Christmas Cruise to the Northern Lights in Norway
- Experience the magic of Christmas and New Year’s along the Norwegian coast
- Spend six days above the Arctic Circle, in the Auroral Zone
- 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
- Fine-dining À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm is included for suite guests
- Complimentary tea and coffee
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
- Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
- English-speaking Expedition Team who organize and guide activities, both on board and ashore
- Range of included activities
- Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
- Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
- The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research
- The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
- The ship has hot tubs, a panoramic sauna, and outdoor and indoor gyms
- Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations
- Escorted landings with small boats (RIBs)
- Trekking poles, head lamps, and walking poles are available, if necessary
- Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
- Expedition photographer will help configure your camera settings before landings
- International flights
- Travel protection
- Baggage handling
- Optional shore excursions with our local partners
- Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team
- Optional treatments in the onboard wellness and spa area
- All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
- Excursions and activities are subject to change
- Please ensure you can meet all entry and boarding requirements
- No gratuities are expected
Setting off from the White Cliffs - Dover
We set course northward from Dover toward the magical, snow-covered landscapes of the Norwegian coast, on the hunt for the Northern Lights. You can also look forward to discovering wonderful Norwegian Christmas traditions along the way.
If you have the time, take a walk alongside the iconic White Cliffs of Dover that have become a symbol for England. One of the best places to do so is at St. Margaret’s Bay, which offers great views of the chalky coastline from its wide shingle beach.
Once on board the ship, you’ll pick up your complimentary expedition jacket, settle into your cabin, and attend a mandatory safety drill.
When the ship sets sail, stretch your sea legs and explore MS Maud, your cozy home away from home. Let the sea air envelop you on deck or watch the world pass you by with a relaxing glass of wine in the panoramic Explorer Lounge and Bar. Your Christmas and New Year’s adventure to the Arctic is officially underway!
After the first of many delicious dinners and a welcome toast by the captain, you’ll meet your expert Expedition Team. They’ll be your knowledgeable lecturers, warm hosts, and good-natured guides throughout your journey. Many of them grew up and live in the places you’ll visit, and they are passionate about sharing their homes with you—especially during this special season.
But first and foremost, they’ll keep you safe and sound. Their first priority will be to run through important health and safety information with you and your shipmates.
Norway bound - At sea
This day at sea gives you time to ease into your journey. You’ll definitely want to start enjoying onboard facilities like the hot tubs, the sauna, and the indoor gym.
The Expedition Team will begin their series of insightful lectures over in the Science Center. Each member of the Expedition Team team is an expert in different subject, and you’ll find that they’re treasure troves of stories and information. They’ll share their extensive knowledge about the places, Christmas traditions, history, and natural phenomena you are soon to encounter.
Our captain’s goal is to bring us into Egersund the next day, but when wind and waves on the North Sea are involved, nothing can be completely set in stone, especially in the winter season. This is all part and parcel of the expedition experience, adding extra suspense and excitement to your adventure.
Norwegians celebrate Christmas on the 24th rather than the 25th of December. This means that today, the 23rd, is Lille Juleaften (Christmas Eve) in Norway. Each family has its own traditions. Some might weave julekurver (heart-shaped paper decorations), while others build gingerbread houses, decorate the tree, or eat risengrynsgrøt (a warm rice porridge served with cinnamon, sugar, and butter). Try taking one of these Norwegian traditions back home with you and make it your own!
Christmas cheer - Egersund
We arrive in Egersund on Juleaften morning. Today is Christmas for Norwegians and there really is no better place to celebrate it than Egersund. The Christmas market here is regularly voted to be the best in the country.
You’ll really feel the Christmas buzz as you admire the rustic wooden houses and narrow streets of the town, all decked out in festive decorations and fairy lights. The atmosphere in Egersund couldn’t be more magical as your first port of call on your Norwegian Christmas voyage!
The season’s good cheer permeates the Christmas market. Around 60 wooden stalls fill the town square, centered around a Christmas tree. The homemade products and charming handicrafts are perfect for any last-minute gift-buying. Melodious choirs, likely in full Santa-suit regalia, will be singing local Norwegian carols while a brass band joyously belts out Christmas classics.
