Even more fun in the fjords

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Crystal Serenity_edited-1.jpgYou can cruise the Norwegian fjords at bargain-basement prices, as I advocated yesterday. Or you can pay rather more and make the trip in sheer, unadulterated, all-inclusive luxury.
The six-star-plus Crystal Serenity is making just one visit to the region this summer, on a 15-day cruise which takes it from Copenhagen to North Cape, on to the Russian outpost if Murmansk, and then to the Swedish capital, Stockholm.
The thought of watching the majestic scenery glide past as I sit on the balcony of my suite while the butler serves afternoon tea is making me reach for my credit card even now. As is the prospect of standing on the open deck as the ship leaves the Lofoten Islands, with Louis Armstrong singing “What A Wonderful World” playing from the loudspeakers.
The trip includes a number of spectacular shore excursions, too.
Tromsø: Hike with huskies or take a high-speed RIB cruise to spy musk ox and other wildlife. 
Lofoten: Ride an Icelandic horse along white sand beaches or visit local artists at work, from a blacksmith’s workshop to a glassblower’s studio.
Murmansk: See war memorials, have traditional Russian tea and “bubliki”, explore the world’s first nuclear-powered surface icebreaker ship or delight in Arctic seals that rehabilitate children.
Ålesund: Help crew a 50-foot sailboat past islands and villages on the picturesque Sunnmøre coast.
Olden: Fly in a helicopter over the largest glacier on the European mainland.
Hellesylt/Geiranger: Sail a 60-foot wooden sailboat past waterfalls and eagles to fish the waters of this UNESCO-listed Norwegian fjord.
Copenhagen: Be one of the first visitors to the just-opened, eco-friendly Blue Planet Aquarium.
On board, a wine and food theme offers gourmet tastes of the region, with guest culinary experts such as award-winning Norwegian chef Sven Erik Renaa, from the Renaa Restaurant in Stavanger; tennis-player-turned TV chef Marc Cummings; and wine ambassadress Gwénaël Laroche.
And among the entertainment corralled by Gary Hunter, the doyen of cruise directors, will be Scottish duo the MacDonald Brothers – who finished fourth behind winner Leona Lewis in the 2006 series of X-Factor – and British singer Jacqui Scott (she was actually born in Cardiff, of Scottish parents who later settled in Blackpool).
The cruise starts with an overnight in Copenhagen on July 5 and visits Hellesylt, Murmansk, Honningsvåg, Tromsø, Leknes/Lofoten, Ålesund, Olden and Bergen before finishing with an overnight in Stockholm.
If booked before April 30, all-inclusive (no bar bills, no gratuities to pay) fly/cruise fares start from £4,852 per person. Crystal Cruises on 020 7399 7601 or visit www.crystalcruises.co.uk
The cruise is also available in two separate eight and seven-day segments. Copenhagen to Tromsø, and Tromsø to Stockholm.
MS Nordnorge_Claus_Mustert_GI.jpgOne more option for anyone considering a visit to the fjords: Hurtigruten is the Norwegian Coastal Express, a regular service of ships plying a regular service from from Bergen to Kirkenes. A sort of cross between a cruise and a ferry, picking up cargo, cars and passengers at 35 ports along the route – some in the middle of the night.
There are special deals available now for the classic 12-day round-trip voyage, departing May 11 or May 22 on MS Nordnorge. Fares from £1,410 pp, including an on-board credit of £120 p cabin and flights from Gatwick.  

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:34+00:00 23 April 2013|Cruise Deals, Cruise Destinations|0 Comments

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John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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