11 Days / 10 Nights
Explore five of Norway’s most beautiful fjords on this springtime expedition cruise, sailing from Dover to the stunning Norwegian coast. In spring, the fjords are quieter, the flowers are in bloom, and the mountaintops are frosted with snow. You’ll also see waterfalls in all their glory, in full flow from freshly melted winter snow.
From Dover, we set our course northbound toward the famous fjords of Norway on board MS Maud. Get ready to witness what UNESCO calls some of the most ‘exceptional natural beauty’ in the world. You may encounter all four seasons in the Norwegian spring, so fill your suitcase with clothes for all types of weather.
Once you board the ship, you’ll pick up your complimentary expedition jacket, settle into your cabin, explore the ship, and attend a mandatory safety drill. Head out on deck and watch the fishing boats and seagulls as we wave a fond farewell to the White Cliffs of Dover and head across the North Sea.
Take your time to get acquainted with the ship, which was elegantly crafted using natural Scandinavian materials. Locate our three restaurants and the Explorer Lounge and Bar. Head to Deck 5 to discover the Science Center, and don’t miss Deck 9, where you’ll find the Observation Deck, gym, sauna, and hot tubs. We have a feeling you might be spending a good bit of time up here. Over the next few days, travel deep into the fjords of western Norway, where these archetypal, fjordal landscapes stretch over 300 miles from Stavanger to Kristiansund. This area is also known as ‘Fjord Norway.’
Enjoy a day at sea as we head north to Norway. Now that you’ve settled in, you’ll have plenty of time to relax on board. Take in the fresh spring air from the Observation Deck or from one of the hot tubs. You can also settle down with a good book in the lounge, or grab a tasty snack from Fredheim restaurant. Feeling energetic? Make full use of the gym or take a few laps out on deck.
You’ll meet the wonderful Expedition Team, who’ll join you on your exciting adventures ahead. Their enthusiasm is infectious! We hand-selected this friendly team for their extensive knowledge of Norway and their personal expertise in particular subjects relevant to your journey, which they will share with you in their onboard lecture series. As we sail toward the fjords, their first topic may be the geology of the fjordal landscapes you’re seeing and how these incredible mountains, fjords, and plains were formed.
You can also participate in a number of Citizen Science projects we support. These projects include Happywhale, where your photographs help identify and track whales across the planet. Or the Globe Observer project, which combines your observations of clouds and sky conditions with satellite data. Not only will you support the scientific community, but you’ll gain a better understanding of the world around you.
The Expedition Team’s lecture series continues, perhaps with a talk on glaciers, or possibly on Norway’s climate, providing some background on the geology of the area you’re about to see. The peaks of tall mountains will appear on the horizon just before lunch. Between these peaks lie Norway’s world-famous fjords.
One such fjord is Hardangerfjord. Enjoy a mild climate in spring, where the hillsides are lined with the prettiest apple orchards in Norway, blanketed in white blossoms. The region is famous for its apples, used in jams and juice to award-winning cider, which one wine critic described as ‘Nordic champagne’.
Sunndal or Rosendal are the villages we’ll explore today, depending on local conditions. From Sunndal, situated near Bondhusbreen, the Bondhus Glacier, explore the area on a scenic hike or kayak with the Expedition Team on optional excursions. The small, charming village of Rosendal has only 800 inhabitants. The biggest attraction is the 16th-century Baronial manor, famous for its beautiful rose garden and landscaped grounds. Pop into one of the small cafés in the village and sample the delicious local produce!
As your breakfast is served, watch the mountains of Sognefjord pass by. Friluftsliv is the quintessential Norwegian life philosophy that combines a deep respect for nature with a love of life outdoors. The deeper we sail into fjord territory, the more you’ll understand just why friluftsliv is so integral to Norwegian culture. In today’s talk, the Expedition Team may share the secrets of the happy Norwegian disposition and their connection with nature.
Sognefjord is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, stretching over 124 miles inland from Bergen. Many fjord tributaries flow into it, some of which themselves require a full day to explore. As we sail deeper into the fjord, head out on deck to get a sense of the scale of the fjordal landscape around you. You’ll see isolated farms perched precariously on steep, snow-capped mountains, seemingly cut off from the world. As spring’s warmth thaws the snow, the trickles of water from melting ice cascades into waterfalls, crashing down the jagged rocks into the fjord, delighting the senses.
On occasion, we’ll pass idyllic fjord villages nestled along the fertile plains. One of these is Skjolden, population of only 200 and our base for today. The highlight here is a trip to the nearby Urnes Stave Church. Urnes is the oldest stave church in Norway. Built in the 12th century, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s an outstanding example of traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture, bringing together Celtic art, Viking traditions, and Romanesque style. Marvel at the church’s exquisite interior carvings, notable for both their artistic and historical significance.
