbs up Mount Fløyen, there is seemingly no end of amazing scenery. Just be sure to pack your charger or plenty of batteries for your camera!

 

The Food

 

Norway is considered by many to be an up and coming foodie haven, with its simplistic but beautifully designed dishes. While cruising here be sure to indulge in a few delicacies, from coffee and skillingsbolle (like a cinnamon bun) to brunost (a sweet-flavoured cheese made with goat’s and cow’s milk). And of course, those who enjoy a tipple will want to sample Scandinavia’s favourite spirit – aquavit – and visit a local brewery for a refreshing beer.

 

 

 

The Adventures

 

Cruisers looking to channel their inner explorer will revel in the vast amount of active excursions on offer in this part of the world. Norway is a natural playground, and offers the perfect environment for some exhilarating activities;

 

  • Zip-lining. With P&O Cruises it’s possible to have a go on the 300-metre zipline between Mount Ulriken and Mount Fløyen, enjoying views from a 643-metre vantage point on the way!
  • Kayaking. The waters in and around the fjords are ideal for kayaking as the lack of wind means you should stay steady and able to paddle around easily and comfortably.
  • Rafting. Rivers such as the Valldøla in Valldalen offer the chance to go rafting on some fast-paced rapids, so jump in and get the blood pumping!
  • Hiking and Climbing. With ample mountainous land waiting to be explored, Norway is a brilliant spot for those who enjoy climbing, hiking, and Nordic walking.
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    The History

     

    When we think of Nordic history, our minds tend to go straight to the Vikings. These fearsome people ruled for around 250 years, conquering lands all over the world along the way. Today you can see remnants of their existence dating back to 872, especially in towns such as Stavanger, also known as the ‘Cradle of the Vikings’.

    As well as exploring this aspect, a visit to Bryggen in Bergen is another must for history-lovers. Here you can explore the wharf that was one integral to the German confederation of merchant communities – the Hanseatic League – from around 1350 to 1750. See fascinating exhibits at the Hanseatic Museum to learn more about this period of history in Norway.

     

    Why sail to the Norwegian Fjords onboard Iona?

     

    Iona is an ideal ship for your visit to the Norwegian Fjords for a few reasons. Like the destination, the ship truly offers something for everyone, with plenty of choices when it comes to dining and activities. In addition, the design of the ship and its focus on the surrounding ocean and natural views is perfect for the fjords. Imagine sipping on your morning coffee in the glass-walled atrium, whilst drinking in the gorgeous views of fjords, glaciers, and waterfalls? Find out more about life onboard P&O Cruises' Iona.

    Cruises onboard P&O’s Iona will go on sale to past passengers on Monday 10th September, and on general sale on Wednesday 12th September. It is possible to pre-register on Monday 3rd September.

    Pre-register your interest with us to be among the first to get more information.


    Exploring Hurtigruten's Norway

    6th December 2017

    Iglu’s Marketing Manager, Natalie, went on a Norwegian adventure with Hurtigruten. Here’s what she thought of her first experience onboard Ms Midnatsol.

    I am lucky enough to have been on large cruise ships and river ships, but I have never experienced an explorer ship like Ms Midnatsol. I was invited to the two night annual Global Conference, and joined the ship in Bergen.

    Day 1

    After a short flight to Bergen, my first day was exciting and full-on. I was whisked up to the top of Mount Ulriken by cable car, to enjoy the beautiful view of the city. The mountain didn’t just offer guests a superb view of Bergen, it also offered visitors the chance to zipline across the mountain. So within two hours of landing at Bergen airport I was strapped up in zip-lining gear, and whizzing across a mountain! After this whistle-stop view of the city, we were taken to our basecamp for the next two nights, Ms Midnatsol.

     

     

    After settling into my lovely mini-suite I joined the group for dinner. Having had a busy day I was excited to sample the ships cuisine, and tonight we had booked the Pampas Antarctica dining venue. The South American inspired restaurant did not disappoint, the food was incredible and the sharing meat platter for two was truly delicious. I have to admit I was defeated by the portion size, and still regret not being able to eat it all.

    Day 2

    I woke up to a beautiful view of the Hardangerfjorden fjord, feeling revitalised after a good night’s sleep in the comfortable cabin. After a quick shower using the Nordic Cloudberry shower gel provided, I was ready to enjoy some new experiences. However, before the next adventure I refueled with a delicious breakfast of smoked salmon and eggs. I would have indulged more as the buffet had an excellent selection of food, including freshly made pastries, cereals, and much more, but I was still full from the feast the night before.

     

     

    After breakfast I attended several, very interesting, lectures onboard. I was fortunate enough to listen to a lecture by Thor Heyerdahl Jr - the explorer and son of world famous adventurer who led the Kon-Tiki expedition. The presentations were inspiring, and brought out the inner explorer in me that I didn’t realise was lying dormant. By the end of the session I was ready to kayak with whales in Antarctica! But before I got too carried away I had the spectacular Hardangerfjorden fjord to explore. I had a quick snack for lunch, and then I was taken by tender boat through the fjords. The experience was exhilarating and the views were absolutely breathtaking. I was immersed with views of unspoiled snowcapped mountains, beautiful Nordic houses, and lush valleys. Words really can’t describe how beautiful the Norwegian coastline is.

