MS Nordlys draws inspiration from the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in both its name and its interior design. Step aboard this expedition-style ship and embark on a fascinating cruise adventure alongside a maximum of 559 like-minded fellow passengers. MS Nordlys is reminiscent of a university at sea as the on-board Expedition Team has two main focuses: to enhance your voyage by interpreting the wildlife, nature, phenomena, and culture you encounter; and to engage you in thrilling and informative experiences both aboard ship and ashore. They'll also introduce you to the unique Norwegian 'friluftsliv' (open-air living) way of life with activities and hikes during your cruise. Life on board is laid-back and social, equally-matched by a casual dress code and tasty, locally-inspired cuisine. You'll find two restaurants, a coffee shop, two lounges, library, lecture halls, fitness room, sauna, outdoor explorer deck, and comfortable suites and cabins spread across the six passenger decks.
MS Nordlys' on board cuisine features traditional Scandinavian recipes created from locally-sourced ingredients. Take your seat in the Stjernsalen Main Dining Room at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to enjoy attentive service and a tasty menu of starters, main courses, and desserts. You can also indulge in a choice of fine dining dishes served to your table at the A La Carte Restaurant.
Aurora Cafe serves a selection of hot and cold drinks and is the perfect place to unwind after your adventures ashore. Sirius Observation Lounge offers vistas as far as the eye can see – ideal for admiring local wildlife and the colourful landscapes. Orion Panorama Lounge serves is the ship's social hub both day and night. Relax here with your morning coffee as you take in the ever-changing views; returning after dinner to socialise with your fellow passengers and swap stories of your day over a few drinks.
Spend your days afloat relaxing on the open-air explorer deck or enjoying the panoramic vistas from the lounges. Shape up in style in the fitness room before winding down in the sauna. The Expedition Team host a programme of informative lectures and evening get-togethers; while out on deck and ashore they guide you through live points of interest, local wildlife, and natural phenomena. Keeping in touch with home is easy in the Internet zone or you can lose yourself in a book in Knut Hamsun Library. If you're travelling with children, there is also a play area to keep them entertained. After dinner, light background music sets the scene as you chat with new-found friends in the Orion Panorama Lounge or simply take a stroll on deck under star-filled skies.
Day 1: Fly from the UK to Bergen
Your 12-day Classic Round Winter Voyage starts when you land in the charming port city of Bergen. Framed by seven hills on Norway's south-west shore; Bergen is famous for its bustling waterfront, narrow streets of colourful half-timbered houses, and a proud musical and maritime heritage. Make yourself at home in your cabin before joining your fellow guests for a tasty buffet-style dinner made from locally-sourced ingredients. The ship sets sail north along the Hjeltefjord.
Day 2: Floro – Molde
Before breakfast, why not head up on deck and admire the serene beauty of the Nordfjord? The cruise continues on past the West Cape and out into the open sea towards the charming town of Alesund. This fishing town is spread across several islands and is generally considered Norway's most beautiful city. Alesund was re-built in 1904 following a huge fire and now features stunning Art Nouveau architecture to explore. Why not join an optional excursion to the Atlanterhavsparken to get up close to the resident penguins, followed by a trip up Mound Aksla to take in the panoramic views?
Day 3: Kristiansund - Rørvik
Today the cruise continues north to Trondheim, Norway's third largest city. Step ashore and join an optional trip to the Gothic-style Nidaros Cathedral, followed by a stop at Ringve Museum of Musical History to explore the country's musical heritage. In the afternoon, the cruise continues northwest past the Kjeungskjaer lighthouse, charming islets and rocky outcrops, and through the Stokksund towards the port town of Rorvik on the Vikna Archipelago.
Day 4: Brønnøysund - Svolvær
Today you finally cross the Arctic Circle - the best place to see the Northern Lights - which will be celebrated with a daytime Arctic Circle Ceremony on deck. Travel on past Ornes and the Svartisen glacier to Bodo, where you can take a challenging guided winter hike through the beautiful woodland of Bodosjoen or enjoy a leisurely tour of the city. Step back on board ship as she sails past the 1000m-high Lofoten Wall and picturesque fishing villages to Stamsund. Here you can join an optional trip to Lofotr Viking Museum and enjoy an authentic meal with the Chieftain and his lady in the banquet hall. As you travel between Stamsund and Svolvaer, why not visit a working herb and cheese farm or Lofoten's only craft brewery? Back on board; film shows and talks bring the Northern Lights and the Battle of Trollfjord to life at you enter this mighty stretch of water.
