Explore the Coast and Fjords of Norway

Your Escape Details

Join us on the Northbound route of the Hurtigruten Finnmarken. The cruise north is a journey of cultural exploration and majestic landscapes as you travel to the major coastal cities and remote communities, continuing north into the Arctic Circle under the midnight sun. Explore the rugged coastline as you go face-to-face with natural wonders and experience thrilling excursions. Visit the legendary Geirangerfjord!

7 amazing days

This small group tour was specifically selected to bring you deeply into the destination. Food, drink, people, customs and soft adventure activities to get you close to the natural surroundings. Travel through parks, glaciers, cities, the country side and small towns.  Hiking beautiful trails, traveling on memorable roads, with excursion choices to satisfy your specific desires. Each day will feature astonishing and breathtaking views that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Our service is second to none, from your decision to join our tour, throughout the trip and when you get home, we will be there for you.  Each escape brings you experiences you wouldn’t find on your own.

Trip begins on August 24, 2019 returning on August 30th

Hurtigruten Coastal voyages are not like conventional cruises. Our 11 Coastal ships sail the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes and return to Bergen. We call at 34 ports and depart Bergen everyday, providing a transportation lifeline between cities and villages while exploring stunning fjords and UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the more than 1,000 miles of Norway’s pristine coastline. You will sail with local people traveling between towns to shop, visit, etc. You will watch as the ship unloads mail, supplies, etc. to the small coastal villages. These encounters, spectacular scenery, and additional optional excursions provides an unmatched opportunity to experience and interact with the beauty and charm of Norway and its people.

We sail from Bergen to Kirkenes on this seven-day cruise, where you will see incredible landscapes – each one more dramatic than the next and enjoy the atmosphere and culture in cities such as Bergen, Ålesund, and Tromsø that are filled with coastal history. This cruise will give you spectacular experiences you will never forget.

Dense in Attractions – Your Hurtigruten boat sets sail from Bergen harbor in the evening, heading for the Arctic. As we sail along the coast, a wealth of experiences await: the Art Nouveau town of Ålesund, and a detour into one of the world’s most beautiful fjords, the Geirangerfjord. We continue north to the medieval town of Trondheim, where the Nidaros Cathedral is a highlight for many of our guests. Experience the excitement as we cross the Arctic Circle and visit Tromsø before we continue even further north and arrive at Kirkenes. This city is right on the Russian border. We are actually as far east as St. Petersburg!

Summer is the most popular time of the year to explore Norway’s coast. The long, light days during the summer months seem to energize both nature and people. Even as far south as Bergen you can experience 19 hours of daylight. Flowers bloom, rivers fill with fish, and giant waterfalls cascade toward the ocean, creating a picture-perfect setting for a summer vacation cruise.

Escape With Us

Our escapes are unique in offering you an adventure filled itinerary with a local flavor. We selected the Hurtigruten line for the specific opportunity to interact with local life and customs. To keep in line with our tour objectives, the Hurtigruten, small, expedition type ships will bring you the experiences you seek. Take a look at our ship, the Finnmarken compared to the Queen Mary 2 (not a huge ship herself), to give you an idea of the intimacy and size of the ship that will bring us deep into fjords and places large ships can’t sail.

Small Groups

We keep our groups small so we get to know each other and travel together, unified by the destination and our experiences.  Often lifelong friendships are forged. If anything, our growing group of like minded travelers start traveling together on future trips. “Where should we go next?” is often the last question asked as we depart for home.

Are you traveling solo? It is our pleasure to welcome you to our small group. We will match you with another solo traveler of the same gender. If you wish, you may choose to pay a solo supplement to have your own room. Please check for availability.

For each trip, you will be invited to our Facebook group so you can chat with fellow travelers, dream about the upcoming trip together, maybe prepare together, hiking, practice a useful skill, etc. Usually, we also organize a get together about a month before the trip to share information, pass out travel documents, and ‘break the ice’ so when we embark on our trip we already know each other a bit. If you don’t live in the area, no worries, we will Skype you into the party and mail you your travel documents.

