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    An overnight stay in Tromsø
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    Gateway to the Arctic
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    Searching for the Northern Lights
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    Flåm’s scenic railway
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    Beautiful Ålesund
Ocean Cruises
Saga Cruises

Northern Lights

Saga Pearl II departing Portsmouth

from £3,269 16 2
Including optional travel insurance or a discount of £98 if not required
  • Full Board Full board
  • No fly No fly

One to tick off your bucket list!

Cruise across the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights, Norway's spectacular natural light show which never ceases to amaze. We've increased your chances of a sighting with overnight stays in Tromsø and Alta, plus an included Northern Lights excursion spent around the campfire will guarantee a memorable tale to tell when you get home. Saga Pearl II will also visit a collection of quaint ports, including a first for Saga cruising, Harstad, from where you can set off on an exciting sea safari.

Inspiring experiences to enjoy… Seeking out the amazing Northern Lights and embarking on thrilling wildlife sea safaris.

Saga price includes...

  • A Northern Lights excursion worth £150
  • Complimentary Arctic jacket
  • All meals on board, including 24-hour room service
  • A choice of wines at lunch and dinner
  • All on-board gratuities
  • Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
  • Entertainment and activities
  • Welcome cocktail party and Captain’s dinner
  • All port taxes and visas
  • UK mainland travel service to and from Portsmouth
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View Full Itinerary

Portsmouth

Embark Saga Pearl II.

Depart 1600.

Portsmouth is one of the most densely populated cities in Southern England, and is unusual as most of its built-up area occupies Portsea Island, which is linked to the mainland by road and rail bridges. Although there is a Roman fort at nearby Portchester, which was occupied later by both the Saxons and the Normans, there was no settlement on the site of Portsmouth at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086. The town developed in medieval times and received its first charter in 1194 from King Richard the Lionheart; soon afterwards it developed into a permanent naval base. It has the world’s oldest continuously used dry dock, and is home to several famous ships, including HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose, which millions of television viewers watched being raised from the Solent in 1982. Portsmouth remains an important naval base and is home to a large proportion of the British service fleet. The waterfront area is now dominated by the Spinnaker Tower, 560 feet high, which is the United Kingdom’s tallest building outside London. Other things to see in the city include the house where Charles Dickens was born, and the City Museum, which contains a permanent exhibition devoted to another famous writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who lived in the town.

FactFile

Population 205,400 (approximate)
Language English
Currency Pound sterling
Time Difference N/A
Climate Portsmouth experiences an oceanic climate, with cool winters and mild to warm summers.
Ship berths at Portsmouth International Port
Distance from Centre ½-mile
Distance from gangway to coach Coaches can pull up immediately outside the terminal building.

Useful Information

Shopping The nearest shops to the terminal are in Gunwharf Quays, near the Spinnaker Tower.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open Monday to Friday 0900-2000, Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 1100-1700.
Post Office The main Post Office is in Slindon Street, near Portsmouth & Southsea railway station.
Tourist Office The Tourist Information Office is on Clarence Esplanade. Telephone: 023 9282 6722.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber's number.
Emergency Services Dial 999.
Banks All main UK banks have branches in the city centre, and there are ATMs in the Cruise Terminal.

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Bergen

Arrive 0800. Depart 1600.

Surrounded by mountains and sparkling fjords, the waterside city of Bergen has a spectacular setting. There has been a settlement here since medieval times and the colourful waterfront buildings of the Hanseatic wharf, known as Bryggen, are testament to its fascinating history of trade. As Norway’s best known medieval settlement, the Bryggen is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Our comprehensive selection of excursions allows you to discover the many sides of Bergen, such as the fish market and narrow cobbled streets, as well as stunning views of the city from the summit of Mt Fløyen. Alternatively, those who have visited the city previously may like to experience one of the tours that travel further afield. Just 300 yards from the main piers, you will find the Fortress Museum (Fesningsmuseum), which has an interesting collection of objects related to World War II.

FactFile

Population 280,000 (approximate)
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Kroner
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Temperate with frequent rain
Ship berths at Bontelabo or Jekteviken Cruise Terminal, or Skolten Pier
Distance from Centre Up to half-a-mile
Distance from gangway to coach Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping Shops can be found along the Hanseatic Wharf and at the Galleriet Shopping Centre.
Shopping Opening Hours Open from Monday to Saturday from 1000-2000. A limited number of shops are open on Sundays.
Post Office Bergen Sentrum Postkontor, Småstrandgaten 3. Open Monday to Friday 0900-1800 and Saturday 1000-1500.
Tourist Office The Turistinformasjonen Bergen is located on the 1st Floor of the new Mathallen indoor fishmarket at Strandkaien 3. Opening hours are 0830-2000.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 113 for an ambulance, 112 for the police and 110 for the fire service.
Banks Forex Bank at Strandkaien 2B is close to the Fish Market and Tourist Office. Open Monday to Friday 0900-1900 and Saturday 1000-1730. ATMs are available.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Go sightseeing around the beautiful Hardanger region on this excursion. First take a short orientation drive through Bergen, passing the fish and flower markets, the 13th-century Bergenshus Fortress, medieval King Håkon’s Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower. Leaving the city behind, your scenic journey cuts through a variety of landscapes following the Hardangerfjord and passes through quaint market towns along the way to Hardanger. After passing the Kvamskogen mountain plateau and Fossen Bratte waterfall you will pause at a second waterfall, Steinsdalsfossen, where you can actually walk behind the curtain of water without getting wet. Your drive continues to the village of Øystese. Hardanger is renowned as a prime fruit-growing region, and is especially prized for its apples, which have been growing here since the 14th century. You can admire the fruit farms on the hillside of the fjord. At a local hotel by the fjord you will enjoy a light lunch served with musical accompaniment, before returning via the same scenic route to Bergen.

Although this tour requires just a few yards of walking, some of it is over uneven ground with a handful of steps and thresholds. In addition, if Steinsdalsfossen Waterfall is not frozen, you may have the opportunity to walk behind it. Extra care should be taken as this is a 200-yard walk, up a steeply sloped path that is likely to be very slippery. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with comfortable, flat-soled walking shoes. Views will depend on the weather. Hardanger, still as beautiful in winter. Don't forget your camera!

This tour allows you to discover more about Bergen’s long seafaring history. Your morning begins by passing the Royal Hall, Haakonshallen and the old buildings of Bryggen, known as the Hanseatic Wharf and listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Then continue to the Old Bergen Museum for a guided tour through the exterior of the museum area, before driving to the Fantoft Stave Church situated about 20 minutes from the city centre. Here you stop for a guided tour of the church, which has been painstakingly rebuilt using traditional methods after a fire in 1992 destroyed the original 12th-century building. Finally take a thrilling cable car ride to the top of Mt Ulriken, which at just over 2,000 ft is the highest of the seven mountains that surround Bergen and from where spectacular views, not just of the city, but also the fjords, sea and mountains, can all be enjoyed.

