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Saga Cruises

Arctic Norway and the Northern Lights

Saga Sapphire departing Dover

from £2,249 per person 15 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £60 if not required
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Northern Lights and Arctic sights…

Cruise beyond the Arctic Circle in search of adventure and the Northern Lights! Spend your days dogsledding, scouting incredible landscapes and exploring fascinating cities, and spend your nights scouring the skies for this colourful, celestial phenomenon with overnight stays in Tromø and Alta – plus there’ll be an aurora borealis expert on board and photography workshops to make sure you capture that perfect image of the night sky. You’ll also enjoy a visit to Sortland, a new port for Saga Sapphire.

Inspiring experiences to enjoy… dog sledding through a snowy forest and spending the night in a teepee cabin, going in search of the Northern Lights with an expert guide, an exclusive organ recital in Bodø cathedral.

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Looking out for whales with ORCA
You'll be joined by wildlife experts from ORCA, the foremost European whale and dolphin conservation charity, who are devoted to studying marine wildlife and protecting it for future generations. Look forward to the chance to spot whales, dolphins and seabirds and an array of other wildlife out on deck throughout your voyage, the perfect vantage point to view and learn more about wildlife in their natural habitat.


View Full Itinerary

Dover

Embark Saga Sapphire.

Depart 1600.

Known as the gateway of England, Dover welcomes millions of visitors from all over the globe each year in its role as the ferry capital of the world and the second busiest cruise port in the UK. The White Cliffs Country has a rich heritage. Within the walls of the town’s iconic castle, over 2,000 years of history waits to be explored, whilst the town’s museum is home to the Dover Bronze Age Boat, the world’s oldest known seagoing vessel. The town’s cliffs that are a welcome sight for today's cross-channel travellers also served as the control centre for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940.

FactFile

Population 40,000
Language English
Currency British Pounds Sterling
Time Difference N/A
Climate Temperate with mild summers and cool winters, with a prevailing south-westerly wind throughout the year.
Ship berths at Dover Cruise Terminal.
Distance from Centre 1 mile
Distance from gangway to coach 400 yards, through the cruise terminal.

Useful Information

Shopping The main shops are found on Cannon Street and Biggin Street.
Shopping Opening Hours 0900 to 1730 Monday to Saturday. A few shops are open on Sundays.
Post Office The main Post Office is located inside the Costcutter store on Pencester Road.
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is located inside the Town Museum on Market Square.
How to Phone Home For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber's number.
Emergency Services Dial 999.
Banks Banks and ATMs are located on Cannon Street.

Spend the day at sea.

Bergen

Arrive 0900. Depart 1600.

Bergen’s rich maritime heritage will be evident as soon as you arrive. Pay a visit to the UNESCO-listed Bryggen waterfront, with its traditional Hanseatic storehouses, or catch the cable car to the summit of Mount Ulriken for fantastic views over the city and beyond.

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.

Excursions

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 the city 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. Then travel past the Bergen Aquarium, and glimpse nearby a typical Bergen narrow street, known as a 'smug'. Pass Bergen's Theatre and drive into Håkonsgaten for a glimpse of St John's Church. Finally, drive past the Grieg Hall, the busy Danmarksplass intersection, Haukeland University Hospital and Kalfaret, a residential area with many charming old buildings.

Whilst most walking on this excursion is entirely at your discretion, there is an unavoidable 100-yard walk with a few steps to access the funicular, and you may need to stand in a queue before boarding. However, a lift is available at both the top and bottom stations. No other entrances are included on this tour. Views from Mount Fløyen will depend on the weather. To avoid congestion at the various stops, the sights may be visited in a different order. The colours of Bergen seem more vibrant in the snow

Starting from the pier, your coach takes you into Bergen city centre. You pass Bergen’s historic Bryggen waterfront, with its colourful old Hanseatic warehouses, and continue past the well- known fish market, now housed in a stunning new glass building, before continuing to the Kode Museum, one of the largest art galleries in Scandinavia. This museum consists of four separate buildings: Kode 1, Kode 2, Kode 3 and Kode 4, which are located along Rasmus Meyers Allée in cental Bergen, near the railway station and the small ornamental lake known as Lille Lungegårdsvannet. Your guide will take you to Kode 4, where you can see the Rasmus Meyer Collection and a fine selection of works by Edvard Munch. Among the highlights are paintings from the Golden Age of Norwegian art, as well as reconstructions of historic house interiors from the Bergen area. Your ticket includes admission to all four parts of the Museum - Kode 1, 2, 3 and 4, so you can spend your time as you wish. You may like to visit the exhibitions of Silver Treasure and art loaned by Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway, both of which are at Kode 1, about 250 metres from Kode 4. After about one hour and 40 minutes at the museum, your coach will take you back to the ship.