Lovers of nature and the outdoors can join optional excursions to explore the Lustrafjord, including fantastic mountain hikes with the Expedition Team or a thrilling kayaking trip.
As you sleep soundly after an invigorating day of activities, we’ll sail through the night to the southern side of the Sognefjord. When you open your curtains in the morning, you’ll be greeted by the stunning scenery of one of the most beautiful fjords in the world. Welcome to the Nærøyfjord!
Along with Geirangerfjord, Nærøyfjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, selected for being ‘among the most scenically outstanding landscapes in the world’ and ‘exceptional in scale and grandeur’. Nærøyfjord stands out for its dramatic contrasts. It’s the narrowest fjord in the world (820 feet at its narrowest), lined by towering vertical mountain walls as high as 5,500 feet. It’s also the deepest fjord in the world.
We’ll set sail after breakfast, gliding through scenic fjords until we arrive in Fjærlandsfjord, where we have a full day of activities in store. Today’s onboard lecture may cover shipbuilding, one of Norway’s most important industries. As you marvel at the scale and reach of the country’s fjords, it’ll come as no surprise that the fjords are Norway’s most efficient transport network.
The Supphelle Glacier, Supphellebreen, awaits you, and you’ll take a guided tour there and learn all about Norway’s glaciers and glacial landscapes. What better way to do this than in the presence of these incredible landforms! We will also visit the beautiful little glacier village of Fjærland, where the Sognefjord meets Jostedalsbreen, the Jostedal Glacier. This quirky village, home to only 300 residents, is known as the ‘Norwegian Book Town’ for its 10 second-hand bookshops. These book shops are located in abandoned buildings of many types, from former ferry waiting rooms and horse stables to banks and the old post office. On the banks of this pretty village, weather permitting, you can join the Expedition Team on an optional excursion where you can kayak through incredible nature.
Enjoy a delicious meal aboard the ship, where you can admire the views as we exit the fjord and rejoin coastal waters. We sail north during the night, sheltered by the coastline. Get a good night’s sleep, as we visit the Geirangerfjord tomorrow. This UNESCO-listed fjord is as far north as we will travel.
After breakfast, we’ll sail into the fjord system leading to Geirangerfjord in the Sunnmøre region of western Norway. The fjord’s deep emerald color and the fairy-tale landscape have led to the Geirangerfjord often being referred to as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Norwegian fjords.
Springtime is arguably the best season to see the Geirangerfjord. There are fewer visitors, the weather will be milder, the sun warms your face as it glistens on the fjord, and the snow will be melting into mesmerizing waterfalls. All the while, majestic snow-capped mountaintops looming above you, undaunted by the sun.
Put on some layers and head out on deck today—you won’t want to miss a thing. We’ll be sailing past the Geirangerfjord’s famous waterfalls, including the most well-known: Brudesløret (the Bridal Veil). You’ll most definitely notice De Syv Søstrene, the Seven Sisters, one of the most photographed waterfalls in the Geirangerfjord. They comprise seven waterfalls that thunder down the mountainside next to an abandoned farm, the contrast merely emphasizing the power of nature. Frieren, known as ‘the Suitor’, is a waterfall that lies across the fjord from the Seven Sisters. As the water diverts into two streams, it tumbles down the rock walls and makes the entire waterfall resemble a bottle.
We’ll select a secluded spot in the fjord to drop anchor, one that affords us the most spectacular views. Small boats (RIBs) will take you ashore to explore the special natural beauty and the many small communities of the fjords. We have handpicked fantastic optional activities for you to enjoy in the Geirangerfjord. These include kayaking on the fjord, weather permitting.
Perhaps the outstanding natural beauty you’ve seen today inspires you. If so, express this creatively in an art and crafts workshop back on the ship, or let the Expedition Team teach you about how nature has inspired Norwegian art and culture. Once the sun has set and the mountains’ shadows stretch toward us, we’ll raise our anchor and sail toward our next port of call: Nordfjord.
In the morning we enter the Nordfjord, the sixth-longest fjord in Norway. This fjord was created by Jostedalsbreen, the Jostedal Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in Europe. Aside from breathtaking glaciers and fjords, you’ll discover mountains, fertile valleys, and beautiful, sandy beaches that offer year-round adventures such as skiing, hiking, paragliding, glacier traversing, and even surfing!
Our chosen destination to explore the best of the Nordfjord is Loen, at the base of the fjord and of Mount Hoven. We dock outside Loen and head ashore on our small boats (RIBs) to reach the village. The Skylift cable car in Loen is one of the world’s steepest, where you climb to over 3,500 feet at a gradient that reaches 60°. Enjoy spectacular views of the mountains, valleys, and the fjord from the top of Mount Hoven.
