Seabourn’s heritage is Norwegian and both its intimate, ultra-luxury resort ships and its smaller expedition-style ships celebrate the sunlit days and Midnight Sun nights of a Norwegian summer among Norway’s tremendous variety of colorful cities, unspoiled islands, picturesque villages and breathtaking fjords.
Summer is especially colorful in cities such as Oslo, where children sport among flowers and the Gustav Vigeland sculptures in Frogner Park and marvel at the graceful hulls in the Viking Ships Museum on Bigdøy. Holmenkollen ski lift is still thrilling for the views in summer. In Bergen, the UNESCO World Heritage Bryggen Hanseatic wharf near the Bergenhus fortress is full of visitors, who also take the funicular to the Fløien lookout or venture to Edvard Grieg’s house-museum Troldhaugen. The turrets and spires of Ålesund’s Art Nouveau architecture seem to echo the surrounding peaks of the Sunnemøre Alps. The 17th-century houses of Arendal’s Tytholmen neighborhood and its two lighthouses are probably the reason it was used as the model for Arendelle in the movie Frozen. Summer visitors also flock to Bodø’s Norwegian National Aviation Museum, the largest on any Nordic nation. Once there, however, they are mesmerized by the strong maelstrom current that occurs during tidal flows at nearby Saltstraumen. Stavanger is an important center of the Norwegian oil industry, but also is the gateway to the iconic Priekestolen, or Pulpit Rock, that rises sheer above the Lysefjord.
Norway’s fjords and the towns along their shores are the main attraction for many cruisers. Cruising between the soaring granite cliffs of Geirangerfjord to Geiranger, to ascend to the Eagle’s Nest and look back to your ship far below is a classic Norway experience. The Flåmsbahnen railway snaking up past rushing rivers and through a dozen tunnels from Flåm is another. Sailing out to Svolvaer on the towering Lofoten Islands’ ‘wall’ on the horizon is unforgettable. Molde, the ‘City of Roses’ basks in the Romsdalsfjord under the 222 peaks of the Romsdal Alps. Loen in Nordfjord, Hellesylt tucked into the Storfjorden and Rosendal in Hardangerfjord all welcome visitors with breathtaking scenery and hearty hospitality. Tromsø straddles the shores of its own fjord, with the distinctive glacier-like Arctic Ocean Cathedral standing proudly on the slopes. The Trollfjord is only accessible to smaller ships such as Seabourn’s, which can maneuver through its narrow, almost hidden entry, before it opens out into a great bowl surrounded by snowcapped peaks. Sailing past the globe monument erected to mark the Arctic Circle among the granite islands of Norway’s coastal archipelago is a signal experience. But the crowning touch is the fishing village of Honningsvåg, from where visitors travel to the North Cape, Europe’s northernmost point, on Magerøy Island in the Arctic Ocean.
Seabourn’s small expedition ships explore a different side of Norway, threading the channels between Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya islands of Svalbard in the Arctic, deploying their fleets of Zodiacs®, kayaks and guiding treks to sites such as Burgerbukta, Ahlstrandodden, Smeerenburg, Magdalena Bay and Virgo Bay. Guests experience the extravagant wildlife of the seasonal migration and breeding season, including reindeer, Arctic foxes, polar bears, walruses, seals and whales, and visit isolated outposts such as Longyearbyen, Ny Ålesund, Jan Mayen Island and Bjørnøya (Bear Island). They cruise among icebergs beneath glaciers such as Monacobreen and under sheer cliffs teeming with nesting puffins, auks, eiders, kittywakes and other seabirds. They even navigate to the very edge of the Polar Icepack, and cruise along beside this vast, jumbled shining plain of frozen sea that crowns the globe.
There are many other exciting and unforgettable experiences awaiting Seabourn guests under the Midnight Sun.