Why negotiate and plan yourself. Even the best guidebook can’t give you the freedom to embrace and immerse yourself in the destination. Enjoy the pleasure of travel without having to think about the details, leave the planning to us, your job is to fully embrace the journey without the hassles! We are so happy you are considering being our guest and can’t wait to deliver your fantastic experience!

Our Itinerary

DAY 1

The Journey Begins at the Gateway to the Fjords

Bergen

Your 7-day expedition to the high north starts in Bergen, a city surrounded by  seven mountains. Before departure you may wish to explore this cultural gateway to the fjords. Bergen was founded in 1070 AD, and was the capital of Norway for several years. The city is a central point for Norwegian travel, and has retained a great deal of local character and history. One example of this is the historic UNESCO-listed Bryggen district with colorful wharfs that date back to the 14th century. Take a stroll around this charming and compact city, spend    some time in one of the outdoor cafés and restaurants, enjoy a trip on the Fløibanen Funicular or visit the famous fish market.

Upon  embarkation, we invite you to enjoy our tasty dinner buffet, based on the best ingredients from the coast. We sail north from Bergen along the Hjeltefjord, the same route the Vikings once plied to the Shetland Islands and beyond. We are heading to the high north. Spend the rest of the evening relaxing as you admire the spectacular landscapes, either from deck or in our panorama lounges.

DAY 2

 

A Day for Architectural and Natural Masterpieces

Florø – Molde

If you wake up early the next day, you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Nordfjord, followed by a delicious breakfast. As we sail past the West Cape, we enter the open ocean before navigating through skerries and islands to reach Ålesund. Distinguished by its numerous spires, towers, and ornate buildings, Ålesund is renowned for its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture. A devastating fire in 1904 burned a large proportion of the city to the ground, and it was rebuilt in the fashionable style of the time: Art Nouveau. If you like marine life, join us on a visit to Atlanterhavsparken – one of Northern Europe’s largest saltwater aquariums. The tour includes a visit to the open-air pool to see the resident penguins. After visiting Atlanterhavsparken, we continue onward and upward to Mount Aksla, where you get an amazing panorama view of the area. You also have the opportunity to explore this charming Art Nouveau city from a sea kayak.

In the summer months, we set course for the spectacular UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord, passing steep, 2,500 ft cliffs and impressive waterfalls along the way. In autumn, we explore the Hjørundfjord, situated amid the majestic Sunnmøre Alps. Far from the tourist hustle and bustle, its seclusion and unspoiled natural landscape are what give this fjord its special character We take our guests past steep rock walls that you can nearly reach out and touch, emerald-green meadows, lonely mountain farms, and small villages.

DAY 3

Discover Medieval Spirit in the Old Capital

Kristiansund – Rørvik

Few large cities have managed to preserve their intimacy as effectively as Norway’s third largest city, Trondheim. Viking King Olav Tryggvason, founded this ancient city in 997. Join our optional excursion to Norway’s national shrine, Nidaros Cathedral, the country’s only Gothic-style cathedral, built over the burial place of St. Olav (Tryggvason), Norway’s patron saint. Here you can marvel at the cathedral’s incredible architectural details and exquisite artwork. During spring and summer, we continue to the Ringve Museum of Musical History, where the history of Norway’s music is brought to life. This beautiful manor house is surrounded by a wonderful botanical garden, and provides fantastic views of both the city and the fjord.

From September to May, you can experience Trondheim on the world’s northernmost cable car for a unique sightseeing experience. You can also explore Trondheim from sea level in a kayak along the river Nid throughout the year, or experience the city on a bicycle and try out the world’s only bicycle lift from April to September. Or, join the expedition team for a hike to discover more of the surroundings of Trondheim.

In the afternoon, the ship sets a northwest course, passing the beautiful Kjeungskjær lighthouse and numerous islets and rocky reefs. After passing through the narrow Stokksund, the ship heads toward charming Rørvik.

DAY 4

Welcome to the Arctic Region!