To visit Kode 4, you will need to walk about three-quarters of a mile on level ground, with about ten steps inside the building. If you wish to visit the other sections of the museum, additional walking will be required. Comfortable shoes are recommended, and you should wear warm clothing and a waterproof jacket or coat. Edvard Munch - The Gangway (1903)

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 refreshments of coffee and apple cake, 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. A packed lunch will be provided. Hardanger, still as beautiful in winter. Don't forget your camera!

Discover 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, you attend a piano recital of Grieg’s music followed by some free time to explore the exhibition and garden, or to visit the tombs of Edvard and his wife Nina that overlook pretty Nordas Lake, 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. The path leading down to the tombs can be slippery. A late lunch will be served upon your return to the ship. Winter view of Troldhaugen, Grieg’s home

Think of Bergen and the chances are you will be thinking of the Bryggen – with its colourful and historic houses flanking the quayside. This enchanting area is the old wharf district of Bergen which grew up during the city’s rise as one the Hanseatic League’s major trading ports in the 14th century. Today some 62 buildings survive offering a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past. The area has been ravaged by fire on several occasions and many of the buildings today date from the early 18th century. Despite this, the narrow passages and design of the wooden houses reflect the area’s medieval roots when the port rose to prominence. On this walking tour you will start by passing the fortress of Bergenjus at the entrance to the harbour, parts of which date to the 13th century. You’ll also pass the 13th-century Coronation – or Hakon’s - Hall, before heading for and exploring the Bryggen. Afterwards, take the Floibanen Funicular and rise 1000 feet to Floyen from where you can enjoy stunning views of the city on a clear day. Take time out at the restaurant here to enjoy a hot drink, before descending via the fish Market and walking back through the city to the pier and your ship.

This tour involves walking approximately one-and-a-half miles sometimes across uneven cobbles.There are around 12 steps to negotiate at the Floyen restaurant. The streets of Bergen in the snow (© Bergen Tourist Authority)

Look forward to a special line-crossing ceremony today as Saga Sapphire crosses the Arctic Circle, and maybe join representatives from the marine conservation charity ORCA on deck as they record sightings of dolphin, whales and seabirds.

Tromsø

Arrive 1800 on February 16. Depart 1700 on February 17.

Tromsø is where your Arctic adventure begins. Here you can learn about the early adventurers who charted the frigid Arctic region at the Polar Museum, or head to the Wilderness Centre to meet some adorable huskies before they whisk you along the snowy landscape at high speed for a thrilling dog sledding experience.

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.

Excursions

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

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. Your excursion concludes with a thrilling cable-car ride up Mount Storsteinen for a stunning bird’s eye view of the city and its surroundings.

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. 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. Enjoy amazing views from the cable car

Enjoy an evening concert inside Tromsø's distinctive Tromsdalen Church, also known as the 'Arctic Cathedral', which was built in 1965 and whose architecture was inspired by ice and snow. Clad in aluminium and with a stunning modern interior, the building is an iconic symbol of Tromsø. Your tour starts with a coach journey to the cathedral, which should take around 20 minutes. Once inside, take your seats for an enjoyable concert of Norwegian classical and folk music. The exceptional acoustics within the cathedral make this an inviting venue. During your visit, you may like to purchase postcards, stamps, and other souvenirs that are on sale here, before returning to the port.

Walking at the cathedral will amount to approximately 150 yards up a fairly steep slope with a couple of steps. Comfortable, layered clothing and warm, waterproof shoes are recommended. The concert itself lasts for about 45 minutes. Although the cathedral itself is wheelchair accessible, the wc facilities are not, as they are located down a flight of stairs. An early dinner will be served aboard for those attending this tour. Enjoy a concert in Tromsø’s Arctic Cathedral

Step aboard your bus and set off for an evening chasing the Northern Lights! This extraordinary natural ‘light show’ takes place anywhere between 60 and 250 miles above the ground and is the result of particles from the sun meeting and being directed around the Earth’s magnetic fields. As the particles move so do the northern lights, causing them to appear to ripple and ‘dance’, illuminating the sky with lights and colours that can range from an extraordinary green to pinks and yellows. The Vikings believed this breathtaking light show was caused by the gods, while in Finland it is said the lights are caused by the fluffy tails of mythical Artic ‘fire’ foxes! Whatever their origins, the magical Northern Lights leave a lasting impression on those fortunate enough to see them. During your ‘hunt’ around Tromso for the elusive lights, look forward to enjoying mulled wine and biscuits aboard your comfortable bus. Bring warm clothing and of course your camera, so that you can capture forever this extraordinary natural display. Please remember however, that the appearance of the Northern Lights is arbitrary and while we hope you will see them during your tour, we cannot guarantee that you will.

