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29th February, 2016


We departed a rather blustery UK and made our way into an even more blustery English Channel as we set about on our voyage north to Norway and our search for the Northern Lights. As our journey along the North Sea continued the wind and swell eased sufficiently making for very pleasant conditions for our Welcome Onboard Cocktail party, a very jovial affair and it was very apparent that all our passengers were brimming with excitement.

Our first destination was the popular port of Bergen - Norway’s second largest city. As we arrived alongside at around 08:30 am I was reminded again why this port is so popular to many cruise ships from all over the world; it is the general flavour of this city which appeals. Offering typical Norwegian charm, history and culture, Bergen is home to many medieval buildings and a whole series of interesting museums, as well as being surrounded by seven mountains, and enjoying shelter to the north and west by a series of straggling islands. Although Bergen is a major industrial port with steel manufacturing, processed food, forest products and fishing continuing to underpin the economy, it remains easy going and laid back.

The cities amenities were only a 10 minute bus journey away from the ship and shuttle bus service was provided for those wanting to explore Bergen independently and with ease.

As usual our shore excursions were plentiful today, the first one leaving the ship this morning was ‘A taste of Hardanger’ tour. This tour provided the perfect chance to go sightseeing around the beautiful Hardangerfjord. Taking a short orientation drive through Bergen past the fish and flower markets, leaving the city behind passengers took a scenic journey through a variety of landscapes following the Hardangerfjord and passed through quaint market towns along the way to Nordheimsund. After passing the Kvamskogen Mountain Plateau and Fossen Bratte Waterfall passengers had the chance to pause at a second waterfall Steinsdalsfossen, Where you can actually walk behind the curtain of water without getting wet. Continuing after to the small farming hamlet of Fykse passengers were able to enjoy some refreshments in one of the old barn houses and sample some of the delicious apple cake made locally from freshly grown fruits whilst being entertained by a fiddler who gave a short performance of the Hardanger fiddle, the traditional instrument of the region before making a journey back to Bergen.

Once everyone was accounted for, and our two Norwegian pilots were onboard, our gangway was duly hoisted and we departed our berth heading north for our next port of call, Aandalsnes.

Captain Wesley Dunlop

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