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Hello again Louise and thanks for your reply - hope I wasn't too lengthy! It would be nice to keep in touch via this site and I look forward to hearing about your cruise. Would also be interested to hear about your ship - Celebrity always sems to do well in the cruise ratings. I'm on P&O's Aurora this year, leaving on June 30 for Ireland, Greenland, Iceland and Norway; am travelling with two friends from Canada who've never cruised before - hope they aren't disappointed! Regards - Jane.
Hello Louise, hope you had a good day. Have looked up your cruise on the Celebrity site - it looks great! There are a couple of places I haven't visited but here are a few ideas/tips in port order:-
ALESUND - is included on my itinerary for this year but will be my first visit; we have decided to be independent here as there sems to be plenty to do.
ALTA - have not been here either but I see from the map that it is well inside the Arctic Circle so it will be cold.
HONNINGSVAG - this is the port for the North Cape; the journey from H'vag to the Cape is spectular, particularly if the weather is good - reindeer, Arctic tundra, the Sami people etc. It will, however be very cold and warm clothing is essential. It is here that you will need your anorak, hat, gloves, warm socks etc. as the temperature is never much above freezing.
TROMSO - often referred to as the 'Gateway to the Arctic' Tromso is a large university city. An excursion I would reccomend here is 'Polaria and the huskies' which is brilliant! The couple who own and race the dogs give a slide show with commentary which is both informative and fascinating after which you can wander freely outside amongst the dogs who are very friendly and always delighted to be made a fuss of! They are chained, not because they are fierce but because they have to rest in the Summer. There are usually puppies to view/photograph and they are really cute. I think there are about 70 dogs altogether, all of them wonderful! Again, Tromso is in the Arctic Circle, though not as far North as Alta and Honningsvag, and the weather is very variable. I have been twice - the first time ('05) it was warm and sunny - 16 degrees, which is unheard of here - they sent all the kids home from school so they could enjoy this rare event! Last year however was a different story - cold, wet, hailstormy! You never know what you're going to get so be prepared!
MOLDE - have not been here.
OLDEN - one of my favourite places the ships are usually welcomed by the town's brass band! It has a lovely setting but an organised excursion is necessary here as there is no public transport. I would imagine whatever you choose will delight as the scenery in this part of Norway is superb. One of the glacier trips would be good, as would any of the lake trips, or a combination of the two. Whatever you choose to do here I'm certain it will please. It's also worth strolling down to the village (about 15 min.); it's very pleasant and has a really good souvenir shop.
BERGEN - very easy to be independent here and probably best as you really are at the mercy of the weather here - Bergen is one of the wettest places in the world, having an avverage of 25 dry days a year - the town's logo is an umbrella! (seriously!) However, if the weather is kind to you, and I hope it is, do take the funicular (floyenbahn) up to the Floyen from where there are wonderful views of Bergen. Whilst it's what everybody does, once there you can walk for miles amidst beautiful and peaceful scenery. Another 'must-see' is the Bryggen, the old part of the town, consisting of lovely, old wooden buildings, now mostly shops but interesting and fascinating none-the-less. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fish market is also interesting, if a bit smelly!
Now on to clothes. For ports south of the Arctic Circle - Alesund-Molde-Olden-Bergen - a fleece jacket would be quite adequate should a coat be needed; it would also be wise to take a raincoat. In the Circle, however, you will need your anorak; beautiful as it is it never gets warm - we were in Honningsvag mid-June; the sun was shining in a clear, cloudless sky; the temperature was 5; at the North Cape it was 2 but the wind chill factor made it feel colder. June is the warmest month in Norway. Also, most ships sail round the Cape at midnight (for the midnight sun which lasts to the end of July) and it will be freezing on deck so wrap up well. The midnight sun is amazing - I had no concept of it at all before I went, just thought it got a bit 'dusky' or something, but no, the sun really does shine at midnight, and the skies are clear - it doesn't get dark at all. This was a revelation to me and I loved it. We were very, very lucky with the weather and I hope you will be too.
Hope this is not too lengthy for you and that it helps. Have a wonderful, wonderful time with, hopefully, equally wonderful weather. Would be interested to hear how you found Norway - I love it! Regards - Janet
Dear Janet, what a wealth of information, many thanks. Will be pleased to let you know how we get on. Would love to keep in touch but it looks as if we have to do it this way as it probably is not wise to give out e mail addresses etc. Speak to you when we return if not sooner.
Did this cruise on the Century with my wife last july. In Alta we did a tour which started with a visit to rock paintings believed to be thousands of years old, followed by a visit to a Husky farm followed by lunch and atrip by motorised canoe along one of the top salmon rivers in the world. The weather was glorious and it was one of the best excursions we did. Weather in Tromso was fab 23C and the view from the top of the cablecar was stunning, probably helped by the great weather. Bergen is great but can be expensive £35 for lunch (one course and one drink each) although it was right by the waterfront. You'll have a great time.