This tour involves walking of approximately 330 yards, with any further walking at your own discretion. An early dinner will be served aboard for those attending this tour. Capture forever this extraordinary natural display

After a short sightseeing tour of the city of Tromso, head west and follow winding roads flanked by beautiful scenery. Crossing the 4,000 foot long Sandnessund Bridge that links Tromso to Kvaloy island, watch for the mountains that rise up to the north of Senja Island, as well as some old traditional farms along the way. Your destination is Sommarøy Island – Tromso’s largest fishing village. With its stunning views, surrounding waters home to islets and islands, and a thriving fishing community, look forward to guided tour of Sommarøy. During your visit there will be a chance to learn about life on the island and enjoy some traditional waffles at the local restaurant. There will also be some free time – perfect for enjoying a stroll on this unique and charming island before heading back to Tromso. On your return journey you’ll travel via the narrow Kattfjord tucked between mountains, and enjoy views of Blamann mountain – the highest on Kvaloy Island.

There is walking of approximately 120 yards on this tour. Further walking at Sommaroy Island is at your own discretion. Please ensure you wear warm clothing and shoes. The lights on Sommaroy Island

Step into the world of the polar regions as you head first for Troms Island where you'll 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 take 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. This is the most northerly aquarium in the world. You may like to spend a little time browsing in the interesting gift shop before heading back to the ship.

This excursion requires walking approximately 200 yards. In addition, to reach the Amundsen and Nansen exhibitions at the Polar Museum, you will need to climb a flight of 22 steps. Visit the Polar Museum

Alta

Arrive 0800 on February 18. Depart 0800 on February 20.

Alta is one of the best places in the country to spot the Northern Lights, and to maximise your chance of a sighting we’ll take you deep into the countryside on an included tour to search the skies for the magical display – we’ll even provide you with blankets and hot chocolate to keep warm! With two nights here you also have the chance to visit the ice hotel, or join a magical overnight husky experience, sledding through the forest and spending the night in a ‘teepee cabin’ fitted with full-length glass windows, so you can observe the night sky as you drift off to sleep under the stars.

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.

Excursions

Every year local artists in Alta create sculptures in ice and snow to adorn the town’s extraordinary Sorrisniva Igloo hotel. It’s the most northerly ice hotel in the world and each year a new hotel is built from snow and ice. The hotel, which covers around half an acre, is constructed from 250 tons of ice and over 9,000 cubic yards of snow and filled with themed displays. Its facilities include an ice bar, an ice chapel, bedrooms, a living room and a restaurant, with guests sleeping on ice beds with special sleeping bags. On this visit with a difference, see the hotel and enjoy a tour through what must be one of the world’s most unique and transitory buildings. You’ll also learn about the sculptors and the sculptures they create to decorate the hotel. Inspired by this, you’ll also be able to try your hand at making your own ice sculpture under the eye of the ice sculptor, and enjoy an ‘Igloo Blue’ ice drink in the bar!

There is a total walking distance on this tour of approximately 320 yards. Please ensure you bring warm comfortable clothes and shoes, including gloves and hats. What will you sculpt?

Sortland

Arrive 0800. Depart 1700.

Sortland, a new port for Saga Sapphire, is unique because of its many traditional wooden buildings that have been painted blue as part of a city-wide initiative. Plus there’s a wealth of art exhibitions that you can seek out, and some great shopping too.

Sortland is a town in Norway's Nordland county, in the region of Vesterålen. The Norwegian Coastguard has a base here, and it is also a popular place for observing the Northern Lights. The town is the location of the Sortland Bridge, which provides a road connection between Langøya and Hinnøya by road. Sortland is sometimes nicknamed the Blue City, as many of its houses are painted in that colour.

