Thursday, March 3, 2016

Diary Hurtigruten Classic Voyage Bergen

Hunting for 
Northern Lights

Living in the Chicago area, we've been asked why we would go to Norway on a cruise in winter.  The answer is quite simple actually - we are on a hunt for Northern Lights before they disappear until the next solar cycle.

click to enlarge

12-Night Round-trip Bergen

This diary tells about our journey which started in Oslo, Norway.   From there we boarded a train for a six hour ride through the Norwegian countryside to Bergen where we boarded Hurtigruten Vesteralen for a 12-night Classic Voyage to Kirkenes and back to Bergen.

We have not had constant WiFi during our journey so this diary won't be finished until after we return.  Be sure to bookmark our blog to read about our entire adventure.  The image above was captured during our first sighting of Northern Lights.

Port Blog Posts Photo Albums


Arriving in Oslo we have time to see some local sites.  We stay at Clarion Royal Christiania Oslo hotel overnight.
Norway Journey Begins

Overnight in Oslo

Oslo/ Bergen

We transfer to the ship via Bergen Railway (6 hour journey) the next morning.

Taking a Ride on Train 61

MS Vesterålen

MS Vesterålen is named after the first Hurtigruten ship that started to sail along the rugged Norwegian coast back in 1893. It is also the area just to the north of Lofoten, and offers some spectacular scenery.

Vesteralen Cabin 515

Norway's Coastal Kitchen
MS Vesteralen
Norway's Coastal Kitchen


The 12-day Classic Roundtrip Voyage starts in Bergen, a city surrounded by seven mountains. Before your departure, you may wish to explore this cultural gateway to the fjords.

Vesteralen Embarkation

Vesteralen Cabin 515
Vesteralen Cabin


Florø - Molde 

We continue north to Ålesund, a beautiful town filled with perfect examples of Art Nouveau architecture. If you travel in summer or fall there, is a fjord experience to behold. During the winter, we fascinate you with our expert-led lectures about the aurora borealis, the northern lights.

Sailing to Alesund

Atlantic Sea Park Alesund

3 Edible Wonders of Norwegian Fjords

Kristiansund - Rørvik

The architecture and surroundings in Trondheim create a beautiful and almost-mythical setting, whether you are exploring the city by foot, bike, or boat. Kayak on the river Nid and into the city’s smaller channels, or take a guided tour to discover the city’s most striking features.

Trondheim and the Nidaros Cathedral

Sailing from Trondheim

Brønnøysund - Svolvær

The Arctic Circle marks the border of the Arctic region. In summer this means 24-hour daylight - often referred to as the ‘midnight sun.’ During fall and winter, being above this degree of latitude gives you the best chance of experiencing the northern lights.
Crossing Arctic Circle

Starting Point for the True North

Stokmarknes - Skjervøy

Get ready for a day full of exciting activities, whatever the season! Visiting Risøyhamn, Harstad, Finnsnes, and the capital of the Arctic, Tromsø, you can join several excursions such as whale watching, Husky dog sledding, polar history walks, mountain hikes, and kayaking.

Harstad to Tromso

Husky Sledding in Tromso

Dinner in the High North

Leap Year Treat

Øksfjord - Berlevåg 

Enjoy the magnificent sub-Arctic landscape as we cross the 71st parallel on our journey towards the North Cape, the northernmost point on the continent. In summer, you might see herds of reindeer and campsites belonging to the indigenous Sámi people. In winter, experience the snow-clad valleys, the fresh winter air, and your best chances to see the mesmerizing northern lights.
Journey Towards North Cape

Northernmost City in Norway

Northern Lights Double Header

Båtsfjord - Kirkenes - Berlevåg 

The vistas become more dramatic as we approach Kirkenes, just a few miles from the Russian border. This is Hurtigruten’s turning point. Kirkenes is known as the capital of the Barents region and the gateway to the east.

Visit Where Norway Meets Russia

Stopping in Vardo

Near Russia Food Experience
Kirkines - Andersgrotta
Russian Border

Mehamn - Tromsø 

In the middle of the night we dock at Mehamn, where it is possible to join an unforgettable snowmobile trip through one of Europe’s most extreme and exciting natural areas. Experience the snow-clad valleys, the fresh winter air, and a chance to witness the mesmerizing northern lights in the clear, starry sky.

Hammerfest World's Northernmost Town

Sun Kissed Øksfjord
Sailing Oksfjord

Tromsø - Stamsund 

The daylight sailing through the Lofoten Islands is a highlight for many Hurtigruten guests. The Lofoten region is renowned for its natural beauty with steep mountains, wild nature, and small, picturesque fishing villages. This day also offers several exciting excursions that will make you feel like a natural-born explorer.

Taste of Vesteralen

Trollfjorden and Raftsundet

Evening in Lofoten

 Bodø - Rørvik 

The Helgeland coast, with its hundreds of islets, fertile farmland, and steep granite walls, is rich in local lore. Legends include how an arrow fired by the Hestmannen troll formed the hole in Torghatten Mountain.

Taking a Ride on Train 61

Trondheim - Ålesund 

Today gives you another opportunity to explore the city of Trondheim. Passing the islands of Munkholmen, Hitra, and thousands of islets and skerries, we stop in Kristiansund and then cross the open sea on our way to Molde.

EPIC Northern Lights Ends Voyage


 Ålesund - Bergen 

During the night, the ship will call at Ålesund, Torvik, and Måløy as the world’s most beautiful voyage draws to a close. Make the most of your final impressions of Norway.

Taking a Ride on Train 61

 Overnight in London 

London Heathrow Marriott Hotel before leaving in the morning for home.
British Airways  BA 759
Bergen (BGO) March 7, 2016 07:00 PM
Travel Time : 2 h 5 m
London (LHR) March 7, 2016 08:05 PM

Local Buses to Heathrow Hotels (Many Free)

American Airlines 47
London (LHR) March 8, 2016 11:50 AM
xxxx Travel Time : 8 h 55 m
Chicago (ORD) March 8, 2016 02:45 PM

Taking a Ride on Train 61

Weather Not As Cold As You Think

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