Day 5: Stokmarknes - Skjervøy
This morning the ship docks briefly at Risoyhamn, Harstad and Finnsnes and then continues to the 'Capital of the Arctic', Tromso, where it drops anchor for a day of adventure. If you're feeling active, join the Polar History Walk, try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, or meet the indigenous Sami reindeer herders and take a thrilling husky dog sledge ride. Ride the cable car to the top of Mount Storsteinen for amazing views, admire the artworks at the Art Museum of Norway, or step back in time at Perspektivet Museum. Taste authentic local brews on a tour of Mack Brewery or get up close to local fish and bearded seals at Polaria Arctic Aquarium. When the day draws to a close, you may be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights illuminating the night sky from the best vantage point - the ship's top deck.
Day 6: Øksfjord – Berlevåg
Today, your journey continues towards the North Cape. Early stops at Hammerfest and Havoysun are followed by a longer stay at Honnigsvag where you have the opportunity to venture up to the Globe Monument on the North Cape plateau, Europe’s northern-most outpost. Or why not join a fishing village tour to experience local fishing life at Kamoyvaer and Skarsvag? The ship then continues north and passes the Finnkirka rock formation, a sacred site to the local Sami people. Next stop is the fishing village of Kjollefjord - where you can discover more about the local Sami and their traditions. In the winter months, you can go snowmobiling in the Arctic wilderness, explore the local Arctic cuisine and beverages, and maybe catch sight of the Northern Lights.
Day: 7 Båtsfjord – Kirkenes - Berlevåg
Early today, the ship makes a brief stop at Vadso before arriving at Kirkenes - the turning point for the journey south and close to the Russian border, the only town in Norway where east meets west. From Kirkenes you can pay a visit to the Snow Hotel and marvel at the variety of differently themed ice sculptures, explore the frozen wilderness by snowmobile or take an exhilarating dog sledge ride. Step back on board as your journey continues to Vardo for a short stop and maybe the opportunity to go ice bathing in the surrounding Arctic Ocean! Heading south, the ship cruises along the Varanger peninsula to Batsfjord before arriving in Berlevåg in the evening.
Day 8: Mehamn - Tromsø
The ship drops anchor during the night at the fishing village of Mehamn on the small Vedvik peninsula. Here you can join a snowmobile trip to enjoy the snow-clad landscapes and maybe catch sight of the Northern Lights. The cruise continues to Honnigsvag and then onto Hammerfest. Step ashore and admire the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column or join a mini-mountain expedition in the great outdoors and to learn more about local polar hero and cook, Adolf Henrik Linstrom. Travelling on through Oksfjord; there is a brief stop at the old trading post of Skjervoy, before the ship docks at Tromso - just in time to catch the midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral or enjoy a drink in a local pub.
Day 9: Tromsø - Stamsund
This morning sees the ship’s arrival at Harstad, where you can take an optional excursion to experience the local scenery and history and visit Trondenes Church. Journey on towards Risoyrenna - a shallow seven-metre deep channel than runs between Harstad and Sortland. Admire the soaring mountains, wildlife and picturesque villages as you travel through the Lofoten Islands for a brief stop at Risoyhamn, then on via Sortland to Stokmarknes. Step ashore to explore the Hurtigruten Museum - the cruise company was founded here over 120 years ago. Next stop is Svolvaer - the perfect place to enjoy optional excursions such as a tour through the Lofoten Islands, a horseback ride along the sands or a village walk. The cruise continues on to Stramsund past the dramatic peaks of Lofoten wall, before leaving the islands behind and heading towards the mainland.
Day 10: Bodø - Rørvik
Crossing the Arctic Circle is celebrated with a traditional spoonful of cod liver oil out on deck! Sail alongside the stunning scenery of the Helgeland coast and past the Torgatten Mountain (with its odd-shaped hole) and the Seven Sisters mountains. During a stop at Bronnoysund you can take a guide tour to see the sights of this pretty village and harbour and indulge in some freshly caught seafood.
Day 11: Trondheim - Ålesund
Today you have a second opportunity to explore the central Norwegian city of Trondheim on the shores of Trondheim Fjord. Visit the impressive 11th-century, Gothic-style Nidaros Cathedral, explore the Archbishop's Palace Museum and discover all things musical at Ringve Museum. Continue on through Trondheimsfjord to Kristiansund - the 'dried cod capital'. Winter time brings ice fishing and husky dog sledge rides. The ship then crosses open sea past the Romsdal Alps to Molde.
Day 12: Ålesund – Bergen
The ship calls at Alesund, Torvik and Maloy during the night. Cruise through the picturesque Nordfjord and past the Jostedals glacier before a final stop at Floro, the westernmost town in Norway. Then it’s into the Sognefjord and our final destination - Bergen. Your cruise adventure comes to an end here, when you disembark and catch your flight back to the UK.