FactFile

Population 10,000 (approximate)
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Kroner
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Temperate with frequent rain
Ship berths at TBC
Distance from Centre Will depend on berth allocated
Distance from gangway to coach Will depend on berth allocated

Useful Information

Excursions

Norway has a coastline that stretches for some 13,000 miles and fishing has always been an important industry. The region of Vesteralen lies in the north and at the beginning of the 20th century the village of Nyksund was one of the largest fishing villages in the region, with up to 750 fishermen at one time recorded as using the village as a port. However, as boats got larger and the fishing industry declined, the village declined too until in 1975 it was finally abandoned. Fortunately, by the 1980s, this historically interesting and attractive village began to be regenerated as people moved back, opening a variety of cultural and other outlets. This excursion takes you to the village where you can imagine what life was like for those who lived here at the start of the last century. Take in the architecture with its colourful and distinctive houses typical of the region fronting the water, perhaps visit the museum to learn more, admire views of the water and islands beyond, before some time out as you enjoy refreshments at a small restaurant in the village. Afterwards, drive back to your ship following a different route, pausing for photographs at two viewpoints.

There is walking on this tour of approximately 330 yards, sometimes across rough terrain with some steps. Further walking is at your own discretion. The fishing village of Nyksund

If you wished to travel today from Bergen in the south of Norway to Kirkenes in the far north, it would take approximately 28 hours by road and the main route would take you via Sweden and Finland. Until the late 19th century those wishing to make this journey may well have had to do so by water, traversing some 780 miles along the coast. Inevitably at that time, the journey was long and often unpredictable. In 1893 however, Captain Richard With established a regular steamship sailing which was to become known as the ‘Hurtigruten’ – which translates as the ‘fast route’, effectively linking north and south Norway. By 1896 he had also opened an hotel, and during the 20th century the route was expanded to include other stops as well. Today the company runs 13 vessels and sails to destinations worldwide. On this tour, after a drive along the scenic route to Stokmarknes where Hurtigruten was founded, look forward to visiting the museum dedicated to the service Richard With started in 1883. Learn about the company’s history and how it changed the lives of countless people who lived on the Norwegian coast. After your museum visit, enjoy time to explore one of the older boats which lies outside the museum, plus some free time to visit the city of Stokmarknes.

There is walking on this tour of approximately 440 yards, with any additional walking including free time in Stokmarknes, at your own discretion. Discover the history of the ‘Hurtigruten’

Narvik

Arrive 1200. Depart 2000.

Narvik prospered at the beginning of the 20th century when the Ofotbanen Railway was built to bring iron ore from neighbouring Sweden to the port for shipping. Though the railway is still used for this purpose, visitors can enjoy a memorable train journey along it from Narvik to the Swedish border.

At 68 degrees North, Narvik lies 140 miles inside the Arctic Circle. Its history as a settlement began in the Stone Age, and Vikings are also known to have lived in the area. The modern town came into existence in the 1870s to serve the needs of the iron industry. Iron ore is mined in neighbouring Sweden and, as an ice-free port, Narvik was chosen as the ideal export location. The LKAB mining corporation is still a major employer and landowner in the area, shipping some 25,000,000 tons of iron ore from the port annually. This industrial heritage has shaped the town and now forms the basis of some of its most popular tourist attractions. In 1883 a co-owned British-Swedish company was given permission to build a railway connecting the Swedish iron mines in Kiruna to Narvik. It opened in 1902 and the town, then christened Victoriahavn, grew up around it. Unfortunately much of Narvik was destroyed in World War II. Invaded by the Nazis on 9 April 1940, it was later retaken by the Allies, representing the first military defeat of Hitler’s troops, but was evacuated as part of Operation Alphabet when it came under German occupation again. The local war museum documents the turbulent history of this period.

FactFile

Population 18,500 (approximate)
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Kroner
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Cool with a risk of wintry showers
Ship berths at Fagernes
Distance from Centre Under one mile
Distance from gangway to coach Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping Shops are located at the AMFI and Narvik Storsenter Shopping Centres situated in the town centre near the bus and railway stations.
Shopping Opening Hours Most shops are open weekdays between 1000-2000.
Post Office Post Office services are available in most supermarkets.
Tourist Office The Tourist Office is at the railway station. Opening hours are 1000-1500.
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 Banks are open from 0900-1500. 24-hour ATMs are located in every bank as well as inside shopping centres.

Excursions

The city of Narvik is situated in the Ofotfjord and is surrounded by majestic mountains, making it the perfect base for both mountaineering and skiing. Narvik's ski resort, Narvikfjellet, offers some of the best extreme and alpine skiing in Norway. It has one of Scandinavia's largest drop heights and offers excellent conditions for off-piste skiing. On this excursion you will be collected from the quayside for a ten-minute drive to the Narvikfjellet skiing area, where your adventure begins. You will be kitted out with skis, boots and helmet before a professional ski instructor takes you up to the beginners’ slope where you have a two-hour ski lesson. Afterwards, make your way by cable-car to the restaurant for tea or coffee and cake while enjoying the views of Narvik and its fjord below. After your refreshment break, take the cable-car back down for your coach transfer back to the ship.

