Visit Norway’s Capital City Oslo
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Oslo cruise port

They say there is a cruise itinerary out there for everyone but nothing can compare with an itinerary that includes Norway’s capital city Oslo.

Some cruise lines actually start and finish their itineraries in Oslo making a pre or post cruise stay a great option. However, others include Oslo as a port of call. In 2014 there was 133 port calls and an estimated 260 000 passengers visiting the city.

Oslo boasts over 50 museums and numerous other places of interest. This compact city makes a do it yourself tour very easy. Here are a few ideas to wet your appetite!

ASTRUP FEARNLEY MUSEUM

This contemporary art gallery features unique and unusual works. Figures such as Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin’s works are featured here amongst many other abstract pieces. The museum is divided into two sections; one with a permanent collection; the other offers rotating exhibits.

FROGNER PARK

The largest recreational park in Oslo is not only a lovely place for a stroll but is filled with art as well. The Vigeland Sculpture Park has striking statues of human figures such as its famous monolith of 121 human figures towering in the sky.
Vigeland Sculpture Park

AKER BRYGGE

The waterfront area is a great way to spend the day as there are dozens of trendy cafes and bars. With a large amount of shopping opportunities and the sailboats floating in the harbour this really is the place for chilling out and people watching and the best part is it’s a car free zone.

FRAM MUSEUM

Norway is famous for its polar expeditions and the most famous ship of them all is the Fram. The Fram once made trips up to the Arctic but today, it resides in the centre of the Fram Museum. Located in Bygdøy, the museum features various artefacts from the ship such as authentic nautical devices and stuffed versions of polar animals. The lives of Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and Roald Amundsen are also chronicled.

GRUNERLOKKA

As an up and coming neighbourhood, Grunerlokka contains many memorabilia shops as well as designer stores and various restaurants. All of this serves as an interesting contrast to the bohemian lifestyle and urban style that makes up the majority of the area.

HOLMENKOLLEN SKI JUMP

Norway’s “most visited tourist attraction” is the Holmenkollen Ski Jump. Visitors can see some of the best views of Oslo and the Oslofjord from its high altitude. Its Ski Museum is the world’s oldest skiing museum offering 4000 years of skiing history through audio visual displays.

Holmenkollen Ski Jump Oslo

KARL JOHAN’S GATE

This cobble stoned street features a large amount of trendy stores, cafes and upmarket restaurants and holds numerous parades throughout the year.

NOBEL PEACE CENTRE

The Nobel Peace Prize laureates and their contributions to earning the award are focused at the centre. Visitors will be able to see exciting touring exhibits, audio visual displays as well as films and lectures

THE ROYAL PALACE

Located in the heart of the city, the Royal Palace is home to the Norwegian Monarch King Harald V, who has ruled since 1991.Perfect for photo opportunities, the palace also offers one hour tours through the State Rooms during the summer.

Royal Palace Oslo

THE VIKING SHIP MUSEUM

View three original 1100-year old Viking ships. The ships were discovered and excavated in the early 20th century. Besides the ships, on display there are many artefacts that were required for the Viking’s long jaunts to parts unknown.

The season for cruise holiday makers tends to be seasonal from late spring to mid autumn. Cruise lines visiting this Scandinavian jewel in 2015 are Costa, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian Cruise Lines, P&O, Princess, Oceania and Royal Caribbean.

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What to Pack for a Cruise to the Fjords
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norwegian fjords

Looking to book a Norwegian Fjords Cruise? Our knowledgeable specialists can help!

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The choice of itinerary and activities on board a ship have never been better or more affordable. The huge numbers of people who head on their annual holiday with a cruise have made a wise choice.

Dressing and what to pack is fairly straightforward and many cruise lines have recognised that casual wear in dress now reigns. For those balmy days at sea, it is smart casual, for dinner depending upon the cruise line it can go up a bit. Dress codes on cruise ships are far more relaxed than in the past and dressing for dinner has become more optional.

There is one type of spring, summer and autumn cruise holiday that a little more change to the norm is in order. The cruise with itineraries that head further north for instance to the Norwegian Fjords.

Before you start packing, make a checklist of everything you need to and should bring.

HERE ARE SOME ESSENTIALS YOU WILL WANT TO INCLUDE

1. A waterproof wind jacket helps protect you from any sudden cold winds and rain that are commonplace in Norway. Use it in conjunction with a waterproof hat or a hood.

2. Inclement weather is not unusual and can surprise you at any time. This calls for an excellent pair of closed toed shoes with soles that offer a good grip, especially for walking on the deck. In addition, bring some sturdy walking boots for those trips to hike in the picturesque countryside, in small villages and stepping onto a glacier. An extra pair of socks should always be on you as they will keep your feet dry if they get wet whilst out.

3. A warm jacket or coat should be brought along as the temperatures in Norway can dip especially during May and October. Even in the midst of summer, the higher elevations will decrease the temperatures by several degrees and you will appreciate the warmth. If weight is a concern, go for a fleece or micro fabric that adds the warmth but not the bulk.