And what would Christmas be without the hearty food? Feast on Norwegian pølse (hot dogs), juleøl (Christmas beer), and flavorful smoked salmon that melts in your mouth. Sample artisanal cheese, charcuterie, and feast on all chocolate of all kinds. You can also buy hot gløgg (mulled wine) from a stall that is often staffed by singing monks—or at least people dressed as ones!
After indulging in snacks and treats and stocking up on gifts and souvenirs, you’ll return to the ship in the afternoon. We’ll then sail north to find a place with calm waters to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner. The menu will be inspired by the Christmas dinner Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen enjoyed on his expedition to the North Pole aboard the original Fram in 1893. As it happens, 1893 was also the year Hurtigruten was founded!
Our chefs will be busy preparing rich oxtail soup, traditional fish terrine, succulent reindeer with tangy lingonberry marmalade, stewed cloudberries, and kransekake, a Norwegian confection made of almonds.
Christmas meals are usually enjoyed with a generous glass (or more) of local aquavit and beer. God jul to all!
Christmas day in Norway’s longest fjord - Outside Fjærland
It’s Christmas Day morning. Norwegians typically open their gifts after dinner the night before, but perhaps you are opening your gifts today! Share season’s greetings with family and your new friends or simply admire the scenic winter landscapes as we sail into the Sognefjord, the longest fjord in Norway.
Today, we celebrate nature in all its glory. Our cruise will take us deep into the fjord to the tiny hamlet of Fjærland. We’ll go ashore to discover this idyllic glacier village, where the Sognefjord meets Jostedal Glacier, Jostedalsbreen
This quirky village, home to only 300 residents, is known as the ‘Norwegian Book Town’ for its 10 second-hand bookshops. These shops are tucked away in charming corners and old buildings, ranging from old ferry waiting rooms to stables. Most of these will be closed on Christmas Day, but you can capture their charm from outside and enjoy peeking through the windows!
On the banks of this pretty village, you can join the Expedition Team on an optional excursion and take a winter hike or kayak among incredible nature, weather permitting.
Jostedal Glacier is the largest glacier on the European continent. It has several smaller glacial arms stretching out in many directions, including the Bøyabreen and Supphellebreen. Fjærland is the perfect place to learn more from our Expedition Team about how glaciers created Norway’s beautiful fjords.
Enjoy a delicious meal aboard the ship, where you can admire the views as we exit the fjord and rejoin coastal waters. This will certainly be a Christmas to remember.
Cruising the coastal inner route towards the Arctic - At sea
Today marks the start of Romjulen, a quieter period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Many Norwegians head to the slopes to go skiing or sledding. We’ll spend the day at sea en route to the famous Lofoten Islands and to the Arctic Circle.
A little too merry last night? Today will be a nice recovery day. Relax in the ship’s Explorer Lounge, soak in a hot tub, or take in the scenery from the deck as we sail through Helgeland County.
Gaze over thousands of small isles and pick out the Seven Sisters mountain range and the famous Torghatten Mountain, which features a natural hole right through its center.
The Expedition Team will continue its onboard lecture series, and there may be a a photography workshop with pro tips on how to best capture the Northern Lights.
This may be very useful as we head north of the Arctic Circle into the Aurora Zone, where your chances of seeing the Northern Lights improve considerably.
It is the Polar Night above the Arctic Circle—24 hours of night. It’s not darkness, however—you’ll also experience the atmospheric ‘blue hour’. In this extended twilight the winter sun glows just below the horizon, bathing Norway’s fjords and mountains in a romantic, dreamy cobalt-blue light that can last several hours.
Experience a blue Christmas in the fjords - Svolvær, Lofoten
There are just a few places on Earth where you can sail north of the Arctic Circle during wintertime. The Norwegian coast is one of them The ship will officially cross the Arctic Circle sometime in the morning. In the tradition of Norwegian sailors, we’ll mark the occasion by inviting you on deck for a special ceremony.