This trip is suitable for complete beginners who have never tried skiing before. However, participants must have good health and good mobility. You may be stopped from participating at the pier if the operator or guide feels that you are not suited for this kind of activity. Extra clothes and a change of clothes should be brought along in case you get wet or feel cold after skiing. The ground will be uneven and snowy, and there will be 10 steps and a walk of 150 yards to the cable-car. Please be aware that anyone who has chosen Saga's included insurance will be covered as the additional surcharge required has been added to the tour price. If you have chosen to take out your own travel insurance, please check with your travel insurance company that it covers you for this specific activity. Why not join skiing for beginners from Narvik?

Around 45 miles from Narvik, the Polar Park at Bardu is the world's northernmost wildlife park for predatory animals. Covering a vast area, the park is home to brown bear, wolf, lynx, deer, reindeer, moose, musk oxen, Arctic fox and mountain fox, to name just a few, with the animals able to wander quite freely in large enclosures. As you travel to the wildlife park, admire the changing landscapes as you journey north through the towns of Bjerkvik and Salangsdalen. Upon arrival, you will be taken around the park by a knowledgeable local guide, who will tell you about each of the animals and answer any questions you may have. Look out for the wolverine – a Nordic species and the largest of the weasel family that is the symbol of the community shield in Bardu. Following your guided tour, enjoy hot refreshments and some free time to look around the park and shop for souvenirs, before making your return journey back to Narvik through dramatic scenery.

The guided tour around the park involves walking approximately 1½ miles on snow covered asphalt paths with some steep inclines, so good shoes are essential. The guided tour should last about an hour. Please be aware that the bears may still be in hibernation at the time of your visit. The coach journey to the wildlife park should take a little over an hour each way. Red Deer, Norway Narvik Polar Park

During the 18th century a rich supply of iron ore was mined in Lapland and transported by train (after finding that using reindeer didn’t work!). By the late 1860s a railway was mooted and in 1898 building of the Ofotbanen railway began, linking Narvik with Riksgransen on the Swedish border. This extraordinary railway which hugs the region’s steep mountainsides and includes with some 23 tunnels, was built by navvies – itinerant workers from various Scandinavian countries who laboured through the harsh winter in extreme conditions. During the building of the railway a cook known as Svarto Bjorn (the Black Bear due to her dark hair and handsome appearance) worked with the navvies, earning their admiration. After her death from pneumonia, she passed into local legend. Both the railway and the ‘Black Bear’ are ‘icons’ of Narvik and are remembered at an annual festival. During your visit here you can learn how the city developed from those early days. Enjoy a drive through the town, stopping at locations relating to the navvies including the railway station, before concluding your tour with some storytelling and music from ‘The Navvy Band’, performed in an old railway shed.

The is approximately 320 yards of walking on this tour, with further walking at your own discretion. Celebrate local history with a Storyteller

Join your guide at the pier and take a short tour through the town, passing the Town Square and the busy port from where the Swedish mining company ships its iron ore. Stop at a viewpoint to look across the town, and over the Ofotfjord and Rombakfjord, before heading for the cable-car station, where you board one of six gondolas for the scenic eight-minute ascent up Fagernesfjellet Mountain. Home to a popular ski resort at the top, you leave the cable car at the upper station, from where, on a clear day, you may be able to see all the way to the Lofoten Islands. The mountain is also a popular jumping-off point for hang-gliders and paragliders. Enjoy refreshments in the panoramic restaurant, over 2,100 feet above sea level, before the return gondola ride down the mountain. From the lower station, your coach will take you back via Narvik town centre to the port. Anyone wishing to see more of Narvik may leave the coach in the centre and return to the ship later on the shuttle-bus.

This excursion involves very little walking: maybe about 200 yards altogether, with a few steps to board the cable car. However, there are a further 50 steps if you wish to walk down to the viewpoint at Fagernes Restaurant. Please note that views will depend on the weather, and that this tour may be cancelled at short notice if the conditions are windy or foggy. Enjoy far-reaching views from the cable-car

Enjoy a city sightseeing tour from the comfort of your coach and learn about Narvik's fascinating war history from a local guide. Several important battles were fought in Narvik during World War II and many soldiers lost their lives here. Your tour will take you to the war cemetery where British, French, German, Norwegian and Polish soldiers are buried. Narvik was badly damaged during the first few months of the war and on April 9, 1940 it was invaded by the Nazis. Less than two months later, the Allies managed to recapture the city but as troops were required elsewhere, it fell to the Nazis again, who occupied it for a further five years. This fascinating story is told in chronological order at the compact War Museum, which you visit next. You will receive a brief introduction and watch a short film about the Battle of Narvik and then have the opportunity to wander around the array of exhibits, models, charts and maps independently, before rejoining the coach and returning to the pier.