To access the cable car there is a 100-yard walk with a few steps. Further walking at the Old Bergen Museum area is over steep uneven surfaces and cobblestones. Views from Mt Ulriken may be spoilt by inclement weather. In the event of the cable car being closed due to high winds, then a funicular ride to Mount Fløyen will be substituted. Also, the visit to Fantoft Stave Church requires a slight uphill walk of about 150 yards on an uneven footpath. Depending on traffic, these sights may be seen in a different order. The Old Bergen Museum (© Bergen Tourist Authority)

This panoramic excursion starts with a drive through Sandviken or 'Sandy Bay', where you can see many charming white wooden buildings built in the traditional Bergen style. On your return pass beautiful St Mary’s Church, the oldest building in Bergen and one of the few Romanesque buildings in Norway. Then take a funicular ride to a height of 1,000 feet up Mount Fløyen, one of the seven mountains that surround Bergen, for a bird's eye view of the city below. Discover the well-known fish market, now housed in a stunning new glass building, before continuing to the Nordnes Peninsula for a photo-stop at the old customs pier. Next, travel past the Bergen Aquarium: near here you can glimpse a typical narrow Bergen street, known as a 'smug'. Pass Bergen Theatre and drive into the Hakonsgaten for a glimpse of St John's Church. Your tour finishes with a drive past the Grieg Hall, the busy Danmarksplass intersection, Haukeland University Hospital and Kalfaret, a residential area with many charming old buildings.

Whilst walking on this excursion is mainly at your discretion, there is a 100-yard walk with a few steps to access the funicular. However, a lift is available at both the top and bottom stations. No other entrances are included on this tour. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes. Views from Mount Fløyen may be spoilt by inclement weather. Depending on traffic, the sights may be seen in a different order. Mount Fløyen Funicular in the snow (© Bergen Tourist Authority)

This comprehensive day-long tour heads first to Voss, a popular winter resort set beside a peaceful lake. Here you board a train for one of Europe’s most impressive rail journeys, which will take you through valleys, past rivers and under mountains. At Myrdal you change trains and descend the famous Flåmsbana railway line to the tiny village of Flåm, beautifully set alongside the mammoth Sognefjord. En-route, stop at the stunning Kjösfossen Waterfall, disembarking the train to take photographs of this stunning panorama. You then travel by coach through two long tunnels to Gudvangen, which translates as ‘worship place of the heathen gods’. Enjoy unrivalled mountain scenery as you pass Oppheim Lake and arriving at Tvinde Waterfall. After a short stop to admire the foaming rapids of the falls, you return to Voss where you will have lunch in one of the local hotels. Afterwards enjoy some free time to explore the town, perhaps visiting the beautiful 13th-century stone church which managed to remain standing despite some heavy bombing in the area during World War II. Finally, you re-board the coach and return directly to Bergen.

There are three steep steps to board the train. At some stops there may be a wide gap between the platform and the train. Walking at all the stops is mainly at your discretion. Please note that there are many tunnels on this tour and few comfort stops. Please advise the Shore Excursion Manager on board the ship of any dietary requests, at least 48hrs before arrival in Bergen. Myrdal Station in the winter

This comprehensive day-long tour heads first to Voss, a popular winter resort set beside a peaceful lake. Here you board a train for one of Europe’s most impressive rail journeys, which will take you through valleys, past rivers and under mountains. At Myrdal you change trains and descend to the tiny village of Flåm, beautifully set alongside the mammoth Sognefjord. En route, stop at the stunning Kjössfossen Waterfall, disembarking the train to take photographs of this stunning panorama. You then travel by coach to Gudvangen, which translates as ‘worship place of the gods’. Enjoy unrivalled mountain scenery as you tackle several hairpin bends and ascend Norway’s steepest road, the famous Stalheimskleivene. Next, enjoy a buffet lunch at the Stalheim Hotel, packed with antiques, furniture and paintings, before passing Oppheim Lake and arriving at the Tvinde Waterfall. After a short stop to admire the foaming rapids of the falls, return to Voss. Here you will have some free time to explore the town, perhaps seeing the beautiful 13th-century stone church. Finally, return to Bergen, arriving in time for dinner on board.

There are three steep steps to board the train and at some stops there can be a wide gap between the platform and the train. Walking at all stops is mainly at your discretion. This excursion must be booked in advance and cannot be booked on board ship. Stalheim Canyon

This interesting tour reveals the legacy of Bergen's most famous son, the world-renowned composer Edvard Grieg, who was born in the city in 1843. Begin by travelling into Bergen’s suburbs passing King Håkon’s Hall, the Rosenkrantz Tower, the colourful Bryggen area and the fish market. Continue to the village of Paradis to visit Troldhaugen, which was Grieg’s home from 1885 until his death in 1907. Enjoy a guided tour of the beautifully-furnished villa which has been preserved just as it was when the composer died, with many of his possessions, including his Steinway piano, still in situ. In the concert hall next to the villa, attend a piano recital of Grieg’s music, before heading back to your ship.

This tour involves walking a minimum of 500 yards at Troldhaugen. There are also around a dozen steps up to the front door of the villa. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes. Winter view of Troldhaugen, Grieg's home

Molde

Arrive 0800. Depart 1730.

Molde is surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of snow-capped mountains. From the Varden viewpoint it is possible to see the 222 peaks of the Romsdal mountain range. The town of Molde itself sprawls along the banks of the River Moldeeva and is one of the region’s older towns, though much of it was destroyed by the Luftwaffe during World War II. The cathedral, built in 1957, has been decorated by some of Norway's leading artists. Known as the Town of Roses, a statue of the Rose Maiden stands outside the Town Hall, which boasts one of the town’s finest rose gardens on its roof. Surrounded by mountains, the town is sheltered from northerly and westerly winds, allowing the fragrant flowers and plants, for which it is famous, to bloom. With its traditional wooden houses and lovingly tended gardens, its peace and tranquility inspired the famous Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, author of 'Peer Gynt', who came to live here.

FactFile

Population 24,000 (approximate)
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Kroner
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Temperate with frequent rain
Ship berths at Storkaia
Distance from Centre 100 yards
Distance from gangway to coach Less than 50 yards

Useful Information

Shopping A wide variety of shops can be found in the town centre.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open daily from 1000-2000.
Post Office The Post Office is located on Fjordgata 1 and is open from 0800-2000.
Tourist Office Maps and limited tourist information will be available at the pier.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 113 for an ambulance, 112 for police and 110 for the fire service.
Banks Banks are open between 0900-1500. 24 hour ATMs are widely available.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Opened in July 1989, the Atlantic Ocean Road or 'Atlanterhavsveien' is a remarkable feat of engineering. This five-mile stretch of bridges and embankments jumps from islet to islet along the Atlantic coast, connecting Averøy with the mainland. This scenic excursion will take you along the route, passing an array of beautiful scenery as you pass Hustadvika, a stretch of sea dotted with skerries and islets. You have the opportunity to get off your coach in the lovely oceanfront fishing village of Bud, where you can enjoy views across the ocean to Bjørnsund Island and view the exterior of the World War II Ergan coastal fort, left over from the German occupation of Norway. As you head back to your ship in Molde, pass the village of Elnesvagen and admire the picturesque Frænafjord.

Walking on this excursion is largely at your discretion. Admission to Ergan Fort is not included. The ground around the fort is sloping, with uneven surfaces and a few steps. Bridge along the Atlantic Ocean Road

Håholmen is a former fishing hamlet that consists of 20 beautiful weather-beaten islands. The Thorseth family has inhabited them for generations, and Ragnar Thorseth, an adventurer who sailed around the world between 1983 and 1986, has spent years restoring the islands' old wooden buildings to their original glory. Your excursion begins by following the impressive Atlantic Ocean Road across its series of bridges that link numerous islets and skerries. After stopping at Geitøya, also known as ‘Goat's Island’, step aboard an intriguing replica of the Saga Siglar, an 11th-century Viking ship, which has been built by Ragnar Thorseth himself. Aboard this stunning vessel you will cross the icy waters over to Håholmen. Upon arrival you can enjoy tea and cakes and watch a film about Ragnar’s epic voyage. Afterwards you have time to explore the charming wooden buildings and to admire the views across the water, before making the return sailing back to Geitøya. Returning to your coach, re-join the Atlantic Ocean Road, passing Frænafjord and Elnesvagen on your way back to Molde.