As you approach the Lofoten Archipelago, the sight of the massive wall of mountains and dramatic peaks rising up out of the sea is something you’ll never forget. Serene fishing villages sit nestled in sheltered coves, which are even more charming when they’re dusted with snow—and especially with the Northern Lights swirling above, if we’re lucky!
Then we’ll sail along the Vestfjord to arrive that afternoon in Svolvær, Lofoten’s largest town. You’ll be greeted by rows of rorbuer (fishing huts) and wooden racks called hjell dotted along the shore. Here, locally caught cod is dried and turned into stockfish, a prized local delicacy.
If the shops and art galleries along the seafront are open, and perhaps pick up some Lofoten caviar, locally handcrafted candles, or handblown glass as souvenirs. You may even be able to rent a kicksled for a traditional ride through town, powered by kicking the ground with your foot to propel you forward.
From the dock, it’s a short walk to your included visit to the multicolored Magic Ice bar. This former fish-freezing warehouse is filled with ice sculptures depicting life in Lofoten and Viking culture. Enjoy a signature drink to warm you up—served in an ice glass, of course!
Guided by your expert Expedition Team, you can join optional excursions to snowshoe or hike among the spectacular Lofoten scenery in the Polar Night, lit by headlamps and perhaps even with the Northern Lights above.
Historical port surrounded by fjords - Narvik
We arrive at Narvik in the morning. This town is spectacularly situated on a peninsula surrounded by three fjords: The Ofotfjord, Rombaken, and Beisfjord. The mountains also shelter the popular ski slopes from strong coastal winds.
Narvik developed as a year-round port for the Swedish iron mines, giving it strategic importance for Germany during World War II. You’ll visit the Narvik War Museum to see exhibits and artifacts from the war, and learn about the heroism of the British and Allied troops who liberated the town from the Nazis in Operation Wilfred.
Then, browse the town’s galleries, and shops, and restaurants which specialize in seafood that is locally sourced from the fjords. Feeling adventurous? Try the reindeer!
If weather allows, ride the cable car to the top of Mount Narvik to see the breathtaking views and twinkling Christmas lights decorating the town. Or, go on an optional excursion hiking, snowshoeing, or kayaking on the fjord.
On the lookout for the Northern Lights - Alta
Alta lies in the vast wilderness of Troms and Finnmark County, well above the Arctic Circle at 70 degrees north. Welcome to the turning point of your expedition and one of the northernmost towns in the world, with a population of about 10,000. Stroll around this cute town decorated in Christmas lights and dusted with the season’s snowfall.
We’ll arrive here in the early afternoon. The plan is to stay past midnight to stargaze and watch for the Northern Lights in Alta’s skies. The town is directly beneath the Auroral Oval, a zone known for consistent Northern Lights activity. If the heavens aren’t overcast and the conditions are right, get ready for nature’s most spectacular show...
You’ll learn about the Aurora at the modern Northern Lights Cathedral in Alta, situated at the end of the pedestrian street all decked out for Christmas. This titanium-clad building and its spiral belfry dominate the skyline here. It’s even more impressive when illuminated at night.
An interactive exhibition in this cathedral chronicles how Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland established Alta as the epicenter for groundbreaking Northern Lights research in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You’ll also be treated to a classical concert in the cathedral as part of your visit. It’s perfect for the holiday season!
‘Buorit Juovllat!’ That’s Merry Christmas in North Sámi. Troms and Finnmark county form part of the traditional territory of the indigenous Sámi people, whose livelihoods still revolve around semi-nomadic reindeer herding. Not far from Alta is Máze, a Sámi village located along the Kautokeino River, which you can visit to experience Sámi culture and food as part of an optional excursion.
When more snow falls and deep winter arrives, Alta is prime territory for visits to ice hotels, dog sledding, and snowmobiling. The ice hotel in Sorrisniva, for example, has a new design every year and is open to visitors for tours. You can also join optional excursions to go snowshoeing and hiking in the incredible tundra wilderness.