4. In a similar manner, pack clothing that can be layered. Hoodies or pullover jumpers are a few examples. It will be appreciated on those cool days or evenings and if the sun is blasting, and the temps rise; they can easily be peeled off for comfort. T-shirts are a must for extra insulation but are light enough to wear alone if the temperature increases during the day.

5.Try to coordinate basic colours that blend and will interchange easily with each other. Have your primary outfit in monochromatic neutrals such as browns, greys and blacks. Then add the layers in the colour you prefer to look sharp.

queen mary 2 norway

6. If formality is standard on the ship of your choice, bring along dressier dining outfits. Most cruisers like to take a stroll on deck after dinner. For men, a dinner jacket or a sports jacket will do, whereas for women a thick wrap should suffice.

7. Bring some light plastic sheeting or a large cloth to take when you go on shore to cover your belongings. However, better yet, invest in waterproof carry ons such as handbags and backpacks to store your belongings safely from the elements.

8. You may be lucky with the weather as it can happen in Norway as well. However, the best bet is to do as you do at home and place a small umbrella in your day pack.

9. Just as you should for any holiday away, don’t forget to pack the camera. The beauty of Norway is exceptional and you’ll be snapping away from the moment you step onboard.

10. Finally, make sure to pack blister plasters. Walking can cause them to happen especially when wearing a brand new pair of boots or shoes.

Go ahead and bring those sandals and flip flops on your cruise. Most ships have coverings over their pool areas and are temperature controlled for you to take a dip.

As you can see, packing for a cruise to the Norwegian fjords is not all that different from packing for any other cruise holiday. It just takes a bit of organisation. Remember, if you forget something, there are shops onboard the cruise ship and plenty of stores whilst in port to obtain what you need.

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You may also be interested in this post: Cruising the Norwegian Fjords

In search of the Northern Lights with Hurtigruten
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Northern Lights

When you think of cruises, huge cruise ships basking in the glow of the Caribbean sun often come to mind. But if you fancy something a little different, then a cruise along the Norwegian coast is a perfect idea. It may be a bit cooler, but it’s not just a barren land of snow it is a stunning coastline with mile upon mile of spectacular scenery benefiting from the glow of the midnight sun in summer and the elusive Northern Lights in winter.

The History of Hurtigruten

The seas could be perilous, the maps unreliable and the transport infrequent, but the Norwegian Government decided to create a safe, reliable and fast way to connect Norway’s northern and southern regions. In 1893, a ship DS Vesteraalen and its’ Captain Richard With took on the challenge, and Hurtigruten was born.

history

120 years later, the Norwegian cruise ship company is still going strong. They offer a whole range of different types of cruises, but by far the most popular and exciting is the voyage in search of the Northern Lights.

Cross Off The Bucket List

Seeing the Northern Lights is on the bucket list of most people with an interest in space, nature or those who just want to see something magical and amazing. Hurtigruten offer a cruise that stays within the Arctic Circle, giving you the best chance of seeing the lights. But it’s not all about floating around staring at the sky, hoping for the lights to appear.

There’s a wide range of different excursions and calls at ports along the coast to get a real insight into Norwegian life, so even if you don’t see the lights, you’ll have a once in a lifetime experience regardless.

The Itinerary

The itinerary is jam packed with a whole range of activities that can cater to a range of different interests. The North Cape excursion is one of the most popular and is one that shouldn’t be missed. Travel to the most northern point on the European continent, and take in the plateau itself and the icy Arctic Ocean.

You will also see a 180 panoramic film about Finnmark and the North Cape, and you can buy souvenirs, send postcards and get something warming to eat and drink.

Kirkenes Snow Hotel

Another excursion you could take is to the Kirkenes Snow Hotel. The hotel is set near the Gabba Reindeer Park and contains Norway’s largest ice bar. You’ll get a guided tour around the hotel itself and you’ll get a chance to take a look at the snow and ice art that has made it famous.

Cabins

Like most cruise ships, the cabins vary in size. At the high end, suites offer plenty of extra space, with a seating area, a TV and most have a double bed too. For a lower cost, a cabin includes separate beds with a wash basin but still offer a cosy place to retire to at night.

Outside cabin

Food

The Hurtigruten dining experience is really quite informal with no dressing up for dinner. The food is sourced locally as far as is possible and dictated by the part of the country that you’re in. Lunch is buffet style offering a wide range of hot and cold dishes including, fish, meats, pasta and salad, plus mouth watering desserts.

Dinner gives you the chance to catch up with other guests over a three course menu created skilfully in the kitchen using fresh local food. Full board and half board options are available on a choice of longer classic and short break voyages.

Offers

From time to time Hurtigruten have offers on. So if you’re thinking that a Norwegian cruise might be a bit on the pricey side, then you’ll be able to take a look and see if there’s anything that might save you some money.

A Norwegian cruise ship isn’t about cheesey cruise entertainment; it’s a way to get closer to and explore the majesty that the nature and the culture of Norway has to offer.

For more information please visit www.hurtigruten.co.uk