This excursion involves walking approximately 300 yards, some of which is over uneven ground. The pier where you board the boat might be slippery, and less mobile passengers may find it difficult to access the Viking boat. Cruise like a real Viking!

From your coach, enjoy a brief panoramic sightseeing tour of Molde, before seeking out the stunning views from Mount Varden. This excellent natural vantage point offers views of the 222 white peaks of the Romsdal Alps and out across the fjords. Visit next the Romsdal Open Air Museum, one of the largest provincial museums in Norway. Set across some 50 buildings, it illustrates Norwegian life from the Viking era up to the end of the 19th century. A folk dancing group in colourful national costume will entertain you before your tour continues to The Royal Birch. Here, King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav sought shelter from German bombers in April 1940 when they were being hunted by the occupying forces. The adjacent Peace Grove was laid out in 1997 and now includes trees planted by presidents, Nobel laureates, writers and explorers, symbolising the continuing struggle for freedom and peace. Returning to the town centre, you will see the marketplace and City Hall before visiting the copper-clad Molde Cathedral, built to replace an old church which was destroyed during World War II. It has been decorated by some of Norway’s leading artists and has a detached 160-foot tower surrounded by a rose garden and hillside terrace.

Although walking at the Open Air Museum is limited to less than 200 yards, many of the buildings have high thresholds and the visit will involve standing for approximately 45 minutes. Walking at the Royal Birch and Peach Grove amounts to 100 yards on a sloping path, and there are a few steps. Welcome to Romsdal Open Air Museum

Discover 'The Golden Route' on this excursion along the dramatic Trollstigen canyon road, which ascends 2,800 feet into the mountains and passes 11 hairpin bends. Begin by taking the ferry across Romsdalsfjord to Vestnes, enjoying views of the Romsdal Mountains and the Oerskog Mountain plateau. Pass the Octagonal Church in Stordal and continue to the Valldall Valley, known for its strawberry production. Stop for photographs at Gudbrandsjuvet, a steep gorge with a foaming river below, then enjoy a buffet lunch at Trollstigen Lodge, where you can take a stroll in the fresh mountain air. After lunch you follow the Trollstigen, or ‘Troll Path’, a great feat of modern engineering which was opened in 1936. As you wind through the hairpin bends witness views of mountainous peaks, including the Trolltindene Range and Isterdal Valley. And pause to admire the stunning ‘Troll Wall’ – the highest perpendicular rock face in Europe which towers at nearly 6,000 feet. Finally, head back to port by following the salmon-stocked River Rauma to Aafarnes, from where you catch a ferry to Soelsnes. On the last leg of your journey, pass over several scenic bridges and through an underwater tunnel.

Very little essential walking is involved but there are some steps on the ferries. However, you can remain on the coach during the crossings. Walking to the viewpoint overlooking the Trollstigen Road amounts to 300 yards with 140 shallow steps but there is also a wheelchair accessible viewpoint overlooking the Trollstigen Waterfall. This tour requires an early start and will begin immediately upon arrival in Molde. This tour may be cancelled at short notice if Trollstigen is closed due to snow. Sylvan Gudbrandsjuvet

Cross the Arctic Circle.

Tromsø

Arrive 0800 on March 7. Depart 1800 on March 8.

With its centre located on the island of Tromsø, the municipality of Tromsø is more than five times the size of Norway’s capital, Oslo, and is the world’s northernmost university city. Lying 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle, it is known as the 'Gateway to the Arctic' because it was used as a starting point for hunters looking for Arctic foxes, polar bears and seals. In the 19th century it was a base for explorers on Arctic expeditions – a history that is remembered in the city’s Polar Museum, which you can visit on an excursion. Also commemorated in the area is the history of Norway’s indigenous people, the Sami. Visitors can learn about the traditions, heritage and modern preservation of the Sami culture at the Tromsø Museum. Nowadays, Tromsø is a charming mix of old and new, with wooden buildings sitting alongside contemporary architecture such as the impressive glacier-like Arctic Cathedral, which features one of the largest stained glass windows in Europe. Looking down on the city is Mount Storsteinen, and a cable car runs to the top, giving wonderful views over the surrounding countryside of forested peaks and reindeer pastures.

FactFile

Population 72,681 (approximate)
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Kroner
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Cold with a risk of snow showers
Ship berths at Prostneset or Breivika Pier
Distance from Centre 200 yards or three miles, depending on pier
Distance from gangway to coach Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping The Nærstranda Steen og Strøm Shopping Centre has a good selection of shops.
Shopping Opening Hours Usually 1000-2000 Monday to Friday and 1000-1800 on Saturdays.
Post Office The Post Office is located at Strandgata 41 and is open Monday to Friday from 0800-1800, and 1000-1800 on Saturdays.
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is located at Kirkegata 2. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 0900-1600, and 1000-1600 on Saturday.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 113 for an ambulance, 112 for police and 110 for the fire service.
Banks Banks are open Monday to Friday 0900-1530. 24-hour ATMs are located at Storgata 65 and Sjøgata 8.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Your tour begins with a short drive to the Tromsø Museum, where you can enjoy a guided tour and learn about the challenges facing the native Sami people as they struggle to preserve their way of life. Continue with a drive past Lake Prestvatn and the Meteorological Institute, as well as the world-renowned Northern Lights Observatory. Pass by the place where Hitler's Tirpitz (sister ship of the Bismarck) was finally sunk by British Lancasters in November 1944, and discover the modern architecture of the breathtaking Arctic Cathedral, a mighty structure dominated by a beautiful stained glass window depicting the Resurrection of Christ. Then take a thrilling cable car ride up Mount Storsteinen for a stunning bird’s eye view of the city and its surroundings before returning to your ship.

The guided tour of the museum involves climbing one flight of stairs. Walking at the cable car amounts to 100 yards and involves 60 steps. You will need to remain standing during the cable car ride. There is a further walk of 100 yards up a fairly steep incline and a few steps to enter the cathedral. Your tour includes the iconic Arctic Cathedral

Your tour begins with a drive around the city of Tromsø before you proceed past Lake Prestvatn and to the Meteorological Institute and former Northern Lights Observatory. Pass by the place where Hitler's Tirpitz (sister ship of the Bismark) was finally sunk by British Lancasters in November 1944 before arriving at the Science Centre Planetarium which is based at the world's northernmost university campus and boasts a 360° multimedia screen. Here you have the opportunity to watch a fascinating film about the Aurora Borealis and to learn more about this mystical phenomenon. As you continue your tour and drive across Tromsø Bridge you will begin to appreciate the modern architecture of the breathtaking Arctic Cathedral, a mighty structure in the shape of an iceberg which is clad in aluminium. This distinctive and memorable building was consecrated in 1965 and is dominated by a beautiful stained glass window depicting the Resurrection of Christ. which was designed by Viktor Sparre and is one of the largest stained glass windows in Europe.

Walking at the Planetarium amounts to not more than 100 yards with 20 steps to negotiate inside, although a lift is available. There is a further walk of 100 yards up a fairly steep incline and a few steps to enter the cathedral. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes. The Planetarium

Your tour begins with a short drive to the Tromsø Museum, where you can enjoy a guided tour and learn about the challenges facing the native Sami people as they struggle to preserve their way of life. Continue with a drive past the Meteorological Institute, as well as the world-renowned Northern Lights Observatory. Pass the place where Hitler's battleship Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck, was sunk by British Lancaster bombers in November 1944, and discover the modern architecture of the breathtaking Arctic Cathedral, a mighty structure dominated by a beautiful stained glass window depicting the Resurrection of Christ. Then take a thrilling cable-car ride up Mount Storsteinen for a stunning bird’s eye view of the city and its surroundings, before concluding your tour at the world's most northerly botanical gardens to admire their fine displays of Arctic and alpine plants.