Weather permitting, we offer optional excursions such as guided hikes along alpine trails. Back on the green banks of Loen, experience the fjord from a different perspective, out on the water aboard a kayak. The impressive Briksdalsbreen, the Briksda Glacier, is another of the Nordfjord’s popular attractions. This blue and glistening mass of ice flows over the mountains and squeezes through the high peaks. The nearby Kleivafossen Waterfall is also a fan favorite.
We sail out of the fjord as the sun is setting in the west. On our way, we’ll pass the Hornelen sea cliff, the tallest in Europe. This will be our farewell to the fjords in the north. Our next destination is completely different: an island chain off the Norwegian coast, offering a stark contrast to the glacial beauty of the fjords.
Today, we’ll explore the area around Værlandet, the westernmost islands of Norway and the outlet of the Sognefjord. These windswept islands face the North Sea and are exposed to the elements, in contrast to the sheltered fjords we’ve left behind. Given the usual wind and waves here, our itinerary involving these islands is subject to the weather conditions, even in spring. The coastal islands and waters are home to lots of wildlife, so be on the lookout for seals, otters, porpoises, eagles, and deer. The day’s onboard lecture topic may cover the plants and animals of the coast.
Værlandet is a small island (even by Norwegian standards) and is rarely visited by cruise ships. At only 3.5 square miles, the community of 200 locals depends largely on the fishing industry, and only a little on tourism. The ship will try to anchor off one of the islands or find shelter in a small bay. Small boats (RIBs) will take you to a location that gives you the best opportunities to explore these tiny islands on optional excursions. This might include visiting the little chapel and local store on Stornese by bike, walking across moors to a lighthouse, visiting Pecten Maximus—a wooden weather shelter, or hiking to the statue of Berte and Hansine on Hilliers Island. You might also have the chance to kayak in the turquoise waters between islets and fishing boats.
Your final day of exploration begins with Mosterøy and Klosterøy in the morning, two of the many islands located around the city of Stavanger. Mosterøy is a lovely island, made up of a mixture of cattle pastures, horticulture, and cute neighborhoods. Klosterøy is less than one square mile in size, but home to the historic Utstein Abbey and Utstein Church, which is more than 800 years old. The stone church is a protected site. It seats up to 300 people, but is only used for special occasions. Explore the abbey, Norway’s best-preserved medieval monastery. The abbey is still used as a venue for concerts, seminars, and conventions. It is well-known site for hosting conferences on emergency medicine. There will also be an optional excursion to go out on the water in kayaks near Mosterøy.
After lunch, we’ll sail as deep as possible into the imposing Lysefjord toward the iconic viewpoint at Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock). The Lysefjord is 25 miles long, up to 1,384 feet deep, and boasts some of the most striking vertical cliffs of all the Norwegian fjords. Preikestolen is probably the most famous tourist attraction in Norway. Hopefully we’ll be treated to a fine view of this incredible rock formation from below as we approach Preikestolen. We might also see the equally renown Kjæragbolten, where a giant boulder seems precariously wedged in a mountain crevasse.
We recommend taking the optional excursion to the Preikestolen viewpoint. This five-hour guided hike takes you nearly 2,000 feet above the Lysefjord. If you decide to hang out on the ship, head out to the deck and bask in the magnificent scenery, and admire the majestic mountains towering above you. Following a scenic cruise of the fjord and after collecting our tired-but-exhilarated hikers, we’ll set sail for Dover, sadly leaving the fjords, islands, and eventually the Norwegian coast behind us.
Our adventure is drawing to a triumphant close, as this is our last day at sea. As we cross the North Sea, keep an eye out for seabirds and dolphins that like to follow the ship.
Make the most of your day at sea aboard MS Maud. Soak in the hot tub, work out in the gym, relax in the Explorer Lounge, or edit your photos from your trip. Don’t miss the Expedition Team as they review the highlights of your memorable expedition cruise to the fjords of Norway.
We pass the White Cliffs of Dover in the early morning hours and dock at the city’s harbor. After breakfast, you’ll say goodbye to your home for the past 11 days.
Your greatest souvenirs will be your unforgettable memories of Norway’s magnificent fjords along the west coast.
Dates & Prices
|Start/End||Nights||Sailing Schedule||Starting From|
|Dover, U.K. / Dover, U.K.||10||March 23, 2022 / April 2, 2022 / May 8, 2022||5,195|
*Price per person for cruise only, based on double occupancy. Due to the dynamic nature of availability and pricing, please click here to contact us directly for sailing schedule and full pricing.
Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurants Aune and Fredheim
Complimentary tea and coffee
Complimentary Wi-Fi on board
Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
MS Maud (previously MS Midnatsol)
MS Maud is well-suited for expedition cruising, as it was upgraded in 2021 and is equipped with shore power connections.