This tour requires a walk of approximately 200 yards on flat paths at the war cemetery, with a couple of steps. At the War Museum there are eight steps at the entrance, with a further 17 steps up to the first floor. Inside Narvik’s fascinating War Museum

Bodø

Arrive 1000. Depart 1600.

Bodø is a peaceful city with a fascinating past of Cold War intrigue, which you can learn more about at the Aviation Museum. While here you have to chance to enjoy an amazing organ recital in the city’s cathedral, which was built in 1956. The organ however only dates from 2013, and features an impressive number of pipes – more than 5,000!

The capital of Nordland is a peaceful city, but beneath the surface lies a fascinating and colourful military past. During the Cold War it was an important NATO base, stationing fighter jets to intercept Soviet naval vessels and aircraft. The situation culminated when Premier Kruschev threatened to destroy Bodø with nuclear weapons after a CIA U-2 spy plane bound for the city was shot down over the Soviet Union. You can learn more about the city's Cold War history at the Norwegian Aviation Museum, which is uniquely designed to resemble a biplane and houses an intact U-2 plane, a Spitfire, a rare Hønningstad C-5 polar seaplane and many other interesting exhibits. As well as its military heritage, Bodø boasts the world's strongest maelstrom at Saltstraumen, which attracts a host of visitors every year.

FactFile

Population 51,000 approximately
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Kroner
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Temperate with frequent rain
Ship berths at Termial quai
Distance from Centre Approximately 500m
Distance from gangway to coach Approximately 500 m

Useful Information

Shopping A wide of variety of shops are located within close proximity of the pier
Shopping Opening Hours Monday to Friday 1000-2000 and 1000-1800 on Saturday. Closed on Sunday
Post Office The main Post Office is situated near the town hall iin Kongens gt, 200 yards from the pier. It is open Monday to Friday 0900-1700
Tourist Office Tourist Information can be found in the town centre
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 There are a number of banks and 24hr ATMs located around the city, the nearest being just 50 yards from the pier. Most are open 0900-1500 Monday to Friday

Excursions

Step back into the past when you visit the well-preserved historical trading post on Kjerringøy Island. A coach journey takes you to Festvåg port for a ferry ride to this beautiful peninsula, which boasts a scenic mountain backdrop. Once ashore, enjoy a guided tour around one of Norway's most important cultural heritage monuments. In the late 1890s, the merchant Erasmus B K Zahl helped Kjerringøy become the richest trading post in northern Norway. 15 historic buildings from the island's heyday have been preserved, and they give a fascinating insight into how the gentry and servants lived in this era amid such challenging conditions. Watch a slide-show and walk among the buildings at your leisure. Alternatively, join a guided tour around the open-air museum and inside the main buildings, which will give you a full overview of the trading post's activity in Norway's fishing and coastal shipping during the 18th and 19th centuries. As one of the country's most important collections of 19th-century buildings, Kjerringøy has been used as a location for numerous films, including 'Pan', 'I am Dina' and a television series called 'Benoni and Rosa'.Enjoy refreshments before setting out on your return journey to Bodø.

Although the walk to the museum entrance is less than 100 yards, the optional guided tour of the main buildings will involve at least half-a-mile of walking over uneven ground, with a few steps. A packed lunch will be provided. Historic buildings of Kerringøy

This sightseeing tour takes you around Bodø and to one of Europe's most remarkable natural attractions. The tour begins with a drive along the seafront promenade and continues past the area called Swedish Town, which was reconstructed with the help of Bodø's Swedish neighbours after the area was bombed in 1940. You will also be taken past several churches before driving up to Rønvikfjellet for splendid panoramic views of the town. En route, your guide will tell you about the history of Bodø and its fascinating military past along with its role in World War II. Afterwards your coach takes you to the Magic Saltstraumen Centre to see the Saltstraumen, the world's most powerful maelstrom. Every six hours, 82,000,000,000 gallons of water pass through a deep and narrow passage just 150 metres wide where whirlpools - many up to 35 feet in diameter - are formed. It is an incredible phenomenon.