The guided tour of the museum involves climbing one flight of stairs. Walking to the cable-car amounts to 100 yards and involves 60 steps: there may be a long queue before boarding, and you will need to remain standing during the ride. There is a further walk of 100 yards up a fairly steep slope and a few steps to enter the cathedral. The botanical gardens are situated on a moderate incline, and whilst the precise amount of walking is at your discretion, you should expect to cover about 200 yards. Guiding inside the Arctic Cathedral is prohibited, so your guide will give an explanation before you go in. Access to the interior may be restricted in the unlikely event of our visit clashing with a religious service. Visit the Botanical Gardens on your tour

This interesting excursion first takes you over to Troms Island to visit the Polar Museum, located in an old customs warehouse dating from 1830. The museum is home to several fascinating exhibits and displays relating to the early polar expeditions, hunting and trapping. Following time to browse at leisure, continue to the Polaria adventure centre. Opened in 1998, this modern building brings to life the wildlife and environment of the polar regions. Enter the large panoramic cinema to watch films about the Aurora Borealis and Arctic Wilderness, which takes you on an airborne trip along the west coast of Spitsbergen. You can then walk along the Arctic Trail to experience first hand some elements of Arctic nature, including a snowstorm, the tundra and the Northern Lights. Next, visit the aquarium and touch pools which are brimming with aquatic life, including bearded seals and fish from the Barents Sea. Perhaps browse the interesting gift shop, before heading back to the ship.

This excursion requires approximately 200 yards of walking. In addition, to reach the Amundsen and Nansen exhibitions at the Polar Museum, it is necessary to climb a flight of 15 steps. Visit the Polar Museum

Departing the pier you will drive to the other side of Troms Island and then across the 1335-yard long Sandnessund Bridge to Whale Island, where the Tromsø Friluftsenter is situated, a journey of approximately half an hour. Upon arrival you will be greeted by your Sami hosts who will explain a little about the centre and activities offered. You will then be taken to where a small herd of specially trained reindeer are waiting to take you on an old fashioned sled ride. During the next half hour you will travel quietly through the pristine Norwegian winter landscape, hearing nothing but the jingle of the reindeers' bells as they meander sedately along. After your sledding experience you will be served coffee and Bidos, a traditional sami meal consisting of vegetables and reindeer meat, in a lavvo tent. Your guide will then tell stories about the Sami people, their history and way of life, and demonstrate the art of lasso throwing, which you will also have the opportunity of trying for yourself. You will then return to the city having experienced a glimpse of Sami life.

This excursion will involve walking a total of 300 yards much of which will be over uneven ground covered in snow. Warm clothing is essential so we recommend you wear warm trousers, jacket, hat, scarf and gloves. Please also wear warm, waterproof boots. Enjoy Reindeer-Sledding through the snow

The Sami people are indigenous Finno-Urgic people who inhabit the Arctic areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. They are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognised and protected under the international conventions of indigenous peoples, and are the northernmost indigenous people of Europe. This tour will introduce you to their history and traditions. A visit to Tromsø Museum, the largest in northern Norway, will tell you about their history through two comprehensive exhibitions. This is followed by a visit to a Sami camp, where you will meet real Sami people and hear from them about their way of living. Tromsø Lapland employs only Sami guides, who will tell you about reindeer and reindeer herders. You have the opportunity of seeing reindeer as they have a small herd of between ten and 15 in the camp. You may learn how to throw a lasso, as reindeer herders catch their own reindeer. About 10% of the Sami are involved with reindeer herding, out of whom 2,800 are employed on a full-time basis. For traditional, environmental, cultural and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sami people in certain regions of the Nordic countries. Your hosts will invite you into a lavvu, a tent where you will be entertained with a 'joik' - a traditional Sami folk song. You should leave Tromsø with a much better understanding of the proud Sami people, their origin, their history and their vision for the future.

You should expect to walk up to 200 yards across variable terrain. There is one long flight of between 25 and 30 stairs at the Museum. Learn about Norwegian wildlife

Alta

Arrive 0800 on March 9. Depart 1300 on March 10.

People have been attracted to the community of Alta for thousands of years, and prehistoric rock carvings discovered in 1973 can be seen at the Alta Museum. Situated at the head of the Altafjord, it is a lush, green and hospitable shelter in the otherwise cold and windswept Finnmark landscape. Halfway between the grim, barren mountain plateau and the wet, stormy coast, Alta offers tree-clad valleys, pleasant temperatures and no more rain than the Sahara. However at 70 degrees North it is quite a different story in winter, when heavy snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures are the order of the day, and clear dark night skies become the arena for dazzling displays of the elusive Aurora Borealis, also referred to as 'the temperamental lady' by Laplanders. The world’s first Northern Lights Observatory, which played an important role in the development of geophysical and meteorological research during the first half of the 20th century, is located just 12 miles from Alta. Perched atop Haldde Mountain, it towers almost 3,000 feet above Kafjord, where the battleship Tirpitz was based during the Second World War.

FactFile

Population 12,000 (approximate)
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Kroner
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Cold with snow showers
Ship berths at Alta Pier
Distance from Centre 5 miles
Distance from gangway to coach Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping A variety of shops are to be found within the pedestrian precinct of Alta town centre.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open between 0900-1800 on weekdays.
Post Office The Post Office is located in the town centre where the shuttle bus stops and is open on weekdays between 0900-1800.
Tourist Office The Tourist information centre is located in the town centre where the shuttle bus stops.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 113 for an ambulance, 112 for police and 110 for the fire service.
Banks Nordea Bank is located in the town centre and is open 0900-1600 on weekdays.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

The Northern Lights Cathedral is one of Alta's newest and most striking landmarks. The church first opened in 2013 and has delighted visitors with its challenging symbolism and unique design ever since. During a short panoramic tour of Alta, your guide will talk about the architecture, the construction and the artwork, both inside and out. The cathedral is an extraordinary achievement, rising as a sculptural peak to contrast the natural environment around it. The building symbolises the Arctic northern lights through the spiral that rises to the top of the cathedral and the titanium covered façade, offers a reflection of the phenomenon during the darkness of winter. Inside, the cathedral is illuminated by the tall windows which spiral around the building. You'll have plenty of time to take pictures and to embrace the peaceful atmosphere.

This tour requires walking approximately 550 yards in total over relatively flat, somewhat uneven ground with a slight incline. Due to ongoing construction works there may be 6 steps that cannot be avoided, any other walking is at your own discretion. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes The Northern Lights Cathedral

Enjoy a short husky dog sledge ride and learn about the fascinating Sami culture on this excursion. Begin with a visit to the Holmen Hundesenter dog sledging centre, where you can enjoy a 20-minute ride seated in a wooden sledge pulled by a pack of huskies, under the control of an experienced 'musher'. After this thrilling experience, learn from the dog trainers about how these energetic canines are trained for the annual Finnmarkslopet, a true test of stamina in which the dogs compete in a 600-mile race, the longest in Europe. You can also enjoy hot refreshments and cake served in a 'lavvu' tent. Following this, rejoin your coach for the short journey to Boazo Sami Siida, a traditional Sami settlement of reindeer herders located close to the Alta River. During a tour of the 'siida' you can learn a little about reindeer herding, look at the equipment and utensils used by the herders, and meet the friendly reindeer themselves. Other activities include Sami chanting, known as 'joik' and lasso throwing. Coffee will also be made over an open fire in a 'lavvu' which you can try. Perhaps purchase some Sami handicrafts before setting off for the return journey to your ship in Alta.