Gateway to the Arctic - Tromsø
Surrounded by nature’s magical beauty, your yuletide adventure continues as we look out for humpback whales from the deck or in the Explorer Lounge. These majestic giants are known to frequent the winter waters here, feeding on the abundant of herring found here. The Expedition Team will be on the lookout and alert you to any sightings.
Our next stop is Tromsø, the capital of the Arctic. We’ll arrive around lunchtime and spend the day and evening here, exploring its captivating history, culture, and bold architecture.
The city is especially gorgeous during Christmastime, all spruced up with lights and decorations. One of the most striking landmarks in Tromsø is the Arctic Cathedral, especially when it’s lit up at night. Its eye-catching and massive stained-class window and modern architecture are well worth seeing up close.
Browse Tromsø’s shops and try one of its many restaurants to sample the region’s fresh and locally sourced foods. Drop into a local bakery and try some seasonal julekake, ‘Norwegian Hole Cake’, made with raisins and orange peel.
Feeling in a festive spirit? Join the friendly locals in one of the town’s many pubs. Tromsø is home to the world’s northernmost brewery, Mack Bryggeri, which also runs Ølhallen, a popular and lively pub.
Your included activity here is a visit to the Polar Museum, housed in a converted 1830s warehouse on the seafront. You’ll enjoy exhibitions covering the city’s heritage as a base for the famous trappers Henry Rudi and Wanny Wolstad, the first female hunter in Svalbard.
You’ll also see how Tromsø played a crucial role in the expeditions of legendary explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen. The Expedition Team’s lecture today may cover Norway’s polar history in more detail, or the Norway’s many scientific achievements.
You can also choose to join winter activities in Tromsø on optional excursions with our Expedition Team, such as nature hikes and snowshoeing in the surrounding hills, which offer panoramic views of the city in the moody Polar Night. And like many places in Arctic Norway in winter, the landscape transforms into the ideal place for an exhilarating dog-sledding experience!
Last dance this year in the Lofoten Islands! - Reine
It’s New Year’s Eve! You’ll be spending it in the picture-perfect fishing village of Reine, in the Lofoten Islands. This is where red-painted rorbuer, traditional fishing huts, covered in snow, cling to a string of islands beneath sharp granite mountain ranges. The nearly 1,500-foot-tall Reinebringen is one of the most distinctive peaks and is especially dramatic with a dusting of snow.
The combination of setting and colour makes Reine one of the most photographed landscapes in all of Norway. We’ll all be be hoping the Northern Lights are active above the village when we are there, completing the composition of your own photo of this piece of paradise.
After marveling at the scenery and the pretty town of Reine, you’ll go on today’s included activity. A 30-minute bus ride will take you to Å, one of the best-preserved traditional fishing villages in Norway. The Norwegian Fishing Village Museum sits at the heart of this tiny village and covers the importance and development of fishing in Lofoten over the last 250 years.
Later, we’ll return to Reine, where you may have an opportunity to do some hiking with the Expedition Team, or even try some winter kayaking. The views you see here will certainly make these options tempting!
Leaving Reine, we cross the Vestfjord toward calm waters, where we’ll enjoy our special New Year’s Eve feast. Expect caviar and king crab, along with beef, salmon, or nut roast Wellington. Round it off with an aquavit sorbet, which will kick off the New Year’s Eve celebrations throughout the ship during the rest of the evening.
As the clock counts down to midnight, the skies above might just spring alight with both the Northern Lights and a fireworks display. Happy new year!
Serenity of the sea - At sea
After last night’s festivities, enjoy a relaxing day at sea. Spend your first day of the new year enjoying the down time and all the amenities of the ship. Chat the day away in the ship’s Explorer Lounge, enjoy an invigorating session in the sauna, or head on deck for a stroll in the fresh air.
Maybe even treat yourself to a soothing massage in the Wellness Center. Swap stories about your different adventures and excursions.
We also support a number of Citizen Science projects that you can join. These include the Happywhale project, where your photographs help identify and track the movement of specific whales across the planet, identified from their distinguishing characteristics. You may also join the GLOBE Observer project, which combines your observations of clouds and sky conditions with satellite data. By participating in these projects, not only will you be supporting the scientific community, you’ll also be gaining better understanding of the world around you.