    Tonight we were sailing back to Bergen, so after another delicious meal I went outside to simply enjoy the scenery. The water glistened as we sailed under the glittering bridges and as we approached Bergen we passed another Hurtigruten ship - Ms Trollfjord. This is a great experience, as most of the guests from each ship come out on deck and cheer as the ships pass each other. Once we arrived back in Bergen I partook in a nightcap in the bar.

     

     

    Day 3

    Luckily my flight wasn’t until the evening, so I had all day to explore the picturesque city. First stop was the fish market. Even if you’re not a fan of fish it’s worth going, as there is an array of colourful culinary fish delights. I then jumped on the Bergen ‘toy train’ for a quick tour, and afterwards explored the quaint shops along the waterfront. If you’re looking for a fun souvenir you must visit the moose-themed shop located near the colorful buildings in Bryggen, where you can buy everything from moose bottle openers to slippers.

     

     

    The Verdict

    Hurtigruten offer a fantastic way of exploring Norway; most of the staff onboard grew up here, so they really are experts of this destination. Another plus is that the cruise line doesn’t have to use a pilot boat in this area, because the captain knows it so well, and the ship is small enough to get to places that larger cruise lines can’t. After a day out exploring, it’s lovely to come back to a comfortable ship with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The only negative is that I wish I could have stayed for longer, as I had so much fun. Although the trip was active, I felt rejuvenated from being onboard a relaxing ship, and being immersed in such a tranquil destination.


    Best Winter Destinations for Christmas and New Year

    4th December 2017

    Updated September 2018

     

    Have a Christmas or New Year celebration like no other this year, by visiting a new and exciting destination on a cruise. The world is full of incredible places at every corner, and many of these play host to some wonderful parties and Christmas festivities throughout December and January. Here are our top 5 spots, that we recommend everyone see at this time of year - at least once in their life.

    New York

    For many people, New York at winter is the epitome of Christmas spirit. This is in no small part thanks to movie classics like Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life, in which New York is the setting for warm Christmas tales. Whether you cruise to New York in the run-up to Christmas or are there for New Year’s Eve, the glittering city that never sleeps will undoubtedly provide you with everything you need to feel like celebrating. From the buzzing atmosphere and lights in Time Square to a frosty, romantic moonlit carriage ride in Central Park, New York offers some truly special experiences.

     

     

    Amsterdam

    Amsterdam is a fantastic destination for those who want a change of scenery, but don’t want to travel too far. Close to the UK, there are a number of options for a no-fly cruise here. In the winter months, the city comes to life with music, lights, and decorations, and the friendly residents will welcome you with open arms. See the stunning Amsterdam Light Festival, at which global artists put together some beautiful displays through the streets and canals. There are of course Christmas markets as well, and some fabulous parties and fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

     

     

    Paris

    The famous City of Lights is, of course, a hub of illumination and bustling activity at this time of year, boasting some stunning views and wonderful options when it comes to festive things to do. Revel in Christmas spirit at the Christmas Market on Avenue des Champs-Elysees, where you can also take a spin on the ice rink. If you have time, a visit to Disneyland is an absolute must. Whether you’re 6 or 66, a bit of Disney magic at Christmas is a great recipe to get you feeling merry and bright. Start planning your trip and ask us about our cruises to Paris.

     

     

    Norway

    Visit the land of Frozen and get lost in a real Winter Wonderland. A cruise in Norway is a great option for this time of year, particularly because of the chance to see the Northern Lights. December and January often have a high number of clear nights, meaning the vibrant lights are more likely to be visible. The sparkling scenery and welcoming ambience in this part of the world is perfect for celebrating during the festive season, simply gazing at the stars with a hot chocolate, sat on the top deck of your cruise ship is truly the stuff of dreams. Find out more about our great range of Norway cruises.

     

     

    Sydney

    The New Year’s Eve firework display at Sydney Harbour is a well-known event that causes visitors to flock to the city every year. Sydney is a port of call on many world cruises, and if you are lucky enough to be here at the right time, you can have one of the best views of the show available. The famous Sydney Opera House also holds glamourous New Year’s Eve celebrations, giving you the opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy a bit of luxury during your holiday. See the New Year in with style on an Australasia cruise.

     

     

    Whether you are considering a cruise during the main events, or are merely seeking a few days away before or after, you can rest assured that there are plenty of options out there. Take a look at all our December and January cruises, and book your next adventure today.


    We cruise to Norway and the Arctic Circle

    16th December 2015

    Updated July 2019

     

    We sent a few of our Sales & Commerical staff, Callum and Rob, on a wintery adventure with Hurtigruten onboard MS Richard With, to Norway and the Arctic Circle. Read all about their snowy cruise and stay below.