This excursion requires walking up to half-a-mile at the dog sledging centre, plus a further 300 yards at Boazo Sami Siida, the majority of which will be over snow. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves. Please note that the excursion provider requires all participants to sign a form acknowledging the inherent risks involved with this type of activity. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes. We recommend that those passengers who have chosen not to take Saga's included insurance, check that their travel insurance covers them for this specific activity. Due to the bumpy conditions, sled rides are not suitable for those who suffer with back and neck problems. Meet the huskies that will pull your wooden sledge

Join this included excursion for the best chance of seeing the amazing natural phenomena of the Aurora Borealis, world renowned as the 'Northern Lights'. After an early dinner on board the ship, attend an interesting lecture by your expert guide. As a group, you will plan and decide on the best location for viewing the Northern Lights that evening, based on the latest meteorological forecasts. Then board the coach and travel to your selected spot, far away from any light pollution. Enjoy a campfire outside as you hunt for a glimpse of this incredible natural phenomenon, a colourful display of light created by emissions of photons in the Earth's upper atmosphere. Take in the quiet and beautiful scenery of your secluded position as your guide tells you stories of the region and gives tips on how to take good photographs of the light phenomena. Warm drinks and snacks will also be served while here. One by one the coaches will then depart for the return journey back to the ship, with the last coach returning around 0100.

This excursion is dependent on good weather conditions and will be cancelled if they are unfavourable. Walking is not expected to exceed 400 yards. Warm clothing is essential as most of the time will be spent outside. Torches will be provided. The only toilet facilities may be those on board the coaches. Sightings of the Northern Lights cannot be guaranteed. Marvel at the Northern Lights

Your day starts with a short sightseeing coach tour of Alta alongside the River Altaelva, one of the best salmon rivers in Norway. It runs through one of the largest canyons in Europe, as it travels from the high plateau of Finnmarksvidda down to the Altafjord. Continuing on through Repvåg you enter the North Cape Tunnel to the island of Magerøya, home to the North Cape which is Europe’s most northerly point. Built in the 1990s, the tunnel sits 700 feet below sea level and at four-and-a-quarter miles long was the longest and deepest sea tunnel at that time. Arriving on the island, pass through Honningsvåg, the ‘capital’ of Magerøya, and cross the unique ‘lunar-like’ landscape to reach the North Cape. Named by Richard Chancellor, a 16th-century traveller, who sought the north-east passage, this sheer cliff rises 1,000 feet above the Arctic. Walk to the globe monument and enjoy the far reaching panorama (weather conditions permitting) or visit the shops, chapel and cinema in the North Cape Hall before starting the journey back to your ship. A late lunch will be served on the island of Mageroy before returning via the same route.

Please note that eight hours of this tour will be spent on the coach and that the last part of the drive to and from the North Cape will be in convoy. Most walking at the North Cape is at your own discretion but you should anticipate approximately 200 yards of walking to reach the Globe and the panoramic views outside. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes. There is an elevator to the cinema for those not wishing to climb the stairs. If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise our shore excursion staff on board ship at least 72 hours before the port call. The North Cape, Mainland Europe's most northerly point

Lapland covers the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The indigenous inhabitants of Lapland are known as Sami and they total around 80,000, of whom about half live in Northern Norway’s Finnmark region. Their culture is very traditional and has been influenced by their isolated nomadic subsistence lifestyle. Start by travelling through the Alta and Eiby valleys before arriving in Maze, a journey of about an hour. Arriving in the village of Maze, where all but a handful of the 350 inhabitants are Sami, your hosts will welcome you wearing kofta, their traditional costume, and introduce you to the history and culture of the Sami people. In the late 1970s the Norwegian government first planned the Alta Dam, which would have resulted in a complete flooding of Maze. However, due to resistance and demonstrations, the government downsized its plans and this beautiful village survived. You will then be taken to where a small herd of specially trained reindeer are waiting to take you on an old-fashioned sled ride. During the next half hour you travel quietly through the pristine winter landscape, hearing nothing but the jingle of the bells. Afterwards you will be served coffee, tea and biscuits whilst your guide recounts stories about the Sami people, their history and way of life before you return to Alta.

This adventurous tour requires half-a-mile of walking and a certain degree of agility to access the wooden sleds. As the number of trained reindeer is limited, half the group take the sled ride after the meal. Warm clothing is essential: we recommend a hat, scarf and gloves. Owing to the bumpy conditions, sled rides are not suitable for those who suffer from back or neck problems. Enjoy a Reindeer Sled ride

Meet your guide at the pier and take the 30-minute journey of approximately 13 miles to the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel. Upon arrival you will be equipped with a crash helmet, and receive a safety briefing on how to operate your snowmobile, before setting off. Your experienced guides will then lead you through the breathtaking and changing landscapes of forest, and on the ice on the Alta river - a tour that will take between 20 to 30 minutes. Your adventure ends back at the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, which you enter for a guided tour. The hotel is built entirely out of snow and ice every January and only remains standing until mid-April when the warmer weather melts it. Enjoy a drink in the bar where even the glasses are made from ice. Following this, rejoin your coach for the journey back to your ship.

As some driving will be on public roads, you must carry a valid driving licence and have a zero blood alcohol level. You also need to sign an insurance waiver and agree to pay up to NOK12,000 excess (approximately £1,350) in the event of a collision, which is not covered by Saga's included insurance. If you have chosen not to take Saga's included insurance, please check that your travel insurance covers you for this specific activity and the excess. Although very little walking is required on this tour, it has been rated Moderate owing to the amount of strength and agility required to mount and drive the snowmobile. Due to the bumpy conditions, snowmobile rides are not suitable for those who suffer with back and neck problems. All necessary equipment and protective outer clothing will be provided. However, warm clothing along with a hat, scarf and gloves are recommended. Temperatures at the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel are between -4◦ and -7◦ Celsius. All participants will be allocated their own snowmobile to drive, but travelling companions may share a vehicle if they desire: however, there will be no reduction in price. Guests should wear warm, and wind proof winter clothes and flat boots for this tour. Experience the exhilaration of snowmobiling

Take the opportunity to stay overnight at the magical ice-built Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel on this unforgettable excursion. Begin with a short half-hour coach journey through the winter landscape to the hotel. Upon arrival in Sorrisniva your host will tell you a little about the history of the hotel – which is rebuilt every winter – and the area surrounding it. You can then enjoy a welcome drink and take a look at the bar, chapel, lounges and 'igloo' bedrooms, all carved from ice before being served a two-course dinner of either locally-sourced reindeer or salmon. Following dinner, perhaps enjoy a bright-blue vodka tipple in the ice bar, where even the glasses are frozen, or jump in the hot tub outside (at additional cost, payable locally) or simply relax in the warm and cosy amenity building, a large wooden structure in the shape of a 'lavvu' tent which is close by. The hotel is also well placed for spotting the fantastical Aurora Borealis or 'Northern Lights', and during the evening you may choose to walk around the surrounds of the hotel to catch sight of this dazzling, colourful display in the skies (weather conditions permitting). When it's time to retire, your private igloo bedroom will certainly offer a memorable end to the night, with the reindeer fur lined bed and warm sleeping bag making the freezing temperature much more comfortable. The following morning enjoy a sauna and buffet breakfast in the restaurant before making your way back to Alta by coach.