The hidden ‘Frozen Bay’ - Kalvåg
We welcome you to the little fishing village of Kalvåg, far out on the coastline with the open North Sea to the west. Its name literally means ‘Frozen Bay’ in Old Norse.
Local weather and sea conditions don’t always make it possible for our ship to make a landing here, but if we can, you’ll discover one of the best-kept secrets of the Norwegian coast. No other expedition ships visit Kalvåg, so you’ll experience an authentic slice of life in a community who will likely be thrilled to have visitors.
Our captains have sailed these waters as part of our traditional Norwegian coastal cruises for decades, and always wished there was time to stop and show you more of this charming village. We’ve listened to their expert recommendation and now, that’s exactly what you’ll get to do.
Admire an open-air art exhibition and walk around Kalvåg’s collection of old waterfront buildings, ranging from restored wooden wharfs to warehouses for salting herring. Cozy-looking houses are clustered around the bay, with the reflections of their lights shimmering on the water below like candles. The wonderful winter atmosphere is even more captivating with the village coated in a blanket of snow.
Weather permitting, you’ll have the opportunity to join one of our optional hikes or winter kayaking excursions in this picturesque, quaint, and isolated setting.
Norwegian heritage - Mosterøy
Today is your final day of our great Norwegian winter expedition. It begins with visits to Mosterøy and Klosterøy in the morning, two of the many islands located around the city of Stavanger. The islands are relatively exposed to the sea, so our ability to land ashore will be based on the waves and wind conditions.
Mosterøy is a lovely island, made up of a mixture of cattle pastures, horticulture, and cute neighborhoods. To the west of the island is Fjøløy fort, a small coastal battery built by the German army in 1941 during World War II.
Klosterøy measures less than one square mile, but is home to the historic Utstein Abbey and Utstein Church, more than 800 years old. The abbey is Norway’s best-preserved medieval monastery, and is located among beautiful surroundings. Parts of the monastery are hired out as a venue for concerts, seminars, and conventions. On arrival, you might just be greeted by guides in medieval costume.
Weather permitting, your optional excursions may include hikes and winter kayaking with the Expedition Team in the tranquil inlets. The lecture series continues with topics such as Norwegian bird migration and unique bird calls.
Headed home - At sea
It’s our final day at sea and your cruise is drawing to a triumphant close. Your thoughts might naturally turn to home, or maybe you’ll find that you’ll have already left a piece if your heart back in Norway.
Today will be a good time to spend reflecting on and taking stock of all the wonderful experiences you’ve had. Like the sensation of standing in awe under the Northern Lights. Or the spectacular scenery of the Lofoten Islands in Reine. Or the cozy, idyllic islands of Kalvåg and Mosterøy.
The Expedition Team will likely be in a similar mood. Join them as they fondly recap the highlights of the thrilling cruise we’ve shared together. Their enthusiasm and stories might even tempt you to return with us to Norway again to experience other places on its coast. Or maybe next time, visit during a different season.
For your next cruise to Norway, spring offers the best of both sun and snow, while the Midnight Sun reigns supreme day and night in summer, making the fjords and mountains appear even more vibrant. In the fall, a special kind of late-September sunlight bathes the yellow, rust-colored leaves in hazy golden hues. Whichever season you choose, prepare to fall in love with Norway all over again.
Refreshed and ready for the new year - Dover
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 14 days and launch your new year with renewed vigor.
As you head ashore, you’ll take home special memories of Norway in Christmastime: wonderful fjords, fascinating towns and cities, friendly people, and the magical Northern Lights.
Dover is the gateway to the English countryside, the lush counties of Kent and Surrey, and beyond that, the melting pot of London. Consider visiting Dover Castle before you leave the area; it is said to be the largest castle in England.
There is also a rare Roman lighthouse here, one of only three in the world and reputedly the U.K.’s oldest building. You can also take a tour of the underground hospital and secret World War II tunnels that run beneath the castle complex.
Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you on your next adventure!