     

    There’s nothing quite like a snowy adventure to Norway and the Arctic Circle to get you in the Christmas spirit, and Hurtigruten’s Arctic Highlights itinerary was perfect to do just that.

     

     

    Sailing from Tromsø to Kirkenes and back, we joined the ship - which proudly carries the name of the cruise line's founder, Richard With - already inside the Arctic Circle. The cabins were ideal for the nature of the trip, providing a perfect place to rest our heads between ports along the Norwegian coastline. The dress code was informal throughout; ideal for this type of voyage. It was normal to see everyone walking around in fleeces and walking boots ready to explore the next port of call or prepared to dash out on deck at the first sign of a Northern Lights sighting being called by the ship’s Captain.

    The Panorama lounge & bar was the perfect spot to sip a hot coffee or refreshing cold drink in comfort while watching the snow-capped coastline sail by. The informal feel flowed through to the restaurant too, a relaxed buffet with a variety of hot and cold dishes to suit everyone. The fresh ‘caught today’ seafood was delicious, especially the incredible king crab; and the reindeer steak from the a la carte restaurant was a particular highlight.

     

     

    We were impressed with all the crew onboard who were always friendly and attentive, creating a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and gave us great advice on where to visit. We found them to be incredibly informative, and could answer all sorts of questions about the history and culture of each port of call.

    But the ship really was secondary to the hero of the trip, the itinerary. The Arctic Highlights itinerary was superb; with hotel stays in Tromsø too, we got the full Arctic Norway experience.

    In Honningsvåg, an excursion to the North Cape saw us visit the most northerly point of Continental Europe and less than 2,000km from the North Pole itself. Next was Kirkenes situated right on the Russian border – a visit to the SnowHotel which they were still constructing with nature’s help, and the hotel's neighbouring reindeer enclosure and husky kennels gave for some fantastic photos to take home.

     

     

    Sailing back down towards Tromsø, we got our first experience of the natural phenomena Aurora Borealis – commonly known as the Northern Lights. They were awe-inspiring, truly majestic and an absolute must for everyone to see. We saw them multiple times throughout the journey, all different shapes and colours and they really made the whole experience just that more special. We had a quick stop in Vardø for an Arctic swim in the Barents Sea and at only 4°C and wind-chill at -12°C, it was an experience we won’t forget in a while! Although when back onboard the Captain presented us with a certificate awarding us for the brave decision (or arguably mad) to take a dip in the sea.

    Hammerfest was our last stop before arriving back in Tromsø and it was beautiful. Everything was covered in a soft duvet of snow and looked like a picturesque Christmas card, adding to the fact at this time of year in the Arctic Circle there’s only approx. 2 hours of daylight a day so every house around the port was illuminated with their festive Christmas lights too. With snow around us in every port, the child within shone through many times and there were plenty of snow angels and snowball fights along the trip.

     

     

    Back in Tromsø for a last stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel before our flight home, there was enough time for shopping and sampling some of Tromsø’s great nightlife; a favourite being Rorbua Pub which with live music, local beers and an open fire, was perfect to thaw out after a walk around the city. Tromsø is a fantastic city full of things to do. Highlights included the Polaria Arctic Experience to see the bearded seals during feeding and a visit to the Polar Museum which offers a fascinating insight to the history of Arctic Norway.

    By far the most exciting and special highlight of the trip was husky sledding through the snowy mountains of Tromsø. It felt like we were sledding through a Christmas story and it capped off an amazing adventure, ticking a must-do off our bucket lists and something I would recommend everyone to try. We can’t wait to join another of Hurtigruten's breathtaking itineraries visiting this spectacular part of the world.

     

     

    If you're feeling inspired and would like to see this majestic part of the world for yourself, take a look at our Norwegian Fjords and Arctic Circle adventures.


    Top 5 Norwegian Fjords

    7th May 2015

    Updated March 2017

     

    Best travelled by cruise, a trip to the Norwegian Fjords is a breathtaking experience that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, as you travel from one World Heritage site to the next.

    Each fjord has its own unique beauty – we thought we’d share some of our favourites with you.

     

    1. The Geirangerfjord

    Majestic waterfalls and untouched beauty. The Geirangerfjord is located in the southwestern part of the country of Møre og Romsdal, north in Fjord Norway.

     

     

    2. The Hardangerfjord

    Near Bergen, in the middle of Fjord Norway, Hardangerfjord, or the ‘orchard of Norway’, is best known for summer skiing, and the spectacular fruit trees that blossom there in spring.

     

     

    3. The Sognefjord

    Located in the southern part of the country, the Sognefjord is the longest fjord adventure in Norway, at 204 kilometres long and 1,308 metres deep.

     

     

    4. The Nærøyfjord

    A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Naeroyfjord is one of the most picturesque in the world.

     

     

    5. The Lysefjord

    Well known for the Preikestolen (the Pulpit rock), with dramatic views, Lysefjord is near to Stavanger, south in Fjord Norway.

     

     

    View our Norwegian Fjords Cruises.

    Been to the Fjords? We want to hear about it – please comment below.


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