Much of the walking will be at your own discretion in and around the Igloo Hotel, but will be over ice and snow. For the night we recommend you wear thermal underwear and warm woollen hat and gloves. Please note the bedrooms are accessed through a low arch and are screened off by a curtain. The bedrooms do not have ensuite facilities. Whilst the welcome drink is complimentary, any additional drinks ordered during your stay will be charged for locally. Cancellations received after the cruise departure date will result in a 75% cancellation fee. Sorrisniva Ice Hotel

Take the opportunity to stay overnight at the magical ice-built Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel. Begin with a short half-hour coach journey through the winter landscape to the hotel which is rebuilt every winter. Enjoy a welcome drink at the bar before admiring the chapel, lounges and 'igloo' bedrooms, all carved from ice before being served a two-course dinner of either locally-sourced reindeer or salmon. Following dinner, perhaps enjoy a bright-blue vodka tipple in the ice bar, where even the glasses are frozen, or jump in the hot tub outside (at additional cost, payable locally) or simply relax in the warm and cosy amenity building, a large wooden structure in the shape of a 'lavvu' tent which is close by. The hotel is also well placed for spotting the fantastical Aurora Borealis or 'Northern Lights', and during the evening you may choose to walk around the surrounds of the hotel to catch sight of this dazzling, colourful display in the skies (weather conditions permitting). When it's time to retire, your private igloo bedroom will certainly offer a memorable end to the night, with the reindeer fur lined bed and warm sleeping bag making the freezing temperature much more comfortable. The following morning enjoy a sauna and buffet breakfast in the restaurant before making your way back to Alta by coach.

Much of the walking will be at your own discretion in and around the Igloo Hotel, but will be over ice and snow. For the night we recommend you wear thermal underwear and a warm woollen hat and gloves. Please note the bedrooms are accessed through a low arch and are screened off by a curtain. The bedrooms do not have ensuite facilities. Whilst the welcome drink is complimentary, any additional drinks ordered during your stay will be charged for locally. Cancellations received after the cruise departure date will result in a 100% cancellation fee. The Chapel at the Igloo Hotel

Discover the enchanting Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel on this excursion, a truly remarkable structure which is made entirely of ice and snow. Board your coach and travel to the hotel, which is about 13 miles from Alta and should take approximately 30 minutes to reach. Along the way your guide will give a talk on the history, culture and day-to-day life in this area. The Igloo Hotel is constructed anew every year, and is only able to stay open from January to April, before it begins to melt in the warmer weather. This fascinating structure can accommodate 60 guests who sleep on reindeer furs to keep warm in the icy temperatures, which usually average between minus 4 and minus 7 degrees Celsius. The public lounges and bar are decorated with ice sculptures carved by local artists, and you will be able to enjoy a drink in the bar served, of course, in an ice-glass. Take a fascinating look around the hotel before heading back to Alta through picturesque winter landscapes.

This tour is by coach and involves limited walking in and around the Igloo Hotel, but it will be over ice and snow. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes Enjoy a drink served in an ice-glass

Tirpitz was a German battleship which spent much of World War II in Nazi-occupied Norway. Known as the 'Lonely Queen of the North', she was the sister ship of the Bismarck, and at 52,600 tonnes, was the largest battleship ever built in Europe. This major threat to Allied convoys travelling through the Atlantic and Barents seas to Russia, was damaged by British mini-submarines in the Kåfjord, close to Alta, in September 1943. The battleship was then relocated to Tromsø, where on November 12, 1944 it was attacked by RAF Bomber Command and sunk in the bay of Håkøybotn. Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, this excursion will take you to the Tirpitz Museum in Kåfjord, which exhibits a host of World War II artefacts, including many associated with the Tirpitz. At the museum you can also watch a short film before enjoying a tour around and a talk on the region's turbulent wartime history. Before returning to the port, stop to discover Kåfjord church, a 19th-century building which has some Gothic touches and an interesting past. Built in 1837 for the copper mine workers, it is the area's oldest building left standing after the devastation of World War II.

This excursion requires minimal walking, approximately 200 yards in total but includes a short uphill slope and a couple of steps to access the museum and church, which can be icy in winter months. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves along with flat comfortable walking shoes Tirpitz Memorial

A short transfer will take you from the pier to the Holmen Husky Centre for a unique husky dog experience and a magical overnight stay. On arrival, your hosts will welcome you and provide you with a thermal suits, boots and gloves. After a safety briefing, your exciting dog sledging ride will begin, with a trained driver-guide taking the helm. You travel ten miles through the beautiful forest and alongside a river, admiring the winter landscape as you go. Once back, you’ll be shown where you will be staying for the night and will then have some time to relax before dinner. Accommodation is in an intriguing tepee cabin with a double bed, electric blankets, and a wood-burning stove. There’s also a clear plastic part of the tepee which gives you panoramic views of the night sky – you can gaze at the stars whilst you listen to the huskies in the nearby yard. In the morning, a delicious breakfast will be served before you make your way back to Saga Pearl II.

This excursion requires you to walk up to 330 yards, the majority of which will be on snowy ground. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves. Due to the bumpy conditions, the sledge ride is not suitable for those who suffer with back and neck problems. The tepee-cabins do not have private toilets and showers; these, as well as a sauna and Jacuzzi, are available in the main building some 30 meters from the cabins. The Husky Centre will need to know of any dietary requirement one week beforehand. Dinner will be a main course and dessert with coffee or tea. If you’ve chosen not to take Saga's included insurance, we recommend that you check your travel insurance covers you for this specific activity. Please be aware that this tour requires two passengers per tepee to operate. Cancellations received after the cruise departure date will result in a 100% cancellation fee. Holmen Tepee Cabin

Harstad

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

Located in the north-eastern corner of the large island of Hinnøya, north of the Arctic Circle, Harstad is the second-largest town in the county of Troms, after Tromsø. Although the island has been inhabited since the Iron Age, Harstad is a relatively young settlement: it was founded in the 19th century by businessman Rikard Kaarbø and formally incorporated as a town in 1904. It is nicknamed the Pearl of Vågsfjorden (Vågsfjordens Perle): the Vågsfjord is a fjord that separates Harstad from the neighbouring municipality of Ibestad. Among the town’s more interesting sights is the dramatic modern parish church, built of white concrete in 1958 and designed by the architect Jan Inge Hovig. There is also a surprisingly large number of 19th- and early 20th-century timber buildings: it is one of the few towns in this part of Norway that escaped major damage in World War II. Harstad experiences the Midnight Sun every year from May 22 to July 18, and between early May and early August it never gets really dark. On the other hand, the sun is always below the horizon from November 30 to January 12: this is a good period to view the Northern Lights, which can often be seen from here on clear nights. Harstad makes an ideal base for visiting the attractions of Hinnøya. Just outside the town is Trondenes, which has a stone-built parish church dating from 1434 - the most northerly surviving medieval building in the world. To the north-west is the mountain of Nupen, 1,352 feet high. It is also relatively easy to reach the Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands and the Cathedral City of Tromsø.

FactFile

Population 20,429
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Krone
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Relatively mild winters and cool summers. The mountains to the west shelter Harstad from the bitter cold weather experienced in much of northern Norway, and it enjoys milder winters than many cities located much further south.
Ship berths at At anchor
Distance from Centre The tender pier is in the town centre
Distance from gangway to coach 75 yards

Useful Information

Shopping There is a small shopping centre, Amfi Bertheus, on Fjordgata. Strandgata and Størgata are also main shopping streets.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open 0900-1900 from Monday to Saturday.
Post Office Inside the Amfi Bertheus shopping centre on Fjordgata.
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is at Sigata 1B, about 100 yards from the pier. Limited tourist information may also be available at the pier.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 0044 followed by the full STD number, omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 113 for an ambulance, 112 for police and 110 for the fire service.
Banks The nearest banks to the pier are Harstad Sparebank at Rikard Kaarbøs 2 and DNB Harstad at Sjøgata 5. They are open 0900-1500 from Monday to Friday. 24-hour ATMs are available.

