The past week exploring the Norwegian coastal passage like a local has been choc-a-bloc full of adventure for the travel advisors from Australia and New Zealand taking part in Hurtigruten APAC’s first famil to the region.
Having commenced their journey in Oslo last weekend, the travel experts sampled Hurtigruten’s ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ experience to Bergen, via Flåm. Read LATTE’s previous recap here.
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Below is LATTE‘s photo journal of some of the activities that awaited the travel advisors, in sequence, as they pushed off from Bergen bound for Kirkenes on board the working ship, MS Nordlys.
After an overnight dusting of fresh snow, travel advisors got their bearings in Bergen – the starting point for the Classic Norwegian Coastal Voyage – with a walking tour around the historic waterfront, followed by a ride on the Fløibanen funicular to the summit of Mount Fløyen.
In Alesund, LATTE joined a group of paddlers on a guided 90-minute kayak sightseeing tour of the harbour city, where once again a fresh dump of snow had created a winter wonderland-like environment, in spring. Dressed in water-tight outfits, our group got our first upper body workout trying to keep our two-person kayaks in a straight line, while enjoying the calm waters around the harbour, and slightly choppier waters of the open sea.
Trondheim gave travel advisors a chance to do their best “Avengers Assemble” pose outside Norway’s most sacred church, Nidaros Cathedral, with its gobsmackingly stunning medieval Gothic architecture. The leisurely walking tour also encompassed the Stiftsgarden Royal Palace near the heart of the city and the Gamle Bybro historic bridge that crosses the Nidelva River.
It was then a quick hustle back to the port to the awaiting MS Nordlys which has a strict timing schedule to maintain on its 34 port timetable between Bergen and Kirkenes.
After crossing the Arctic Circle mid-morning on our route north along the Norwegian coastal passage, just past the islet of Vikingen where a statue on a small island marks the significant landmark, we docked in the city of Bodo. Here a smaller group of travel advisors once again donned their waterproof (and supplied) attire for a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) safari to Saltstraumen to experience the world’s strongest tidal current – an exhilarating ride in, literally, Arctic-like conditions (for this time of year anyway).
Another bucket-list experience ensued in Tromso, where the entire group of travel advisors joined other Hurtigruten guests on an exhilarating dog sledding experience. Pairing up with a partner on the two-person sleds, participants were pulled by a pack of 8 huskies across the frozen landscapes for 40 minutes, stopping a few times for obligatory photos and providing a chance for the dogs to catch their breath! The excursion also provides plenty of time to walk around the kennels and make friends with ‘man’s best friend’.
The small port of Honningsvag in far north Norway is also the gateway to the North Cape globe monument which signifies the top of the European continent. The group were welcomed with bitterly cold winds and some Spring snow, making for an even more memorable experience.
Kirkenes was the final port for travel advisors on their Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express. Following a quick photoshoot in front of their workhorse MS Nordlys, and a pause for those wishing to claim a rebate on their gift shopping along the way – I’m looking at you Debbie Collins from Spencer Travel! – it was a short bus trip to the Snow Hotel, Kirkenes for a site inspection of this marvelous property, set in the Arctic tundra and offering dog sledding year-round, snowmobiling, hiking and a range of other adventure activities.
Accompanying the group, and partnering with Hurtigruten, is Arnaud Michelin from Finnair, which operates from Singapore into Helsinki and offers connections to key hubs across Norway. Courtesy of Finnair, participants have lapped up the high-end Finnair Business product for the 14+ hour journey between Helsinki and Singapore.
Learn more about Hurtigruten’s Classic Voyage North itinerary here.