Brønnøysund – Svolvær

Today we cross the Arctic Circle! This invisible line is situated at 66 degrees, 33 minutes North and demarcates the Arctic region. In summer, this means enjoying 24-hour daylight and the midnight sun. During winter, this latitude provides the best chances to experience the northern lights. Even if you aren’t awake when we cross the Arctic Circle, the captain will make sure that the occasion is memorable: If you are sailing in Arctic waters for the first time, you can participate in a daytime Arctic Circle ceremony out on deck.

Near the village of Ørnes is Svartisen, Norway’s second-largest glacier. Join us for a trip to the Svartisen Tourist Center in summer and admire the beauty of this enigmatic ice world. Afterward, the excursion continues along the beautiful Helgeland coastline to Bodø, where you rejoin the ship. In Bodø, you can join an adventure in harmony with nature, eagles, and the deep blue sea. The excursion heads to Saltstraumen in a RIB (rigid inflatable boat), where you witness the world’s most powerful tidal current. There is also a good chance you’ll observe sea eagles on this exciting journey through wild landscape.

Later the same afternoon, we spot the 3,000 ft high Lofoten Wall on the horizon. Tucked between tall mountains, majestic granite cliffs, and white-sand beaches, seeing beautiful Lofoten is a truly extraordinary experience. The additional charm of the Lofoten Islands is revealed in its small, picturesque fishing villages with their bohemian atmosphere. Take a stroll between stockfish racks and traditional fisherman’s huts called ‘rorbuer’.

At Stamsund, join a historical journey to the Lofotr Viking Museum, where you are invited into the chieftain’s house, a full-size reconstruction featuring exhibits of finds dating back to the Viking Age. The chieftain and lady of the house invite you to join them for a real Viking meal in the banquet hall, providing a taste of the Viking Age, complete with traditional food, drinks, costumes, singing, and dancing.

Between Stamsund and Svolvær, you have the chance to experience life on an organic herb and cheese farm, or visit the Lofoten’s only craft brewery, situated in an old fish-landing facility in Svolvær.

DAY 5

Feeling Like a Polar Hero

Stokmarknes – Skjervøy

Get ready for a day full of exciting activities, whatever the season! During the morning hours, we briefly dock at Risøyhamn, Harstad, and Finnsnes. The ship then proceeds to Tromsø, the capital of the Arctic, for a prolonged stay. Many epic Arctic expeditions used Tromsø as a starting point. Join our Polar History Walk excursion in winter to learn more about the explorers and Arctic hunters, and to taste beer made at the world’s northernmost brewery.

In winter and spring, you can complete your stay in Tromsø with a thrilling dog sled ride. On this mini polar expedition, the huskies pull you over the frozen landscape while you enjoy stunning views of the ocean, mountains, and open plateaus. During the polar night, the only light comes from our headlamps, the starry sky, and, if we’re lucky, the magical northern lights. You can also enjoy some winter fun by joining a cross-country skiing or snowshoeing adventure, or go deep-sea fishing on an Arctic fjord. Throughout the year you can join the expedition team for hikes and discover more of Tromsø and its surroundings.

If you want to experience peace and tranquility on the sea, why not join us for a kayaking excursion in summer? Paddle in the waters off the Tromsø coastline with the mountains as a stunning backdrop. This is a great way to silently glide through these pristine waters and get close to marine wildlife. After an exhilarating day in Tromsø, we continue our northbound journey.

DAY 6

At the Top of the World – North Cape

Øksfjord – Berlevåg

Enjoy magnificent sub-Arctic landscapes as we cross the 71st parallel on our journey toward the North Cape, one of the northernmost points on the European continent. In summer, you may see herds of grazing reindeer and small camps belonging to the indigenous Sámi people.

After a brief, early stop in Hammerfest we arrive in Havøysund, where you can disembark for an overland RIB boat ride and hike to the North Cape during the summer months. We pass scenic bird cliffs on our way to Hornvika, where we hike the old historical route up to the North Cape plateau.