Cross the Arctic Circle.

Ålesund

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

Ålesund is the commercial capital of the Møre and Romsdal district and has a distinctive and unique character. It does not look like other Norwegian towns as there are no wooden clapboard buildings around its harbourside – instead, the city is crammed with art nouveau architecture and design. This distinctive look is down to a massive rebuild that took place after a fire devastated the city in 1904, miraculously only one person died but some 10,000 people were left homeless. The rebuilding programme used the style of architecture that was popular at the time and was helped by donations of materials from all over Europe. Although the town was largely spared during the Second World War, as most of the military combat took place at sea, Ålesund was described as ‘Little London’ due to all the illegal resistance activity in the town and because so many managed to escape to England from here.

FactFile

Population 44,000 (approximate)
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Kroner
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Temperate with frequent rain in summer and cold with occasional snow showers in winter
Ship berths at Ålesund Cruise Terminal
Distance from Centre Approximately 200 yards
Distance from gangway to coach Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping The main shopping streets are Løvenvoldgata and Apotekergata, located within walking distance of the pier
Shopping Opening Hours Shops usually open Monday to Saturday from 0900-1700
Post Office The Post office is situated in the Kiwi Kremmergaarden Åpningstider store located at Asmus Rønnebergs Gate 6 6002 Ålesund. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 0700-2100 and Saturday 0800-1900
Tourist Office The main Tourist Office is located at Skateflukaia, and will be open from 0830-1800. There is also a smaller Tourist Information kiosk at the pier
How to Phone Home Dial 00 44 followed by the area code (omitting the first 0) and then the number
Emergency Services Dial 113 for an ambulance, 112 for police and 110 for the fire service
Banks Banks are open Monday to Friday from 0900-1500

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

Join a knowledgeable guide for a tour of the art nouveau highlights of the city. As you walk around the winding streets, learn about the city’s buildings and fascinating history by seeing it at close quarters. Visit the Art Nouveau Centre, housed in the picturesque old Swan Pharmacy set beside the Brosundet Sound. The building has retained some of the original interiors from the early 20th century, including the dining room of former pharmacist J A Owre, which is left as if ready for a dinner party. Other exhibits have been created to tell the story of the famous fire and include a multimedia 'time machine' to take you back to the time of the blaze and the rebuilding of the city. Enjoy coffee and cake at the café here before you return to the ship.

This walking tour will involve two miles of walking on paved surfaces with a flight of stairs to negotiate at the Art Nouveau Centre. Therefore flat, comfortable shoes are a must. Art Nouveau Centre, Ålesund

Join this tour at the harbourside and travel into the heart of the city’s art nouveau quarter to see the colourful façades and decorations. Then continue four miles out of the city centre to Borgund, where the Vikings had one of their first settlements. It was the largest trading centre in the district and excavations have revealed that the urban area covered about 11 acres and included three churches. The remains of one of these, St Peter’s Church, forms part of the current Borgund Church. View the exterior of this church, which has a fairytale-like roof and turrets. Afterwards, explore the Sunnmøre Open Air Folk Museum with its restored and reconstructed houses and boats that offer a glimpse back in time. You return to Ålesund via a stop at Mount Aksla where you can see far-reaching views of the city and surrounding areas.

This tour is mainly conducted by coach, although it requires some standing around and walking over uneven surfaces at the Sunnmøre Open Air Folk Museum and to see the views from Mount Aksla. Sunnmøre Open-Air Folk Museum

Disembark in Ålesund and embark a modern cruiser for the first part of this enjoyable full-day tour. Cruise from the harbour through Storfjorden, and continue into Geirangerfjord – a small but breath-taking fjord. Cruise for about three hours past dramatic landscapes, including the majestic Seven Sisters waterfalls, arriving at Geiranger in time for lunch. Travelling a short distance by coach up the hill to the Union Hotel we shall enjoy both the fabulous views across the village and the fjord, and a hot and cold buffet lunch. Whilst in Geiranger, we next visit the local traditional church for a concert of classical music. Continuing towards Eidsdal on the scenic and winding Eagle Road, we stop at the Eagle’s Bend viewpoint for a photo opportunity looking back down on Geiranger. At Eidsdal, board a ferry for a crossing to Linge and then enjoy a drive through Liabygda, Stordal and Sjøholt which are all situated along the Storfjord. On arrival back in Ålesund join a short orientation drive around the city before heading back to the pier.

Walking on this excursion is mainly at your own discretion. In addition a few steps will be encountered to board the boat and also at the Union Hotel entrance and viewpoints. Half the group will follow a reverse itinerary. If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise our shor excursion staff on board ship at least 72 hours before the port call. Enjoy a classical music recital at the local church

Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Ålesund’s main sights, driving through the art nouveau quarter to see the architecture which replaced the more traditional Norwegian buildings that were lost to the devastating fire of 1904. After leaving the city, travel through some of the world’s largest subsea tunnels which connect the islands of Giske and Godøy to the mainland. Giske is famous as the birthplace of the Viking King Rollo who conquered Normandy in 911 and was an ancestor of William the Conqueror. Your tour takes you to the Giske Chapel, built from Roman marble and used as a private church by the Viking Giske family. The interior of the church was restored in 1756 and features a beautiful-carved pulpit and altar. Continue to the island of Godøy and the charming fishing village of Alnes and enjoy a stroll through the village or climb the lighthouse for some fantastic views. Return to the pier at Ålesund by coach and through the subsea tunnels.

This tour is mainly by coach with some walking on gravel paths to view the church at Giske and the village of Alnes. To reach the lighthouse there is a 300-yard walk over gravel with a steep spiral staircase inside to reach the top. The 12th-century Giske Chapel was built using Roman Marble

The Island of Runde, which at its highest point towers some 1080 ft above the level of the sea, is one of the largest bird sanctuaries in Norway. Home to a myriad of winged life including puffins, gannets,guillemots, fulmars, skuas, shags, razorbills, and ducks as well as eagles, falcons and hawks that regularly visit the island for hunting purposes. Approximately one hour after leaving the harbour in Ålesund you will pass under the Runde Bridge and proceed slowly close to shore, for the best opportunity of spotting the various bird-colonies as well as seals and porpoises and deer grazing the steep hillsides and green fields. If weather conditions permit you will cruise through the green lagoon and visit the well known caves in Branden. You will also see where the 'Runde treasure' was found in 1972 and Rundetinden where, according to legend, the Spanish ship 'The Castle' sunk in 1588. You will return to Ålesund via the same route.

Walking between the ship and the boat's gangways is not anticpated being more than 200 yards. Don't forget to bring your binoculars. A wind and waterproof jacket and flat shoes are recommended. Perhaps see Puffin

Flåm

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

The village of Flåm, surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery, lies in the heart of western Norway at the innermost part of Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sognefjord. Tourists come from all over the world to ride on the famous Flåm Railway, which runs up to Myrdal to connect with the main Oslo to Bergen line. A masterpiece of engineering, it offers one of Europe’s most scenic train journeys, passing cascading waterfalls, steep hillsides and snow-capped mountains. Over a distance of less than 13 miles, the track climbs from sea level to approximately 2,850 feet, crossing back and forth over rivers and through 20 tunnels. A museum at the station tells the history of the line. Flåm is also home to the Ægir Microbrewery, located directly on the pier: guided tours and tastings are available. Please bear in mind that the Flåm Railway is very popular and capacity is limited, and therefore any excursions involving a train ride must be booked in advance: these tours will not be available from the Shore Excursions Desk on board ship once the cruise has started.