To view the maelstrom you will need to walk approximately 250 yards along a gravel path from the coach park to the viewpoints. A packed lunch will be provided. Whirlpools created by the Saltstraumen

Nordland's largest town, Bodø was founded as a trading centre and later turned to fishing to bolster its economy. It was heavily bombed during World War II and was rebuilt in a bright, modern architectural style: its buildings are surrounded by a backdrop of distant rugged peaks and vast skies. Among the highlights you will see today are the jetty pier, Nordland Museum and the area called the Swedish Town after it was reconstructed with the help of Bodø's Swedish neighbours. In addition, you will be taken past a number of churches before driving up to Rønvikfjellet for splendid panoramic views of the town. The highlight of the tour is a visit to the Norwegian Aviation Museum, Scandinavia's largest and one of the most modern in Europe. The building was constructed in the shape of a propeller, and a tour inside gives a fascinating insight into civil and military aviation. You can stroll past historic aircraft such as the legendary U-2 and Supermarine Spitfire, and you may ride in an aviation simulator for a taste of what it is like to fly in an F-16, helicopter or Harrier Jump-Jet.

Although walking is fairly limited on this excursion and is mostly at your discretion, the tour of the museum will involve considerable standing and three flights of stairs, although a lift is available. A packed lunch will be provided. Bodø’s Aviation Museum

The city of Bodo is the region’s largest city and is set against a backdrop of mountains, its beautiful coastline waters dotted with islands. Established in 1816, the city was largely destroyed during the Second World War resulting in the modern vibrant city it is today. On this walking tour, set off from the pier in the company of your guide to learn about Bodo’s development from its early days. Your first stop will be the interactive Salmon Centre where you can see and learn about salmon and how aquaculture and salmon farming play an important part in the industry. Next, you’ll walk through the city centre as your guide expands on the city’s history, stopping to admire views and see the city’s state-of-the art ‘Artic’ library, designed by London architects. You’ll also see the Cathedral – completed in 1956 with its distinctive separate steeple and 12-metre stained glass window. After taking in some street art and more of the centre, look forward to rounding off your tour with a tempting local treat, before returning to your ship.

This tour involves walking a total distance of approximately one mile. Sturdy walking shoes and appropriate clothing for the day’s weather are recommended. There may be snow on the ground but there's plenty to see

The Gothic façade of Bodo Cathedral, together with its uniquely detached steeple, is a short drive from the pier. Pleasant bells from the world’s most northerly carillon welcome you to this quant town and modern cathedral (built in 1956). Here, enjoy a ‘magical musical performance’ from an organ with more than 5,000 pipes and described as ‘an organist’s dream’. The cathedral’s stunning 30-foot stain glass window offers the perfect backdrop to this wonderful concert, which also includes a welcoming from the organist and an introduction to Bodo Cathedral. Afterwards, either board the coach which will take you directly back to the ship or explore the abundance of history held within the municipal museum before taking a stroll back to the pier.

There will be a short walk from the vehicle to the cathedral. Walking around the museum and back from the cathedral is at your discretion. Please note that due to this tour taking place in winter, it may be icy underfoot. Bodo cathedral and its uniquely-separate steeple

Spend the day at sea.

Stavanger

Arrive 1200. Depart 1700.

Stavanger's old quarter of cobbled streets and white 18th-century wooden houses contrasts vividly with the cosmopolitan centre's stylish shops and cafes. Its 12th-century cathedral is an impressive building and is believed to be the only cathedral in Norway to retain all its original features. 

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Stavanger flourished in the 19th century as a fishing port. While other towns in Norway have suffered with the decline of this industry, Stavanger has kept its economy booming by diversifying, first into shipbuilding and now into oil. These two contrasting industries have created a city of two halves – a modern area of high-rise buildings and a historic centre with cobbled streets and old wooden houses. The city centre was the birthplace of Alexander Kielland, one of the great 19th-century Norwegian novelists. Stavanger Cathedral, dating from 1125, is an impressive building and the only medieval cathedral in Norway that has not been substantially altered since it was first built. From Stavanger you can explore the attractive blue waters of Lysefjord, surrounded by cliffs and striking rock formations, and also visit Hafrsfjord where the Viking King Harald won an important battle that started the Unification of Norway. Those preferring to explore on their own may wish to visit the interesting Petroleum Museum.

FactFile

Population 130,000 (approximate)
Language Norwegian
Currency Norwegian Kroner
Time Difference UK+1
Climate Temperate with frequent rain
Ship berths at Strandkaien
Distance from Centre 300 yards
Distance from gangway to coach Less than 100 yards

Useful Information

Shopping Various shops and shopping malls can be found near the quayside.
Shopping Opening Hours Most are open Monday to Saturday from 1000-1700.
Post Office Located at 9 Haakon VII Gate. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 0900-1800 and Saturdays from 1000-1500.
Tourist Office Located at Domskirkesplassen, and is open daily from 0900-1600.
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, dial 112 for police and 110 for the fire service.
Banks Banks are located in the centre of Stavanger. Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 1000-1530. ATMs are available.