The ship arrives in Honningsvåg, the gateway to the spectacular North Cape. An optional excursion to the North Cape plateau puts you at 71° 10’ 21” N, only 1,245 miles away from the Geographic North Pole. Standing atop the 1,000 ft high North Cape plateau imparts a sublime sense of being at the end of the world. While admiring the view, be sure to take a picture of this amazing place! Close to the North Cape you find one of the world’s most exciting nature reserves, Gjesværstappan. Join us for a birdwatching safari to experience Finnmark’s largest flock of puffins, and a large number of kittiwakes. During the nesting season, this area teems with life, and mighty sea eagles hover above in search of prey. Guillemots, razorbills, cormorants, Arctic skuas, northern fulmars, Brünnich’s guillemots, and the large northern gannet fill the air with a cacophony of shrieks and screeches.

If you want to learn more about local life in this remote region, join a fishing village visit that takes you across the island of Magerøya’s fantastic scenery to the fishing communities of Kamøyvær and Skarsvåg. Along the way, your guide tells you about the area’s nature, its local culture, and history.

The ship then continues north, sailing into the heartland of the indigenous Sámi people. We pass their ancient sacred site, the rock formation of Finnkirka, as we approach our next stop, the fishing village of Kjøllefjord. Here you have the opportunity to learn more about the Sámi people, and explore the wonderful landscape in summer and autumn. Learn about Sámi traditions and their way of life, and hear traditional Sámi ‘joiking’ (song). In winter, you can join us on an unforgettable snowmobile trip to one of Europe’s most extreme and exciting natural areas. Along the way, guides tell you about the Sámi people, the geographic and climatic conditions, life on the Finnmark coast, and how the local population effectively utilizes nature in both summer and winter. Experience snowy valleys, fresh winter air, and perhaps even the mesmerizing northern lights in the starry sky. Sámi Autumn is an excursion where you learn about the Arctic’s natural ‘pantry’ and ‘pharmacy’, and sampledried reindeer meat, crowberry juice, herbal tea (made with nettles), and a roseroot tincture. You may also feel the presence of the Sámi shaman: Noaidi.

DAY 7

Capital of the Barents Region and Turning Point

Kirkenes

The vistas become more dramatic as we approach Kirkenes. We arrive early in nearby Vadsø, and just after breakfast, we arrive in Kirkenes. At 30° East, Kirkenes is farther east than St. Petersburg and Istanbul! It is also Hurtigruten’s turning point for the return trip west southbound along the coast. Kirkenes is known as the capital of the Barents region and the gateway to the east.

The Russian frontier is a just few miles away from Kirkenes. You may find it intriguing that the local road signs are written in both Norwegian and Russian. Depending on the season, there are many ways to visit the Russian border. Travel either by bus (all year), enjoy a riverboat safari, or join an action-packed trip on an ATV/quad-bike. Kirkenes also boasts several fascinating small museums recounting the remote region’s remarkably rich history and heritage.

Spending time in Kirkenes provides the opportunity to take part in numerous adventurous activities in the Arctic environment. In winter and spring, you can join several activities and excursions, such as exploring the Arctic wilderness on asnowmobile and driving over a frozen fjord. During the trip, your guides tell you about the history of the region, the extreme Arctic climate, and the area’s unique wildlife. On our dog sled adventures, huskies eagerly transport you across the frozen Arctic landscape. In summer, you can join an excursion where you catch and eat giant king crabs from the Barents Sea.  It is here that your Cruise North ends.

 

Your Investment

Your Investment starts at $2361 per person based on double occupancy for a Polar Inside Cabin (we will match same gender roommates) Call for single pricing.

$3164 for Polar Outside cabin

$3231 for Arctic Superior cabin

The deposit to hold your space is 20% of the voyage cost per person.  Final Payment is on June 29, 2019.

If you prefer to make payments, please contact us and we will arrange a plan that works.

Your Trip Includes

  • Accommodations
  • All Meals
  • Coffee & Tea package
  • Wi-Fi

Your Trip Does Not Include

  • Excursions
  • International Airfare
  • Travel Insurance (required)
  • Transfers
  • Gratuities

How We Make Your Escape Awesome!

We are ready to answer your questions throughout the process via phone or email.