FactFile

Population 450 (approximate)
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Kroner
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Temperate with rain showers in the summer and cold with some snow in the winter
Ship berths at At anchor, close by in the fjord
Distance from Centre The tender pier is located in the centre of Flåm.
Distance from gangway to coach Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping A small selection of shops, selling locally produced goods as well as traditional souvenirs, can be found in central Flåm as well as at the railway station and along the pier.
Shopping Opening Hours Most are open from 1000-1800.
Post Office There is no post office, but stamps can be bought from souvenir shops or at the Co-op store behind the station.
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is located inside the station building and is open from 0845-1600.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.
Emergency Services Dial 113 for an ambulance, 112 for the police and 110 for the fire service.
Banks There are no banks in Flåm, but there is an ATM inside the Visitors' Centre.

Shore excursions you may be able to enjoy:

This comprehensive full-day sightseeing tour begins with a short walk along the pier to the railway station platform to board the train for a memorable journey on the Flåm Railway, passing through a narrow valley hemmed in by towering, snow-capped mountains. As you ascend, the train pauses at Kjosfossen, where you can disembark to take photographs of the tumbling waterfall. Change trains at Myrdal and join the Oslo to Bergen main line to the village of Voss, which is pleasantly situated beside Lake Vangsvatnet. Although badly damaged during World War II, its old stone church dating from 1277 survives: it has some unusual features, including an octagonal steeple added during the 16th century. After a buffet lunch in the restaurant of a local hotel, continue by coach through Norway’s dramatic scenery, stopping at another beautiful waterfall, Tvindefossen, before heading down through Stalheim Canyon. After pausing in Stalheim, head off on the final part of your excursion, driving along a thrilling road that negotiates 13 hairpin bends in just one mile. Your return journey to Flåm passes through two long tunnels, which connect the village with Gudvangen.

There will be a few steps to board the train and there can be a wide gap between the train and the platform. Walking will amount to 200 yards in Flåm and 300 yards between Voss station and the restaurant. Any further walking is at your discretion. This tour may operate in reverse and the duration may vary by as much as an hour, depending on train timetables and routing. Views from the railway and roads will depend on the weather. This excursion must be booked in advance and cannot be booked on board ship. Dietary requests must be advised to the Shore Excursion Manager on board ship at least 72 hours prior to arrival. The mighty Kjossfossen waterfall

Savour one of Europe’s most impressive train rides on this interesting tour. The Flåm Railway is a remarkable piece of engineering and provides passengers with wonderful vistas of this beautiful part of Norway. In order to ensure the best possible views, the train will proceed slowly and even stop at the finest sections. You can alight at the stunning Kjosfossen Waterfall, where according to local legend, a ghostly female figure sometimes appears. After stepping off the train at the penultimate stop, walk to a nearby hotel for tea and coffee, served with home-made Norwegian waffles, jam and cream. There will be time to relax in the grounds of the hotel before re-joining the train for the scenic return journey.

This excursion requires walking approximately 200 yards from the pier to Flåm railway station, where there will also be a few steps to board the train. In places there can be a wide gap between the platform and the train. After alighting the train, there will be a further walk of around 200 yards up a fairly steep and uneven path to reach the hotel, where there are seven steps at the entrance. For customers with mobility issues we recommend the more leisurely-paced 'The Flåm Railway Made Easy' tour, which omits much of the more difficult walking. This excursion must be booked in advance and cannot be booked on board ship. Flåm Station is the starting point for one of Europe's most scenic rail journeys

Savour one of Europe’s most impressive train rides on this 'made easier' tour which we recommend for those passengers with mobility issues as much of the more difficult walking has been omitted. The Flåm Railway provides wonderful vistas of the mountains and waterfalls that characterise this beautiful part of Norway. In order to ensure the best possible views the train will proceed slowly and even stop at the finest sections so you have time to take in the dramatic scenery and take photographs. See the stunning Kjosfossen Waterfall where, according to local legend, a ghostly female figure has occasionally been seen. Your train ride takes you 2,850 feet up a mountain gorge and reaches its destination at Myrdal, where you can alight for a few minutes to take photos of the snow-capped mountains and explore the station, or remain seated before returning directly to Flåm.

This excursion involves up to 300 yards' walking and a few steep steps to board the train. In places there can also be a wide gap between the platform and the train. A ramp is available for wheelchair users, but due to the limited number that can be accommodated, it is essential that you notify the shore excursion staff on board ship in advance if you intend using a wheelchair on this excursion. Please also be aware that the toilets on the train are not wheelchair-accessible and that it is not possible for wheelchair users to alight at the waterfall stop. Views will depend on the weather. Most of the intermediate halts have short platforms: when the train stops at these, some of the rear carriages may be in a tunnel. Anyone wishing to take photos at these stops may need to get up and walk towards the front of the train. This excursion must be booked in advance and cannot be booked on board ship. Enjoy dramatic scenery from your train

Spend the day at sea.

Spend the day at sea.

Portsmouth

Disembark Saga Pearl II after breakfast.

Portsmouth is one of the most densely populated cities in Southern England, and is unusual as most of its built-up area occupies Portsea Island, which is linked to the mainland by road and rail bridges. Although there is a Roman fort at nearby Portchester, which was occupied later by both the Saxons and the Normans, there was no settlement on the site of Portsmouth at the time of the Domesday survey in 1086. The town developed in medieval times and received its first charter in 1194 from King Richard the Lionheart; soon afterwards it developed into a permanent naval base. It has the world’s oldest continuously used dry dock, and is home to several famous ships, including HMS Victory, HMS Warrior and the Mary Rose, which millions of television viewers watched being raised from the Solent in 1982. Portsmouth remains an important naval base and is home to a large proportion of the British service fleet. The waterfront area is now dominated by the Spinnaker Tower, 560 feet high, which is the United Kingdom’s tallest building outside London. Other things to see in the city include the house where Charles Dickens was born, and the City Museum, which contains a permanent exhibition devoted to another famous writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who lived in the town.

FactFile

Population 205,400 (approximate)
Language English
Currency Pound sterling
Time Difference N/A
Climate Portsmouth experiences an oceanic climate, with cool winters and mild to warm summers.
Ship berths at Portsmouth International Port
Distance from Centre ½-mile
Distance from gangway to coach Coaches can pull up immediately outside the terminal building.

Useful Information

Shopping The nearest shops to the terminal are in Gunwharf Quays, near the Spinnaker Tower.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open Monday to Friday 0900-2000, Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 1100-1700.
Post Office The main Post Office is in Slindon Street, near Portsmouth & Southsea railway station.
Tourist Office The Tourist Information Office is on Clarence Esplanade. Telephone: 023 9282 6722.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber's number.
Emergency Services Dial 999.
Banks All main UK banks have branches in the city centre, and there are ATMs in the Cruise Terminal.

Also on board

You'll be joined by representatives from ORCA, the foremost European whale and dolphin conservation charity, who'll be holding regular whale-spotting sessions on deck and give talks on their research programme.

Please note

We cannot guarantee the appearance of the Northern Lights, which is a natural phenomenon, but this cruise will take you to the best spot at the best time of year for sighting them. You'll be provided with an Arctic jacket so that you can fully enjoy all the activities and excursions on offer. Unless stated as included, all excursions mentioned are optional, at an additional cost, and are subject to availability and change. Some of the highlights detailed may only be seen on optional excursions or by exploring independently.


Northern Lights

Saga Pearl II departing Portsmouth

from £3,269 16 2
Including optional travel insurance or a discount of £98 if not required
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