Excursions

Stavanger, Norway's fourth-largest city, is a charming blend of ancient and modern, and this delightful tour will show you some of its heritage. Leaving the harbour area behind, follow the Dirdal River to Byrkjedal. A former cheese factory dating from 1920, today it houses a restaurant, a candle maker's workshop and shops selling souvenirs and traditional handicrafts. Enjoy typical Norwegian pancakes and have free time to explore this picturesque place on your own. From Byrkjedal, continue to the nearby natural phenomenon of Gloppedalsura. This is the largest boulder field in Northern Europe, and was formed during the Ice Age. Your guide will tell you about these unusual boulders and will point out some that are as large as houses. After a photo-stop, your coach takes you back to your ship, with a panoramic drive through Stavanger on the way, passing the main attractions of the city.

This is predominantly a scenic coach drive, with approximately 55 yards’ unavoidable walking from the coach to Byrkjedal. Any walking during the photo-stop at Gloppedalsura is optional and entirely at your discretion: you may remain seated on the coach if you wish. Please note that on occasions the refreshments at Byrkjedalstunet may be served in Gloppehallen: this venue is located in a cave in the mountain, and may be unsuitable for guests who suffer from claustrophobia. The old cheese factory at Byrkjedal

Despite the modern buildings built during the city’s oil exploration, Stavanger is steeped in architectural tradition and subsequent preservation. On this guided walking tour, pass the 12th-century cathedral built in the Anglo-Norman style before arrival at ‘Gamle’ – old Stavanger. Here, stroll along the area’s cobbled streets to see its extensive collection of 17th-century houses. Perhaps your visit will reveal why the city has received several awards for Gamle’s preservation. Leaving the old town, head towards the Norweigan Canning Museum, located within the original factory that produced canned bristling and fish balls from the late 19th century to the mid-20th. Enjoy some freshly-smoked brisling made in the oven on the premises and discover why the factory was once the life-blood of the city. As well as the process of creation, the ‘Iddisar’ exhibition showcases an excellent collection of colourful, artistic labels. Before returning to the quayside, pass Ovre Holmegate, described as ‘the most colourful street in all of Norway,’ and Valberg Tower - the highest point of the city until 1853, and used to warn of fires.

Expect to walk approximately one and a half miles across sometimes uneven ground, including cobblestones. Walking at the museum is at your discretion and there may be steps to negotiate. This tour is not appropriate for guests with limited mobility. See Stavanger's 12th-century Anglo-Norman cathedral.

On this tour you can learn more about life in Stavanger during the Second World War, after it was occupied by German soldiers on April 9, 1940. Your first stop is at Eiganes Cemetery, home to the graves of 45 British war casualties of the Allied-Norwegian campaign in 1940. The proximity of Sola Airfield, now Stavanger Airport, to Great Britain, along with its good landing beaches and flat inland areas, made the area important in terms of strategic military planning for both German and Allied forces. Visit the Fly Historisk Museum, located alongside the Hafrsfjord and housed in an authentic German aircraft hangar built in 1942. The exhibits include 32 vintage aircraft alongside a large assortment of engines and other aviation related artefacts. Of particular note are very rare Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Arado Ar 96 aircraft. On your return journey to the ship, you make a brief photo-stop at the Swords in the Rock Monument, which commemorates the Viking King Harald's defeat of the last of the regional princes and the start of the unification of Norway. You also stop to visit the ruins of Sola Church, an early 12th-century Romanesque stone church.

Walking at the Fly Historisk Museum amounts to between 200 and 300 yards, with a couple of steps to enter the museum building. Although the amount of walking at the Swords in the Rock Monument is less than 100 yards, the ground immediately around the monument is very uneven. You should wear warm clothing, a hat, scarf and gloves. Exhibits at the Fly Historisk Museum

Spend the day at sea.

Arrive 0800.

Disembark Saga Sapphire after breakfast.

Please note

All excursions mentioned are optional (unless stated otherwise), 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. 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 the year for sighting them. You’ll be provided with an Arctic jacket so that you can fully enjoy the all the activities and excursions on offer.


Arctic Norway and the Northern Lights

Saga Sapphire departing Dover

from £2,249 per person 15 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £60 if not required
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Arctic Norway and the Northern Lights

Saga Sapphire departing Dover

from £2,249 per person 15 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £60 if not required