Once you sign up and pay your deposit:

  • We will send you a link to your My Trips account. You can view your trip details any time from your PC or Mobile Phone.
  • We will send you arrival and departure details so you can make your flight arrangements.
  • We will email you your final payment reminder about 1 week before it is due.
  • About two-three months before the trip we will send significant details like packing lists, further itinerary details, etc.
  • One month before the trip we will mail you your travel documents (or pass them out at a gathering for those local).
  • Hassle free arrivals, once you have collected your luggage and entered the airport arrivals hall, simply look for the PlanUrEscape sign. We will get you to your boat and started on the journey.

Facebook Group

You will be invited to a private Facebook group where you can meet, virtually, your fellow travelers, discuss the trip, make any preparation plans together, and share your excitement.

Our groups are typically 10-15 travelers. We aren’t a ‘big bus’ tour and don’t want to be. We don’t just look out the window and drive by the sights. Typically, our tours are custom and private. The advantage is, we can say, ‘stop here, we want to see this’ and we can stop and explore, even if it isn’t in the plan. Yes, we have an itinerary, but we also feel it’s important to take advantage of unexpected moments that arise. We attract travelers who are flexible and adventurous. A bit of spontaneity is a good thing!

(Please note, some tours lend themselves to a bit larger group so at times, we may expand the group to a maximum size of 25. We make group size decisions with the commitment that none of the spontaneity or sense of adventure will be impacted by the group size.)

You should know, our travelers are like you, they don’t want a canned tour, they like a sense of freedom on their trip, they understand the value of flexibility in travel, and they love the idea of working with a planning team that understands and respects their travel values.

So, Is this Trip for You?

  • You love traveling with like minded people and a tour company that is focused on traveling deeply into a destination, knowing how to read the group and make the best decisions for a perfect trip.
  • You find joy in trying new things, food, activities, etc.
  • Plans are good, and important to a great trip, however, flexibility sometimes brings a deeper experience and it’s OK with you.
  • You enjoy meeting and traveling with new people.
  • Some moderate physical activity will bring you the memories that make your trip special.

This Trip is Not for You If…

  • Travel is stressful and sometimes you find yourself anxious and frustrated when things don’t go perfectly as planned.
  • New things, new situations, aren’t really your thing.
  • You don’t like trying unusual local foods.
  • You feel uncomfortable and unsafe in places that are ‘foreign’ to Western culture.
  • Too much walking for long distances is tough.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often will I change accommodations during the trip?

Your accommodations will be aboard the ship every day.

Can I extend my stay?

Absolutely, adding a pre or post stay always enhances a trip. You spent the money to get there, why not stay a while? We will be happy to help you make plans.

What airport do I fly into and out of?

You will fly into Bergen, Norway and home from Kirkenes, Norway.

What are VISA requirements for these countries?

None

What type of currency is used in Norway?

Krone about $.12 per US $1

Who do I contact for other questions and travel advice?

Call us at 860-779-6531 or send an email to lwhittemore@cruiseplanners.com

What is the age group of my potential fellow travelers?

Our guests typically range in age from 45-75. They tend to be of an age where they are either already retired and traveling is an objective for them, or are getting close. There are some tours that attract a younger group, sometimes adult children of a traveler in the group will join the tour.

Groups tend to be predominantly female, although we are wanting a good mix of men and woman, solo and couples traveling.

In any case, our travelers are in good health, active and adventurous.

I’m not a tour person, will this be too much of a standard tour for me?

No worries here, your fellow travelers feel exactly the same way and so do we, your tour curators. You will be aboard the Finnmarken and we will eat together and be on the ship as a group among the ship’s other passengers. Excursions can be booked by yourself or with other members of the group. We will get together and talk about any group excursions we want to enjoy. What makes us different, are two critical things, we don’t like traditional touring either, we work hard to be different. And two, you will always have the opportunity to choose. If you want to do something on your own or different than the group plan, you are welcome to do that.

We would love to have you join us! We will do our best to provide the opportunities and activities that allow you to make amazing memories and lasting friendships. We are looking forward to traveling with you.

 

 

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