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28th February, 2014

Andalsnes, Norway

Having sailed north from Bergen, we had periods of outside the fjords for a few hours and then we came back into the Fjord in the early hours of the morning. For me these cruises are very busy operationally and by law, and also by my own preference, I like to be on the bridge when sailing close to the shores. So I had already told the passengers that although I like to get out and about, this cruise, most of my time would be spent on the bridge, which they all understood and appreciated as I am sure they would want me to be up there watching what was going on. Also for me, I take my responsibilities towards the safety of the Ship, passengers and crew very seriously so I always like to do things by the book.

As we sailed up the fjords, the grey start to the day was beautiful, as with the darkness of the silhouettes of the Mountains covered in snow, and the grey start, you really felt on top of the world in the icy climates which is exactly where we were.

We had sailed through the fjords all night and at 7:15am the little town and port of Aandalsnes came into view. The berthing was going to be a challenge as the berth was only 150 metres long and with 200 metres length, the back of the ship was going to overhand quite a bit. Anyway we made our approach and with young Gwyn, my Fourth Officer on the bow giving me distances from the bulbous bow to the rocks ahead, we stopped about 5 metres from the stones, and were soon all fast at 8:00am.

Åndalsnes is the gateway to the rugged wilderness of the Romsdalfjord and is known as the ‘village between the mountains and the fjords’. It typifies Norway’s striking natural beauty with its setting on a promontory lined by Alps and set at the mouth of the Rauma river. The town itself has about 3000 inhabitants and is tucked under lofty mountain peaks backed by lush, green scenery.


There were three shore excursions that passengers could enjoy today ‘The Rauma Railway’ took passengers on a scenic train ride through some spectacular mountain formations. The 35 mile journey to Bjorli took passengers along the Rauma River, ascending the Romsdal Valley and passing the Horn of Romsdal and the ‘Troll Wall’ mountain face. Once they had arrived in Bjorli Station, passengers boarded a coach which took them through some of the most beautiful valleys before returning to the ship. The ‘Trolls Wall and Romsdalen Valley’ tour took passengers on a leisurely panoramic drive, passing the beautiful mountain scenery and foaming rapids, following the Rauma River. They stopped at a viewpoint in Trollveggen to see the Troll’s Wall. Forming part of the Trolltinden peaks, the 3600ft high Trollveggen is Europe’s tallest vertical overhanging rock face. Passengers continued along the narrow valley beside the banks of the salmon river and enjoyed refreshments at Bjorligard Hotel, situated 1800 above sea level. The final tour was ‘Scenic Romsdal’ which began with a panoramic tour and visited one of Norway’s few remaining Stave Churches dating back to 1300. This church is owned by the Society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments and now only holds one service a year on the eve of St Olav’s Day. The church’s interior furnishings and decorations mainly date from 1600 and 1700s but the wooden crucifix is older and heralds from the 13th century. The tour passed through the villages of Isafjorden and Lerheim before returning to the ship.

All were back on board by 5:30pm and we were ready to set sail for our next port of call. This evening’s entertainment began with a Classical Concert in the Drawing Room at 8:45pm with the Cairn Quartet as they performed their concert entitled ‘Broadway to Boulevard’. In the Britannia Lounge, the Explosive Production cast opened our Cabaret Showtime, followed by Comedy Entertainer Gerry Graham. We also had our Late Night Cabaret in the Drawing Room, performed by Explosive Vocalist Ru Cadell.

We will now spend one day at sea as we cross the Arctic Circle and sail towards Tromsø. Our ORCA Wildlife Experts will be spending the majority of their time out on the open decks keeping a watchful eye out for any wildlife that we encounter along the way.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.